Gymbox prides itself as being at the forefront of the fitness world, and we couldn’t do without the amazing team of Very Personal Trainers (VPTs) and instructors we have on board. Every Thursday this month we will be meeting the pioneers in the field, starting with the incredible MMA champ Ashleigh Grimshaw at Gymbox Bank. "It’s nice to be recognised as one of the first in the field, and that my hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed" he says.
Hi Ashleigh, you’re currently in LA, what are you up to?
I’m over at Team Alpha Male training for my title fight on Sept 13th.
Wow, good luck. Do you prefer to compete or teach?
I love both, competing is my personal thrill and teaching is great. I love seeing guys develop from being uncoordinated - not being able to tell their left from right - to actually being ready to have an amateur fight.
Do you think you will eventually take a back seat and focus primarily on teaching?
Yes, that’s the natural course of fighting. I’ve been teaching for five years, so after my career is over I’ll dedicate more time to teaching and perhaps have my own stable of competitors.
You’re still only 32 - is there a retiring age in MMA? And if so, how do you feel about that?
For me it’s when you take to much damage in a fight or you feel your reactions are not as sharp as they used to be, if I reach that point that’s age I’ll call it a day.
You’ve been picked by Gymbox as a ‘Gymbox Original’ for your field, how does that feel?
It’s nice to be recognised as one of the first in the field, and that my hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed!
What have been the highlights of working at Gymbox so far?
It’s the people you meet, there’s such a variety at Gymbox that you just never know who’s going to come to class one day. The place is never short of colour.
What do you think defines someone or something as being ‘original’?
Bring the first person to try something different and go against the grain of what everyone else considers normal.
What are your qualities to have assigned such an accolade?
It’s my open attitude towards teaching and training. I’m always willing to listen and learn from others even the guys I’m teaching. When they come to class and say ’have a look at this move I made up last night’, I’ll be like ’great show me and let’s see if we can improve it’ then I can test it in sparring to see what situations it works in.
What does MMA mean to you?
MMA is a lifestyle. Once you commit to taking it on full time, and having a run at a pro career, everything else changes. It’s what you live and breath 24/7 and you end up surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
Which elements of MMA do you prefer?
I love it all, I have been doing this for ten years now so I’m extremely comfortable in all areas.
And the people you train?
They love the grappling, it’s such a good workout. Not just physically, but mentally also - it’s pretty much like playing human chess!
How can skills learnt from MMA translate over into other areas of your life?
For me it developed a very competitive nature to my personality, which in turn helped me to become obsessive with other projects I have been working on. I approach everyday tasks with the same mentality - whatever I’m doing I want to do it to the best of my ability.
You’ve been fighting for 11 years and have a pretty impressive fighting record (wins/losses) - is there a lot of pressure to keep this up?
The pressure never goes away, but you can have faith in yourself when you know you’ve trained your arse off, and are in the best shape you can be in for your next fight, both mentally and physically.
How do you handle losing?
It’s all comes down to how you lose, if it’s a bad judges decision, I’m generally furious for months and I find it hard to let go, but if you got beat fair and square you kind of accept it and look over the footage to see where you went wrong and try to improve from there.
Describe to us the feeling of winning
It’s the best feeling in the world, to know that all your training has paid off and that you you were able to showcase your skills to a crowd of people who were there to watch you - because of how good they’ve heard you are.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to explore MMA but was anxious to do so?
It’s one of those sports where you just need to come and have a go to see if you like it. All the instructors have been in that position before, so they know how you feel, and will look after you and make sure you enjoy yourself.