Fifteen years ago, Cody Sweet, then 20, was living in San Luis Obispo. He was a big fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) legend Chuck Liddell. Liddell happened to train at an MMA gym in the area, so Sweet joined. He ended up falling in love with the sport—so much so that he moved to Thailand to hone his MMA skills and became a trainer there. Sweet eventually moved back to California, graduated from Chico State with a degree in business, and on Dec. 17 opened Sweet Fitness Kickboxing. Over 100 people joined within the first month. Visit his gym at 1390 E. Ninth St., Ste. 170, online on Instagram and Facebook, or call 521-3059.
What sets you apart from other gyms?
We offer an awesome, fun, high-energy workout that people love. You can beat the crap out of our heavy bags for 47 minutes, or 12 rounds. People say, “I was in a really bad mood before I got here, but afterward I feel great!” It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re exercising to good music in a physically exciting environment. We also have a grand opening special of a free week of classes.
What are your workouts like?
People sweat, burn calories and have fun. We have heavy bags, but no actual sparring, so nobody gets punched in the face. We go 12 full rounds of three minutes each, with one minute rest in between. The first two rounds are warm-up exercises, then eight rounds of kickboxing techniques. The last two rounds focus on abdominal exercises. We always try to mix things up and do something new.
What inspired you to start Sweet Fitness?
I love being in a gym, interacting socially, and feel I’m really good at making gyms fun and awesome. After I moved back to the U.S., I made plans to open a gym and it evolved into this. I also love to coach, and being a business major with an option in entrepreneurship, I felt I was really good at marketing.
Can you tell me more about living in Thailand?
I had heard that Thailand was a really great place to train for MMA and that it was inexpensive to live there. I loved Bangkok—it’s my favorite city in the world. I stayed five years, then coached Western-style boxing in the Philippines before moving back to the U.S.
What are the main reasons people join your gym?
First, they want to get fit and lose weight. Secondly, to have a fun, interesting hobby after work or school. And thirdly, they want to be a part of a group or a community, and make new friends. People don’t get all three at other gyms.