The women behind growing kickboxing fitness business

From corporate to kickboxing, the team behind a few CKO Kickboxing studios left their 9-to-5 jobs or are pulling double duty to follow their passion.

"I worked in advertising as an account executive recently," says Adriana Zito, Co-Owner Chelsea CKO. "I did a lot of client relations and I was the middleman and it was really stressful though — kickboxing was an amazing outlet for me And being able to teach and give that to someone else was the best feeling ever."

In the fall, owners Adriana Zito, Kristine Simoneschi, and Kelly Chiusano opened their third CKO Kickboxing location. The female trio partnered with Vinny Panza for their Chelsea studio.

Panza, who has an extensive martial arts background, says he grew up in a family of women so becoming a partner was an easy transition. 

"It's so diverse--our staff," says Panza. "Women in ownership and women as trainers especially in a like a male-dominated field and everyone’s local."

Boxing can be an intimidating workout -- especially kickboxing. Chelsea CKO strives to create a welcoming exercise for those who would like to check out the popular workout.

They also own franchises in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn.