Empowered women empower women. This is Empowered Clubhouse’s mantra–the brainchild of the poster girl for girl power, Amy Berezowski, who juggles being a professional boxer and a fitness entrepreneur. What better way to empower women than to introduce them to a sport that brings out their inner strength and badassery such as boxing.
We interviewed Amy to learn about her roots and her journey–from getting into boxing to setting up Empowered Clubhouse in the Philippines–a female-only boxing clubhouse that supports, encourages and offers various opportunities for Metro Manila’s female population such as trainings, bootcamps, socials and even networking. Read on to find out what Amy and Empowered Clubhouse is cooking up for y’all ladies.
Name: Amy Michelle Berezowski
Occupation: Professional Mini Flyweight Boxer
Co-Owner of Hulk’s Club, South Korea
CEO, Co-Owner and Head Coach of Empowered Clubhouse, Philippines
Gym Name: Empowered Clubhouse
Gym Location: TBA
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Amy, also known as Dead Aim (my ringside name) and Coach Amy. I’m originally from Canada but my family is Polish/Austrian and I’m pretty proud of my European heritage. For the past 11.5 years I’ve been living in Korea where I turned professional with my boxing and started my own boxing club — Hulk’s Club (formerly named Hulk’s Boxing).
Unlike many boxers who got into boxing for the love of the sport, I got into it as a means of protecting myself, for survival.
My introduction into boxing was a rough and tough one that revolved around a very public sexual assault attack that happened on a Sunday afternoon at the club I was bartending at. One of the club’s bouncers (a prospect for Hell’s Angels — largest North American biker gang) decided to make an advance on me and I said no. He didn’t listen though and I ended up slapping him. One thing led to another and next thing I knew, I was being dragged by my hair to the VIP at the back of the club where I then fought him to free myself. At the time, I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened because of his gang involvement but a cast on my arm and my shady story made a lot of friends question things. Shortly after, I was then approached at my bar by a man. He had heard about me, said he was concerned and he wanted to help me out. He was Egerton Marcus, Canadian Silver Medalist Olympian, and he was my first boxing coach. I took up boxing because I was almost raped. I didn’t know how to defend me but I wasn’t ever going to be put in that situation again where I couldn’t protect myself or help someone else in a similar situation.
As for what’s keeping me busy, my boxing and business does. My life revolves around the “three B’s”, as my friends joke — boxing, business and Balboa. I’m a pro female mini flyweight boxer so I train six days a week, I have a business in Korea that I still own, I’ve launched another business (Empowered Clubhouse) here in the Philippines, and I have the job of keeping up with all the Instagram pages, websites, and Facebook pages for my two businesses and myself. Balboa is my dog that I brought over from my club in Korea so he’s a great distraction from work and working out (but he also has an Instagram page that I run). Beyond the “three B’s”, well, there’s coffee time, listening to podcasts, and my homepage. I’m a huge Pinterest junkie too.
What made you decide to settle in the Philippines?
Originally I wanted to launch my boxing club in the Philippines, about 8 years ago, but at the time my business partner was Korean and he didn’t know any English. I speak Korean though and we already had quite the following and fan base in Korea with him being the former Korean Super Light Champion and me being the first foreign female boxer to turn pro in Korea. We then launched our business in Korea, Hulk’s Boxing, and it’s now evolved into Hulk’s Club, a boxing and MMA training facility. Almost three years ago though I decided to leave Korea, to leave Hulk’s, and go back to Canada. I came to the Philippines last March simply for three months of training and with the hopes of scheduling a fight. I was then suppose to return to Canada and launch my female-only clubhouse there but while I was here word of my business spread and I was approached by several potential investors.
Then I had to pick — launch it in Canada or situate it here in the Philippines. It ultimately came down to one thing — where did I think I’d have the most impact. That was easy, that’s here in the Philippines. I love Canada but I think women there have so many options and opportunities compared to the women here and I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t want to just be another option. I want to be an opportunity; a means of change. I want to challenge what is open for the women here, really empower them by giving them the tools and means possible to really better themselves, explore who they want to become and expand upon who they are. That’s what Empowered Clubhouse is all about, empowering women. Empowered women empower women, it’s not just a catchy saying, it is the root vision of Empowered and it’s my mission.
What is your philosophy when it comes to fitness and wellness?
I think fitness and wellness is a mind, body and spirit thing. It’s all encompassing.
So to only focus on training your body at the gym really doesn’t do it justice or even begin to address all that is needed to become healthy. It is a lifestyle. Skinny doesn’t mean you’re healthy nor does being overweight mean you’re unhealthy. You might be skinny but super unhappy. Just like you might be overweight but very active, in love with your life and busting with positivity. In this case, the overweight person is actually healthier.
When and how did Empowered Clubhouse start? Where did the idea come from?
Empowered Clubhouse was launched last summer with boot camps in Ayala Triangle, Makati, but its actual training facility hasn’t yet been set up. It’s currently in the process of gathering the investors and securing the physical space where it will be situated. As for the idea, it actually was the original idea behind what is now
Hulk’s Club, my boxing club. Before Hulk’s there was Flipside Fitness, my first business in Korea. I had launched that company back in 2012 after visiting my mother in Canada. She was passing away to cancer and she asked me if I was happy in Korea. I told her I loved it in Korea but wasn’t exactly happy. I didn’t fit in and I struggled to find friends. At the time I was married, my ex was Korean. As a married woman to a Korean man, it wasn’t socially acceptable for me to be hanging out with guys but where I was there were mainly guys — the boxing club and the weight training gym. I went from having all these guys friends to then being all alone once I got married and that was super hard for me to deal with. I told my mom about it, how life was hard because my social circle had changed so much and how being a pro athlete in a male-dominated sport only made it that much worse. I think I was expecting my mom to feel sorry for me but she didn’t. Instead, she asked me why I wanted to fit in in the first place when I’ve never been one to follow the crowds. I’ve always done my own thing. “Do what you do and others will follow” so that’s what I did.
I returned to Korea and launched my own female-only fitness group, Flipside FItness. I figured if I had to make female friends then I was going to make a group that did things I liked to do and see who it attracted. I rented out the space at my boxing club where I was training at and trained my members on the weekends and then hosted various social health-related events, like BBQs and camping events. I even launched my own running group with Flipside. I called it R.O.B.O Time (Running Our Butts Off) and we met through out the week for runs and participated in local and national races. In making Flipside Fitness, I met so many like-minded females — I met female friends. And in making female friends I realized how there was this automatic bond between women and it was nothing that was forced. It was just so natural. It was like an automatic sisterhood. We just understood each other and it was nothing like what I had with my guy friends.
The popularity of Flipside Fitness soared and in three months it went from 3 women to 76. I just couldn’t train them all in the small boxing club I was renting out on the weekends so the next logical step was to build my own training facility. I then took it a step further and made it open to male. I took on a male business partner and together we launched Hulk’s Boxing, now known as Hulk’s Club. We wanted to make this community within the community — a supportive and positive-packed place where people could exercise but also hangout and get involved with.
What services do you provide?
Currently I am hosting Empowered small group boxing classes every Tuesday at Hernandez Boxing in City Club, Makati. I also host free BoxHIIT group training sessions every Sunday at Terra 28th, BGC. (Note: All classes are for ladies only.)
Once the clubhouse opens however, there’s going to be a great multitude of services offered — small group classes, personal training, small team training, boxing and functional training. Training won’t be our only focus though because fitness and wellness is more than just what you do with your body, it’s also what you put into it and how you treat it. So, on that note, we’re also going to host fitness and health-related socials and seminars.
What sets Empowered Clubhouse apart from other gyms or boxing clubs?
I think one of the things that separates us from other gyms and boxing clubs is the fact that we’re not a gym and we’re not a boxing club. We are a clubhouse, a merge of a training facility with that of a sorority club. We are a sisterhood. We’re building a community of empowered women via attention to not only their physical training but also their mental and emotional wellbeing. It’s very easy to get in that one hour workout and that tends to be the focus of other gyms, training their members hard, but what about the before and after the workout — what they eat, how they manage stress, their support system, etc. Other gyms don’t really give that due focus but at Empowered we do. Whether it’s our Empowered sisters going hard in a boxing class together, attending one of our wellness seminars or socials, or just lounging in our fuel lounge after training, we train together, play together and grow together — mind, body and spirit.
What is your vision for Empowered Clubhouse?
My vision for Empowered Clubhouse is that we empower other women to reach their full potential. Whether it’s making them stronger physically, mentally or emotionally, we will be that safe space for women to better themselves and be supported in doing so. Moreover, we want to be a hub, a social and business network for women. A place where they can connect not only with other women but also other businesses and whatnot in the community that are female and health-focused.
What advice can you give our readers, especially women, on their fitness journey?
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give women on their fitness journey is to be selective with who they surround yourself with. Energy is contagious, both good energy and bad energy, so in addition to making sure your energy is worth catching, also make sure the energy that surrounds you is worth you catching.
It’s hard to stay positive, we all have our obstacles and setbacks, I’m definitely no different, so it’s all that more important to really keep your circle tight and positive. When you surround yourself with like-minded people it makes a world of a difference because they can relate, build upon your ideas, and help you out. Whether you’re new to your journey or well on your way, be sure to find a group of like-minded women to aid you in your journey. We all need support and positive vibes.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is securing the actual physical building for Empowered and preparing that. I’m working with a team of 20+ on that so it’s super exciting but it’s also a lot of work. The so-called “problems” I have now are the thing not too long ago I prayed for so I am blessed. As for me personally, I’m trying to secure another fight here in the Philippines so I’m training like a beast six days a week. My main focus right now though is that of Empowered Clubhouse, launching the clubhouse and building the brand.
Any last words?
Kudos, karma and fist bumps to all you ladies out there trying to better yourself every single day. Whether you’re just starting out or are a pro star, if you’re working hard at training, trying to eat clean, doing what makes you happy, and are pushing to stay positive, keep it up. Empowered is definitely in your corner and we’ve got nothing but support and love for you ladies. We’d love to help you out more so be sure to follow us on Instagram and join our Empowered Clubhouse Facebook group page.
Join Empowered Clubhouse’s training sessions:
Tags: boxing girlpower gyms in Manila