Women’s boxing class works to promote empowerment, emotional and social growth

Heath and Fitness: Pink Gloves Boxing program offered at Gateway Fitness

of the GatewayFebruary 26, 2014 

Women train in the innovative Pink Gloves Boxing fitness class, which is offered at Gateway Fitness in Gig Harbor.

MICHELLE KNURR/COURTESY PHOTO

These days, working out isn’t restricted to running on a treadmill or riding a bike. Gyms are offering innovative and unconventional ways to get fit.

Gateway Fitness in Gig Harbor is hosting a women’s group boxing class called “Pink Gloves Boxing.” It’s offered in bi-weekly, 16-week increments. Various physical and mental tests are administered throughout the tier to evaluate progress. If an individual passes all the tests at the end of a period, they move to the next tier.

During each class, fitness instructor Michelle Knurr sets a goal.

“It’s something small to work on, types of punches or something like that, perfecting your stance,” Knurr said.

Incremental and tangible progress is the goal during the workouts.

“Each tier obviously gets more difficult,” Knurr said. “There’s more content that you have to cover.”

Knurr has been in the Gig Harbor area for the past couple of years. She learned about the Pink Gloves program while she worked in an internship at Montana State University in 2010.

The director of the fitness center invited Knurr to observe one of the classes, and she said she was immediately drawn to it.

Knurr became active in the program and went through instructor training in January 2011. She moved to Bainbridge Island before she settled down in Gig Harbor.

Soon after she starting to work at Gateway Fitness, she lobbied for a Pink Gloves Boxing program.

“I just kind of realized I was really missing the pink gloves boxing part of the workout,” Knurr said. “It was kind of a game-changer for group fitness.”

The program focuses on emotional growth and empowerment.

“What we want to do in the class is make you feel strong, make you feel good about yourself,” Knurr said.

Too often, trainers tear down and belittle the accomplishments of the people they train, Knurr said. The Pink Gloves class focuses on acknowledging accomplishments.

“It’s more about helping build self-esteem in the class,” Knurr said. “You’re accomplishing things, doing things. You’re seeing that you’re accomplishing, because you’re performing these tests that are making you reach those milestones and those goals that you’ve set.”

The class blurs the line between individual and group fitness. Since the women don’t spar, it’s essentially an individual workout in a group setting. And that promotes personable accountability, since the participants know each other and work toward their goals together.

“It’s fun, because you get to know the people in the class, you get to know what they’re working for, why they came there, why they were attracted to the class,” Knurr said. “You want to bring out the best in yourself, and you have this group of people that are going to help you do it. People want to go, because they want to know what’s next. They want to learn the new combination.”

Punching combinations are one of the several things participants work on, in addition to footwork and strength. At the end of the session, the group sits down in a circle and reflects on their progress.

Group sharing is an imperative part of building a supportive community, Knurr said.

“The best thing about coming to this class is the chance to do something different, something unlike any other group exercise class that I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “It’s a chance to learn a little bit about yourself.”

Pink Gloves Boxing costs $299 per session for Gateway Fitness members, plus a one-time $75 equipment fee.

Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@gateline.com.

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