Fitness hero and role model is recognised

Jo Sullivan has won a fitness award SUS-160107-141856001

Jo Sullivan has won a fitness award SUS-160107-141856001

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A mum-of-two have been recognised for her commitment to fitness and been hailed a role model in The Gym Group’s awards.

Jo Sullivan, 35, has today been named as Eastbourne’s most inspiring and dedicated sport and fitness role model after being shortlisted as a national finalist for The Gym Group’s Unsung Heroes of Sport and Fitness Awards.

Jo said she was thrilled to have been nominated.

The awards seek to recognise incredible individuals in the local community who have motivated women to enjoy the benefits of physical activity. Jo was nominated for the award for her encouraging and motivational attitude towards fitness and for her passion for female focused classes.

As a regional winner, Jo will receive a year’s free membership at The Gym Eastbourne and has been shortlisted as a national finalist, who will win The Gym’s Unsung Heroes of Sport and Fitness crown and lifelong gym membership.

Jo set up what is today known as The Chick Box after her search for a martial arts based training class proved futile.

Having trained in Kickboxing and Kung Fu since the age of 14, Jo has competed in, and won, numerous competitions.

She said, “Back in my teens, I stumbled across some martial arts classes which I really enjoyed so began training several times a week and entering competitions.

“However after stopping to have a family, I found that I was lacking in fitness and wanted to get involved with training again.

“However having looked around, I couldn’t find any classes for women that contained similar martial arts components, but without the discipline and grading structure.”

Jo began training female friends and family in the Eastbourne area, using similar kickboxing training principles but completely non-contact.

Through word of mouth, Jo found herself with almost 40 women queued up to attend the sessions after a mere two weeks and since then she has helped hundreds of women in Eastbourne since she first started back in 2009.

She added, “I put myself through multiple exercise and fitness qualifications. After qualifying as an Advanced Boxercise Instructor, I created my Chickboxing programme with the aim of helping others achieve their own personal goals.

“I wanted to create something that was accessible for all and that provided users with a high energy, fun-filled workout. Given my own family, I was keen to be able to incorporate childcare within the programme.”

In September 2015, Jo was able to rent out space at her local Phoenix Boxing Gym and now runs a variety of classes including Kettlebells, HIIT and circuit sessions all with the aim of educating women on the benefits of lifting weights and how they can be both strong and feminine. As many of the members of The Chick Box are mothers, Jo and her team also section off part of the gym to create a play area for the children so they can workout without having to worry about childcare.

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