TAMPA, Fla. — When gyms closed personal trainer Jacusto Colon saw an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
After applying and getting rejected for jobs at several big-box gyms, Colon decided to do it his way.
The former amateur boxer and professional persona trainer set his sights on training people in public with a no holds barred approach to boxing.
"It changed for the better cause I had got denied jobs from the gyms. I got denied jobs even though I was overqualified," Colon said. "The pandemic hit, and all the gyms closed, and hey, we need a personal trainer do you travel, yeah, and things went up. No bank assistance, no loans, business was just hey this is what we need you for."
He launched Perfect Punch Boxing and Fitness and now teaches hundreds of students across the Tampa Bay area.
Colon cuts a pretty intimidating picture. He is tall, strong, and has an intensity to his training that would make an adult re-think throwing a punch his way. But, he trains everyone from adults to teens to kids under the age of 10. And, for Colon, it's personal.
His passion to train started as a way to help kids stop getting bullied. His tried and true method to teach the basics of boxing instills confidence and character, allowing them to learn how to stand up for themselves and others.
"A bully messed with him one day, and he got the bully. He uppercut him and put him in a headlock and said, 'you are not going to bully me anymore.' That made me feel good," Colon said. "That they are not getting bullied, and you really never know how bad the bullying is until you are hearing it from people. It's good that they get discipline from it."
Colon holds sessions at the Tampa Riverwalk, local parks, neighborhoods, and really anywhere a client wants to meet. So if you see Colon in the middle of a group of people throwing punches, don't worry. It's one of Colon's group sessions.
"Anybody watch it gonna be entertained," Colon said. "Anybody walking by is gonna stop."
"I just think it's a really cool sport. I'm a big fan of watching boxing, and I like the art of boxing and the competitive nature of the sport," Mason Moreno, 19, said.
Moreno's trained with Colon over the past year.
"Really just helps me have a good time and decompress when I come train with him. That's like the main thing I use it for is to just not only exercise my body but my mind," Moreno said. "Cause it kind of separates you away from like anything you would think about on a daily basis, and you just kind of get in the zone, and it's a lot of fun for me."