Train Like A Pro is the hottest event to hit Aylesbury, Bucks this year. Created by the power team of Pegasus Gym’s Steven Cook, who is the UK’s #1 and worlds #3 ranked professional kickboxer, along with operations manager and previous white collar boxer Paul Saw. Their aim? To build four teams with coaches, take forty average, everyday men and women and turn them into fighters in just ten weeks for an explosive live tournament come fight night. Here I found out what it was all about as the coaches put me through my paces.
This is certainly a challenge for every ability, as each person is exposed to the incredible professional world of training, diet and lifestyle just as a real fighter would prepare for a fight. With talks of drink, drugs and sex bans, nutritional plans, weigh-ins and intense training a minimum of three times a week, this epic project has seen the most unimaginable results.
Operations manager Paul Saw says: “White collar boxing is basically taking normal people off the street with a day job who want a shot at becoming a professional for ten weeks. They can be ten stone overweight, skinny or looking to get fit, lose weight and compete. In our last fight team Cook lost a combined weight of 18.5st. There are four teams, four coaches and ten people per team which is a mixture of men and women. We have about 18/19 fights on the night in a stadium and the atmosphere is electric. As with all fighting there are risks, people get black eyes but safety is paramount so gum shields, head guards and all equipment is all provided. We have a strict policy for medicals and insurance to ensure that everything is highly professional throughout.”
So how do they go about turning an average Joe into a competitive fighter in just ten weeks? Paul goes on to explain: “We start with a weigh in to assess the individuals health and ability throughout, monitoring their training, teaching basic punches and combos, looking at their diet and using protein supplements where necessary; each fighter has their own individual plan to follow. We have a fantastic team of coaches, an in house masseur and chiropractor, and it’s the closest thing to a red letter day that anybody can experience for professional fight training.”
“We really turns peoples lives around, I fought in the first match and went from a from couch potato to my fitness peak. We have drinkers and smokers quitting, eating well, feeling better and improving their outlook on life. What you put in is definitely what you get out. It is a Fantastic journey, physically and mentally to find yourself, worth every drop of sweat and it totally changed my life. We use these events to support local charities, this time our two choice are the special baby care unit at Stoke Mandeville hospital and Wheelpower, with our next event being held at the Guttman Centre on 7th November.”
It’s certainly set to be a night not to miss as there are celebrities spectators, VIP tables and an explosive team of competitors. The very first Train Like a pro was held at the beginning of 2014 to an audience of 600, a mere nine months later and the third event sold 600 tickets in just it’s first day of going on sale. The second event in the summer was for an audience of 900, and this third event is unbelievably set to reach a record 1250.
Not only is it for two amazing charitable causes, but also a better lifestyle for all involved, whilst building a strong community spirit at the same time. Pegasus Gym is open all year round to all ages and abilities, with a warm family core that is inviting to mothers, toddlers, men women and children. I spoke to owner Steven Cook who explains more about the ethos and service at Pegasus.
“Pegasus has been around for 30yrs, my coach originally set it up and tried to retire 5yrs ago, but he loves it so much he’s carried on working along with me. I have a great passion for martial arts, fitness and dance so we’ve brought this together all under one roof. We like to include the niches and create that personal experience. We cover everything from kickboxing, to white collar boxing, ju jitsu, tai kwondo, fight night, strength conditionig, crossfit, HIIT, insanity, bokwa, fight club, workouts, anti-gravity yoga and pole fitness, providing training and classes from everybody aged 4-60.”
“I’m a professional kickboxer ranked UK #1 and world #3, so I primarily teach kickboxing and fight club. I’m fighting for my first world title in February 2015 and really looking forward to it. I love learning and passing that passion on, it’s great to work out how each individual achieves their best results as we’e all different. It’s important to eat right during training and you get the highest nutients from food and a healthy lifestyle, so long as you eat until you’re full and then stop, and make sure you avoid rubbish then there’s not too much to involved for the average person diet wise. When competing there is strictly no junk or treats, as you have to burn off what you eat. An average person should workout 3/4 times per week in order to get healthy, maintaing their training 2-3 times per week once their at their ideal state, and a professional should achieve 4/5 days of training per week consistently. One guy lost 5st over just 10wks during Train Like A Pro.”
“People come to us for help and leave completely changed, a better person, better parent, weighing less, quitting bad habits, instilling discipline, focus, purpose and greater respect for life. It’s similar to the army, we break it all down and build you back up the right way. Train like A Pro has has a massive impact on the local community and it’s really turning the town around fitness wise, with competitors ranging from those on a budget to millionaires, we all train together no matter the age or background, and at the end of it we all come together as a family of fighters no matter the outcome on the night. We see people with confidence, weight and health issues, people who have never worked out before, wanting to shape up and lose weight, and by the end they’re fit and have turned their life around. We are so proud of each and every one of them as everybody has achieved so much and come so far. This is a unique and life changing program.”
I was more than a little impressed by what I saw at Pegasus, but the proof would be in the pudding as Steven Cook then put me through my paces in a training session to show me exactly what the white collar fighters go through, and boy oh boy was I out of my depth. I haven’t worked out for around three months now, with it having being the summer holidays my diet has consisted of biscuits, cakes, too much bread and picnics, junk, sweets and puddings, and to make matters worse I ate two dinners and two desserts last night and am on my period feeling bloated and lethargic, so what better time to step into the ring with the UK’s #1 kickboxing champion!
Steven started the workout with minute maxes which consisted of sixty seconds and as many reps of each set, with a thirty second rest inbetween. We started with push ups which are my worst enemy as I have weak elbows, but with Steven’s encouragement I managed a somewhat shaky 47 in a minute. We then moved onto squats where 44 turned my legs to complete jelly, before finishing up with 37 situps and gaving last night banoffee pie and ice cream a run for its money. Steven then fitted my boxing gloves and got me into the ring where he showed me how to stand with one foot forward, knees bent, shoulder turned out and hands up. We started with a jab as I was shown how to hit with my first two knuckles whilst pushing and twisting, then a cross, jab cross, body hook, back hand and uppercut, before sparring for a minute and a half.
I’ve seen boxing on the TV many a time, and I love how the fighters duck and dive as they dance about, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee; breaking bones, cutting faces and bruising eyes, but even with all of the gear and a promise to go slow I wasn’t ready for a session with Steven. After having done the minute maxes my entire body was like a bowl of jelly, so when Steven told me to give it my all for a final minute and a half I saw the finish line and excitedly jumped straight at him with a barrage of girly feeble punches and hooks as he took it all without flinching. A matter of seconds later I was out of breath, floppy and lagging and have no idea how anybody lasts even one round let alone an entire match. This experience has been absolutely amazing to endure, to see the process through the eyes of the Train like A Pro fighters and feel the electricity and passion from the coaches. I have the utmost respect for everybody involved and am thrilled that these incredible individuals have come together to make such a positive difference to the community and charities in Aylesbury. I wish everybody the best of luck with their journey and each and every person is already a winner in my eyes.
This terms team are:
Uk #1 world #3 ranked pro kickboxer
Pegasus gym owner
Multi disciplined martial artist
2x world kickboxing champion
Aylesburys only pro boxing coach
Former pro boxing champion
Aylesburys only pro boxer
Aba boxing coach
Kickboxing title contender
Comes from a blood line of boxers
Here you can see a video of my morning at Pegasus Gym, Train Like A Pro: