Michael Olajide, Jr., Co-Founder
A former champion boxer and international fitness expert, Michael
Olajide, Jr. is the Co-Founder, Director of Programs and Chief
Instructor at AEROSPACE.
Born in Liverpool, England, Michael and his family moved to Vancouver,
Canada, in 1970. At age 18, Michael began his career as a professional
boxer trained by his father Michael Olajide, Sr. and renowned
boxing coaches Hector Rocca (Buddy McGirt, Arturo Gatti) and
Angelo Dundee (Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard).
“My father taught me how important conditioning is to being a true
champion,” Michael says. “I think that advice has always stayed
Known as “Silk” for his exceptionally smooth footwork, hand
speed and head movement, Michael’s boxing record was 28 wins and
4 losses – with 20 wins by knockout. Michael earned four championship
titles and became the No. 1 ranked middleweight contender in
the world. His boxing career highlights include:
1990: Fought Thomas "Hitman" Hearns
for the World Super Middleweight Title
1990: #2 World Super Middleweight
1987: #1 World Middleweight
1987: WBC Intercontinental Middleweight
1985: World Athletic Association
1984: Canadian Middleweight
1984: Pacific Northwest Middleweight
Michael paid the price for his pugilistic glory. The patch is
not part of a calculated image. He is legally blind in his right
eye, and his 1991 retirement from boxing was the result of his
eye injury. “I
wasn’t seeing ‘em coming anymore,” Michael says.
Using some of the smooth moves he perfected in the ring and combining
them with basic conditioning movements such as jumping rope,
push-ups and lower body lunges, Michael pioneered the innovative
and challenging AERO workouts, including AEROBOX®, AEROJUMP®,
AEROIMPACT™ that use the training techniques of boxing to help
clients achieve optimum health.
Michael’s workouts have earned widespread acclaim. He was dubbed “the
undisputed champion of boxing fitness” by Sports Illustrated and
recognized in New York magazine’s 2003 “Best of New York” feature.
He has also been featured on major television networks and cable
channels including CBS, ABC, ESPN, FOX and Nickelodeon.
“AEROSPACE goes beyond boxing, truth be told, to create the ultimate
fitness experience,” says Michael. “Using the techniques of
professional athletes is the best way to perfect every physical
and mental attribute – endurance, dexterity, power, speed and focus.
the most efficient, effective and rewarding workout on the planet.”
Kathy Smith, “America’s Fitness Guru,” teamed up with
Michael to produce the AEROBOX™ Workout video in 1995 that went
to No. 3 on the Billboard Health and Fitness Charts. Shape magazine
called the AEROBOX™ Workout “one of the best video workouts of all
Michael’s expertise in the ring and at New York City’s top
fitness clubs quickly got the attention of leading directors
including Spike Lee, Michael Mann and George Wolfe who asked
him to serve as a consultant on their films and theatrical productions.
For Spike Lee’s Subway Stories series for HBO, Michael choreographed
the fight scenes, and in Ali, starring Will Smith, he helped
cast key parts and ensured that the boxing scenes were realistic.
Michael also worked as a choreographer on a number of highly acclaimed
theatrical productions including Blade to the Heat starring Kamar Delosreyes
at the Shakespeare Public Theater and Golden Boy starring Alfonso Ribiero
at City Center in New York City.
In 2003, Michael teamed up with actor and first-time director
John Leguizamo for Undefeated, for which he taught Leguizamo
how to box like a champion and also starred as his title-holding
opponent. In 2004, Michael will be featured in the Showtime
release Paradise, starring Kirk Acevedo.
In 2004 Michael was hired by celebrated director Brian Depalma to consult
and choreograph the fight scenes for the 2005 release of a film
named The Black Dahlia, starring Josh Hartnett, Mark Wahlberg and Scarlett
The AEROBOX™ and AEROJUMP™ workouts are also popular master classes
that have been presented at fund raisers and benefits for
the Arthur Ashe Foundation, Bennetton: Give a Kid a Dream Charity
and for the fight against Muscular Dystrophy.
The opening of AEROSPACE marks the culmination of Michael’s career
and the next stage of his revolution in fitness.
“Whatever your personal goals, AEROSPACE will help you reach your
potential,” Michael says.
Leila Fazel, Co-Founder
A former professional ballet dancer and luxury spa innovator
with Ian Schrager Hotels, Leila Fazel is Director of Operations
at AEROSPACE High Performance Center.
Born in Utah and raised in Tehran, Iran, Leila started studying
ballet at the age of seven. After returning to the United States
at age nine, she continued her dance studies with the Cleveland
and San Francisco ballet companies. At age 15, she was personally
selected by the late Robert Joffrey to study at the Joffrey Ballet in
New York City.
The daughter of two college professors (her father taught psychology
at Purdue, her mother taught art history at Indiana University
in Ft. Wayne), Leila attended Indiana University in Bloomington,
where she studied under the direction of renowned ballet masters
Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride from the New York
After earning performance and business degrees, Leila was
invited by Bonnefoux to dance at his prestigious summer program
in Chataqua, New York, where he gathers the world’s most influential teachers and
students for intensive studies and performance. There, Leila was discovered
by Walter Reins, the late director of the ballet school at the Dance Theater
of Harlem, and she joined his school in New York. Six months later,
the company’s director (and Balanchine protégé) Arthur
Mitchell invited her to dance professionally with the
ensemble and her performances included Rubies, Serenade and Allegro
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study with some of
the best dancers and teachers in the world,” Leila recalls. “They
taught me about the importance of determination, discipline and
going for your dreams.”
When an injury forced her to retire from ballet, Leila channeled
her education, experience and artistic passion into creating
new business opportunities. She developed the concept and business
plan for a new breed of luxury spas that would combine the sensibilities
of Eastern philosophy and modern Western design. Partnering with
Ian and Rita Schrager of Ian Schrager Hotels, the team launched
the trendsetting Agua spas in Miami, London and Los Angeles.
Leila says the inspiration for the Agua spas came from her childhood
in Iran, when she would go to ancient natural baths, called Hamams,
with her mother and grandmother. “The baths were a beautiful and
sacred space where you could relax, connect with family and rejuvenate
the body and spirit,” Leila remembers. “I wanted to bring
the wisdom and healing of the baths to the United States.”
The concept worked and the Agua spas earned international acclaim,
including features in Vanity Fair, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue (US,
UK and Italy), Elle (Germany) and the New York Times, among others.
In 1998, Leila happened upon one of champion boxer Michael Olajide Jr.’s
AEROBOX® classes at a sports club in New York City and
was captivated by the excitement and athleticism in the room. “It
amazed me how similar it was to dancing,” Leila says. “It
gave me everything I missed from dancing – strength, agility, balance,
coordination, musicality. I fell in love with training all over
Olajide quickly recognized Leila’s dedication, professionalism and
talent, and the two joined forces to develop and produce the
AEROJUMP® and AEROSCULPT™ video workouts.
With the opening of the AEROSPACE High Performance Center, Leila
and Michael are creating a revolutionary new fitness lifestyle
that combines the techniques of professional athletes with a
luxury spa experience to provide one of the most efficient, effective
and rewarding approaches to fitness anywhere.
“AEROSPACE offers a complete fitness solution for people to realize
their best selves,” she says.