Introducing the Suzy Turner Internship!


We are proud and honored to present The Suzy Turner Internship!

Suzy Turner Internship

This intership has been set up to honor Rock Steady Boxing SC’s great friend and volunteer, Suzy Turner. This intership is a paid internship for an applicant who desires to learn more about Rock Steady Boxing SC and the impact it has on fighting Parkinson’s disease.

When Rock Steady Boxing started in Costa Mesa Suzy Turner started volunteering every week bringing along her passion and joy to all of our athletes. This past January ovarian cancer took our beautiful Suzy away.

Suzy Turner InternshipSuzy had a special way of connecting with people. With a huge smile on her face she played, she laughed and she made you feel important. She gave every ounce of herself to the athletes both in and out of the ring.

Suzy loved the program and volunteered until the very end. After her passing it became apparent that Suzy’s presence would always be felt in the gym where she dedicated so many hours.

An internship has been set in place to be given to an intern who embodies Suzy’s love and hope for the program.

This recipient needs to have passion for the program, experience in the field of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, or Exercise therapy and plans to work with Rock Steady Boxing in the future.

Our first Suzy Turner internship recipient is Andrew Deming!

Suzy Turner Internship Recipient Andrew Deming

Andrew Deming is the first recipient of the Suzy Turner Internship.

Andrew graduated from Biola University (2015) with a degree in Kinesiology and plans to further his education by doing post graduate work and becoming a PTA.

As a certified Personal Trainer Andy believes in exercise therapy as a way to help a person overcome limitations set by a disease such as Parkinson’s.

We are excited to have Andy as our first Internship recipient!


For more information on Rock Steady Boxing SC, how to apply for the Suzy Turner Internship, please contact Anne Adams at



We are excited to be adding a NEW CLASS! This new class will begin on May 26 and will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00pm-2:30pm. For more information or to join this new class, please call Anne: (949) 370-0607.

We are always looking for great volunteers interested in helping us with class. Please let us know if you are interested in becoming a volunteer!

High-intensity strength training shows benefit for Parkinson’s patients

Parkinsons Research

Physicians who treat Parkinson’s patients, such as UAB’s David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurology, say they have long believed that exercise is beneficial to their patients.

Originally posted on January 24, 2014 by Bob Shepard

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that high-intensity strength training produced significant improvements in quality of life, mood and motor function in older patients with Parkinson’s disease. The findings were published Jan. 9 online in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Fifteen subjects with moderate Parkinson’s underwent 16 weeks of high-intensity resistance training combined with interval training designed to simultaneously challenge strength, power, endurance, balance and mobility function. Before and after the 16 weeks, the subjects were compared to age-matched controls who did not have Parkinson’s and did not undergo the exercise regimen.

“We saw improvements in strength, muscle size and power, which we expected after rigorous weight training; but we also saw improvement in balance and muscle control,” said Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology and lead author of the study. “We also saw improvement in cognition, mood and sense of well-being.”

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating, neurodegenerative disease that dramatically affects mobility function and quality of life. Patients often experience weakness, low muscle power and fatigue.

Bamman, who heads the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine, devised a strenuous exercise regimen for the participants. Subjects performed three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of a variety of strength training exercises, such as leg or overhead presses, with a one-minute interval between sets for high-repetition, bodyweight exercises, such as lunges or pushups.

“We pushed these patients throughout the exercise period,” said Neil Kelly, M.A., a graduate student trainee and first author of the study. “We used a heart rate monitor to measure exercise intensity — keeping the heart rate high through the entire 40-minute session.”

Bamman says this was the first study of its kind to look at the biology of the muscles. Biopsies of muscle tissue were collected before and after the 16 weeks.

“We found favorable changes in skeletal muscle at the cellular and subcellular levels that are associated with improvements in motor function and physical capacity,” Bamman said.

Physicians who treat Parkinson’s patients, such as UAB’s David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurology, say they have long believed that exercise is beneficial to their patients.

“What we do not know is what kind of exercise and how much exercise will prove best for individual patients with Parkinson’s,” Standaert said. “This study is concrete evidence that patients can benefit from an exercise program and can do so rapidly in only 16 weeks.”

Standaert says he hopes this study will open the door to a more complete understanding of the role of exercise in this patient population.

“My patients who participated in the study told me that they enjoyed the exercise regimen and that they saw distinct improvement in their health and physical condition,” he said. “Future studies should be able to help answer questions such as optimal frequency, intensity and type of exercise.”

Study participants showed significant improvement of six points on average on a measure called the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. On another measure, a seven-point fatigue scale, the group improved from a score above the clinical threshold for undue fatigue to a score below this threshold.

A sit-to-stand test showed that, after strength training, participants dropped from requiring 90 percent of maximum muscle recruitment to rise to a standing position to just 60 percent, which put them on par with their same-age, non-Parkinson’s peers.

“These are all indications that strength training produced a major improvement in the ability to activate muscles, to generate power and to produce energy,” Bamman said, “all of which can contribute to improved quality of life and reduction of injury risk from falls.”

The study was funded by the UAB School of Medicine and the Department of Neurology, along with the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine. Bamman hopes the findings will pave the way for larger studies to define optimal exercise doses for Parkinson’s patients across the disease spectrum.

“This is the first step in an important direction to maximize the therapeutic benefits of exercise training for people with Parkinson’s disease,” he said.

Knocking out Parkinson’s, one punch at a time

Rick Deming Rock Steady Boxing Southern California

Rick Deming practices his technique in a class at American Gym in Costa Mesa.
Deming is enrolled in a boxing program that helps people with Parkinson’s disease.

Originally published: Dec. 25, 2013; Updated: Dec. 26, 2013 12:08 p.m.

Rick Deming stands on the corner of the boxing ring, his arms against the ropes and a look of scorn on his face.

Ding, ding, ding.

The pudgy 50-year-old from Huntington Beach comes charging in, throwing body blows at boxing coach Raul Franco.

“You can do it,” yells Franco, who is absorbing Deming’s punches with mitts and a body protector. “Come on.”

A small crowd cheers Deming as he continues hammering Franco with a barrage of punches.

Deming has Parkinson’s and each combination he throws is a punch against a neurological disease that has robbed him of some of his movements.

Deming is a participant in Rock Steady Boxing, a new boxing workout program at American Gym in Costa Mesa designed for people living with Parkinson’s disease. The program was started about six months ago by Anne Adams, a 54-year-old certified personal trainer and Rock Steady boxing coach.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that primarily affects a person’s motor skills. The disease attacks the production of dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that regulates smoothness and fluidity of movement, said Dr. Janet Chance, program advisor to the Parkinson’s and movement disorders program at Hoag Neurosciences Institute.

Chance said there are four motor symptoms used to diagnose Parkinson’s: tremor, stiffness, slowness of movement and difficulty with balance.

Worldwide, seven to 10 million people live with the disease and about 50,000 to 60,000 cases are diagnosed each year, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

At least 7,000 people in Orange County have Parkinson’s disease, Chance said.

There is no cure for the disease, but it can be controlled by medication and regular exercise, she said.

“Just imagine what it would be like if you wake up tomorrow morning and have no control of your movements; that is Parkinson’s,” Chance said.

Anne Adams Rock Steady Boxing Southern California

Anne Adams, center, instructs Parkinson’s patients in warm-up exercises at American Gym in Costa Mesa.
She leads a class that helps people living with the disease.

Adams said the theory behind the boxing program is that allowing people who live with Parkinson’s to exercise and perform boxing drills slows the progress of the disease.

Adams said boxing requires a lot of multi-tasking.

“A person in the ring is not only paying attention to the person in front of them, but also thinking of which punch to throw, where to move their feet, and listening to the coaches,” Adams said. “So much of Parkinson’s is the mind not telling the body to perform an act. This combats that.”

Though the exercise program is not scientifically proven, doctors call it “evidence-based medicine.”

“It’s actually surprisingly effective,” Chance said of the boxing workout. “It works on movement speed, flexibility and strength. When patients are hitting the heavy bag or mitts, they get positive feedback of how hard they are hitting, the control they have and what muscles they are using.”

Chance said scientists and researchers are now finding out the benefits of boxing with Parkinson’s.

“More data is coming out that physical and cognitive challenges make a difference,” Chance said.

Adams started the program in California after seeing her own father, Don McNelley, 78, benefit from Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis. Rock Steady Boxing is considered the father of the boxing with Parkinson’s phenomena. Its headquarters are in Indianapolis and began in 2006.

Adams said her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago and it had progressed to the point where he was in a wheelchair. He also suffered from depression.

She said her sister and brother-in-law were thinking about placing him in hospice care a couple years ago before serendipitously meeting Joyce Johnson of Rock Steady Boxing at an Indiana Pacers basketball game.

“Once he started our program, he got better immediately,” said Johnson, executive director at Rock Steady Boxing in Indiana. “He quit using his wheelchair and in three or four months he wasn’t just walking, he was running.”

Dan Cathcart Rock Steady Boxing Southern California

Dan Cathcart, right, warms up with boxing coach Raul Franco at American Gym.

Adams said her father told her he was training in boxing as a form of rehabilitation, but she brushed it off. Then, when she visited him last year, she saw a new man.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Adams said. “He was up, walking and dancing. My dad doesn’t dance, but he was dancing in class. This was the same man who lost all of that.”

“I said to myself, ‘This program is just too good to only be here. I have to learn about this and bring it here,’” she said.

Adams was certified earlier this year in Indianapolis and started the Rock Steady Boxing California affiliate in May. She has about 16 clients.

Though it’s labeled as just a boxing workout, the training program serves as so much more.

Daniel Cathcart, an 81-year-old retired attorney from West Los Angeles, was one of Adams’ first clients. He said he loves the camaraderie, bonding and support.

Cathcart was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 10 years ago, but he believes he’s had the disease since the 1970s when he first lost his sense of smell, which is an early sign.

“I feel that I’m improving,” Cathcart said. “I’m definitely not getting worse. I have a personal trainer, but I love the competitive spirit here. There’s pressure on you to perform and there are a lot of benefits to working as a group.”

Dee Nouhan Rock Steady Boxing Parkinsons Disease

Dee Nouhan, 79, gets in the boxing ring at American Gym in Costa Mesa.

Deloris Nouhan, a 79-year-old from Newport Beach, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last year. She said before starting the program she staggered when she walked and was beginning to stoop. Now, she has better balance and is able to stand up straight, she said.

As for Deming, he and his son, Ricky, 24, have noticed a tremendous difference since he started the program in June. When Deming was diagnosed in 2006, his physical abilities quickly deteriorated. There were times his right arm seemed glued to his right side. Friends and family thought he was always in a bad mood because his face showed no expression.

Rick Deming Rock Steady Boxing Southern California

Rick Deming with boxing coach Raul Franco after a round in the ring.

“My gait wasn’t right, my right arm was dead. I had ‘Parkinson’s mask’ that even though I felt fine inside, I wasn’t smiling,” Deming said.

He said boxing has really helped him develop physical strength and gain a positive attitude, important components to “beat Parkinson’s,” he said.

Still, there are days where he is unable to move and freezes in the middle of a workout.

“It can change on a dime,” Deming said about Parkinson’s. “One day I’ll be doing really well and the next I’ll feel really weak and tired. But I feel worse when I don’t attend class.”

Adams said living with Parkinson’s is a daily grind. Parkinson’s doesn’t take a day off so it’s important to work out and exercise every day, she said.

“It’s a day-to-day fight,” she said.


If you want to train, you’ll need a doctor’s clearance and free physical evaluation from trainer Anne Adams.

Dee Nouhan Rock Steady Boxing Southern California

Dee Nouhan with boxing coach Raul Franco after a round in the ring.


Coach: Anne Adams
Call: (949) 370-0607
Classes: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: American Gym 1638 Placentia Ave, Costa Mesa
Cost: $150 a month


714-796-7977 or

Dan Cathcart & Dee Nouhan Rock Steady Boxing Southern California

Dan Cathcart and Dee Nouhan chat while warming up on treadmills at American Gym in Costa Mesa.
They are in a class that helps people living with Parkinson’s.

Boxing Program in Costa Mesa Helps Those With Parkinson’s Disease | ABC 7 News

As seen on ABC News, 10/29/2013:

Boxing program in Costa Mesa helps those with Parkinson's disease

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) — It’s a new and interesting way to fight a debilitating disease: a gym in Costa Mesa is helping people fight Parkinson’s disease one punch at a time.

Since Deloris Nouhan took up boxing four months ago, the 79-year-old has noticed big changes.

“I was walking stooped over. My back is straight again,” said Nouhan. “I’m walking with better swing and my balance is a lot better.”

Nouhan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a year ago, credits the program “Rock Steady Boxing” to slowing the progression of the neurological disease. The symptoms often include shaking and slowness of movement.

Twice a week, Nouhan and others who share the same challenge work out for 90 minutes at American Gym in Costa Mesa.

“Their agility, their balance — all of that is so much more improved,” said Anne Adams, a Rock Steady Boxing coach.

No one gets hit in this boxing program. Adams brought the program here from Indianapolis after seeing how it helped her own father, who has Parkinson’s and used to use a wheelchair.

“I watched him get better and better, very agile, dancing around in class,” said Adams.

There is research that shows it’s not just boxing, but also traditional forms of exercise, such as stretching and aerobic training, that can help with balance and mobility.

Ron Addison of Corona del Mar says boxing is different from other exercises that he has tried.

“It’s the most beneficial type of thing that I’ve found for overall wellness,” said Ron Addison.

The classes cost $120 a month. Many say they’re here not just for the exercise, but for the camaraderie.

Halloween Decorating Tips

At Rock Steady Boxing, we know that fighting back against Parkinson’s Disease and having fun go hand in hand. Here are just a few decorating tips for Halloween that will add some fun into your day!

Sparkling Pumpkins

  • Buy an assortment of small pumpkins, white glue and glitter (found in any craft store) and a paint brush to spread glue with.
  • Place pumpkin on a paper plate (or plate with wax paper) and brush on a light coating of glue.
  • Sprinkle glitter evenly over and around pumpkin. Use a spoon if desired.
  • Once dried, the pumpkins can be moved to another plate or stand for display.

Sparkling Pumpkin Place Card Holders

Pumpkins sprinkled with different colors of glitter make cute place card holders!

  • Write name on small card (can use an index card cut into a small piece) with red, green or black nail polish.
  • Make a small slit on top of your pumpkin and place the corner of the card into the slit.
  • Have a party of just place the pumpkins around your family dinner table!

Easy fingers

  • Purchase some clear plastic gloves from beauty supply store
  • Make or purchase some popcorn
  • Fill gloves with popcorn and knot the end (or tie)
  • Place in creative places like coming out of a pillowcase on a bed, poking out of drawer, under a couch or under chair, with a few fingers showing
  • Have Fun and be creative!

Fun Straws

  • Cut the ends off of green, black and red liquorice strands and use as straws in water glasses
  • That’s it – drink up!

What fun activities are you doing to celebrate Halloween? Share them with us!

Image Source: wine me up

Take A Walk and See Elephants!

Here is something fun and out of the ordinary you can do while getting some exercise! Now through Nov. 17th you can see hand-painted elephant statues all along Dana Point Harbor. Read on to understand how this unusual art display is having an impact on saving these beautiful mammals:

Asian elephants are on the verge of extinction, and the commitment for their preservation started with special elephant known as Mosha. After stepping on an abandoned land mine, Mosha was fit with the world¹s first-ever prosthesis for a baby elephant. Her powerful strides inspired father and son duo, Mike and Marc Spits, to create Elephant Parade®in 2006. As a socially-conscious business enterprise, Elephant Parade has since rapidly grown from a grassroots movement into a global crusade combining a powerful mix of corporate, celebrity and community support. Through the sale of merchandise and auction of the original art pieces, the exhibition has raised over $6 million dollars to help support the world¹s most majestic land mammals and raise global awareness of issues affecting their dramatic plight.

Now get your walking shoes on and….. Don’t forget to take your camera!

Rock Steady Boxing Southern California Helpful Hints To Stay Healthy

People With Parkinson’s Disease Battle Symptoms Through Boxing

Check out our news coverage on CBS2! *Original video and article posted on CBS Los Angeles

Rock Steady Boxing Southern California Anne Adams Parkinsons Disease

COSTA MESA ( — People with Parkinson’s diseaseare battling their symptoms with a right hook.

Jennifer Parkinson, a Thousand Oaks mom, was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder at 32. It caused her hands to shake, her body to freeze, and she became so fatigued, it cost her a nursing job and her marriage.

“I was just looking at the beginning of my career, raising my children, having this life that I always wanted. This completely turned upside down,” she said.

Eight years later, the 40-year-old said boxing saved her life.

“It teaches me to push myself both mentally and physically, and I could push myself beyond those limits,” said Parkinson.

Parkinson trains at Rock Steady Boxing of Costa Mesa, which was launched by Anne Adams three months ago.

Adams said she watched boxing change her father’s life after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She said she was so inspired, she started a branch in Southern California.

“They found that the forced intense exercise actually starts to remake dopamine,” Adams said.

Dopamine is the brain chemical that affects movements. Although boxing doesn’t reverse the symptoms of Parkinson’s, it “rebuilds a little bit of dopamine,” said Adams.

Doug Spence was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago. In the three months since he started the program, he said he can walk better, talk better and even run.

“It’s changed my life,” he said. “When you’re married, you worry about being a burden to your spouse, and it makes it a little easier to know that I’m doing what I can do and it’s helping.”

Spence’s wife, Cathy, agreed.

“The person before boxing compared to the person now is night and day,” she said.

Rock Steady Boxing Launches in Southern California with Support of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

Ray Boom Boom Mancini 2008

Fighting back against the crippling effects of Parkinson’s, Rock Steady Boxing launches in Orange County with the full endorsement of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. The former WBA Lightweight Champion states, “I believe in the Rock Steady Boxing method in the fight against Parkinson’s because I know it works.”

Rock Steady Boxing is Orange County’s newest and most exciting program that uses boxing-inspired fitness training and related exercises to slow the advancement of Parkinson’s disease. Participants range from 30 to 90 years old and work out in a highly energized, team-oriented environment. As a boxing great, “Boom Boom” Mancini understands first-hand how powerful boxing training can be for people affected with movement disorders. In the following interview, “Boom Boom” speaks out about the health benefits of boxing and just how effective this program is for those battling Parkinson’s.

Q & A with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini by Anne Adams, CPT & Rock Steady Boxing SC Coach

Q: How would you classify boxing as an exercise?

Boom Boom: Boxing is a core work out, if there was ever such a word. Boxing is the one sport that uses upper body and lower body muscles simultaneously. The hardest thing in sports is to move your hands and feet together. That’s why boxing has a certain grace to it – it’s a beautiful sport to watch.

Q: How do you think boxing helps with movement disorders?

Boom Boom: First of all, fighting is about muscle memory. When you move, when you associate how to throw a punch, it’s all about muscle memory… There’s that term – “he’s a ‘thinking fighter.” There’s no such word as a “thinking fighter.” Because fighters aren’t taught to think – they’re taught to react. And you have to react in milliseconds. And again, that’s muscle memory.

Q: How does the body involve the brain in boxing?

Boom Boom: We’re trained to anticipate the punch before it comes. We know by the way a guy moves with his hands or the way he twitches his shoulder what’s coming next, and we’re able to get out of the way of it. And yet, even when some fighters have had brain injuries, and some brain damage, they’re still able to move. Now, the neurological message doesn’t get to the brain as fast, but they still do it. Their body still has that transmitter, even if it’s a little slower, telling them to move their head, to bend their body a certain way. It’s actually very fascinating, the mind of a fighter, and how the mind and the body work.

Q: Do you see how Rock Steady Boxing works to help people with Parkinson’s?

Boom Boom: Absolutely. I’ve seen it, where guys have been in wheelchairs, and they’ll go to the gym and hit the bag. They still have movement, and they push the punches out, and they even move their heads side to side like a fighter. Again, it’s the one sport that uses the upper body and lower body simultaneously. Even if you’re sitting, you’re moving, and your legs are twitching, and the muscles are contracting at certain ways you move. So, it’s a complete work out – not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

Q: Yes, in fact, we are seeing that the Rock Steady Boxers are also feeling much better mentally. Can this be attributed to the boxing work out?

Boom Boom: You know, they tell you, “Go hit a bag, that’ll get all of your frustrations out.” And it does. You go hit that bag until you can’t stand up, til you’re completely exhausted of any motion or of any thought process. You’re just exhausted. And then when you sit back and relax, you have a clear head. [Boxing] allows oxygen coming to the brain on a physical level, but on a mental and emotional level, your mind is open and clear to receiving new thoughts, and hopefully positive thoughts. And that’s a wonderful feeling – to be clear.

Q: We would love to have you stop by the gym during one of our classes. Is that something you would do?

Boom Boom: I would really like to – I will definitely try!

For more information about Rock Steady Boxing Southern California, please visit, or contact Anne Adams at (949) 370-0607 /

Rock Steady Boxing Comes to Southern California!

The Rock Steady Boxing program is designed to address idiopathic and atypical Parkinson’s Disease. Research, medical studies and Rock Steady Boxing’s years of experience suggest consistent truths:

  1. Regular exercise improves symptoms
  2. Diversity of exercises is encouraged
  3. Exercise should be done at a high level of intensity
  4. Finding something you enjoy is critical to long term commitment