Matt Lundemo squats in the corner of the Diamond gym, taking a rest from working up a sweat with each punch.
Weighing in at 295 pounds, the Wilmington man fits the mold by physical stature of a heavyweight boxer and is on a personal weight loss journey. And on this evening, he is one of two men boxing at Resolve Fitness and Health.
“I’ve always been interested in combat sports, so I figured it’d help with my weight loss goals, which it has,” Lundemo said.
The sounds of Lundemo and others throwing punches compete with the 2010 Kanye West song “All of the Lights” blasting in the gym.
None of them are getting ready to step in the ring, but they are preparing to fight their own personal battles.
The group exercises together as part of a Grundy County boxing class hosted at Resolve Fitness and Health.
With classes in Morris and Diamond, Grundy County Boxing began in October of 2019 under the instruction and coaching of Nick Galvan. His classes routinely start with warm-up exercises, followed by boxing and a cool down.
Galvan said his class is for all levels, and they can all find benefits to the program.
“You can use this sport and you don’t have to get in the ring and compete,” he said. “You can use this sport and train alongside these athletes that are going to go and compete in the ring, and you can be somebody who just works a 9 to 5.”
Galvan said he believes people have big misconceptions about people involved in combat sports, whether it’s wresting, kickboxing or boxing.
“Anybody whose involved in any combat sport, a lot of times people on the outside looking in they almost view you as hostile, someone to approach with caution or almost like barbaric,” he said. “In actuality, those are usually some of the calmest people because they’re doing such strenuous workouts.”
At the same time, Galvan said while boxing can be used offensively, it can be used defensively as well.
Lundemo said he isn’t looking to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the ring, but he sees a benefit to boxing.
“This is a real good workout,” Lundemo said.
Lundemo started dropping in weekly for the boxing class in October of 2019. Around that time, he said he found out he’s pre-diabetic.
Lundemo said the boxing class makes him feel and move better.
“Exercise, whether it be boxing or anything, gives you a great feeling,” he said.
Galvan said he’s seen a difference in Lundemo since he started taking part in the boxing class.
“Matt was a heavier guy when he originally came to the first class we ever had,” he said. “He wants to use it not even just as cardio, he enjoys the technique aspect of it.”
The boxing class can help people in more ways than one.
It’s even helped people dealing with anxiety.
Mazon resident Danielle Marques said boxing provides a great outlet for her.
“It’s definitely helped me with anxiety,” she said. “My boyfriend is currently deployed … He’s really far away, and I just get anxious because he’s so far away. This has helped me a lot with that, getting rid of the anxious feelings because it’s an outlet.”
Marques said she was nervous when she first dropped in for the boxing class.
“I missed the very first class,” she said. “I actually showed up and I sat in the parking lot, but I didn’t go in because I was really nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. The second class, I found a friend that came with me and ever since then, I’ve been coming.”
Marques said she is glad she learned of the boxing class.
“I never even thought about it before,” she said.
Galvan said the boxing class could expand its offerings with more dates and times moving forward.
Currently, the boxing class is offered at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Resolve Fitness and Health in Morris and at 6 p.m. every Thursday at the gym’s Diamond location.
For information, visit the Grundy County Boxing Facebook page.