Leyon Azubuike, Jennifer Aniston’s personal trainer, breaks down his workout

Leyon Azubuike, the founder of LA-based boxing studio Gloveworx, found himself in the spotlight last month when Jennifer Aniston credited him as the man behind her new favourite workout.

“Last year I discovered boxing, and I love it,” she told InStyle. “I have this trainer named Leyon, who I believe hung the moon.

“It’s the longest workout I’ve actually stayed with consistently other than yoga. There’s something about the mental aspect of boxing — the drills, your brain has to work, you’re not just sitting on a bike. It’s amazing,” she said.

What makes Azubuike’s workout sessions so highly recommended? We caught up with him to find out…

First, let’s set the scene…

There are two Gloveworx studios in LA – one in Century City and the other in Santa Monica – and in addition to Aniston, the gym counts Jennifer Love Hewitt, Corey Hawkins, John Goodman and Nick Carter amongst clients.

“The vibe at Gloveworx is really laid back,” Azubuike tells the Standard. “Our clientele enjoy coming because it’s a fun environment and there’s a nice vibe, no one bothers anyone.”

The gym offers one-on-one training sessions, however, clients can opt to join small group classes of up to eight people too, “so it stays really private but it can be considered a class”, he says.

Inside, there’s a boxing ring, as well as other regular gym equipment.

“The workouts are primarily based around boxing, supported by strength and conditioning. Resistance [training] is really big for us,” explains Azubuike, adding that cardio, core and balance work are important too.

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“We love the Versaclimber [a cardio machine which allows you to imitate the act of climbing]. It’s one of our favourite pieces of equipment – we have six per studio – as well as rowers and bikes. And we love jump rope.”

Leyon Azubuike (Photo by Allen Zaki)

A training session break down…

While no workout with Azubuike is likely to be the same, “we offer lots of personalised attention, we customise and constantly tweak [our workouts] to the individual clients’ needs” he says. A training session with him usually lasts just under an hour and starts with a dynamic warm-up.

“In our philosophy, we start with dynamic stretching, short, quick [muscle] activating type exercises,” Azubuike explains. “But not for so long that you’ll want to go into cool down mode. You want to get your body primed and ignited and ready to fire and [also] decrease the chance of injury later on, because what follows is explosive.”

He continues, “Then we’ll do some cardio, to get even more sweaty.”

Next, they hit up either the punching pads or the heavy bag.

“Boxing is very good for toning and sculpting the arms, but it’s also good for the core and trunk. It serves as a waist-trimming mechanism, as the body is always in rotation,” he explains.

After that it’s often jump rope, followed by abdominal work.

The sessions conclude with a final cool down phase of static and butterfly stretching. “This part’s a little bit yoga-esque,” he says.

(Getty Images)

And key to one of Jennifer Aniston’s training sessions is…?

Azubuike describes his personal training style as “infinitely progressive and regressive – if something becomes too easy then we adapt”.

In fact, that’s what he maintains is key to his workout sessions with Aniston: variety and adaptability.

“She is a very good natural athlete, there are things we have to modify and adapt on an on-going basis because she can adapt very quickly.” This is particularly important when she has a show or event coming up.

“We introduce different things to ramp up the training so that she can make gains,” Azubuike says.

Any other advice?

So that’s how Azubuike encourages his clients to workout. But what doesn’t he advise them to do?

“I’m very big on a balanced lifestyle,” he explains. “I’m not a big fan of crash diets. I believe in portion-control that lends its hand to sustainability. Carbs, fats and proteins can all coexist peacefully without [needing to be] mutually exclusive.”

He continues, “You need to support your training outside the studio with food, recovery, hydration and lots of sleep. Then once you’re functioning at a high level you can train as many times as you like. Start with one to two days a week and work your way up to three, five, even seven.

“It’ll give you the best chance of longevity and sustainability,” he says.



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