No glove rentals. Smaller classes. Temperature checks. Hand sanitizing stations. Face masks.
This is the new normal at the Pound Gym in northern Scottsdale.
But unlike many other gyms in the Valley, the 4-year-old boutique boxing and group training fitness facility sets itself apart not only via its cutting-edge classes, world class trainers, and unconventional personal training.
Since it opened in 2017, the boutique fitness studio has always welcomed more women than men; in fact, 70 to 75 percent of their members are women.
“We pride ourselves on diversity,” owner Duane Bell said.
The gym has expanded its already robust offerings, which include everything from high-intensity interval training and group boxing to yoga and Pilates classes. It also will host Bars & Bells – a women’s introduction to weightlifting.
“That class actually has grown quite a bit,” said Bell.
“We’ve been very happy about that because it’s been an opportunity for women to come in and really get an opportunity to learn about strength, training and the benefits of it and the conditioning, which aids them and every aspect of their life,” Bell added.
Pre-pandemic, the class had a steady four to six members “and now we have a steady crew of anywhere from 12 to 14,” Bell said.
The class Pound Gym has yet to bring back since the pandemic started, however, is their boxing class for those with Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, including tremors.
Pre-pandemic, a group of people with Parkinson’s disease would come into the gym twice a week and were more than eager to don a pair of red boxing gloves and step into the ring.
“They’re really eager to come back,” Bell said. “Hopefully, we’ll get them back soon; but until then, we’re just trying to support as much as we can.”
Supporting those with Parkinson’s is important to Bell.
While living in Los Angeles before moving to Scottsdale in 2018, one of Bell’s boxing coaches had Parkinson’s.
“It had a place in my heart,” Bell said. “I just wanted to give them an outlet.”
Bell started the classes after their first Box4Bucks fundraiser in 2018 benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.
The gym also welcomed a steady increase in members with Parkinson’s.
Pound Gym’s Parkinson’s boxing class is open to all patients and offers “a great 45-minute session of exercise and boxing fundamentals.”
“Boxing has always been a therapeutic form of treating Parkinson’s,” Bell said. “Muhammad Ali was a Parkinson’s sufferer.”
17 Branches, a nonprofit supporting research and community outreach for Parkinson’s patients, partners with Pound Gym to provide beginner and intermediate Parkinson’s-specific classes.
Usually, they’ll have a group at Pound Gym complete workouts together as part of the fundraiser; for the virtual fundraiser, participants took part virtually.
“It is a fun and challenging event that brings the Parkinson’s community together for a day of activities, excitement, friendship and a good cause,” 17 Branches wrote on its website. “It is a festival atmosphere meant to welcome people of all skill levels and those who want to support the participants.”
And it ended up being their most successful fundraiser yet, raising nearly $20,000 more than the previous year. Over three years, the fundraisers have generated over $120,000 in donations.
“We did really well trying to just bring people together,” Bell said.
The next fundraiser will be held Oct. 23.