June 15, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Joe Rivera: The Best Boxing Workout in Los Angeles

Trainer Joe RiveraYou wouldn’t think to look at trainer Joe Rivera, the epitome of physical fitness through years of conditioning, boxing, and Tae Kwon Do, that he was once a small, scrappy kid in East Harlem, New York, fighting to survive in the ghetto.

“I grew up on 102nd Street and 2nd Avenue in a collection of buildings called The Washington Housing Projects,†explains Rivera. “A typical day was walking up ten flights of stairs because either the elevators were broken or it was too late in the evening and you didn’t dare go in for fear of being mugged.†In fact, when Rivera was six years old, he and several adults including his mother were robbed at knifepoint in the elevator. The robbers held a knife to Rivera’s throat. “I think they figured people would turn over their wallets, knowing they wouldn’t want to be responsible for gettinRivera's Warrior Poseg a child killed.â€

While the experience would have terrified some, it made Rivera more aware of his surroundings and he put a plan into action. He took up martial arts just shortly after the trauma because he says, “I was especially prone to being a target. Even though I’m Hispanic and my neighborhood was primarily Black and Hispanic, I didn’t look it. I was a fair-skinned, reddish-haired, green-eyed kid.†Rivera jokes, “Remember the show Electric Company? They’d show you a picture of an apple, an orange and a brick and ask, ‘Which thing doesn’t belong?’ Well, that brick was me!â€

What began as a means of protection turned into a lifelong passion. Rivera has been practicing martial arts now for 30+ years and studied with three of the top martial artists in the world: Richard Chun, S. Henry Cho and esteemJoe Rivera will get you into shape!ed coach Tokey Hill. He has also been training since 1997 at world famous and Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club.

Though his father was a boxer, whose idol was Joe Lewis, and whom Rivera was named after, Rivera took up the sport rather late. He admits he tried boxing as a youth, but says, “Martial arts was more structured and I needed that when I was younger, but when I finally got in the ring I really took to it.†Rivera’s been able to parlay his street credentials, his affinity for martial arts and boxing into a constructive and effective methodology for getting people in shape. That’s what he does. He trains the heck out of you until you come to the realization that you are capable of way more than you think.

“Boxing is the ultimate total workout for not just the body but the mind. While you push the body to its edge of performance you are constantly challenging the mind with present moment focus,†says Rivera.

Rivera structures his kickboxing class so that it runs like a professional boxing match. There are 12 rounds; each round is three minutes long—with a specific purpose in mind.

The first two rounds deal with jumping rope, a warm up, which Rivera explains, “gives you timing and rhythm. Two major elements you must have when boxing. It also gets you used to being on your toes.â€

Round number three is designed to set the tone and intensity. Rivera made the class so hard that it’s impossible not to get in shape. Subsequent rounds focus on enhancing performance for the combative arts with drills that utilize bags and punch mitts so that you are striking actual targets. “Most people have no experience punching and kicking. Unless you actually hit a target you won’t know what you’re doing. You need to know how to align your fist, how to align your wrist, what area of the fist to strike with, how much you need to penetrate through the target, the proper distance from your opponent, the difference between perceived target and actual target, which no one ever discusses. Perceived target is the target that you think you’re going to hit; i.e. a bag. Actual target is the eight inch thrust beyond the bag,†explains Rivera.

“You know that old adage, ‘It’s better to give than receive?’ In boxing it rings true for everyone. And that is what is taught. How to hit, and not to be hit.†With Rivera you are learning the safest and most effective way to box. In fact, because of Rivera’s diverse expertise, whatever type of training for which you opt, you will learn it in the safest, most effective way.

Rivera has trained models, weekend warriors, elite athletes, movie stars, as well as attorneys, physicians and celebrity chefs and was not only named trainer to the stars, by Shape Magazine, but also the “trainer to the trainers of the stars†for his work with celebrity trainers. He helped Adam Duritz of Counting Crows fame shed 60 pounds and stay fit while touring, helped Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5 put on more muscle, Alison Eastwood get lean for her Playboy cover shoot and the Cooking Network’s Giada De Laurentiis maintain her svelte figure.

He is the founder of Focus Center Fitness; a center that focuses on total body health within five disciplines: yoga, martial arts, boxing, balance and agility and strength training. He offers both group classes and private training. For more information or to book your session now contact Joe Rivera at joe@focuscenterfitness.com or call 310.499.4950.

Mention this article for a special free intro to one of Rivera’s classes and a special introductory offer which could save you as much as 50% off the normal rate for private training packages.

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