Defined arms; sleek shoulders; flat, tight abs; lean, firm legs -- this is the shape that women want to get from their workouts. World-renowned trainer Hector Roca and owner Bruce Silverglade bring Gleason's Gym's boxing secrets to your home with The Gleason's Gym Total Body Boxing Workout for Women, outlining a step-by-step program that gets any woman into knockout shape -- fitter, faster, and firmer than ever in just four weeks!
Boxing is not only a dynamic fitness program but also a powerful addition to other fitness routines. Using unique combinations of muscle groups and both aerobic and weight training movements, boxing works out the entire body at one time. You'll lose weight; build lean, toned muscle; improve cardiovascular fitness; and feel physically and emotionally stronger all at once.
Roca and Silverglade break down all the boxing basics, from how to make a fist and how to stand, to more advanced boxing moves and various ways of jumping rope and include a nutritional plan to maximize results. The Gleason's Gym Total Body Boxing Workout for Women offers the ultimate workout for women who want to look their best, feel their best, and be their best.
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Hector Roca is an icon in the boxing world, most recently named the number one Spanish-speaking trainer in the world by International Boxing Digest. Roca is a former two-time Olympic cyclist from Panama. He has coached thirteen World Champions and trained Hilary Swank for her Oscar-winning role in Million Dollar Baby.
Bruce Silverglade is the president and owner of Gleason's Gym since 1983. He has served as the president of the Metropolitan Amateur Boxing Federation, chairman of the National Junior Olympic Committee, and member of the National Selection Committee.
THE HISTORY OF GLEASON'S GYM
Bruce Silverglade, owner
In the South Bronx, during the Great Depression, boxing was known as an Irishman's sport, which is why a little-known Italian bantamweight named Peter Robert Gagliardi changed his name to Bobby Gleason before opening the doors of his boxing gym in 1937.
For $50 a month, Gleason, forty-five, rented a decrepit but sunny second-floor loft in an old factory building on the corner of 149th Street and Westchester Avenue. Looking out its eight-foot windows, the fighters could see the Royal Theater, where vaudeville stars, including Sophie Tucker, performed; the Central Theater, where neighborhood kids could buy a candy bar and catch a triple feature for a dime; and the Bronx Opera House, the neighborhood's grand dame.
Dues at the gym were $2 a month, and Gleason put up a tough front when it came to collecting them. He hung a sign in his office that read, "Your dues are due today. If they have not been paid, please do so and save yourself the embarrassment of being asked." Despite the notice, he let many of his struggling fighters slide for months. Barely able to afford the gym himself, Gleason hacked a cab for ten to twelve hours a night, seven days a week.
With his savings, Gleason outfitted the place with four heavy bags, six racks to hang speed bags (fighters had to bring their own), and a full-sized ring surrounded by chairs for spectators. The locker rooms consisted of one toilet and two showers, which only worked in the winter. (In the summer, the neighborhood kids would cool off by running through the water that came from the city fire hydrants, which sapped the gym's water pressure.) Summer, you can imagine, was not easy on the nose.
Despite its quirks, Gleason's quickly became home to a deep roster of world champions, including Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta; Mike Belloise; Phil Terranova, who Gleason managed; and Jimmy Carter. Thanks to their charisma, boxing's popularity surged, and Gleason's reputation for turning out top contenders grew. Six days a week, morning until night, the great trainers of the day -- Patty Colovito, Freddie Brown, Chickie Ferrara, and Charlie Galeta -- plied their craft inside -- and the crowds followed. There was never a still punching bag or free space left on the floor for shadowboxing or skipping rope. The wait to get into the ring, which was first-come, first-serve, often topped out at nearly two hours.
Throughout the forties and fifties, Gleason's, as well as two of the city's other boxing institutions, Stillman's and the Old Garden, flourished, but by the sixties, "Boxing's Golden Age" had ended. With no attention-grabbing boxers, the sport's popularity receded. Bobby Gleason managed to hang onto his gym, while Stillman's and the Old Garden went down for the count.
Gleason's remained the permanent training base for many world champs, and many out-of-town contenders, including Walter Cartier and Joe Frazier, set up their temporary base in the Bronx when they had fights scheduled at Madison Square Garden. In 1964, Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, trained at Gleason's for his fight with Sonny Liston. (That fight was one of the biggest upsets of the twentieth century; Ali won the World Heavyweight title when Liston failed to answer the bell in the seventh round.) Later, Panamanian superman Roberto Duran used Gleason's to win three world titles. When Duran was at the gym, so seemingly was the rest of New York. Oftentimes, the surrounding street would have to be blocked off to accommodate all of his fans.
In 1974, after thirty-seven years on Westchester Avenue, Bobby Gleason, then eighty-two, put a lock on the Bronx gym door for good. The building was knocked down, and a housing project was constructed in its place. Gleason moved his establishment to Thirtieth Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, and renowned trainers Ray Arcel, Freddy Brown, and Whitey Bimstein followed him to the new location. It was the first street-level gym in New York City. It came well-equipped with an L-shaped mezzanine for the crowds, two training rings, six heavy bags, separate rooms for shadowboxing and skipping rope, and even a luncheonette.
Seven years later, in his late eighties, Bobby Gleason passed away, and Ira Becker, a long-time boxing supporter and staunch safety regulator, took over. Membership tripled, and the gym's great tradition continued on. World champions, including Hector Camacho, Julio Cesar Chavez, Riddick Bowe, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Mike Tyson, and "Gentleman Gerry" Cooney, trained at the Manhattan location.
Hollywood scriptwriters followed. Martin Scorcese and Robert Deniro shot Raging Bull at the gym. Other movies filmed on site include Midnight Run, The Ten Count, Heart, and Rage of Angels.
In early 1983, I struck a deal with Ira Becker to become his partner and half-owner of Gleason's on a part-time basis. Boxing runs in my family. My father was a cofounder of the National PAL, and he later managed the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic boxing teams. After a tough divorce I'd thrown myself into the sport in 1976 and began refereeing and judging amateur bouts. I'd caught the boxing bug, and soon I quit my sixteen-year post at Sears Roebuck and Company to run Gleason's full-time.
In 1984, the Thirtieth Street building turned co-op, and Gleason's was forced to move to its current location, a converted warehouse off a cobblestone street under the Brooklyn Bridge. While the surroundings and equipment have changed since 1937 (the 15,000-square-foot gym now has ten heavy bags and four full-sized rings), the fighting spirit remains. To date, 126 world champions have called Gleason's home, including Arturo Gatti, Junior Jones, Buddy McGirt, Kevin Kelly, Alicia Ashley, and sizzling welterweight Zab Judah. World-class contenders David Telesco, Oleg Maskaev, Yuri Foreman, Raul Frank, Wayne Braithwaite, and Vivian Harris currently train at the gym. Gleason's is also proud of its amateur champions: In the first National Amateur Women's tournament, Gleason's sent six contestants, and they each returned with a gold medal.
Over the past seven decades, Gleason's gym has become synonymous with excellence in boxing. And for the first time in history, boxing has reached the masses, as investment bankers, fashion models, and actors join the gym to train alongside professional fighters.
Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Rodriguez, John Leguizamo, and Harry Connick Jr. have all stepped into our ring. Most recently, Hilary Swank trained here with boxing's elderstatesman Hector Roca for her role in Million Dollar Baby.
Boxing is a sport of the underdog, and people have used it to fight their way out of hopelessness. When you spend a little time in Gleason's, even as a spectator, you feel this. There's a true sense of equality and acceptance because all the members identify themselves as fighters, first and foremost. After that, all their other differences fade into the background. That's incredible, considering that our membership represents sixty-seven different nationalities.
The welcoming atmosphere is one of the things I love most about Gleason's. In a lot of ways, Gleason's is a microcosm of society: a gritty melting pot characterized by openness and acceptance and inhabited by a lot of people with big dreams. Whether you're working out or just watching, a professional or an amateur, you are respected in this house.
There is a quote by Virgil painted in black on the red walls of our gym: "Now whoever has courage, and a strong and collected spirit in his breast, let him come forward, lace on the gloves and put up his hands." These words resonate throughout the gym, and they are what Gleason's still stands for today.
Copyright © 2006 by Hector Roca and Bruce Silverglade
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