All posts by cccdev

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Robert Kushner

Hey #teamOCTO! Meet Robert “Bubba” Kushner!

What brought you to Team Octopus?
I’ve always been involved in contact sports and I’ve always been intrigued by MMA. It’s a great release of the stresses life brings, and the workout is phenomenal. Plus, it’s not bad to learn how to throw a couple deadly punches.

How was your first class?
My first class was great. I took boxing with Coach Eric Williams. Great energy and boxing knowledge. No matter your skill, level he stays interested in your progressions and fundamentals. My favorite has been the Jiu-Jitsu! I can’t wait to get better technically and look forward to submitting my man Koon!

What changes have you made outside of the gym to complement a healthy lifestyle?
As much as I love Team Octo, I have to get my weights in. My fiancé and I hit the gym 4-5 days a week in addition to walking are 140-lb. Rottweiler, Lebron.

You’ve been busy these days! Tell us about BuffBoxx.
I left my position as GM of The IVY Buckhead to put everything into my new company. BuffBoxx is a premium fitness subscription box that delivers a range of products from Reebok apparel to accessories to snacks and meals! We launched on the 1st, and we are extremely excited to see where this goes.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning at Team Octopus?
Ask questions. Both the staff and members are very respectful of each other and quick to lend advice. There is a very comfortable environment here… unless you’re caught in an arm-bar!

Robert has created an exclusive deal for Team Octopus members! Use promo code: TEAMOCTO to receive 10% off BuffBoxx order!

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Desiree Bennett

Hey #teamOCTO! Meet Desiree Bennett!

What brought you to Team Octopus?

It’s kind of a long story, but I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible. I have been playing ice hockey in the Atlanta Amateur Hockey League (AAHL) for the past 8 years, the last 5 or so as a goalie. I love being on the ice, but I knew I needed to add something new to my routine that would break me out of the fitness rut I was in and also help me regain the drive for optimal health and fitness. I chose to finally try out kickboxing because it was something I always wanted to do and I felt it would be vastly different from what I have ever done.

With that set in my mind, I ended up looking around on Groupon and saw the offer from Team Octopus. There were other offers, but this one really drew me in. I knew immediately after my first class that I had made the right choice.

You started out with Kickboxing. How was your first class?

My first class was really something else! I ran late that day and I was so nervous but very excited. I ended up finding out quickly why you do not want to be late for Coach Mark’s class. I had to do 50 push-ups before I could join in! I could barely do five the last time I could remember doing them, but I knew they had to be done. I did those push-ups, and I couldn’t have been happier.

It was all a bit intimidating at first, especially since I didn’t have anyone I knew to come with me. However, the atmosphere at Team Octopus is extremely inviting and friendly. Within minutes, I had fellow members encouraging me and cheering me on through the workout whenever I struggled.

The workout itself was absolutely the best I had done in years! I truly thought I was in pretty decent shape before, but this worked muscles I didn’t even know existed! I was absolutely hooked that day, and about a week later, I made sure I was signed up full time.

What changes have you made outside of the gym to encourage your new healthy lifestyle?

I definitely have made lots of changes. I have become much more mindful about what I eat, drink and snack on, as well as my portions. Learning how to properly fuel myself with healthy and tasty foods has also encouraged me to seek out healthier alternatives to some of my favorite foods so I am always trying out new healthy recipes.

Running has also become a new favorite activity! I recently ran my first ever 5K, and since then, I have been running no less than 4 miles, usually twice a week. I hope that by the end of the year to run my first half marathon!

The most important thing I have changed is really listening to my body and resting when I need it. I’ve played through some tough injuries before that cost me more time off later. I love the strength I am building and how my body has changed drastically in only the past two months, so I make sure to not to push myself too much so I can keep enjoying being so active.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning at Team Octopus?

Be prepared to sweat! The workouts are tough and will always challenge you. You will not get bored here! Also don’t be afraid to ask the Coaches to repeat anything or to guide you through the moves slowly until you get it. They are there to help you and truly do want to see you succeed. Team Octopus has a lot to offer, so I would advise to definitely try out the other programs as well! Especially the Muay Thai classes, as they focus a lot on technique and will help you perform better during the Kickboxing classes!

You will get out what you put in. You will surprise yourself with what you gain by training here.


Desiree has created her own wellness blog where she shares important life hacks and delicious recipes, like this Quinoa Crust Pizza!


#teamOCTO Spotlight: Brianna Stade

Hey #teamOCTO! Meet our very own Falcon’s cheerleader, Brianna Stade!

What brought you to Team Octopus? The Groupon brought me to Team Octopus, the workout and team hooked me for the membership. I had taken kickboxing elsewhere but loved the vibe of Team Octopus. Everyone is so welcoming.

You started out with Kickboxing. How was your first class? The first class was rough! I had no idea what I was doing. But I knew I was drenched in sweat after and sore that night, so I loved it.

You switched to CrossFit recently. What made you decide to try it? I love kickboxing and still do it about 3 times a week but wanted to gain more strength and learn how to lift properly. David had let me take a few classes in the past so I knew it was something that would help me in every aspect of my fitness. When the Gilt City promo came around it wasn’t even a question whether I was going to do it. And I’m SO glad I did. I’ve already seen progress and I love that it can be competitive, in a fun way of course.

What changes have you made outside of the gym to support your healthy lifestyle? Outside the gym I teach barre and take yoga to have a bit more ‘gentle’ workout if you will, and to keep myself flexible. I have been maintaining a clean diet to keep me going through all the activity. And LOTS of water.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning at Team Octopus? Get ready to sweat! You’ll have a great workout and gain strength and stamina. Don’t feel intimidated, everyone wants to see you succeed. And make a friend. It will keep you coming back on days you don’t want to.


Brianna just finished her 2nd season cheering for the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to cheering for the Falcons she danced competitively in college at Hawaii Pacific University and at her high school back in California. She has won 5 National titles in Dance, and has been dancing pretty much her whole life. Outside of her 9-5 job and the Falcons, Brianna also teaches barre at a local studio in Buckhead. She loves staying active, finding new workouts and doing anything outdoors. In regards to her diet, Brianna said, “In my off season for Falcons I try to maintain my fitness and even improve it for auditions. I have to keep a clean diet for all the activity I do to fuel me. I focus on lean proteins, lots of veggies, fruit, whole grains high in fiber and lots and lots of water.”

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Jet Kamchamnan

Hey #teamOCTO! Meet Jet Kamchamnan!

What brought you to Team Octopus?

When I was 18 back in 2010, I was looking for a gym to really help me prepare for fights. I met Jeff Perry and Johan, and they really helped me get ready for fights and spent a lot of time with me preparing. I wouldn’t have the skills I do today if it weren’t for them.

How did you get into Muay Thai?

Growing up I was always into martial arts. I started Karate when I was 5 and have a Black Belt in American Karate. I then moved to wrestling in high school where I wrestled for 3 years at Collins Hill High School. Eventually I got into Muay Thai after high school and was ranked 2nd in the nation as an amateur.

What is your favorite Muay Thai Technique?

My favorite thing to do is head kick. It took me a very long time before I was able to kick that high and when I did I tried to head kick all the time. It’s a great feeling when you kick someone in the head.

What is your favorite memory from a fight?

My favorite memory is when I got my first TKO in a fight. It was back during the WKA Nationals and I knocked the guy out with leg kicks. He couldn’t stand up anymore and had to go to the hospital. It was a great achievement for me.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Bruce Lee is one of my biggest inspirations because I’ve always wanted to be like him. Ramon Dekkers from Amsterdam , Lyoto Machida from the UFC, and Buakaw Por Pramuk from Thailand. I have always looked up to these guys for their fighting technique.

What do you like to do in your off time?

In my off time I love to play video games, mostly League of Legends with my friends. I also DJ and produce music. You can check out some of my stuff on Soundcloud.

Do you have any advice for beginners in Muay Thai?

Just keep practicing and practicing. It takes a long time because there’s so much to learn in Muay Thai. I’ve been training for 6 years and I still feel like I am just scratching the surface.

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Wendell Scott

Hey #teamOCTO Family! Meet Wendell Scott!

So, what brought you to Team Octopus?

I was looking for a change in my health and in my body. I had been dancing at Walt Disney World for two years and I was looking to pack on some muscle. I don’t like typical gyms and I knew Team Octopus was different.

You started out with Kickboxing. How was your first class?

Awful! Mark was great, I was awful. There was a lot more that went into the class than I thought. It is more than just punching a bag, it’s learning the correct technique and increasing your stamina. Both of which I wasn’t used to.

You switched to CrossFit recently. What made you decide to try it?

The last time I lifted weights was my Freshman year of high school. There is so much offered here at the gym and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. My body has changed so much, so quickly. The personal attention here at Team Octopus is amazing! The trainers truly care about your best performance. You just can’t get that at a traditional gym.

What changes have you made outside of the gym to encourage your new healthy lifestyle?

I have started meditating more & caring for myself. I grew up in a world of “guest service”, where taking care of other people’s needs is the priority. Since starting at Team Octopus, I have been inspired to really move forward with my passions and goals. I am traveling more and just taking time for me.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning at Team Octopus?

Pace yourself, in all respects. Stay nutritious. If your body is getting the best nutrition, you will see the results of your hard work in the gym. Don’t feel intimidated. Everyone here is a family, I truly believe that. Everyone may have different fitness goals on an individual level, but being fit and healthy is what we all want.

Wendell, we think you’re great and we love having you at our gym! Keep up the good work!

#teamOCTO Spotlight wishes all our members a safe and wonderful holiday season! We will see you in the New Year!

– Lauren

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Claudia Loredo

Hey #teamOCTO Family! Meet Claudia Loredo!

So what brought you to Team Octopus?

My brother, Richard, had been doing Muay Thai here for awhile and I would just be waiting for him for an hour to finish his class. One day I decided to try the Kickboxing class.

What did you think after you took your first class?

Well, I was only able to do 30 minutes of my 1st class because I thought I was going to throw up (laughs). My second class, I wanted to quit, but another girl encouraged me to keep going. So I did. Now I see the class as a stress reliever.

How much weight have you lost since starting in August?

When I started, I was 225 lbs and now I weigh 201 lbs. I wanted to lose the weight for my son. I want to be healthy for him. I wanted to be out of the Pre-Diabetic phase, which now I am. My goal is to be around 150 lbs, but I am not as worried about the number on the scale as I am about being healthy and feeling good.

What changes have you made outside of the gym that have helped you to be healthier?

I limit my carbs and I have completely cut out soda. No junk food and no McDonald’s. The main thing for me is “closing the factory”, meaning my mouth (laughs), after 6pm. I don’t eat anything after 6pm.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journey to a healthier lifestyle?

Don’t quit. Results won’t be overnight. It’s not just about looking good. It’s about feeling good and being healthy.

Claudia, we think you are awesome! Congratulations on all your hard work! We are here to support you as you continue your journey.

– Lauren

Early Detection: A Life Saver

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it appropriate to empower you with some life-saving information about this disease, that remains the second leading cause of death among women. Thankfully, we live in a time where cutting edge research is being done to understand and treat this disease, as well as countless awareness campaigns like the NFL’s A Crucial Catch and Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. The research shows that early detection is vital to preventing the spread of breast cancer, allowing for a wider range of treatment options and ultimately surviving the disease.

Cancer grows because a cell’s DNA is damaged. While research has not conclusively determined how the DNA is damaged, there are certain risk factors that have been identified as contributing factors. Risk factors that we really don’t have any control over, such as age, race, gender, family history, early menstruation and late menopause, can all contribute to the development of breast cancer. However, there are risk factors that we have control over, such as sedentary lifestyle, poor diet (high in saturated fats), being overweight or obese, and alcohol consumption. It is important to note that 60% of people who develop breast cancer have no connection to any of these risk factors, and other people with risk factors never develop cancer at all. Thus the importance of early detection.

Your first line of defense is making sure you are performing a monthly self exam. According to, 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. 40%?! That’s huge!!! If you are not sure what you should be feeling for or even how to perform the exam, their website has an easy to follow tutorial.

The second line of defense is having an annual clinical exam performed by your family physician or GYN. This is so important because as health professionals, they are trained to feel for abnormalities (apparently benign tumors tend to feel different from cancerous tumors), as well as spot signs that appear on the skin covering the breasts, such as a rash or dimpling.

Lastly, the most important and likely the most avoided line of defense is getting an annual mammogram. Ladies please, mammograms are so important because they can catch tumors before they can be felt during a self exam or clinical exam! For women 40 and over, it is recommended that you receive a mammogram once a year. For women younger than 40, you should discuss with your doctor a plan that works for you, given your risk factors.

Let’s not forget about the men. Although breast cancer in men is rare, there are about 2,190 diagnoses each year. That’s less than 1% of all breast cancers that develop. However, the mortality rate for men who develop breast cancer is much higher than it is among women due to the fact that it is so rare. Awareness among men is very low and they tend to go longer without seeking treatment.

Finding a lump in your breast does not automatically mean you have cancer. But, knowledge is power. Better to know your body and know what is normal and what isn’t. YOU are your best advocate! With breast cancer, time is of the essence! has a great app to remind you to perform your monthly self exam or you are due for a mammogram.

If you are looking for more ways to support Breast Cancer Reseach, check out these boxing glove badge reels I found!


– Lauren

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Ali Alkhatib

Hey #teamOCTO family!

Here we are again for our second edition of the #teamOCTO Spotlight. Meet Ali Alkhatib!


Give me a little bit about your background and how you came to Team Octopus?

I am originally from Dubai and I found Team Octopus online about 3 years ago.

How did you get into MMA?

I wanted to learn how to fight correctly. I was a pretty scrappy kid and was always getting into fights. Also, I grew up watching Rocky, it’s actually how I learned English (laughs).

What is your favorite strike/submission to use in a fight?

Right leg kick. People say I kick like a horse. No one wants to hold leg pads for me.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Well, Muhammad Ali of course. Peter Aerts, Tyrone Spong, Nieky Hozken, Rob Kaman. My father, who was a warrior in life and had a passion for athleticism. He was a professional soccer player.

Do you like to stand with your opponents or take them to the ground?

Definitely stand. I am merciless and emotionless in the ring. I turn into a different person. I want to knock my opponent out and see his head explode.

What does it mean to be a fighter?

Fighting is an art. I feel that it is the highest form of competition that an athlete can aspire to. And I’m a pretty competitive person by nature.

What weaknesses do you see in your upcoming opponent?

Johan and I go over where my opponents weaknesses are. As a fighter, I must be like a sponge. I listen a lot to my coaches.

If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be?

Muhammad Ali, because everyone who fought him became famous. (laughs)

Ali will be fighting at Wild Bill’s on Saturday, October 25th. You can buy your tickets here at the gym. Don’t miss it!

– Lauren

#teamOCTO Spotlight: Mark San Pedro

Hey #teamOCTO family!

We are launching a campaign that highlights our members and coaches, in order to create even more of a “family”, as in the family you choose, environment. Our first #teamOCTO spotlight is our beloved Kickboxing coach, Mark San Pedro!

Give me a little bit about your background and what brought you to Team Octopus?

Mark: Well, I was born in Toronto and moved to Atlanta with my mom when I was three. I’ve lived here most of my life and actually started coming to TO after a really bad break up (laughs).

Really? That’s great! So you started as a member? How did you make the transition to coaching?

Mark: Yep, started as a member. I had been at TO for about a year and Koon was looking for a new coaching assistant for the kids BJJ classes…and the rest is history!

How do you plan for your classes? Do you have specific goals in mind for your students?

Mark: As for the day to day, I try to keep the time intervals the same, but I vary the activities we do. I don’t want my students’ bodies to anticipate what will be next. Repetition can stunt whatever progress they are looking for from my class. I try to keep the class fun and keep it moving, but I also allow for my students to go at their own pace.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Mark: Just keep chopping away. I heard Brian Kelly (former University of Cincinnati football coach) say that one time and it’s stuck.

I like that! Last question. If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

Mark: (laughs) I would have to say Justin Long.


Mark: Because his characters are usually up beat and always make you smile!


Well there you have it folks! Can’t wait to see who we spotlight next! Watch out, it could be you!

Sleep and Exercise: Exercise and its Effects on Insomnia

As gym members, we all know that exercise is a vital key to living a healthy and full life. We also know that sleep is necessary to perform even the most remedial tasks correctly. As the mother of a one year old, I have experienced my share of sleepless nights and I have a special place in my heart for those with sleep disorders! According to the National Sleep Foundation, Insomnia, which is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, waking up too early in the morning, or nonrestorative sleep, is the most common sleep disorder among adults. Surprisingly, only a handful of studies have been conducted to show what the benefits of regular exercise have on sleep habits. However, according to a 2013 New York Times article outlining a study by Dr. Kelly Baron, “sleep might have more of an effect on exercise, than exercise has on sleep”, at least in the short term.

According to Dr. Baron’s study, which involved mainly women in there 60s who had already been diagnosed with insomnia and lived a fairly sedentary lifestyle, after the first two months of their new exercise program, the women observed no noticeable changes in their quality / quantity of sleep. Not what you thought I was going to tell you, huh? I must say, as I began my research for this post, I had the expectation that I was going to point you to some medical journal with a study showing that exercise is THE cure for insomnia and that you would be sleeping like my daughter (see picture below) in no time! Don’t despair, however. There is a silver lining for those of you who suffer from insomnia, although I should warn you that it is not the instant cure you may have been seeking.

If you or someone you know is a chronic sufferer of insomnia and you / they do not exercise, it’s time to start. Do not be discouraged if the benefits aren’t immediate, which goes for all expectations regarding exercise. You may not feel 100% about your workout the day after a broken night’s sleep and there is no guarantee, in the immediate at least, that you will sleep better after you have exercised. The process is gradual and less instantly gratifying than one with insomnia might hope, but the benefits, being an additional 45 minutes to an hour or longer uninterrupted periods of sleep, do develop over time.