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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, January 12, 2004

Learn how to become a contender

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Golden Gloves-winning boxer Rob Forcelli leads striving athletes through a tough workout in "Contenders Club" classes.

Varsity Entertainment

While the rest of the world seems to be slowing down and mellowing out exercise routines with low-impact mind-body-spirit activities such as yoga and tai chi, some dedicated New Yorkers are rising at 5:30 a.m. to wait in line for boxing-inspired "Contender's Club" classes.

The creator of the classes is Rob Forcelli, a three-time Golden Gloves boxer with a record of 14-1. He was also a baseball player who had to give up the game due to a knee injury, a kick boxer who fractured his ankle, a soap opera actor in "Another World" and a "Potato King" street vendor in Manhattan.

His philosophy: "A contender is somebody who strives to better themselves. Everybody in life, no matter what you do for a living, wants to be a contender."

Rob Forcelli and his Contender's Club videos are listed in the January 2004 issue of W magazine as the hottest up-and-coming fitness trainer and fitness videos in the country.

One benefit of this workout is that it only takes five square feet of space to do it, so it works in Hawai'i's small homes as well as in hotel rooms so those who travel can take it with them.

The popularity of his classes inspired Forcelli to develop a series of videos that enable folks to participate in Contender's Club classes at home. The format is divided into "rounds," as in boxing, and uses moves such as jabs, hooks and punches in conjunction with jumping rope, squats and push-ups.

A warning: These workouts are not for beginners. They may challenge even intermediate fitness buffs.

The Contender's Club videos are not yet available in stores. The videos are for sale online at www.contendersclub.com for $60 plus shipping and handling. This includes three 45-minute workout videos, one pair of weighted workout gloves and a weight loss and menu plan devised by Forcelli. ($9.99 additional for DVD).