Behind the Pink Gloves

by Alyssa Brant, Sylvia Butanda, Kimberly Carmona and Rebecca Salazar
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Brenda Porta, owner of Pink Gloves Boxing Gym Austin and lead boxing trainer, instructs her Tier 6 group on elements such as footwork, punch combinations and overall technique during their 6 a.m. training session. Photo by Rebecca Salazar

The gloves may be pink, but don’t be fooled. These ladies can punch.

After six years as a high school teacher in Austin, gym owner Brenda Porta needed a change. Having boxed as a hobby in the past, she became very interested when she heard of a training camp that taught how to run a boxing gym. Soon after being certified, Porta opened the first Pink Gloves Boxing (PGB) in the Austin area in April 2013.

“The next thing I knew I was opening and teaching my first class,” Porta said. “It all just happened so fast.”

Pink Gloves Austin is one of 23 gyms in a national chain. Originally starting in Montana, the company has now expanded throughout the country, as well as three locations in Sweden. However, all locations have a similar goal of empowering women through teamwork.

“This gym is different because we all know each other,” Porta said. “We’re all learning something together, so we’re all messing up together and we’re all fixing it together.”

Women from all fitness levels and ages are encouraged to join the PGB family. Lea Nyfeler, a member of the advanced class, joined PGB two years ago as a stress reliever, but the benefits she has gained have far surpassed that.

“I needed a change up, something that would challenge me in a different way, make me feel good about myself and give me some very distinct measures to show improvement,” Nyfeler said. “Pink Gloves did all that.”

PGB is an all women’s boxing fitness program that works in levels called tiers. Women start in tier one where they learn basic boxing technique. After four months, or about 30 classes, the women attempt to test out. If they pass, they move onto the next tier.

 Eve Richter has lost more than 170 pounds in the two years that she has been with Pink Gloves.


Eve Richter has lost more than 170 pounds in the two years that she has been with Pink Gloves. Photo by Rebecca Salazar

“A lot of boxing is mind work,” Nyfeler said. “You saw what we were doing. We were switching from right handed to left handed, the number combinations, the movements, putting it together on the fly, working with a partner that’s all very complex. It’s a whole different level of exercise.”

Fellow advanced class member Eve Richter had different goals when she came to PGB.

“This was the first exercise that I didn’t despise and stuck with,” Richter said.

After losing 170 pounds in the past two years, Richter accredits much of her success to PGB.

“Fitness has become an addiction and a way of life,” Richter said. “It would be hard to imagine not coming here.”

In addition to changing women’s lives through fitness, Porta also found a way to make a difference in the community through their annual Punch-A-Thon, which was started last year. Members of the gym as well as people in the community are encouraged to form teams in order to raise money for the Seton Breast Care Center. PGB will be holding their second annual Punch-A-Thon in April, and their goal is to reach $10,000.

 

Along with servicing the community, Porta says one the greatest benefits she has experienced though her job is watching women walk into the gym and leave as a completely different person.

“That’s just the most rewarding thing that I can give them; friendships, strength and just a different way to look at life,” Porta said.

Pink Gloves Boxing – Austin
9705 Burnet Rd #606
Austin, TX 78758

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