It’s kickboxing, but not as we know it, writes Samantha Stewart.
Trailblazer Fitness are living up to their name in the Underground Fitness Club (UFC) as they celebrate the first birthday of their indoor fitness venue in Bramley.
UFC is no ordinary gym. Walk down the steps inside the entrance and it’s like going to your favourite club on a Friday night.
The lights are low and the music is pumping but we’re not here to dance. Tonight we’re here for Extreme Thai Pads.
Antony Newby, the owner of Trailblazer, developed the idea for this class from the fight training he did for Thai boxing.
He and his training partner pushed each other to do harder and longer drills until they were doing 20 tough minute-long drills back to back.
If that sounds a bit daunting to anyone who is new to boxing or hasn’t been to the gym for a while, Antony has some reassuring words:
“It’s only as hard as your partner makes it. If you can only do one punch and one press up in 60 seconds, that’s fine, next time try and do two. It’s about going at your own pace and pushing it up as you get fitter.”
There’s a mixed changing room with a cubicle for anyone who wants privacy, although most people tend to arrive dressed for a workout.
I put on my hand wraps and take my boxing gloves (gloves are available to borrow) and water into the workout space.
The entire floor is padded, there’s some equipment for the circuits classes but no traditional gym machines in sight.
The emphasis here is having fun while improving fitness, not spending lonely hours on a boring treadmill.
There’s a small stage at the back and the party-style lighting is great. Once everyone is ready we do a 10 minute group warm-up, stretch and get into pairs for the main event.
We each get 20 minutes of kick-boxing drills and take it in turns to pad for one another.
At the end of each drill we have about 10 seconds rest while Antony demonstrates the next and then the clock starts again. It’s really up to you and your partner how hard you work.
Antony regularly shouts encouragement from the stage where he is also taking part in the session with his training partner.
The music, lights and smash of the pads make for a noisy, energetic, party atmosphere. To get the best out of the class I would recommend getting lost in the music and punching and kicking your worries away!
Everyone is friendly and everyone is welcome, there are no egos here, just a bunch of people who love the buzz they get from this class.
There are two other Trailblazer instructors here tonight, Brad, who is taking part in the session and Danielle, who is supporting boxers who have never done the session before.
I asked Danielle what she would say to anyone nervous about trying a new Trailblazer class for the first time:
“Everybody who’s ever been to a fitness class has felt that way, but you only need to overcome that fear once, because the first time you come, all those anxieties are eliminated.
“Everybody’s friendly, you realise that’s its not as scary as you think, and you are capable of doing it.”
“Our classes are designed to be suitable for everybody, conquer those fears and come down! You’ll be made more than welcome.”
I’ve been coming to Extreme Thai Pads for a couple of years now.
The new venue and enthusiasm of the Trailblazer trainers make these classes a really special experience.
You won’t find a class like this in any other gym. I know that however I’m feeling before the session, I’m guaranteed to feel better afterwards, even if I’m aching the next day.
One warning though, those endorphins are addictive; once you’ve tried it you might not be able to stop!
Extreme Thai Pads is on every Wednesday from 7pm-8.30pm at the Trailblazer Underground Fitness Club, Unit 10a, St Catherine’s Mill, Broad Lane LS13 2TD. Cost £5.