Battle Republic: how four entrepreneurs started Birmingham’s unique boxing gym

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Leah Drury, Luan Nguyen and Lindsey Miller of Battle Republic. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Have you heard about Battle Republic? It’s a boxing-inspired gym bringing big-city fitness to Birmingham. It’s located in Homewood at the corner of 18th St. S. and 28th Ave S., the former home of White Flowers. We spoke with the owners to learn more about it and how it came to be. 

The owners

Battle Republic was formed by an impressive group with diverse backgrounds. 

Lindsey Miller. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Lindsey Miller worked at Zoe’s Kitchen for 14 years, making her way to the top of the company and running Southeastern operations before leaving in 2017. She’s launched several other businesses as well. (It’s great to see another female entrepreneur kicking butt in Birmingham!). 

Leah Drury. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Leah Drury played basketball at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and went on to coach in the WNBA. Leah moved back to Alabama to open a gym in her hometown. 

Luan Nguyen. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Luan Nguyen is a “gym rescue” extraordinaire and former competitive kickboxer. He’s consulted for more than 60 fitness brands. 

Kevin McLendon. Photo supplied

Kevin McLendon started Telegraph Creative, a well-known Birmingham branding agency. He’s also one of the cofounders of Sloss Tech. 

Talk about an accomplished line-up. 

The origin

So how did this group get together? It’s an interesting story. Miller and Drury grew up down the street from each other in Greensboro, AL–they’re both the daughters of catfish farmers. When Miller had the idea to open a boxing gym in Birmingham, she called Drury. 

“My background is in the restaurant business, but I knew the fitness industry was something I was interested in,” Miller said. As a former Division I basketball player and coach for the University of Alabama and Seattle Storm, Drury clearly knows a lot about fitness. 

They then called McLendon for branding. He decided to not only brand the company, but be a part-owner as well. He connected Miller and Drury with Nguyen, who consults for fitness brands and started a gym of his own, Wheelhouse Academy.

The four traveled to New York to check out successful boxing gym concepts, and the rest was history. They went to lunch–drinks may or may not have been involved–and Battle Republic was born. 

This group knows how to have fun. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

The name

We all have battles and things we face everyday,” said Drury. The “Battle” of Battle Republic comes from this notion. “The gym is a place where you can come fight it out however you need to. It’s very cathartic,” added Miller. 

Republic comes from the community people find at the gym. Drury explained, “We want everyone to feel welcome. We want them to get an experience like no other and feel like they can conquer anything. It’s a place you can come and not be alone–we’re there to support you.”

Miller said hospitality is critical at the gym–we are in the South, after all! 

“We try to hire servant leaders that put others first and maintain that culture. At the end of the day if you take good care of your people, they’re going to take good care of you.”

Lindsey Miller, founder of Battle Republic 

The gym

Battle Republic. Photo courtesy of Battle Republic

Battle Republic is a combination of several different fitness concepts. It’s a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout set in a dark room with neon lights and loud music. According to Nguyen, it almost has a nightclub feel, but “it’s just you and your bag.”

Although it’s boxing-inspired, the workout at Battle Republic is full-body. There is bodyweight and kettlebell work, and class ends with cool-down session designed to leave you feeling restored and empowered.

Know before you go

You don’t need any gear for a class at Battle Republic–they’ll provide it for you. This includes gloves, wraps and a heart rate monitor. If you’ve never boxed, don’t worry–they’ll teach you the basics before class. 

Pro tip: Sign up online before class. 

Fees: Drop in $26, Express Class $17, unlimited month $185 (more info about packages here).

Class times: Available here

Location: 2800 18th St S, Homewood, AL 35209 

Who’s ready to fight it out at the gym?!

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