ANN ARBOR, MI — Chicago native Angel Cabrera used boxing as an activity to help him stay out of trouble while living on the city’s south side.

Cabrera’s father put him in training classes when he was 5 years old to keep him in school and away from crime near his home, such as drug abuse, stealing and constant gun shots.

“In order for protection and making sure I wasn’t getting involved in any gang violence, it was his way of making sure I stayed focused on going to school,” Cabrera said.

His experience training and working at boxing facilities led him to open his own gym, Optimum Fitness Training at 4477 Jackson Road. Before opening, Cabrera worked as a trainer at Title Boxing Club in Ann Arbor and would rent spaces at various gyms to offer private training.

The 28-year-old left Chicago to pursue an education at Eastern Michigan University and “bounced around from job to job” until opening his new business on April 3.

Optimum Fitness offers personal training for all ages, boxing classes, nutrition coaching, weight loss training, post-physical therapy rehabilitation and strength training, cardio, agility, conditioning and in the future, yoga and pilates, Cabrera said.

“We’re considered more of an elite type of personal training gym because we’re going to be working with sport-specific athletes,” Cabrera said.

But Optimum is open to anyone, whether they’re an athlete or want personal training, he said. Cabrera is launching new membership packages in May but, in the meantime, anyone can explore what’s available on the website.

“Helping people in general is the biggest thing that I enjoy,” Cabrera said. “With fitness, I feel like I’ve been able to change a lot of people or change people’s way of thinking to adapt fitness or healthy lifestyle into an everyday lifestyle.”

The gym is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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