Mitt Master Cardio Boxing works to build mental, physical strength

The accident that nearly cost Rod Sly his life also gave him a new lease on life.

Sly spent more than a month in the hospital in 2009 after a drunk driver careened off the road hitting him while he was working in his neighbor’s yard. The devastating injuries sidelined him for longer than he hoped, but when he finally returned to the gym, Sly was a man on a mission.

“I was pretty angry after everything I went through. I loved putting on my headphones and hitting the heavy bag,” he said. “People started asking if they could do it with me.”

Before long, he had a following at the gym and soon decided to open a place dedicated to cardio boxing. The Dogg Pound opened in what Sly describes as an “old raggedy house” in Dayton in 2010. He introduced cardio boxing to countless people over a two-year period, but the nagging knee pain – a result of the accident – became too much to bear and he underwent knee replacement surgery in 2012.

But if the physical pain of recovery was intense, it was nothing compared to the emotional blow he endured after a long-term relationship ended abruptly after his surgery and Sly moved out of the couple’s shared home.

“I slept in my car for 105 days in 2012,” he said. “All the while, I was working with people in the gym and what they didn’t realize was that while I was helping them, they were saving my life.”

A year later, Sly was back on his feet and sharing his training expertise at Mind to Muscle Wellness, in the Talbott Tower. But, with just one heavy bag, the space wasn't ideal for sharing his cardio boxing passion. When a space opened up on the ground floor of the building, Sly decided to take a chance and Mitt Master Cardio Boxing was born.

The 1,350-square foot facility has six heavy bags – 100 pounds each – on a towering eight-foot rack. But that’s just the beginning as there is also an 80-pound wrecking ball and enough equipment to support more than 80 different workouts simultaneously. Sly’s original music booms through the space. He was once the owner of Sly Dogg Entertainment – as he puts fitness enthusiasts of all ages through their paces. His oldest client is 84 and the youngest he has worked with is 5.

“I train you mentally to get you physically stronger,” he said.

Mitt Master hosts lunchtime cardio boxing classes for local companies and has a Jr. Mitts program for kids. There are nightly classes, Monday through Thursday, focusing on a variety of areas from abs and core training to punch combinations and legs. Personal training is another option.

Sly, now 51, is still on a mission – helping others get and stay healthy.

“Before the accident, I thought my journey was somewhere else and, then I was blindsided,” he said. “Now I look at it as a ‘blindside blessing,’ because everything that went wrong went right.”

Mitt Master Cardio Boxing Studio

Where: 116A West 1st St., Dayton

Phone: 937-673-0104


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