The eye of the tiger gleams at a Stone Mountain gym. It gleams in the eye of a trainer who has seen many a fight all over the world.
It gleams in the eye of one of the founders who fought in the 1996 Atlanta games and it gleams brightest of all in the eye of a 13 year-old girl who dreams of 2016 and the Rio Olympics.King Raheem’s gym is the home of these tigers and home to a new kind of boxing ring.Family-friendly and health-oriented is the theme at King Raheem’s Boxing and Cross Training.
According to co-founder, Zahir Raheem, fitness and family go hand-in-hand. “Our ultimate goal is to make an impact on lives by teaching healthy lifestyles in a family-friendly, safe atmosphere,” says Raheem. A 1996 Olympian with more than 200 amateur fights under his belt, Raheem’s professional career included a WBC Lightweight Title. “I want to help children channel anger and aggressiveness into something positive,” says Raheem. “My trainer, Rob Lee Valez, had a positive impact on my life and he continues to do so today with the kids here at the gym.
Trainer Rob Lee Valez has as much fire in his eye when he talks about the future of boxing as he does when he talks about his storied past. Having trained scores of title-holders, Valez is concentrating on what he refers to as his “blessings.” “All these kids are a blessing to me,” says Valez. “They always have been.” His clear love of the sport is evident in watching his young 2016 Olympic hopeful, Crystal Tuminello. Just 13, Crystal is not as delicate as her name may indicate. She has fire in her eye, the stance of a fighter and a clear voice when it comes to her intention to be an Olympian. “I only want to train with the best,” says Crystal. “And this place is the best.”
Every bit as energetic and enthusiastic about a clientele that is family-oriented and looking for a fun and effective way to remain fit are the kick-boxing and dance-fit instructors. A former English teacher in the Atlanta Public Schools, Robin Grant took her love of teaching and her desire to share whole mind and body fitness to a new level. Still working toward her doctorate, Robin teaches kickboxing as fitness. The fact that her students can defend themselves is a real bonus. “I love teaching, you can never take that out of a teacher, but it was time for me to combine what I love,” says Robin.
If kick-boxing isn’t your style, then extreme dance-fit instructor, Tim Roberts may have just what you are looking for. “There has been a huge change in how people get fit,” says Tim, a former nurse. “I wanted to combine my love of fitness and health.” After a career in nursing, Tim became licensed in massage therapy, personal training and life coaching. “I wanted to help clients with all aspects of fitness from nutrition to strength,” says Tim. His classes are varied with students from 3 to 89 years of age. “I have a 77 year-old woman who comes to class three times a week,” says Tim. “I want to be able to participate in a fitness class when I am 77.”
The gym hopes to become a well-known fixture in the Stone Mountain area. Administrative direction comes from one of the gym’s biggest cheerleaders, Yolanda Buford who says, “The gym attracts local families and boxers from all around.” Helping clients find an affordable fitness plan is among her main goals for the gym. Building and keeping a motivated training team is foremost in the efforts of the founders and staff. “We want to eventually offer training camps and the location near the mountain was a natural,” says Raheem. “Helping our clients achieve a level of fitness that includes a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition choices and a family atmosphere is our goal.” Find more information about the boxing ring and fitness options at King Raheem’s at: www.kingraheem