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Boxing regime at DLCCC especially popular with women

Misty Lamppa jabs at a punching bag during an advanced boxing class at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham2 / 4
A group of women in Dion Sgro’s beginning boxing class go through the drills during class Jan. 14 at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham3 / 4
Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center boxing instructor Dion Sgro, right, goes through a boxing drill with student Kevin Tinjum during a recent class. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham4 / 4

The sweat is flying over at the DLCCC these days.

“One-two-one!” shouts Dion Sgro, as he takes a quick swipe with a mitt towards his student’s sides.

“Try to block that next time,” he hollers after making some contact.

This is inside one of the newest classes at the DLCCC called Boxing with Dion.

The program began last April with Sgro at the helm, teaching his lucky victims how to train for a fight.

Sgro, who boxed both amateur and pro circuits before injuring his shoulder, is turning his knowledge of the boxing world into a workout style that seems to be a total K.O. among his growing group of loyal students.

“When I first came in (in April) I couldn’t even hardly do a pushup,” said Dave Baer, retiring Fire Chief for Detroit Lakes, “and now I can do … a lot.”

Baer says he decided to give the boxing class a try as a way to help him shed some weight.

Since then, he’s dropped about 30 pounds and gained some serious endurance.

“I’ll do the elliptical for an hour and a half and I don’t sweat,” said Baer, “but when I come up here I’m dripping wet, exhausted … which is what I like.”

It isn’t the sort of class that has students coming in swinging though — it’s progressive, as many people coming in are at different levels of physical fitness.

Also, it seems to be quite popular with the ladies.

“We actually only have like three guys,” said Sgro, who says women love this type of workout because it’s quick (only 30-45 minutes) and it’s hard.

“It goes super-fast, and you’re whooped,” smiled Sgro, full of energy and pumped about his job. “They’re done, they’re shot, two days later they’re still sore, but they come back — they love it.”

Sgro starts out teaching the basics during afternoon classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He uses what he’s learned from the big-time pro boxers while incorporating some smooth, strength-training physical therapy moves.

He shows them how to throw certain punches and builds their endurance with countless exercises.

His trick, he says, is to not stay on one exercise too long as he works whole the upper body and lower body together.

“So by the time you’re tired from one workout, we’re already going onto another one … every part of your body is getting worked,” he said. “I work you from the core out without having to do a thousand crunches.”

With the music pumping and punches flying, Sgro is like a combination of military drill instructor mixed with inspirational speaker as he bounces around the room, correcting forms and pushing his students.

“He yells at us, but with a smile on his face,” said Jenny Savig, an Audubon woman who says she lost 16 inches in the first eight weeks of the class.

“It’s a workout that hurts when you go home, but you feel good the next day,” she said, admitting that she’s become a bit “addicted” to it. “Hurt is good. Hurt is inches.”

She’s not alone.

Detroit Lakes woman Amy Boeke heard about the class from somebody she worked with at the school, and thought she’d give it a try.

“I’ve never been committed to a workout before this,” she said, adding that she comes every Tuesday and Thursday now, “and I’ve seen results in weight-loss, more strength and more ability to work out for longer periods of time.”

But in this class, strength and endurance training doesn’t stop at the body.

“When you’re fighting in that ring and you’re tired and your mind gives out on you, you start throwing sloppy punches, you get knocked out,” said Sgro, who says he wants to teach his students how to keep mentally strong even as their bodies becomes tired.

“You gotta be thinking — your hands gotta be in the right spot, your elbows up and you gotta be thinking so that your mind is getting used to training even when you’re dead tired,” said Sgro.

And dead-tired they get. But individual ability and endurance doesn’t matter to Sgro as he strives to pull the max out of each person — he only wants their personal best.“You’re not competing with the person next to you — you’re competing with yourself,” he said. “If we’re doing an exercise and you can only do four of them, remember that and the next time try to do six, try to do eight. Nobody is looking at anybody else.”

Sgro says he loves training and loves the results he sees in his students.

“A lot of the women who come in here can’t do pushups,” he said, “but by the time we’re done, they’re doing them off the ball — crazy stuff that young kids can’t even do.”

Once students get through the first eight weeks and have a good feel for boxing and the grueling physical requirements that come with it, they can graduate onto Sgro’s advanced boxing class, which just might be the hardest 30-minute workout non-boxers have ever done.

“I almost puked,” laughed Baer, who light-heartedly claims Sgro “picks” on him.

Misty Lamppa is in that advanced class with Baer and says although it’s tough, they all get each other through it.

And once they are, she says, the feeling is “awesome.”

“It just feels so good, and I love how my abs and back get sculpted from it,” said the mother of three. Lamppa says she’s also happy with the mental release punching and kicking have.

“Especially if you’re having a bad day — to just take it out on the bags… or on him,” she said, nodding to Sgro and laughing, “…there’s nothing better.”

And for Sgro, what he loves too is seeing the results — not just on his student’s bodies, but on their minds.

“It gives them confidence in a lot of stuff,” he said, “Just because they can’t believe they can do this, so they try other things.”

For more information on the boxing classes, call the DLCCC at 218-844-4221.

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