Gymbox instructor Carrie Baxter may turn up to teach Drill Sergeant in pink leggings and pigtails, but don't be fooled, this woman is badass. "I was covering a class last week and a member's response when I came in was, 'Oh bloody hell! It's the crazy Irish woman again!'"
Hi Carrie, summer is over, how was yours?
My summer has been amazing. The main highlights outside of Gymbox hours would have to be taking away my Ibiza virginity for a whole week, which was awesome! Inside Gymbox I would have to say my highlights have been starting to learn free-styling on the bars – a lot of fun, but a lot of bruises involved. Also transferring from Reception Manager to full time instructor has been a massive advancement for me.
You come from a background of breakdance, football, basketball and boxing. How have you managed all of this?
Ha-ha! I was a live wire as a kid – I still am! I constantly need to be moving. I love learning – which is the key really. Being part of a group, or a team, has always driven me. Still does.
Your parents were both blackbelts, do you think you would've been so sports-orientated if it hadn't been for their influence?
Nope, I don't think so. I pick up sports very easily so I do believe a certain amount gets passed down from older generations, 'in your blood' as I'm often told. When I first started boxing I fought the exact same stance and punches as my mum. I was also very lucky as she was very encouraging, and she put me into everything I had a remote interest in.
You teach Drill Sergeant, Psycho Circuits and Spartan Training Camp – basically all the hardest classes at Gymbox. How hard do you kick butt?
I was covering a class last week and a member's response when I came in was: "Oh bloody hell! Crazy Irish woman again – I'm not mentally prepared for you". So, yeah, you could say I kick butt to a more than average level!
Amazing. Do men ever have issues with you hurling commands at them during these classes?
Never. You get the occasional side eye look when you roll into Drill Sergeant in your pink leggings and pig tails. However, after the first five minutes of warm-up they usually change that look.
What drives you? In fitness and in other areas of your life?
Progression and inspiring people. I'm fully addicted to being the best version of myself possible. If someone else feels compelled to change something because of you, I think that's pretty cool.
Agreed. Out of all the classes you teach, which us your favourite, and why?
Drill Sergeant for sure. When I first came to Gymbox it was the first class I took, with Wayne at Gymbox Holborn, and it knocked my socks off. It was a real eye opener in regard to fitness levels, and never fails to push me mentally. I like it so much because it's where I started, and so I feel like I give my everything to the people who come to that particular class.
What do you think sets you apart from other instructors?
My accent (generally comes across harsh so people tend to work harder).
My music choice (people who come to my classes, you know this).
My creativity (my ideas are always a bit nuts and different).
My energy (I was once asked am I on drugs in a class before).
My random inspirational speeches and life quotes that I shout in the middle of Drill Sergeant (Stratford on Monday nights – you know all about this)
You've been involved in theatre, and have appeared on TV adverts and shows such as Casualty, what kind of performances did these involve?
People who know me well will laugh at this question. Adverts – always generic cheesy fun things. Shows – always type cast as gritty, grimy, drug induced, depressed, teenage mum, alcohol fuelled victims... So yeah very heavy topics, which is the exact opposite to me in real life. But I love these roles because they're so real. You learn a lot, and have something to sink your teeth into as an actress.
If people are afraid to take a class with you, what would you say to them?
I would ask you why you take classes you're comfortable in? Make yourself uncomfortable. Trust me enough to help you pass levels you think are impossible. Believe me when I tell you I will never give you anything in a class that I have not been through myself. The fear fades after a while, and all that's left is the person progressing to levels they never saw before.
What do you most enjoy doing, outside of Gymbox and the world of fitness?
Singing. Band things. Drinking gallons of tea. Movies. Live music. Finding parts of London I haven't seen before.
You have been known to take part in battle breaking – ever thrown down some moves on a night out on the lash?
Ha-ha! Yes of course – six inch heels included.
What would be the tune that would make you do this?
I find it hard to sit down at all on nights out, but If you're trying to get me in the circle, it probably has to be something along the lines of Manzel's 'Space Funk'. Big tune.
And tell us something that no one knows about you…
I take bribes. Bring coffee to my class and you can skip the burpees.
Follow Carrie on Twitter.