Think Outside the Box

ConU Boxercise Class Teaches Boxing, Minus the Black Eye

Photo by David Murphy

Terry Brule jokes that when you walk into Concordia’s Le Gym athletic complex, you can hear the pounding music—and the groans coming from those in his boxercise class.

Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but there’s no doubt boxercise—a class focusing on technique and conditioning boxing exercises—is among the best options for health geeks at the fitness centre under the EV Building.

“He pushes us, but it’s great. It’s good in the morning to wake up to,” said Jenny Gill, a 21-year-old English literature major with badass tattoos on her arms and legs. You wouldn’t want to mess with Gill after seeing her out-punch, out-kick and out-squat everyone in the 50-minute class.

Ironically, however, she originally wanted to go into a very different selection of Le Gym’s eight classes, and basically the polar opposite of Brule’s class—ballet.

“It was full,” said Gill. “But I’m actually really happy with this class. It’s a great overall workout. You get cardio in, you get the technique in, and it’s great arm workout, which is good for a girl.”
Brule would argue that boxing—like ballet—is an art form, too.

“It’s more like a boxer’s workout. It’s about conditioning,” he said. “At the same time you are learning the art, because I’m showing them how to punch.”

And they do a lot of it. For just under an hour, 25 people line up against a mirror in half of Le Gym’s basket court, jabbing, ducking and lifting small five-to-10-pound weights in unison.

It looks like Brule is training an army as he walks through the ranks, shouting encouragement or fixing the forms of the participants—many of whom are women. Terry agrees learning a self-defense is one reason more women than men take his class, but that it ultimately comes down to getting in shape.

[Boxercise is] the best thing that’s happened to this place in a long time.” No matter what age, there’s always people coming in.” Kenroy Broderick Le Gym employee.

“Boxing is an all-round good conditioning sport,” said Brule. “It’s about staying lean and healthy.”

With the conditioning background Brule has, it’s no wonder everyone looks like they just went 10 rounds with Manny Pacquiao at the end of the workout.

Growing up in Ottawa, Brule’s passion was boxing, and he won the Ontario provincials as a teenager. But his most memorable moment, which he says solidified his passion for boxing, was meeting famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard when he was a water boy for a fight in Ottawa. Ever since that day, boxing was always on his mind.

After choosing to continue with his education rather than turn pro, he soon fell back into the sport after befriending a boxing gym owner. Brule started teaching conditioning classes there, and people started to notice him. Toronto Maple Leafs players at the time, like Wade Belak and Matt Stajan, used to come in, and that’s when he found his niche.

Brule still hosts private boxing lessons in Montreal, but he’s found home at Le Gym.

“[Boxercise is] the best thing that’s happened to this place in a long time,” said Le Gym employee Kenroy Broderick. “No matter what age, there’s always people coming in.”