Sweat Science Boxing provides its members with high-level boxing training and an intense workout, but Coach Mike Smallwood wants to create an upbeat and friendly environment for all who train there — which is precisely what he enjoys about coaching.
“One of the cooler things about working here is that I get the opportunity to help people access this sport in a non-threatening, really welcoming way,” Smallwood says.
The sport of boxing may make people shy away, as it is typically associated with violence.
At Sweat Science though, it’s all about creating a fun and upbeat environment, while still keeping the hardcore workout as a focal point.
“There is a heavy bag room that has 25 bags, so when we run a class, everyone can work on their own bag. For some people, that seems safer and more accessible than punching each other,” Smallwood explains.
Training at Sweat Science is available for anyone at any skill level — and the staff pride themselves on this.
“It’s a different business model. We’re trying to take the idea of a boutique fitness studio and doing boxing at it. Instead of punching to the beat of the music though, we do real boxing in a boutique environment,” says Smallwood.
Brian Flynn, an avid boxing practitioner and Sweat Science member, enjoys the environment the local Calgary gym provides.
“One of the things that I like about training here is that it isn’t a faceless gym. You can really tell that everyone takes a lot of pride in the gym and in all of the members that go here,” he says.
Smallwood explains that the sport of boxing provides a fantastic workout, while also giving you the chance to learn more about yourself — which is something that he learned from competing all around the world.
“I feel like boxing really teaches you how to rely on yourself. At the end of the day, when you’re in the ring and there are 30 seconds left, there’s nobody else coming to help you.”
Smallwood values coaching the sport of boxing in particular, as it allows him to keep certain aspects of his former career as a counsellor, which he enjoyed.
He says: “When I was doing counselling, I often found that people needed a friend, as opposed to being treated for some diagnosable condition.
I thought coaching would be a way that I’d be able to make the same type of contribution. Helping make some positive changes in people’s lives is something that I’m always excited to do.”
Caleb Haber enjoys sharpening his boxing skills at Sweat Science Boxing and benefits greatly from the one-on-one training that Smallwood provides.
Caleb Haber (left) training with coach Mike Smallwood (right) at Sweat Science Boxing. Photo by: Josh Werle
“They just care about you as a person here. They want to help you get better at boxing as well as in life. If you are struggling in life or have any mental health problems, they really help you here,” Haber explains.
Smallwood and the entire crew at Sweat Science plan on expanding their brand while keeping their goal the same.
“We’re really excited to have people come down and try the sport of boxing, and being able to do it in a safe and supportive way that is accessible to everyone. We’re looking to be a positive force on the community and we want to grow through Calgary and through the rest of Canada,” says Smallwood.
Sweat Science Boxing it is located at 1406 9th Ave SE, and the first week of training is always free!
- By Josh Werle