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Getting Fit in Sugar House and Yes, Boxing is for Girls!

Like many businesses fitness centers took a hit during COVID 19 shutdowns. One that made it in Sugar House is Boxing is For Girls owned by Eliza James. She is the first female in Utah with the boxing brand.


A handful of unique fitness centers managed to survive COVID 19 shutdowns and continue to thrive in this eclectic and evolving Salt Lake City community.

One of those businesses, Boxing is For Girls (BIFG), aims to deliver much more than the conventional workout programs found elsewhere.

Eliza James settled down in Sugar House in 2005 and launched BIFG a year later. 

Through individual and group training sessions, James said she’s been able to help clients — both men and women — tap their strengths to overcome barriers and reach their goals. Instant payday loans online guaranteed approval.

“I’m the first female in Utah with the boxing brand,” James said in a recent interview. 

While COVID did deliver a significant blow to BIFG during its temporary shut down in 2020, James said that particular experience taught her to breathe and to be patient.

“I lost 75% of a business I had been building up for 16 years,” James said. “I kept the core group training outside and we are slowly building it back up. I am so grateful.”

A devotee of the martial arts, James described the higher consciousness she believes that brand of boxing can bring: “It’s using your body along with your consciousness, your spirit, to empower yourself so you can get aligned with nature and provide something nice to the world.”

While she specializes in personal training, James said she also loves her unconventional group sessions where people feed off each other’s energy. 

“We laugh a lot, dance a lot, cry a lot and sweat a lot,” James said. “It’s pretty cleansing and empowering … I know it seems like just a boxing studio, but it’s not. It’s so much more than that.”

Photos by John Taylor.

Capitalizing on Character

James described the workspace she hewed out in one of Sugar House’s original buildings at 1983 S 1100 East.

“Its flair is classic boxing with an industrial feel, but also very urban. I brought graffiti artists off the streets. I have abstract paintings,” James said. ”It’s a special place for a lot of people to change and grow into their personal power and then take it out to the community and the world at large.”

Her clientele runs the gamut, James said, from gifted teens seeking a cool space, to athletes and artists hoping to reach new heights.

“[Teens] come in and hit stuff, they get to say things, to be themselves,” James said. “Then I have people who need to get their bodies back, or just want to have fun or raise their consciousness by learning more about their inner world by using their physical bodies.” 

Among her clients are Jerusha Hess, who helped create Napoleon Dynamite, and Nate Orchard, a Highland High grad who played football for the University of Utah and was then drafted by the NFL. 

Others include a female Olympic climber and a woman working on a documentary about the Great Salt Lake. 

But despite the name, BIFG has sometimes trained more men than women.

“You’ve got to play with the guys. That’s half the world,” James said. “At one time, I had 68 percent male clientele.”

Fitness is BIG Business

Since 2013, the fitness industry grew by 64 percent, and 2022 revenues reached $5.6 trillion, according to a recent Global Wellness Institute report.

Health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscore the need for exercise: In 2020, only 47 percent of US adults aged 18 and up got enough aerobic exercise, and only 24 percent engaged in enough weight training.

Feature Image: Eliza James, owner of Boxing is For Girls in Sugar House, works out with one of her clients. Photos by John Taylor.

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