By: Luke Henderson

Luke Henderson’s passion for boxing knows no bounds. Originally hailing from the United Kingdom’s Cornwall, his journey to PROACTIVE24 – while a little bumpy thanks to 2020 – has seen the fitness fanatic infuse his passion for the sport with his love of small group training and TRIBE.

Growing up on the coast in the United Kingdom, Luke Henderson lived and breathed the outdoors. Teaching and coaching seemed inevitable for the life enthusiast; working first as a lifeguard, swimming coach and surfing instructor in Devon, before teaching sports and outdoor recreation at a local college for 12 years.

A new life in the land of the long white cloud

Upon moving to New Zealand, Henderson says he was struck by its similarities to his home turf. “With its endless coast lines and hilly moorland, you can’t help but to spend most of your childhood getting out there and being adventurous. A combination of coming from a very sporty family, an enthusiasm to try every sport and training method and a passion for the outdoors, meant a career in the fitness industry was destined for me,” he says. “When I first moved here, I was working as a guide on the Franz Josef glacier, but unfortunately COVID-19 meant the industry could no longer operate. The good news about it though, is it meant I could move down to awesome Wanaka, to be with family down here.”

The power of boxing

The fitness instructor has taken up the mantle working as a coach for TribePUNCH – proving the combinations packs quite the punch when it comes to hitting fitness goals. “Boxing gives you the ultimate training experience. It combines cardio, functional training, strength, conditioning and sport specific reaction and co-ordination development. It’s fun, engaging, you can train on your own or with others, uses minimal equipment and allows you to get rid of that built up energy and aggression, while also teaching you self-defence techniques and patience,” Henderson says. “Boxing can be taught to any age group and doesn’t have to actually involve any physical contact. Most people who take part in boxing training never step foot inside a ring. People just enjoy having a high tempo, full body training experience, that leaves them feeling like they have completed a rewarding training session and boxing can give them that.”

All of the TribePUNCH sessions are open to every level of ability and experience, from raw beginners to veterans in the ring. “The hardest part is simply signing up, turning up and giving it a go! You don’t even have to be gym member to join one of our sessions,” he says. “But PROACTIVE24 is an awesome facility and amazing place to work. It can provide a complete fitness and training package, all under one roof. From classic resistance and CV equipment to classes, fitness testing, physio, personal trainers, exercise studios, saunas and 24-hour operation. What more can you want from a place to come and train? Why wouldn’t you want to be a member!”

Finding your boxing TRIBE

Tribe Team Training sessions are evidence based, boutique fitness classes, the success of which Henderson believes lies in their size. “They main reason why it works is because it’s designed around a personal training approach, using small group sizes and teamwork. The small group sizes mean the coach can spend more time focusing on individuals, their development and the team, meaning the individuals can’t not improve,” he says. “TRIBE team training is proven to achieve results and push your limits. I may be biased, but TribePUNCH is the place to be if you want to have a knockout functional fitness session that’s fun!”

When it comes to boxing prowess, the coach says stance and guard are critical. “People never put enough time into the basics, they all want to be Floyd Mayweather on day one! All your power and speed come through your feet. The better your stance is and how well you can micro adjust it, the faster you’ll move and the harder you’ll punch,” he says. “If you don’t have a good guard, yes you’ll get hit, but actually a good guard position allows you to punch correctly and allow your punches to flow. The more time you put into the basics, the better your advanced techniques will become. People do not realise but in boxing, even the top pros spend most of their time going over the basics. Basic combinations, basic foot patterns and movement. You just need to take a step back, reflect on your ability and what you want to achieve and practice, practice, practice.”

When he’s not dancing around the gym floor, the boxing guru is relishing the great outdoors, making the most of life up high. “All I can say is, hills, hills, hills! Wanaka is all about getting up in the mountains,” he says. “Walking, climbing, mountaineering, snowboarding, biking; I can’t get enough of it. My downtime is all about getting out there, getting active and seeing the outdoors. So not really down time; but it’s what I love.”

Henderson’s top five boxing exercises

  • Punching the bag: A great place to hone skills and practice
  • Coaching pad work: Utilises boxing skills and incorporates movement patterns and defensive work
  • Burpee tuck jumps: Solid compound exercise that conditions the entire body
  • Ladder training: The faster you can move your feet, the faster you can move your arms
  • Plyometrics: Improves explosive power, great for knock out punches!

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