Chesterfield fitness brand bringing boxing to all wins national award

A Chesterfield brand offering fitness classes for all levels of ability, as well as those with physical or mental health issues, has been honoured with a national award.

By Tom Hardwick
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 12:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 1:00 pm
RockBox Fitness has helped make exercise accessible for people in Chesterfield since 2017, and has expanded nationally.

RockBox Fitness, owned by Jade Hendon and Sharon Clifton, was named the best non-dance fitness brand at the National Community Fitness Awards in Newcastle last month.

Ms Hendon said: “We knew that we are very different from most group fitness classes and we weren’t sure how the industry would respond to us, but we never expected to receive the amazing response we’ve had from class-goers, community fitness instructors and other hugely successful fitness brands.

“After such a tough 18 months for the industry as a whole, we now know we are providing so much more than just a workout to people. It’s having a huge impact on people’s mental health and self-confidence, knowing that it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to be different, and we are so proud of receiving this acknowledgement”.

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The pair started running fitness classes in Chesterfield in 2017. Ms Hendon said they met through boxing, and wanted to give people a different way of accessing what is a very individualistic sport.

“Me and Sharon met in a boxing gym, but it's a competitive and lonely sport, and neither of us were that way inclined.

“We wanted something that was more inclusive for men, women and children, that took out that competitive side of boxing training and made it a group activity where everyone feels like they’re winning.”

These local classes, incorporating boxing and a rock soundtrack, soon took off. They built a large following in the Derbyshire area, and RockBox Fitness was launched as a brand in 2018.

Ms Hendon said: “Everyone started saying that they were coming for a RockBox fix or a therapy session- we didn't mean to create that, we just wanted a fun fitness session with boxing and rock music.”

“Rock music is unique in our industry, it’s predominantly dance music- we want people to let their aggression out in class, and they leave skipping out of the door. It’s a healthy, non-contact way of de-stressing, and you feel like you can take on the world without having to.”

The brand now has over 100 trained instructors across the UK, and its owners hope to expand abroad in the future. They also involve themselves heavily in the community, bringing adapted fitness classes to schools and hospital wards, which Ms Hendon said was the best part of her job.

“Prior to Covid we worked for two years with the Hartington Mental Health Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hopsital and the feedback was incredible.

“We also did a full chair-based class for people on stroke units. There must be nothing more infuriating than feeling trapped in your own body, so we let them punch out and dance about to the music as best they could, and they got that freedom and de-stressing from it as well.

“The community stuff is really rewarding, it’s the best part of it. We love that side of things, making people feel strong enough to cope with tough times.”

More information about RockBox can be found here.