PRIVATE PASSIONS

Published: 02/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5958 Page 32

Pav Agroural, senior house officer in neurosurgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, likes to punch and kick away her pent-up stress after a long shift.

'I have been a devotee of body combat and fight-club exercise classes for a few years now. At my peak I was going to five classes a week, ' says Pav, 28. 'The instructor will get you doing lots of kicks and punches to 'happy hardcore' music and combine it with moves taken from different martial arts. You do not really get to hit other people so you end up boxing the air in front of a big mirror.

'I make it my mission to go, even though I work anti-social hours and sometimes overnight. I am a very energetic person so even if I have had a hectic shift I will drag myself to the gym because I know how much better I will feel for it. It gives me lots of energy, but I seem to be able to fall asleep more easily too.

'The benefits are fantastic - you can burn up to 700 calories in one hour. It toned-up my butt, slimmed my thighs and got rid of my flabby arms, plus it helps me to burn off any nervous energy. You have to be fit and healthy in this profession.

'I was seriously considering taking up karate not so long ago and collected some leaflets about local classes, but in the end I never got round to it. Attending regular classes can be hard with my kind of workload - or for anyone that works in the NHS - but the gym has classes going on at different times so There is always one I can make it to. Even if I can't I would never opt for a yoga class instead, I can't see the point when boxing is so great.'