Chequita Loston’s fascination with boxing started as self-defense and a coping mechanism from getting bullied as a youngster growing up on Chicago’s South Side.
Gradually, Loston’s fascination grew into a passion, and as she reaped more benefits from the sport, her confidence grew exponentially.
During Loston’s career as a fighter, she participated in amateur competitions and underground matches and desired to pass her knowledge and love of the sport to others.
Not only did she want to be a boxer, she desired to be a coach, and started to develop her own workout regimen designed to empower women of all ages.
While studying at the University of Illinois, Loston developed a concept called “BoxHercise,” which incorporated boxing and exercise as a medium to help empower, inspire and build women’s confidence.
Loston had the vision in college while in Champaign, Ill., but it wasn’t until she moved to Kauai in 2016 that she decided to make her idea a reality.
Loston, who noticed issues women faced on Kauai such as domestic violence, hopes to use lessons learned through boxing to empower women to live healthier lives, give them ways to defend themselves, and use boxing as a coping mechanism for the daily rigors of life.
Loston, an environmental health and safety manager for Corteva Agriscience by day, has turned her hobby of boxing into teaching women of all ages, conducting workouts in her home gym.
How did you get into boxing?
I was born and raised in Chicago and was very intrigued by boxing. After being bullied as a kid, I used it as a self-defense mechanism, and to build some self-confidence. Around that time, I was inspired by Laila Ali, and that created a little more confidence in myself.
What does boxing mean to you?
Boxing, to me, means fighting for life, for health, for strength, for confidence, for power and safety.
What is “BoxHercise?”
“BoxHercise” takes all of the fundamental elements of general exercise and workouts traditional boxers use to train when you are boxing and exercising into one session. You aren’t boxing and fighting with gloves, and you are using boxing mitts. There is no hitting in the face, and you have to learn both offense and defense. “BoxHercise” is designed to combat illnesses and diseases and to empower and encourage women to have confidence. We don’t teach boxing to fight, but we teach women to learn how to fight to protect themselves. They learn how to get into the ring by using all of the fundamental exercising and training of a boxer to combat illness and disease and build strength and endurance. When I came to this island, I noticed a lot of women were affected by domestic violence and could learn power and encouragement through boxing. This represents girl power, and I call my girls BoxHers and I added the “cise,” which together means “women boxing and excercising.” I don’t use the term “boxing,” as you see in the title of my flier is BoxHercise.
How many students do you teach at a time?
I used to offer up to eight at a time, and the most I do now is four. I do currently offer personal and duo and are 50-minute sessions, by appointment only. I work around the girls’ schedule, and try to accommodate any time any day of the week after work. I’m open on the weekends, also, and when I’m off, I’m open and pretty flexible.
What was the type of reception that you had from some of your students after taking up “BoxHercise?”
I’ve had a lot of interest in “BoxHercise” from visitors and people on this island. Sometimes people hear the word “boxing” and they want to shy away from it. Once my students have seen the transformation of the mind and body, they appreciate it and want to get the word out. I still have my group of regular girls that have participated since I started this. I’ve personalized the program more than it was ever before. I’ve had inquiries to do more significant sessions on the island and to go to different gyms, but I don’t have the time set in my schedule to do that. If this was an everyday job, then I could make it bigger than what it is.
Boxing is a sport that can have an instant positive transformation on your students. What kind of change have you seen with your students?
According to my students, I’ve changed the view of how they eat and exercise, and they’ve seen a positive change. Some women said, before my class, they were never dedicated to anything. That is how much the course has changed the dynamics in general for them for just learning how to box. There are a couple of my students that faced abuse, and this has given them the confidence to stand up to their abusers.
What drove you to coach?
Empowerment is what drives me to serve the population of women and teach them to be comfortable with themselves and their transformation. That even expands out to their children; it’s a great example of a 5-year-old kid to see their auntie practicing good habits. It’s always been in the back of my mind to do this, and only this particular year I was able to start this.
How can someone get involved with your program?
They can send me an e-mail or text message on my cell phone. I am not in this for profit. I teach in a group, and focus with my women, in groups of two or groups of three. We set up a schedule on what works best.
Are women your primary focus, or can men sign up?
My entire focus is everything on women. Women of color are underserved and a very overlooked population. This is used for outreach to women to encourage them to empower, build strength, and get into a healthy routine of living through whatever makes them happy. When you find happiness through health and nutrition, living a healthier lifestyle becomes natural. It’s not a chore anymore when you see the result on what you are doing. You start to feel great about what you are doing.
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 773-503-6034 (text only).
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.