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From Bay Street to boxing entrepreneur

When Anna Barone was working in a senior finance position on Bay Street in the mid- 2000s, she experienced a serious health setback brought on by the demands of work and life.

So Barone turned to her passion for strength training and boxing. Inspired by her years of experience as a professional boxer and mixed martial arts fighter, Barone in 2012 opened Victory Strength, a strength training, boxing facility and cafe in the City Centre complex just off Preston Street.

“How we eat, exercise and rest our bodies determines how well we handle all the stressors in our life, and there is no quick fix for it. Good health is achieved with thoughtful and consistent work.”

Barone’s success led her to relocate to Westboro, where Victory Strength is now located. Her new cafe, Cucina Barone, is now separated from Victory Strength. (The cafe is located at 393 Winston St. and the gym is located a few blocks away at 294 Picton Ave.)

Clients are able to work with experienced coaches who understand the effects of busy executive schedules and aging on the body. The workouts and boxing sessions at Victory Strength are designed with strong technical progressions for sustained results, ensuring clients at all fitness levels and ages can participate.

Victory - boxing

New clients receive a full assessment and functional movement screen to identify imbalances as a result of day-to-day life, injuries or illness. Clients typically come twice a week for sessions ranging from 30 to 45 minutes focused on strength and mobility.

“Health is wealth and it doesn’t have to complicated,” says Barone. “I am all too familiar with the needs of businesspeople with heavy demands
at work and home. Consistency is the best way to sustain your energy over a long period of time.”

Besides boxing and personal training, Victory Strength also offers a 20-day packaged meal program through Cucina Barone to get people started on healthy living.

“I want people to think differently about food,” says Barone. “It’s very easy to eat whatever you want, but it’s difficult to eat healthy on a consistent basis with less stress. Actually chew your food, sit down when you eat and celebrate the social aspect of food!”

Working out like a champion

When Mark Van Dusen retired from CJOH as one of Ottawa’s most recognizable local TV journalists, he knew he wanted to get into boxing.

“As a longtime admirer of boxing, I dreamed of one day trying my hand at it,” says Van Dusen. “(Barone’s) rigorous workouts taught me basic punching techniques, foot work and heavy bag work. I feel like a champ.”

What makes Victory Strength unique is the class sizes. Each class is limited to eight people, giving Barone the ability to give one-on-one feedback. Clients must also face a new challenge each week with new exercises.

“What’s great about Anna is she focuses on how you feel,” says Tanya Connolly-Holmes, creative director at Great River Media. “She communicates how you need to move very well by describing how you should be feeling as you’re doing
the move.”

Learn how you can join Victory Strength by visiting its website at