Fitness Champions: Why & How Raymond Montalvo Of Squared Circle Retreats Is Helping To Champion Fitness

An Interview With Wanda Malhotra

Wanda Malhotra
Authority Magazine
6 min readJun 9, 2024


Consistency: Keep it steady and make fitness a fun, non-negotiable part of your day.

Physical fitness is not just about lifting weights or running marathons; it’s about discipline, resilience, and continuous self-improvement. Fitness champions help coach and inspire others to achieve their fitness goals. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Raymond Montalvo.

Ray is a respected boxing coach and fitness entrepreneur from the renowned Montalvo boxing family. He brings an enormous amount of knowledge and tactical nous to his training methods, with a keen eye for detail and a dedication to his fighters. Ray’s passion for coaching and his contributions to the sport of boxing have made him a respected figure in both the boxing and fitness communities.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I grew up in the small town of Orocovis, Puerto Rico, where community and physical activity were closely linked. My father and uncles, decorated boxers and avid athletes, instilled in me a passion for fitness and boxing from an early age. After my own boxing career, I moved to Connecticut to pursue a degree in Sports Science and later earned certifications in personal training and nutrition. I began my fitness career as a personal trainer and boxing coach at my uncle’s gym, and over the years, I have successfully helped clients achieve their health and fitness goals. In 2015, I opened the first fitness boxing gym in New York City, revolutionizing the approach to fitness boxing.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Early in my career, one of the most interesting stories involved a client who was initially very resistant to change. He had tried numerous diets and workout plans without success. Together, we created a personalized plan that incorporated boxing and focused not only on physical exercise but also on mindset and nutrition. Over time, he lost over 100 pounds and completely transformed his lifestyle. This experience taught me the importance of a holistic approach to fitness and the power of persistence and patience.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

1. Resilience: Early in my career, I faced numerous setbacks, including a major injury that could have ended my fitness journey. However, I focused on rehabilitation and came back stronger, which taught me to never give up.

2. Empathy: Understanding my clients’ struggles and challenges has been crucial. For example, one client who was dealing with severe anxiety found comfort in our sessions. By listening and adapting the training to meet their needs, we made significant progress.

3. Discipline: Maintaining a strict regimen in my own fitness routine has been essential. It sets a positive example for my clients and reinforces the importance of consistency in achieving long-term goals.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Yes, I’m currently working on a boxing retreat called Squared Circle Retreats, which combines all four components of boxing: fitness, boxing, nourishment, and recovery. We successfully launched it last December in St. Barth, providing a week-long transformative journey for everyone involved. We’re hosting a small pop-up retreat in Newport, RI, and returning to St. Barth at the end of the year. This project aims to make fitness and boxing more accessible to a broader audience and offers a comprehensive approach to health that addresses both physical and mental well-being.

What inspired you to pursue a career in fitness?

My family’s deep love for boxing and fitness ignited a spark in me from a young age. Watching how fitness transformed people’s lives, including my own, filled me with a profound sense of purpose. It motivated me to pursue a career where I could genuinely help others become their best selves.

What unique strategies do you use to keep your clients motivated and engaged in their fitness journeys?

I use a combination of personalized goal setting, regular progress tracking, and incorporating fun, varied workouts to keep clients engaged. I also emphasize the importance of celebrating small victories along the way to keep motivation high.

Can you share a particularly memorable success story of a client transformation that you’ve helped achieve?

I had a client who battled with an eating disorder and severe depression, feeling consumed by negativity. Seeking change, she turned to me for guidance. From day one, I can see her determination. I introduced her to boxing, not just as exercise but as a tool for emotional release and empowerment. Together, we meticulously crafted workout and nutrition plans, overcoming numerous setbacks. Over several months, her transformation was remarkable. She gained healthy weight, built lean muscle, and her confidence soared. Aspiring to become an amateur boxer, she pursued her dream relentlessly. Today, she is a Golden Gloves Champion and has won multiple regional championships. Her journey stands as a testament to perseverance, the healing power of fitness and boxing, and the unwavering support of believers. It shows that with courage and determination, any obstacle can be overcome.

How do you stay updated with the latest fitness trends and incorporate them into your coaching?

I keep up with the latest fitness and boxing trends by going to relevant events, reading industry publications, and taking continuing education courses in both areas. I also follow top fitness and boxing experts, as well as reputable organizations, on social media and subscribe to YouTube channels that cover exercise science and boxing techniques. This ongoing learning helps me bring the most current and effective methods into my coaching, so my clients get the best guidance tailored to their fitness and boxing goals.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Improve Their Fitness Routine”?

1. Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve and create a plan to reach those goals.

2. Consistency: Keep it steady and make fitness a fun, non-negotiable part of your day.

3. Nutrition: Eat like a champ with tasty, balanced meals that fuel your fire.

4. Rest and Recovery: Get enough sleep and let your body bounce back between workouts.

5. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water like throughout the day to keep your engine running smoothly.

What role do you believe mental health plays in physical fitness, and how do you address this with your clients?

In the world of fitness and boxing, taking care of your mental well-being is key. Having a positive attitude can really amp up your motivation and performance. As a coach, I’m all about keeping it chill and incorporating stuff like meditation, yoga, walking, massages, or just listening to tunes, and just kicking back to relax. It’s all about finding that balance for my clients to hit their fitness goals with ease.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’d launch a movement blending boxing and fitness to raise awareness about mental health, much like what we’re currently doing with Squared Circle Retreats. It would emphasize the significance of nurturing both body and mind, offering resources and assistance for holistic well-being, inspired by boxing’s mindset and philosophy. Boxing serves as a powerful metaphor for life’s challenges and growth.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can keep up with my work through my website, and follow me on Instagram at @raymondmontalvo.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at .



Wanda Malhotra
Authority Magazine

Wellness Entrepreneur, Lifestyle Journalist, and CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living.