By JOHN J. BURO
HOLMDEL – Back on the not-so-mean streets of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, -circa 1980s- AnnMarie Earle was just another teenage girl who enjoyed sports. She remained active through gymnastics and softball and, aside from her parochial school upbringing, was rarely dressed in a skirt. Earle was a bonafide tomboy from head-to-toe, but to think that her athletic aspirations could, someday, lead to an ownership stake in a fitness center were unfathomable.
Still, she never stopped exercising. That foresight ultimately served as both the impetus for a healthier lifestyle and a second career. “Traditional gyms did not interest me,” said Earle, a mother of three whose 21 year-old son, Riley, is the lead trainer on her staff.
Running on a treadmill was boring, as was lifting weights. Step classes were a big thing once because it was a one-hour class and we’d sweat; but, that went by the wayside. Five or six years ago, I discovered kickboxing as an outlet, and have loved it ever since.
Along the way, she has repeatedly punched back at whatever was thrown her way. After matriculating at St. John’s University (Queens) and earning a master’s degree in finance from Monmouth University, Earle attained an executive MBA from Harvard. And, while the abundance of a formal education secured her current position as Global Head of Finance for a major pharmaceutical company, she would later add one more notch on her championship belt: Owner and Chief Operating Officer of the Title Boxing Club (2145 Rt. 35/Holmdel; 1-732-344-6995).
“Recent studies show that if a person has early-to-mid onset Parkinson’s, and starts to box or kickbox 100 minutes a week, it can potentially delay the disease for seven years,” noted Earle, who is also a prominent board member for the JAR of Hope Foundation. “There are many benefits to boxing, from muscle confusion to improving hand-eye coordination. In fact, it has helped Alzheimer’s patients, as well.”
The connection between Parkinson’s and Muhammad Ali, the boxing icon who passed away in June 2016 at the age of 74, did not escape the youthful entrepreneur, who claimed Ali had likely inherited the disorder.
Boxing prolonged his illness; in the end, with all the shots he took to the head, there was no way (Parkinson’s) could have been prevented. But, early on, I absolutely believe boxing delayed the onset of it.
There’s no delaying, however, the acclaim that the Title Boxing Club has received during its first decade. According to Inc. 500, it is the fastest-growing franchise in the US, with 155 locations nationwide -encompassing a membership of 70,000 strong- with plans to open another 250 sites in the immediate future. As a business venture, Title Boxing scores with all the allure of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr.- Conor McGregor pay-per-view.
“We have a number of certified trainers -including one MMA professional and one Golden Gloves boxer, and they both teach very differently. But, just to be clear, we don’t spar here, we don’t hit, we’re non-contact,” she attested. “We tell our members they define what that (100-pound) bag should be – either an outlet to lose weight or a way to relieve stress. They set their own goals, and kill it!” Much like the owner herself.