More happens inside the walls of The Garage than just kickboxing.
After retiring from a career as a mixed martial arts fighter, Jeremy Phillips soon found himself missing the training part of fighting. He decided to start offering private lessons in his garage. But when demand for his classes soared, he took a chance and quit his day job, emptied his 401k and started a full-fledged public kickboxing gym. Knowing he couldn’t accomplish the dream alone, he reached out to Zak Moore. “Zak and I had trained together during my fighting career and we became friends,” he says. “It was a big commitment that I was asking from him, but he didn’t hesitate. He just said ‘Yup, let’s do it!’”
Putting the Gloves Back On
In May this year, the friends celebrated the third anniversary of The Garage Kickboxing gym in Alabaster. Together, these athletes are proud to offer a departure from typical workout routines, utilizing their over 18 years combined experience in high-energy combat sports, including kickboxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). “There are many forms of kickboxing, which is mainly focused on kicks and punches,” Zak explains. “Muay Thai adds in elbows, knees and a clinch. Mixed Martial Arts is just that; you get a mix of the different styles and use what works for you.”
It was important to the duo to ensure that no matter the age, skill level or initial fitness condition of their members, that there would be something for everyone at The Garage. Currently, members under age 10 and over age 60 are enjoying the family-friendly vibe the gym offers.
Training Powerhouse Athletes
Zak and Jeremy initially opened The Garage as purely a fitness and training facility. “I had no intentions for a competition team, but it took less than six months for someone to talk me into it,” Jeremy says, laughing. “We now have a jujitsu trainer from Clanton, Devin Scott. He’s really opened up the door to a whole new audience.”
Although only a very small percentage of members participate in the competition fighting component of the gym, The Garage has seen significant success on the combat sports circuit. In fact, The Garage is home to the first female kickboxing champion from the state of Alabama, Rebecca Rotenberry. “Rebecca is an absolute savage in the ring, but she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and a neuro nurse at UAB. You see her in the ring and you’d never know what her day job is,” Jeremy says. “I would boastfully say that we have the best female team in the state of Alabama.”
Even so, Jeremy often reminds people that he doesn’t differentiate between his male fighters and female fighters, and adds, “I just have fighters. They train together and spar together. The whole competition team has impressed me, and we’ve had a lot of success in a short amount of time.”
Stepping Into the Ring
In addition to the competition component of the gym, The Garage’s popularity as a resource for effective fitness training has grown quickly over the last three years.
“We offer interval training. It’s that high-intensity stuff that’s going to burn fat and add muscle. We’ve seen some pretty dramatic body transformations, for sure,” Jeremy says. “One of our members lost 100 pounds in a year’s training time, and several others have lost 50-70 pounds.”
They regularly tell people with significant weight loss goals that to get significant results, they should plan to put in at least three days a week at The Garage. “It’s hard to gain ground doing only two days a week. So, we ask them to commit at least three, and if they can come six, then come six. Listen to your body, of course, but if you can, do.”
No Class Times = NO EXCUSES
During the regularly staffed hours at the gym, trainers are readily available to support members with their goals. The trainers explained that this freeform structure to classes removes one of the main roadblocks to working out. “We’ve learned that if a class starts at a certain time, that time itself becomes an excuse for people to choose to not come. They think they’re too busy, or going to be late, or just don’t feel like it,” Jeremy says.
After two free trial sessions, if participants choose to continue with an ongoing membership, the automatic monthly payment of $69.99 begins on the first day of the following month.
The next step for The Garage’s growth is transitioning their Alabaster location to a 24-7 gym and adding another location soon. “It’s maybe not as easy as I originally made it seem. There were a lot of bumps in the road, lots of trial and error. We had to learn a lot on the fly and we’re still learning,” Jeremy says. “Neither one of us were businessmen. But we are passionate about this business and doing it really well.”
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Current Hours of Operation:
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 2-8 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 2-5 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.