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"Learning, Burning, and Having Fun" On the Road to Fitness at Back2Basics Boxing

By S. Mathur

With Coach Harold Cook, many clients feel that they've struck gold. He takes a personal interest in each client's fitness goals and progress, says Kate Van Dis of Kate Van Dis Creative Content: "What Coach Cook finds most valuable about fitness for himself and his clients is strengthening the mind as well as the body - this is at the core of his approach to training."

The gym opened in 2002 and moved to a new location in 2011. Many clients followed gym and coach to the new location, even though it meant a longer commute. Harold Cook grew up in Cleveland, OH and learnt boxing from his uncles. He is a USA Boxing Certified Trainer and opened the gym to share his passion for boxing, says Van Dis: "Training with Coach Cook will strengthen your mind and body while you learn, burn, and have fun."

Living up to its name, the Back2Basics gym is a no-frills space where you have to do the work, old school style. There is no music, tv screens or elliptical machines, just bags, weights and jump ropes. The purpose is to teach clients boxing and helping them achieve their fitness goals. Whether in individualized workouts, private boxing sessions, a boot camp, or class, clients get the attention they need. Coach Cook monitors their progress and adjusts the program as needed.

Class sizes are small and each one is open to a variety of fitness levels and abilities. The workouts are flexible enough to meet various goals - achieving a certain level of fitness, sparring or competing. Sessions begin with a warm up and intense body weight exercises. This is followed by the boxing: bag work, footwork, and the fundamentals of proper technique.

Clients appreciate the fact that the Coach meets everyone where they're at, in terms of their fitness levels, while pushing them to do better each time. The small class size makes each session feel like a personal training session, and the gym offers individualized training sessions as well.

Coach Cook inspires people at many different levels. As a former professional who knows the sport inside and out, he commands respect. Van Dis explains that it's also "important to Coach Cook to be active in the community. His gym provides a place for youth to work out and occupy their minds in a positive way. Many of his clients, especially the younger ones, see Harold as a mentor as well as an instructor."

He has a strong commitment to education and it is not unusual for visitors to see the Coach helping youngsters out with their schoolwork during down time.

The gym is located conveniently close to the Research Triangle Park in Durham and is easily accessible from Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

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