Forget channeling your inner animal to make a gym workout more effective; at one New York City boxing club, you can train with the dogs! When owner and professional coach Martin Snow takes his two ten-year-old Akitas to the Trinity Boxing Club, the ring really heats up. The club, described by Snow as a “neighborhood gym,” is a place where curious people who want to learn the art of boxing without getting hurt can become fit and empowered.
It is his unique philosophy that has made Snow a favorite among New Yorkers and is what eventually garnered the attention of newspapers, magazines, and even the hit series America’s Next Top Model. There is yet another unique aspect of Snow’s gym: his beloved Akitas, Brando and Cheyenne. We spoke with Snow to find out how his furry friends pack a punch.
AF: How do Brando and Cheyenne interact with gym members? Do they ever enter the ring and help train?
MS: No, but they’re great in the gym and people love them. These dogs are pussycats, they’re not rough dogs at all. They look tough but they’re not. I don’t really need tough dogs. Sometimes I think they’re part cat or part chicken. They’re very playful; they’re 10 years old, but they act like puppies.
AF: How do members react when they spot Brando and Cheyenne hanging out around the gym?
MS: I think people, at first, are a little wary because they are big dogs…Akitas get a bad rap. People might be taken aback at first, but once they know them, I think [the dogs] reflect the whole atmosphere of the gym: cool, laid back, and very friendly. I think the dogs really help with the neighborhood atmosphere. You can sit down, have a protein drink and pet the dog; I think this is very calming to people … and that’s what they come in for, to relieve stress. The dogs are a big part of the atmosphere.
AF: Do Brando and Cheyenne encourage the clientele while they’re in the ring?
MS: Well, they just lie on the floor, so if anything, they probably would do the opposite. People probably don’t want to be like lazy dogs, so they work even harder. They’re spectators, not participants.
AF: How have Brando and Cheyenne ultimately improved your business?
MS: A boxing gym can be an intimidating place, and a large percentage of our clients are women. Having dogs at the gym gives it kind of a homey feel. People feel more comfortable when they see a dog taking a nap next to a heavy bag. They’ll be between weight lifting sets and come over and pet them. The dogs humanize the whole place so people are not so intimidated by the thought of boxing. For me, it is always very calming to have the dogs around. They make the gym feel like home.