Rick’s back, and metaphorically speaking, the gloves are off.
“It’s going to be a big year for us God willing. It’s going to be a make or break year,” the dedicated preacher of physical fitness that packs a punch surmised recently.
Genesis Boxing & Fitness is heading into its fourth year, and ‘the pastor’ Ric Rae (as non-denominational as they come) is just a guy with a dream and proven insight into the benefits of boxing, is on the rebound from a serious bought of illness and chemo that had him pretty much on the sidelines for most of last year.
Fast forward to today and Rae is on the rebound and back at it, busy as ever at Genesis, which has everything one could possibly need to get in shape.
“Oh yeah,” he chuckled, sounding earnestly stoked about being back. “We’ve got everything here. We just got a bunch of new stuff, weight room facility equipment, and we just built a TRX system.”
Back helping the people that come though his door, he’s grateful for the help of family and staff for keeping Genesis on course.
“A lot of old boxers back last night,” Rae said this week. “With my health getting better and some commitment from the boxers, I’d like to put a show on (a charity sparring event) of some kind soon.”
But Genesis is about a lot more than boxing.
With the year end books just completed Rae said Genesis, dubbed the club with a social conscious, has donated $30,000 worth of free memberships and free training classes, while also donating truck loads, thousands of pounds, of non-perishable goods to the Parksville food bank, and another $6-7,000 to the local MS chapter.
“Yes we have a small competitive boxing team that does quite well when they’re out there, but we’re also using boxing as the pulpit for work ethics for kids, and we also use it for stress release for adults. Hitting things is a powerful way to de-stress,” he said, adding “there’s a lot of people coming in for self defence, and I’m getting feedback from parents that other sports, their kids aren’t getting a workout out of the deal, so they’re bringing them here.”
“We still have people calling in saying ‘yeah, but I don’t want my kid getting punched in the face, or I don’t want my kid in competitive boxing, and I tell them all the same thing, that it’s so much more than boxing here, and that’s the side I really want to get out there.”
To that end, Genesis offers a broad range of programs.
Cardio, strength training, cross-training — the benefits of boxercise have made believers out of a lot of people.
Special needs groups have been taking advantage of Rae’s gym and expertise for years.
Rae was working with a group of women the day The NEWS stopped by, and feedback was easy to come by.
“It’s a great outlet for stress,” confirmed Diane Koch from Nanoose Bay. The mother of two has been going to Genesis for two years — her youngest son, almost 17, is a member of the club as well “and he loves it.”
“It keeps my kid active and busy because I don’t think the PE program in school actually does enough for them; it keeps his mind strong and keeps him out of trouble, keeps him off the street.
“We’re here six days a week” she said of her boxing buddy pointing out they do boxercise three days a week “and we work out the other three days a week.”
Like a number of parents, she times her workouts for when her son is boxing.
Boxercise she said “is such a great cardio workout. It takes a lot of strength and endurance, a lot of mindset and determination to actually stick with it. I think there’s a lot of people that come and go just because they think it’s too hard, but it’s really not. Once you get into it you go at your own pace. When we started out it was really hard, and it’s still difficult because we’re breathing hard at the end of it, but it’s just a great all-round workout.”
Lynne Farrell from Parksville agrees. Her youngest used to be into boxing and got her going over two years ago.
“It’s been huge for me,” she said. “I’ve lost over 40 pounds and still working at that. “
“It’s a highlight of my day, definitely. I look forward to coming in and releasing the stress of the day, and even though you’re tired, exhausted, some days dragging your butt out of here, it feels good. It feels really good. And there’s definitely a connection with the girls in boxercise, we do things together outside the gym as well.”
Farrell, Koch, and company have tackled the Mud Sweat and Tears event and last year they did The Amazing Race in Nanaimo together.
“We loved it. We look at those as rewards for all the hard work that we’ve been putting in here, to be able to complete something like that and love it, it’s really empowering,” said Koch.
Farrell confirmed it is a club with a social conscience. “For sure. There’s a few different highlighted causes that the gym promotes and that we all support, that being the local MS Society, the food bank number one I think, and the SPCA, and yeah we’re all eager to help at any level.”
Tangible help for a community at large they point out.
“And everybody is welcomed with open arms,” Farrell added. “You know (how) you come in and you feel a bit out of place because you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ve never done this, and all of the girls are instantly around you to help you and get you through it with Rick.
“He’s awesome, he really is.”
Asked her take on Rae and his club, Lisa Clason, Parksville Salvation Army community services coordinator, was quick to give credit where due.
“He’s constantly donating food. He’s always had Rubbermaid bins in his waiting room, he just keeps collecting more and more food and we go in regularly to pick it up. He keeps phoning in and increasing how many bins he has,” she chuckled explaining how he started with two, “then he asked for three and now he’s up to four bins because he has so many people that bring in food at his request, and he’s always a pleasure to deal with as well.”
Clason, who has been with the local Sally Ann for 17 years, said the Genesis bins really make a difference. “Because it’s not just what is donated through him, which is a lot, but those that are putting their stuff in the bins become aware that we’re in need too, so then they donate on their own levels as well, so he’s creating awareness for us as well, of the need that’s in Parksville.”
Worth noting she said “is that even during his sickness he was still caring about the people in the community. The bins were still there, they were still collecting food for us.”
“Oh definitely,” she answered when asked if Genesis does indeed have a social conscience. “You can tell that people that join Genesis become part of a family, they’re not just members of a club, and we’re included in that, which is pretty cool.
“The camaraderie and the friendliness of the people here is what blows me away,” surmised the good reverend Rae. “And we want the whole community to be part of the family here. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is welcome here.”