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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News TribuneKelli Johnson, owner of 9Round Kickboxing at 1407 Southwest Boulevard, demonstrates hitting a speedbag in the new-to-Jefferson City workout facility.

Jefferson City residents looking for an out-of-the-box workout might get a kick out of a new gym opening soon.

9Round is an international kickboxing fitness chain, with more than 800 locations in 19 countries, including more than 400 in the United States. Missouri has 27 locations, but this will be Jefferson City's first.

The gym, at 1407 Southwest Blvd., offers a full-body workout in 30 minutes. There are no class times — instead, the gym uses a circuit format with a new workout starting every three minutes, owner Kelli Johnson said.

What sets them apart, Johnson said, is the trainers present on the floor are there to demonstrate, guide and assist members and provide motivation.

"After you understand what you're doing in the workout, it's all about motivation, so that's why we're there to kind of be your kick-start to get going, like your little friend on your shoulder," Johnson said.

The gym is broken into nine stations. Every three minutes, with the ring of a timer, members switch stations.

Stations 1 and 2 focus on strength — dumbbells, kettlebells, jump-ropes and other equipment are used to build strength and agility. Stations 3-8 are kickbox fitness, using different types of punching and kicking bags. Finally, station 9 is focused on the abs and core.

Although the equipment at each round doesn't change, the workouts do. Depending on the station, the assigned workout changes every week or every day. Members know their workout from a whiteboard sign at each station.

During each three-minute round, members do the exercise for the first two and a half minutes. Then, after the chime of a yellow bell, they push to work harder for the last 30 seconds. When the red bell goes off, the round is over, and the group rotates, allowing a new person to start in the rotation.

Between rounds during the transition, members have "active rest," Johnson said, where they do an exercise like ski jumps or lunges.

Each day, one of the rounds between rounds 3-8 will be replaced with a trainer-led round, where instead of using the equipment, they can work out directly with a trainer, using a kick shield or hand pads.

"That kind of ramps up your workout because your heart rate really gets up when you're working with pads with a trainer," Johnson said.

Heart rate is an important thing at 9Round. Members can buy and wear heart rate monitors called Pulse that track their heart rate and display it on screens in the room, along with a chosen "fighter name," so trainers and members alike can keep track of how hard they are working.

There are five colors your heart-rate display can be — gray, blue, green, yellow and red. Gray means you're barely moving, and it goes up from there. The sweet spot is yellow. Red means you're working your heart too hard.

9Round has a Pulse Point system, and the goal is to get 60 points every 30 minutes — blue is one point, green is two, yellow is three, and red goes back down to one.

Even though they want to make sure you don't work too hard, Johnson said this isn't an easy workout.

"The whole goal for the 9Round 30-minute workout is to have a killer workout, so you want to be drenched in sweat by the time you're done," Johnson said. "If you are not completely drenched in sweat and like, 'Wow, that was hard,' we didn't push you hard enough as trainers. We will do better next time."

There's no specific dress code, other than wearing tennis shoes, hand wraps and gloves. The gym is open to adults and children older than 10 years old. There is no sparring, only kickboxing exercises.

Anyone who signs up at 9Round before the gym's official opening date will get a discounted monthly rate of $88, a discounted registration fee of $25, and a free pair of wraps and gloves. After they open, the monthly rate will be $99 a month and the registration fee will be $199, with a three-month contract.

There is also a money-back guarantee for early sign-ups, Johnson said, where prospective members who try the workout three times within 10 days and don't want to keep going will get their money back. They will offer a free, basic trial workout once the gym is open.

Johnson said they recommend three workouts per week. Anyone wanting to drop in occasionally will pay $20 each time. Members of the Columbia locations can pay $10 to drop in.

"We're not the kind of place that wants you to sign up and never come," she said. "We want you to reach your goals — whether that's losing weight, just getting stronger, having more confidence, feeling better in your clothes — people have lots of different goals."

9Round hopes to open Sept. 3. An open house will be held a week before the official opening date for those who have signed up to pick up gloves and wraps.

Know of any business happenings around Jefferson City? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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