At Independent MMA and Fitness in Jonesboro and McDonough, Baba directs boxing cardio sessions in the evening for members who wish to compete or others who just desire to get in shape or stay in shape.
“I love training people and teaching,” said Baba, who is a native of Ghana and resident of Stockbridge.
One member Baba has worked with and seen a change for the better is Jonesboro resident Al Laing, who has been attending the gym for almost four months now.
“When I started I was probably 220 pounds and the last I checked I weighed 194,” Laing said.
“I keep encouraging guys like Al how to stay in shape,” Baba said.
At first, Laing formed sort of an addiction to the gym, visiting it everyday when possible but now he attends Independent three times a week.
In addition to doing boxing cardio all three days and mixed martial arts training for two days, Laing jumps rope, does sit-ups and pushups and other unique exercises such as the bear crawl and crab walk.
“It tones you up good and really helps make you stronger,” Laing said. “It doesn’t strain your joints as much as pumping iron.”
Working out with Baba, Independent owner Joe Merit and boxing trainer Jason Croom are part of the reason why Laing has to buy new clothes and give older clothes away, but his habits outside of the gym have been equally as important.
“Diet and exercise go hand in hand and they tell you that,” Laing said. “If you just work out and eat junk, you are not going to lose and you probably won’t gain any weight but just stay where you are.
“I’ve switched up my diet,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad before. I’m definitely drinking a lot more water, sticking to lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and eliminating a lot of junk. I cut down fried foods. The extra sweet stuff. No sodas and no alcohol unless socially.”
Even though Baba hasn’t fought since 2009 and has no plans to compete anymore, Laing is aware of the level his trainer used to be on.
“Alex is so technical,” Laing said. “When I box its one thing but when you watch him box you can see the difference in an amateur and a professional.”