Sports & Rec
A whistle blows. Teammates pant. The musty gym smell mixes with an odor of sweat, exertion, and intensity.
It feels like an extreme practice for some varsity sport. But in a 1928 warehouse located in Downtown Phoenix’s Warehouse District, the South Central Gym whips an assorted group of adults into shape—old-school style.
The run-down brick building appears abandoned on a quiet Sunday morning. Passing by, one wouldn’t give it a second glance before deciding the warehouse probably shut down years ago. But inside The Duce, a gym/restaurant/bar/retail store, the surprisingly hip urban atmosphere pairs with a unique collection of workout equipment for the ultimate fitness haven.
A boxing ring pushed toward the back of the building stands about four feet off the ground, and two punching bags hang dauntingly nearby.
No fancy weight machines.
Not a single treadmill or elliptical.
Dumbbells, workout benches, and an exercise ball line the back wall, but there’s no digital screens or beeping instruments in sight. A rusted bell hangs close to the ring, retired from its duty of starting and ending boxing matches.
“Knock me out, knock me out,” a trainer yells from the ring. He holds a hand up, protected by red padding, and blocks the jab of his female opponent.
“Kill it, kill it, c’mon!”
Luis Machado, a mixed martial arts trainer, teaches people of all ages, shapes and sizes at South Central Gym. He trains amateurs and real MMA fighters, and he said his students “train till they pass out.”
“Straight up, like this,” Machado tells the woman, showing her how to swing the over-sized black gloves with impressive force. The trainer’s knowledge of boxing techniques and his motivational coaching add to the gym’s down-to-business atmosphere.
But the head coach, Steve Rosenstein, really sets the mood upon entering the South Central Gym.
He blows his whistle to start class. “Let’s go!”
The Gritty and the Pretty
As a former wrestler for the University of Arizona, Rosenstein knows his stuff when it comes to athletic training. He opened South Central Gym back in the fall of 2010, which is when he and his wife first started their multi-purpose business at The Duce.
“I’m the gritty, she’s the pretty,” Rosenstein said.
His vision involved an old-school gym where he could get people back to basics with their workout routines. So he bought a boxing ring on Craigslist, and his idea for the South Central Gym fell into place.
“This is like the antithesis of a Gold’s Gym or one of those elite health clubs,” Rosenstein said. “The setting here creates a whole different kind of atmosphere. You’re in an old warehouse, working out in a retro boxing ring…and there’s no technology here except for my iPod.”
Rosenstein decided the boxing ring was a necessity because “boxing is about as old-school as you can get.” He said the ring has become somewhat famous, and its uses have varied from concerts to weddings to a stage for the former Phoenix mayor, Phil Gordon.
Along with the ring, Rosenstein threw in some chin-up bars, dip bars, jump ropes and even old tires to keep the gym simple, yet challenging.
“This place is designed to make us fit,” he said. “But it also takes us back to a simpler time that we all kind of miss anyway.”
We all ‘Need a Minute’
When class is in session, Rosenstein’s students pant, sweat, and push themselves beyond their usual limits to reach whatever fitness goals they may have. The coach added that he keeps it fun, but he also wants his class focused and motivated.
“Lisa! What are you doing over there?!” Rosenstein yells during a push-up drill.
“I just need a minute, I’ll join you,” replies Lisa Khan, 50, who sat down for a short breather.
“Yeah? We all ‘need a minute!’”
“Oh, jeez,” she sighs, jumping back into the drill.
Khan, an attorney from Arcadia, said she has been coming to the South Central Gym for about a year, and she added that this type of exercise “keeps you young.”
“The space is absolutely fantastic,” she said. “It’s great for cross-training and reaching your fitness goals, and it’s just a great place to sweat in.”
The sweat is certainly not in short supply for anyone working out at the South Central Gym. All of the members work hard and constantly cheer each other on, providing an ideal environment for getting fit and reaching aspirations.
“I don’t want to say this place changed lives,” Rosenstein said. “But it definitely changed some lifestyles.”
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44th Annual Y Race, Arizona’s Oldest Footrace Set to Run October 27
Will Cap Month Long Valley of the Sun YMCA Anniversary
Sponsorships Available for 2012 Y Race Half Marathon & 5k Walk/Run
WHAT: The 44th Annual Lincoln Family Downtown Y Race Half Marathon and 5K is Arizona’s oldest footrace, first run in 1968.
WHEN: Saturday, October 27, 2012 – 7:00 a.m.
WHERE: South Mountain Park, 10409 S Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85042
INFO: The Valley of the Sun YMCA, the State’s oldest nonprofit, is celebrating 120 years serving the people of Arizona throughout the month of October. Capping off the celebration month is the 44th running of the Y Race Phoenix at South Mountain Park.
For the 16th year running, longtime YMCA member Wyatt Earp will start the race with his signature double barrel shot gun start in the tradition of the old west. New this year the Y Race has added a free 1-mile Fun Kids Run, expanded expo, live entertainment, Halloween costume contest, and trusted YMCA Child Watch services for participants with children ages 3-12 (little ones must be potty trained)
Registration is now open for the half marathon and 5K run/walk at www.yracephoenix.com. Sponsorship opportunities of all levels are available, contact Kevin DiDomenico, 602-212-6173 or firstname.lastname@example.org for details. The Y Race is a fundraiser for the Downtown Lincoln Family YMCA Strong Kids & Families annual campaign.
For more information on the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA please contact Senior Executive Director Greg Corns at 602-257-5121 or email@example.com.
The Valley of the Sun YMCA is one of the largest human services non-profit organizations in Arizona. As the oldest non-profit in Arizona, the YMCA serves local communities in Maricopa County, Pinal County, Yuma, Flagstaff and Prescott offering over 283 programs and 26 social services at 17 locations.
Members are welcome regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, age or ability to pay. The YMCA aims to provide each member with every opportunity to reach farther and improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, the YMCA’s goal is to inspire positive and lasting social change. Visit www.valleyYMCA.org to learn more.
Pedal Craft Volume 2 rolled into Kitchen Sink Studios on Friday night to celebrate the growing urban bike scene.
Jonce Walker, Co-Founder of the Phoenix event, extended his thanks on the Pedal Craft Facebook page.
Wow! What an incredible night last night! Awesome design, hundreds of bikes, and over 1,200 people having fun. Pedal Craft exists to induce smiles, build community, and help a cause. We are certain what happened last night achieved all three.
Check out the spirited scene in the gallery below, as captured by photographer Jack London.
Tonight there are four can’t-miss Phoenix Design Week exhibitions that encapsulate pretty much everything we love about the downtown arts/design/creative community: Pedal Craft PHX, PHXDW Poster Show, Exquisite Phoenix and Rewind Phoenix.
The Phoenix Design Week poster show at Combine Studios has 20 posters with the PHXDW theme “Here & Now.”
Exquisite Phoenix is a giant 14-foot long drawing made by 20+ designers, one at a time.
PLUS, Rewind Phoenix, a celebration of the Arizona Centennial, features 11 designers creating pieces for each decade from 1900-2012.
Consider the calendar marked.
Featured image by Jack London
Skullpt classes at SuTRA Midtown offer an opportunity to tighten and tone through a high-energy workout designed to deliver fast results.
Owner Rebecca Fritz helped create the program and said the class mixes Pilates, athletic conditioning and ballet. Because it’s an intense full-body workout, Fritz said people are often surprised by the difficulty of these classes.
“When we’re teaching the class, we offer different modifications if it’s too hard or not hard enough,” she said. “But we didn’t want to dumb it down. We want people to see how strong they can get and how fast they can see results.”
Fritz added that using props like weighted balls, resistance bands and magic circles makes her class unique and adds to the challenge of this workout. However, formulating the Skullpt class took several rounds of trial and error.
“Really, it was an evolution,” Fritz said. “We started with just a ballet barre class, but I wanted something harder so people would be able to see faster results. Then we had the idea of adding in the props and putting in some new, different class styles. That worked.”
Skullpt classes are one hour and consist of a warm-up, a barre workout, ballet conditioning, resistance bands exercises, a core and upper body mat workout, and then stretching to cool down.
The instructors like to mix up each class just a bit so each workout is a little different, Fritz said. However, she added that the overall goal stays the same.
“We want to sculpt the body,” she said. “People are losing pounds, losing inches, cinching waistlines. It’s just great.”
SuTRA Midtown also offers special deals through September in celebration of National Yoga Month, including a free week of classes for new students. Yogies are also encouraged to try out Rooftop Yoga and Sutra in the Park for some unique twists on the typical yoga class.
Visit the SuTRA Midtown website for a full schedule of classes.