CHESHIRE — The three women and one man furrow their brows as they wrap their hands and put on the red and black boxing gloves at Rugged Fitness.
The 14 heavy black punching bags dangle from chains on one side of the roughly 4,000-square-foot gym.
“It’s about a good cardio workout, a good strength workout,” said trainer John Hoadley. “They’re not about to defend themselves on the street. It’s just something fun and different, just to get them into strength training.”
Rugged Fitness, at 1156 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, recently opened.
The black rubber gym floor is home to the punching bags, an obstacle course, climbing wall, weights and monkey bars.
“We’re trying to get people up and moving in a way that’s more fun,” said owner Brian Ayers, who also owns Rugged Fitness in Wethersfield. “They’re always working with a coach and that’s where the small group atmosphere is beneficial.”
Classes are held in kick boxing, strength conditioning, boot camps and suspension training. The gym also offers nutritional counseling.
People can also have one-on-one training sessions.
“I came here to get in shape and to lose the extra weight I’ve gained,” said gym newcomer Rich Gaudiosi, of Cheshire, wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his boxing glove. “I really like it.”
Jane Bond, of Meriden, clapped her boxing gloves together in preparation for the workout.
“This keeps your mind sharper,” she said. “You have to pay attention.”
Participants in a recent class hit the heavyweight bags, ran around the gym, punching the air, did squats, push ups, sparred with the trainer, abdominal strengthening exercises, and except for a couple of water breaks, stayed in constant motion for the hour-long class.
“Make sure you’re doing it right,” Hoadley said, watching over his charges. “Make sure you don’t get hurt. And, breathe, don’t forget to breathe.”
About halfway through the hour, the punches were not quite as powerful, the running not quite as straight, but everyone was smiling.
“We’re almost there,” Hoadley said. “Just keep breathing.”