After our fast-paced kickboxing workout, we caught up with Ahmed Mohammed, the founder of Legends gym, to find out all about his unique style of training and his career as a bodyguard to the stars…
How did you first discover kickboxing?
I started learning Taekwondo 35 years ago. I used to lie to my mum and say I was going to school, but actually I would go and work in a shop and make money so I could pay for Taekwondo lessons here in Schöneberg.
But soon I realised that I was only using my legs and feet in Taekwondo – I wanted to workout my upper body so I got into boxing. Then I became a bodyguard for many years.
I began my career as a bodyguard in 1993 by protecting Claudia Schiffer and the magician David Copperfield. I also protected Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Muhammad Ali. Whenever famous people from around the world came to Germany, I protected them. I’m one of the most famous bodyguards in Germany – that’s why the club is called Legends!
When did you open Legends Club?
5 years ago in 2014. I started the club because so many of my clients asked me how I train. My style is very old school and they all wanted this style of training for themselves, so the gym developed from this.
People like my style. I train old school. I can see how far you can go and will push you to your limits. I never force anyone beyond their capabilities. I’ve trained in this style for 30 years and have never had an injury before. It’s all in a controlled, professional environment, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
I teach street style which is the best way to train. Give me 6 weeks and you will look amazing. But it won’t be like gym class – this is fight school.
Do you fight professionally?
I’m 55! [Laughs] I look young I know. I had a couple of fights back in the day but now I just train people to fight and for fitness.
What other classes do you teach here?
I mix it up but I mostly teach boxing and kickboxing. A lot of young people come here who are aged between 16 and 20. I mix up their classes depending on their level, usually incorporating boxing and sparring elements.
Have you had any moments that have made you very proud? Any success stories?
I’m always proud when I see people developing mentally and physically. It doesn’t matter if they’re competing in a championship or if someone is very unfit and breaks that unhealthy cycle. When they come here and train and stay strong for 90 minutes it makes me proud.
I also help aggressive kids through these classes – boxing and kickboxing helps with anger management, especially for young men. Seeing improvement in these young men makes me very proud.
You have a specific style of training – you cuffed a few of us! Is this unique to your methods?
Yes it’s normal. It’s training and it’s not personal – it’s like we’re family. I’m saying “get over yourself.”
The younger people respond well to it. There was one boy in our class just now who’s mum came to us and said “He’s just turned 16, he’s getting strong and becoming aggressive – can you help and keep an extra eye on him?” Of course I’m happy to give that extra discipline.
When I yell it’s because I want everyone to train hard and with heart. When I see people making the same mistakes I get frustrated on their behalf. I train you like I would a professional. There’s no difference between the class you just did and a class with professional athletes. I pride myself on training a range of people – a mixture of men and women and we train kids of 5 years old three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 17-18h.
Have you ever offended anyone? Do they mind if you call them Grandma?
No! ‘Grandma’ is what I say when someone doesn’t have energy and they’re being slow. People are never offended because they know it’s not personal. It’s a different style of motivation. It’s not like I’m saying “Come on, you can do this,” I’m saying “Stop being slow! Train harder!”
What are the mental and physical benefits to boxing and kickboxing?
Physically of course it’s a full body workout, and I push you to a specific point of exhaustion. If you can reach it in the gym then you can reach it in life where you don’t give up, you believe in yourself.
The training can be beneficial for young men in this area in Berlin as it teaches them to stay calm and control their frustration and anger. And for women it’s great to see them break through their expectations of themselves and become superwoman. It’s all about pushing yourself inside and outside the gym.
What’s your key health and fitness advice?
If you’d like to train with Ahmed Mohammad and push yourself to your limits, check out http://legends-fitness.de
And Urban Sports Club has plenty of martial arts partners in Germany, Italy and France. Take a look at our site to see what’s happening in your area.