What is your role at Gymbox?
I work in member services at Gymbox. I deal with all the members that come through to us, whether it’s about cancellations or package changes, as well as other administrative jobs. We also provide support to clubs - I look after Westfield. Any questions that the sales guys or reception staff have, they come to me!
Before that I worked in sales at Holborn, and I was there for a year and a half. I’ve been in the head office now for 6 months, and I’ve been at Gymbox for 2 years.
What is it about Gymbox that you love?
It’s an awesome concept. Before I joined Gymbox I was always a very active person but not a particularly ‘gym’ person. I was one of those people who would go to the gym because I felt like I had to. It took me a while to get to where I am now, but all the classes at Gymbox massively helped. There’s so many different elements across so many of our gyms that you get to try and test things out.
…And the team that I work with in my department are bloody amazing! They were all down at the Fight Night. I’ve never worked with such a supportive team - everyone’s got each other’s backs. There’s so much love for every achievement, which is really nice.
How did you get into boxing, and what made you join The White Collar Fight Club?
When I worked at Holborn, there was a personal trainer who trained one of my friends. I kept saying to him “I really want to try boxing”, but I had no interest in fighting or anything like that. He would always come up to me and say “when you’re ready.” Then one weekend I watched Creed and it made me so emotional...which I’m aware sounds super cheesy! After that I messaged him asking if we could do a session the next week and he agreed.
In the first session I said “I don’t want to fight, but I want you to teach me a skill.” Within 3 months, the signs for The White Collar Fight Club were back up again and I thought “now I want to do a fight!” I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and do something I’d never done before. At the time, there was a lot of stuff going on in my personal life and I wanted a goal and a challenge. I think that’s where it all started.
What has the transformation been like since you first started?
This is the second white collar I’ve done and the transformation has been huge. The first one was me working towards something as a new challenge - I trained my arse off! But I was also working mad shifts at the time. Now I work 9 – 6pm, and Gymbox are very accommodating. With the last one I didn’t want to fuss too much, but it knackered me!
On the first Fight Night, I’d put in so much hard work and it just didn’t go the way I wanted…But things don’t always go the way you want! This camp, I felt mentally in a much better place. I felt stronger and my body has changed. The first camp I lost a lot of weight quickly. In this one I lost more, but I seem to have gained muscle. I felt strong and ready for it.
How was the night itself?
The actual night was the best night of my life. A huge group from work were there, as well as friends from home. Even my friends who couldn’t make it watched a Facebook live video stream from one of those who was there! The support was unreal. You actually do feel like a hero for the night.
You surprise yourself – I would never in a million years have expected to want to step into a ring! It sounds cliché, but you do learn a lot about yourself.
What did you learn about yourself?
That I’m stronger than I think I am! My mind is stronger than I think it is. My body certainly is too. You learn to push your limits. I’m an all or nothing person and for these fights I was all in. No drinking and only healthy eating. In the first one I was healthy, but I’d still have a pizza at the weekend. This time I didn’t do that…and I weirdly enjoyed it?! I think I’ve become a strange person!
You clearly have very strong will power!
I think it helps when you start to see the affects, like being able to do things you couldn’t do before. I remember when I first started I couldn’t trigger my arm back to do a double jab, but I would say my jab was the strongest thing in the last fight. My body just works differently now.
Were you nervous before your last fight?
I was nervous for sure. The first time I got very bothered about what my opponent was doing. This time I still wondered, but I just thought “I’m training as hard as I can, I just need to think about me. I can’t change what she’s doing.”
My aim was to go out and box and showcase some skills that I’d learnt, and I really wanted to enjoy it. All of those things happened - the win on top of it was just exhilarating!
How has boxing impacted on the rest of your life?
During fight camp there were mornings where I was getting up before 6am and going to a session, but I’d get into work buzzing. I really looked forward to those sessions! And I do think it made me more productive at work.
I also think that working at Gymbox has genuinely changed my life. I know it’s through my own actions, but if I hadn’t started working in the fitness industry, I wouldn’t have had this outlook on sport or exercise. I wouldn’t have seen or understood it as much as I do at the moment. It has such a mental impact as well, not just physical.
Boxing is a stress reliever, and helps with things like anxiety. I do get anxiety, and sport is something that helps with that. If I’d been doing this back in 2016, when I was having panic attacks on a regular basis, it would have helped me a lot. I love that people are talking about its affect on mental health more.
What has been your favourite part about The White Collar Fight Club?
The community! It’s an amazing hub of people. We’re all doing something great for charity and putting on incredible shows for so many people. We’re making a difference.
I talk about it all the time and sometimes I feel like I need to hold my tongue. I just absolutely love it. It’s the one thing I do where I don’t think about anything else while I’m doing it. Now I just want to get better and better.
So…when’s the next fight?!
I’ve already signed up for March, and the training starts in January. In my head I’m like “March is ages away” …but January isn’t! In between now and then I’m going to keep training. It’s not because I have to though; it’s because I want to.
I hope by camp three I notice some changes in my technique. In the last fight there were certain points where I played it safe because I wasn’t sure whether I trusted myself. This time I want to keep learning and showcasing my skills. And I quite like the belt too…there’s a place in my bedroom for that.
You can watch Emma's full fight here!
Feeling inspired? Sign up to The White Collar Fight Club's January camp now.
You can follow Kat on Instagram.