Fit to fight 

Boxing program pushes fitness

Local trainer Chuck Moscato has taught a few different courses since he's arrived in Whistler, but nothing is more popular than his boxing clinics at Meadow Park. He's been coaching for seven years since he retired from fighting, but has only been offering his programs locally for three years.

Nobody is getting punched in his classes, except for him.

"Now and then I'll let one of the girls or guys in the class throw on the gloves and smack me around a little, but there's no ring and no contact," he said.

But the workout is similar to what you need to do to step in a ring against an opponent.

If you're picturing a training scene from Rocky then you're not far off. Participants in his classes hit the heavy bag and speed bag, use skipping ropes, work on footwork and do a lot of other exercises that combine strength training and cardio. Hitting a heavy bag for three minutes is not just cathartic - a way to release tension and stress - but also exhausting.

As Whistler heads into the fall months he expects his class to fill up. Sometimes he can have as many as 30 students in one class, although year-round his average class is between 10 and 20 students. Some come to learn to box, to throw and block punches, but the majority of his clients are in it for the workout.

"It's a lot of core work, which means you can use this to cross-train for almost any sport, but it's a total body work out," he said. "Basically I run the class the way I liked to be pushed."

Moscato came by his skills as an instructor honestly. He fought for 14 years, starting at the age of 10. "I have over 93 fights now, and feel I have a lot to teach and to show people."

Almost everyone in class wants to learn to use the speed bag, the smaller pear-shaped bag that boxers use to work on their timing. It's not as hard as it looks, Moscato says, it just takes a bit of practice.

"It's a lot of show, that one," he said. "It's one of those things where it takes some time to get the knack, and then you can really get going. Once you have it it's pretty easy."

His students range from high school kids and hockey players to older men and women looking for a full-body workout. Moscato has seen attendance go up with the popularity of mixed martial arts fighting, but says most people are more interested in the fitness side than the fighting side of things.

Moscato's class is at Meadow Park on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m., but he's looking to add another day in the off-season - possibly Thursday or Friday, depending on availability of the room.


Getting fit for the coming winter? In the next few months Pique will feature several local trainers and unique workout opportunities.



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