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Band of sisters gather in the ring
GIRL power is taking a hold at York’s newest boxing gym to dispel the myth that it’s a man’s world.
Henry’s Gym, the newly-established 10,000 sq ft fitness fortress built by York’s most successful professional boxer Henry Wharton, is also home to an increasing presence of feminine guiles, wiles and energetic styles.
Since the gym opened an ever-present at its York Road site in Acomb has been trained masseuse and sports physiotherapist Ruth Maclean, who has since been appointed as the gym’s welfare officer.
Besides her own room, where she can provide treatments ranging from gentle massage to deep-tissue toning and remedial work, she is often on hand most nights during the regular boxing training sessions to diagnose pulls and strains and offer potential treatment.
Now though the gym’s female side has been doubled.
Fitness instructor Karen Cooper, who hails from Wetherby, has brought female boxercise classes to the gym housed on the first floor of the former Regent Cinema in Acomb.
Said Cooper: “It’s good to show that the gym is not just for men. It’s great to have a place for women too to exercise, train hard, socialise and have a laugh as well.”
A former Thai boxing devotee, she took up boxing after undertaking an Amateur Boxing Association training programme under the tutelage of former undefeated European, Commonwealth and British super-middleweight champion Wharton last year.
“As a way of keeping fit it’s addictive,” she said.
“I did Thai boxing for quite a while but in my job as a fitness instructor I have found that boxing is just one of the best ways to exercise.
“I find as a mum it’s a great way to release stress and aggression.
“I work people hard but it’s a social occasion as well, a place for women to mix and I find it so much a better way to get women together who want to keep fit.”
Cooper, who runs her sessions each Tuesday from 10.30am, explained that her boxing programme includes rounds, pad work and other training techniques. The class is geared for the absolute novice or someone starting out on the road to fitness up to those more advanced.
The influx of Cooper and Maclean is an integral part of the original gym ethos first outlined by Wharton and his wife Amanda, who always wanted the gym to be inclusive.
Explained Maclean, who came on board as soon as Henry’s Gym opened: “I have been qualified as a masseuse for ten years and I used to have my own premises in Sherburn-in-Elmet.
“Unfortunately when the recession got a grip I had to give up the shop and go into sales. But when Henry and Amanda offered me my own room at the gym, I jumped at the chance.
“It’s such a fantastic atmosphere at the gym that sometimes I just don’t want to go home.
“Besides all the lads wanting to work and be competitive, there’s also a lot of respect in how they treat everyone.”
And Maclean’s treatment room offers a haven of peace for those feeling the strains of injuries or those women and men who might want a relaxing aromatherapy massage.
She said: “Due to the room I have here I can tailor whatever aromatherapy massage people want, which can be just to aid relaxation or ease an injury, or can range from full body; back, neck and shoulders; hands and arms or legs and feet.
“The gym is not just for boxers and it would be great to attract more women as they can take part in the boxercise sessions or have a massage. It’s all here.”
Anyone interested can contact Maclean by phoning 07889 362083 or emailing email@example.com and Cooper by phoning 07758 012711.