An Eastbourne mum’s been named the most inspiring and dedicated sport and fitness role model in town.
Jo Sullivan, a 35-year-old mother of two has been named as a national finalist for The Gym Group’s Unsung Heroes of Sport & Fitness Awards. The awards seek to recognise incredible individuals in the local community who have motivated women to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.
Jo was nominated for the award for her encouraging and motivational attitude towards fitness and for her passion for female focused classes. As a regional winner, Jo will receive a year’s free membership at The Gym Eastbourne and has been shortlisted as a national finalist, who will win The Gym’s Unsung Heroes of Sport & Fitness crown and lifelong gym membership.
Jo set up what is today known as ‘The Chick Box’ after her search for a martial arts based training class proved futile. Having trained in Kickboxing and Kung Fu since the age of 14, Jo has competed in, and won, numerous competitions.
“Back in my teens, I stumbled across some martial arts classes which I really enjoyed so began training several times a week and entering competitions. However, after stopping to have a family, I found that I was lacking in fitness and wanted to get involved with training again. However, having looked around, I couldn’t find any classes for women that contained similar martial arts components, but without the discipline and grading structure,” comments Jo.
Jo began training female friends and family in the Eastbourne area, using similar kickboxing training principles but completely non-contact. Through word of mouth, Jo found herself with almost 40 women queued up to attend the sessions after a mere two weeks and since then she has helped hundreds of women in Eastbourne over the last seven years.
“I put myself through multiple exercise and fitness qualifications. After qualifying as an Advanced Boxercise Instructor, I created my 'Chickboxing' programme with the aim of helping others achieve their own personal goals. I wanted to create something that was accessible for all and that provided users with a high energy, fun-filled workout. Given my own family, I was keen to be able to incorporate childcare within the programme.” adds Jo.
On hearing the news of her win, Jo said, “I’m thrilled to have been nominated and it’s a great feeling knowing that I can help more women get into fitness. It’s really important to inspire the younger generation and I want our children to see mum being active and staying fit so they have positive role models to inspire them.”