Thursday, January 29, 2015

Boxercise, Friday 30 Jan

As of 10pm Thursday evening, weather wise things are looking good for this training session to go ahead as usual at 9.30am.

Please bring clean, dry trainers or boots to the gym with you.

Self Defence and Safety for Girls (Feb half term)

On Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th February, Box 4 Fitness will be hosting a Self Defence and Safety for Girls workshop.

Just for girls
Aimed at 11-15 year olds, these 5 hour workshops will cover personal safety issues on the street, at school and on public transport. We'll talk about recognising and reducing the risk of personal attack, how to deal with an escalating attack and how to escape from an attacker.

Practical not pretty
The girls will learn, practical, hands-on techniques, working with a partner, in an all-female, secure environment. You can find endless videos online that teach fancy looking self defence but many of the moves are far too complicated to learn and remember when you are under attack.

We teach simple, instinctive techniques and ways to remember them.

Topics will include:
  • The power of your words and voice
  • Using your elbows and knees as defencive weapons
  • How to escape from choke holds, head locks and bear hugs
  • Kicking and striking effectively with your hands and feet
  • Stopping an attack before it starts
Using punch bags and strike shields to practice the techniques at full speed, will allow the girls to explore their strength and how to apply it.

The benefits for girls
Self defence training can:
  • prepare girls both mentally and physically for a risky or dangerous situation
  • increase self confidence (confident girls are less vulnerable)
  • enhance personal safety
  • increase social interaction with like minded girls 
Limited to 20 places on each day, this workshop is booking only, call or text Kate Dakers 077 3243 3243 or email

Venue: Hebden Bridge Boxing Club, see directions.
Date: Mon 16th Feb and Tues 17th Feb 2015
Time: 10am till 3pm (packed lunch required)
Cost: £15 (payable upon booking)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wedneday Warrior training - on tonight 28 Jan

So far so good weather wise as of 3pm today, so training will be on as usual at 6.15pm.

This training is open to women only, £5 drop in and it's a non-boxing session. Tonight we'll be strength training and working on agility and balance.

See you there.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Boxercise session is on Fri 23 Jan

Boxercise sessions: Mon 10.30am (Over 50's), Wed 10.15am and Fri 9.30am
Boxercise for Women is on tomorrow morning at 9.30am as usual. We've had some disruption to the gym timetable recently with all the snow and bad weather but it's looking good for the morning.

We're taking part in the Boxercise January Challenge and will be recording our times tomorrow. Punchers run 10m, throw 10 punches on the pads x 5 times, change pads and gloves and repeat. The clock stops ticking when the last person finishes so it's a team effort.

See you in the gym.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No Wednesday Warriors training 21 Jan

The continuing snow has meant I've had to cancel this evening's training. It's pretty dangerous up on the tops where many of us live and just isn't worth the risk of driving to the gym today.

All being well, we're back on it friday morning at 9.30am for Boxercise so come and join us then if you can.

This girl can

It's not often a media campaign makes me smile, in fact I spend a lot of time ranting about the media and marketing industry and it's portrayal of women in exercise and sport.

Enter 'This girl can'
Far from the insipid, flaky looking girls we see in low-fat food ads and the glamorous, photoshopped goddesses of perfume, comes Sport England's girls in their new 'This girl can' campaign. Images of women working hard at their game, sweating, pulling faces...human stuff. Real women, not fitness models or professional athletes, not super-cut, tanned, immaculate looking barbie dolls but women and girls with average bodies, wobbly bits and red faces. They're climbing, boxing, running, playing netball and football and doing zumba.

2 million more men play sport than women
This £10 million lottery-funded, national campaign, developed by Sport England seeks to address the persistent gender gap which means that more men play sport than women at every age.

Recent research suggests this figure is so high due to most women, citing fear of judgement as the reason they keep out of sport and physical activity.

Is it any wonder, considering mainstream conversations around women playing sport or other physical activity are almost always focused solely on the results in outward appearance? How many calories can you burn in a boxing training session? Do you get better looking legs playing football or running? Will you lose more weight swimming or playing netball? Which activity will get you a six pack and a bubble butt the fastest?

Try 'exercise for women'
At this moment in time, the top result is a Shape magazine article entitled 'The 10 best exercises for women'. It features a girl with beach blonde perfect hair, in a small bikini with a well defined set of abs (and a bit of boobage which must have been missed when they did the airbrushing on the image right)?

Here's the caption for the image...
Every woman is familiar with those tricky trouble zones that take a little extra work to tighten and tone. After a lot of exercise trial and error, I’ve finally found a solid set of moves that help me shape up and feel confident in a swimsuit, my favorite skinny jeans, or a sexy cockatil
(sic) dress .
Using the search term 'women in sport' on google proves more successful and the results are more relevant. Switch to look at images for this same search and it starts off hopeful, scroll down and we have.....more boobs, more butt and more pseudo-sexiness.

Women's Sport on YouTube
Let's hop over to you tube and see what searching for 'women's sport' brings..

1. Brazilian women's hot football game
2. Female fitness motivation (with a half mooning butt right up in your grill as the video still)
3. A comedy clip featuring Jimmy Carr's speech on 'Why there's no place for women's sport on tv'
4. Women's sports injury compilation
5. Sportswomen- does the media ignore Women's Sport? (Yay!) swiftly followed by..
6. Top 10 revealing moment's in women's high jump (more butt)

So do more heterosexual men use you tube than women? I have no idea. I've tried various search terms on numerous other sites and they all yield similar results. I don't read tabloids or magazines so I can't comment on this.

So what?
Yes the injury compilations are funny and the Brazilian Football team are pretty hot, I know the images of 'perfect' women featured in online articles are also considered aspirational by most, but collectively, they are damaging. They do not empower us, they do not make us feel inspired and they do not encourage us into the gym or onto the field.

This girl can, but will she DO?

So will these ads really help more women to become active? Will seeing these images makes us feel better about ourselves and encourage us to go out and join a team? I'm unsure but hopeful.

If I'd been in charge of the creative direction of the campaign, I wouldn't have opened with the back view of a woman in a bikini, why focus on the butt when we're trying to get out of buttsville? Yes, it's a normal sized, average butt, but here we are again, back in the flesh. I'd have de-sexualised a few headlines 'Damn right I look hot' and we'd have seen a few more boxers (but that's just me). It's still a strong, positive campaign in my mind and I like where it's going.

It will start to populate search engine results and encourage conversations and that's a great start. We may see some change in the way journalists and advertising copywriters portray women and with a bit of luck, make them realise that manipulating our emotions, placing guilt and appearance at the centre of it all is outdated, sexist and harmful.

I want to hear more about women playing sport together because we love the game.  I want to see them exercising and enjoying themselves, covered in sweat and not caring what they look like. Doing it for sheer pleasure and investment in their mental and physical wellbeing - not so they fit into a narrow view of beauty.

Let's embrace this campaign for all its positive points and share it with as many of our friends as possible. Check out the website or join the facebook group and get back out there and exercise!

Boxercise cancelled today - Wed 21 Jan

Due to the bad weather, this mornings Boxercise class is cancelled. Please watch the blog for updates about tonight's session.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday Warriors...are you in?

Within a week of setting up the 2015 Valley Warriors team for Total Warrior Leeds, we are fully booked!

21 weeks till the event
We're taking a team of 16 to compete in the 12km obstacle event this year and training has already begun. We did the first of our fitness tests last night and have a packed winter training schedule to improve our strength and agility before we take it outdoors for running, sprints and obstacles when the weather improves.

Want to join in?
If you'd like to enter the event, you can still do so by registering as an individual register now or by setting up another team. The best place to start is to come to the gym on a Wednesday evening, talk to others and explore your options.

Not a warrior?
If you fancy the training but not the event, you are welcome to join the sessions. They are £5 and you can drop in, no booking required. Please check the website or facebook page for venues once we take the training outdoors. Note that these are strength and conditioning sessions, not boxing.

Wednesday Warrior training is held at Hebden Bridge Boxing Club, every Wednesday at 6.15pm.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New You?

I thought I'd kick of the year by talking about particular the ''I'm going to go to the gym every day and I'm going to eat only lettuce and drink wheatgrass shots instead of tequila and I'm never buying another take-away again. EVER''! type of resolution.

As someone who works in the health and fitness industry, I hear and see these sorts of promises made and broken all the time but especially at the start of a new year. If you read magazines, newspapers or watch television, the media will try and shame you into making them, even if you don't get there by yourself. Every big fitness centre or chain-gym will display stock shot images of naff looking, skinny women with watery smiles holding 3kg dumbbells, waving new membership offers under your nose that you can't refuse. As a result, treadmills and studio classes everywhere will be bursting at the seams in January. For about 3 weeks. Then it's business as usual.

So, year after year people set themselves up for failure by making unrealistic resolutions, not meeting them and then hating themselves for being so crap. Every day becomes a battle of wills between your good side and that devil on your shoulder. It's an unhealthy, way to live I believe. So what instead?

1. Resolve to be the best possible version of YOURSELF this year.
Forget pinning pictures of fitness models on your fridge, you are NEVER going to look like that girl. She is not you. She does not have your bone structure, skin tone or muscle profile. If visual inspiration is what drives you, take a picture of yourself each week/month and compare yourself only to yourself. Set your own goals and start reviewing them week by week - if you are currently a couch potato, aim to train, say, twice a week for the first month and then increase it after that. If you can't get through that Bootcamp class at first, aim for a certain number of rest periods and then aim to reduce them. Focus on what you can do and don't compare yourself to others in the gym.

2. Live by the 7 P's. Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance! Never was a truer word spoken when it comes to food and exercise. Plan your meals, pack your gym bag the night before, arrange to meet or pick up a training buddy on your way to the gym, book the babysitter, schedule your training sessions in your diary - do whatever you can do to overcome the obstacles that will prevent you from reaching your goal.

3. Stop making excuses to yourself and others about why you aren't doing it. Be honest with yourself. We're all guilty of playing the 'too busy' card and so often we give in to work, family or social pressures way too easily. We all have the same 24 hours - what we do with them is up to us. Get to the core of why you aren't fulfilling your resolution. maybe the call to exercise is not being heard because you're trying to engage with something that is not right for you. Try boxing (my personal favourite)? Swimming? Roller Derby? Weight lifting? Or a bit of everything. Keep trying until you find the activity that makes you want to go back for more.

4. Get back on it quickly
All the top performers I've ever met have one thing in common - they get back on track quickly. Missing a training session, sleeping in late or pigging out does not make you a bad person, it makes you human. Don't give up on your goals because you've made a few mistakes, just get back on it as quickly as possible and move on. Don't start again next Monday or next month - start again NOW.

5. Consistency is key
We are creatures of habit and we can give up a bad one by creating a new one. So grit your teeth and get the first month out of the way, the more times you make healthy choices, the easier it will become. Take things a step at a time and don't stop thinking about where you would be (or wouldn't be) if you hadn't started this journey at all. If you were aiming for 10 press ups but can only do 5, that's 5 more than none. Surely that's better than giving up because you didn't achieve 10?

In the words of Bruce Lee ''A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim for''.