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Pretty Spotlight: Introducing Co Owner of Pretty Top Team Frankie Hosking!

Welcome to our exclusive interview series, where we celebrate trailblazers in the world of combat sports and fitness at Pretty Top Team.

 At Pretty top team we cater to the 96% of people. Most people aren’t naturally gifted fighters and won’t find that training in a combat sport discipline comes easily. I feel like most fight gyms cater to the 4% of the population that find it easy but that’s completely unrealistic. Frankie Hosking, Co Owner of Pretty Top Team.
Female owner of combat sports gym Pretty Top Team in Cairns

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Frankie Hosking, the powerhouse owner of Pretty Top Team Gym in Cairns, Queensland. As a family-run establishment, Frankie and her husband Paul have transformed Pretty Top Gym into a beacon of inclusivity and empowerment in a traditionally male-dominated arena. Frankie's leadership has been instrumental in creating a welcoming space for both adults and children, with an impressive 50% female membership—a testament to her commitment to breaking barriers in combat sports. Beyond the gym walls, Frankie and Paul have extended their impact by establishing the Combat Sports Association Inc, a not for profit dedicated to supporting lower-income members of the community, ensuring that everyone has access to training and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Join us as we delve into Frankie's journey, her vision for Pretty Top Team, and her dedication to fostering a more inclusive and supportive combat sports community.

  • What inspired you to start your own fight gym? I’ve always wanted have my own business since I was little. I used to make jewelry or do spray tans or have new business every couple of weeks . So why a fight gym? Because when I met Paul, he was a professional fighter, so it just made sense that he passes on his knowledge. Together, we had passion for both sides of the business.

  •  And how did you navigate the challenges of entering a male-dominated industry?

It definitely is a challenge and I feel like because I’m young as well, people just assume I’m the receptionist. For example, in the past we’ve had a drop in want to join but skip straight to the level two class without previous experience. You have to start at level one, if you’ve never trained Muay Thai before. This man was getting really frustrated and tried to go over my head. It never even occurred to him that I might be the owner of the business. You just need to be confident in what you’re doing and also the standards that you set. You should never back down just because you’re a female and you’re in 20s.

  • Can you share some success stories of your members and how their journeys have impacted you personally and professionally?

Yes, we have a lot of success stories from members. One that comes to mind immediately is our coach Mikey, he was training in Jiu Jitsu for most of his 20s. He had a knee injury, while he was resting he came to our gym to train Muay Thai. When he signed up in December 2021 , he said, “ I’m only here until February until my knee is better and then I will go back to jujitsu at my old gym.” We had a feeling he wouldn’t.

Since he started with us, he’s lost almost 50 kg in weight and now he’s one of our coaches. He’s had five fights. It’s amazing, he’s gone from only wanting to train with us for a few months as a temporary thing while his knee heals to becoming a coach and a real valued member of our team. The development and levels that we have in place - the skies the limit. Every Muay Thai coach in our gym has started as the beginner with us.

  • How do you ensure a safe and inclusive environment for women and beginners in your gym?

Our classes as I mentioned before are in levels so everyone starts at level number one and it goes all the way up to level six which are our professional fighters. So the way that we ensure a safe environment is that you are in a class with people at the exact same level as you. As mentioned before we very rarely allow people to skip levels, every starts in level one, even if they've trained before. They must do one level one class and if we see that they are competent we allow them to move to level two. If your ego is too big to do one beginners class then we aren't the gym for you.

No one however no one skips past level two and that’s how we create a safe environment. Everybody in the class is at the exact same level. This prevents injuries and also it means everyone’s developing at the same rate. At Pretty Top Team we cater to the 96% of people. Most people aren’t naturally gifted fighters and won’t find that training in combat sport discipline comes to them easily. I feel like most fight gyms cater to the 4% of the population that find it easy but that’s completely unrealistic.

As for women that’s just something that’s grown organically this is probably because our one of our most successful fighters and coaches is Jessie and she’s a woman. And another great success story is Amy who’s had 14 fights with us. I think seeing women on the mats and seeing women treated the same as men, is really important.

We’ve been asked a lot if we’re gonna do a “women’s only” class and really there’s no need. We have around 50-50 ratio of male to female members. The reasons gyms might do “women’s only” classes is to encourage an intake of more female members or because their current members don’t feel comfortable in their mixed classes. And that’s a culture problem- why don’t they feel comfortable in the mixed classes? Our head coach Paul just treats every member of the class the same no matter their gender. Everyone does the same amount of rounds, the accountability is exactly the same. Therefore, the culture at our gym is one of inclusivity and equality and our female members feel comfortable.

  • What unique programs or training methods does your gym offer that set it apart from other fight gyms in the area?

So we do a 14 week program called “the build a fighter challenge”. It takes you from complete beginner, your first day stepping on the mats, to your first amateur Muay Thai fight in 14 weeks. We aren’t the only gym that is offering something like this in Cairns. However, ours is different because we focus on all the aspects of Muay Thai. Not just the training, although that is important, we also focus on mindset, nutrition and recovery. That’s what I think the other gyms are missing . Training is important but it’s those three other aspects that make a well rounded fighter. And it’s those three components that keep people in training.

We had a testimonial just recently, from Lara, one of the girls who did the last challenge. She said “it was a life changing program”. She has been a member with us for the last couple of years, but she rarely came to the gym. She decided she needed to do something that was going to keep her accountable. Now she’s done this she said she was way more resilient, confident in herself and has changed the whole lifestyle for the better. We had another member called Zac who was in the challenge and it inspired his whole family to eat healthy. Not one member of his family drop of alcohol for the whole 14 weeks. So also positively impacts people around them as well.

I think it’s all the other components that we teach that are also important. You speak to anybody who has had a fight and they will say that the hardest thing is the mindset. Someone came up to you in the street and tried to have a fight with you your body would go into its natural instinct and you’d try and defend yourself. But if someone told you that in 14 weeks in front of all your family and friends, they were gonna punch you in the face, for 14 weeks, you’d be bricking yourself. So you need to have a strong mindset and a postive self talk and that is definitely what’s sets us apart from the others gyms. We work with a fight therapist and no other gym in Cairns does this. No one else invests so heavily into the important of mental health.

  • You are the stepmom to two kids who both study multiple martial arts disciplines. What would you say to parents who are thinking of having their kids join Pretty Top Team?

My main thing about kids joining the gym, or any sort of sport, you’ve got to keep them accountable. This is what we see a lot of kids will try something on for a few weeks and then quit. Kids want to change things all the time and parents let them. So my biggest advice is if you want your kids to get into anything whether it’s martial arts or team sports or even an instrument or a language - you’ve got to keep them accountable. There’s gonna be days where they say “I don’t want to go Mum” . But as soon as they walk through that door, they’re fine. Teaching them accountability from a young age is so important for when they’re older. It’s a lot harder to learn to be healthy and fit when you’re an adult.

  • You have started up a Not For Profit The Combat Sports Association alongside the gym. Can you talk about the goals of this NFP, fundraising efforts and what you hope to achieve?

The main purpose of the Not for Profit is to build combat sport in Northern Queensland. Currently there is only one professional Muay Thai show in Cairns and there are no boxing shows. Just had the NQ games, but that’s only every three years. So there's nothing! So what happens when you’re a young person from a lower income family and you love Muay Thai, you want to attend nationals on the Gold Coast but you don’t have your own money to be able to do that? At the moment it means you just can’t go. So we set up this organisation so we can sponsor people like that, who have the passion and really deserve to go so they can attend these tournaments and do well. In addition, as what we want to build combat sports in Cairns we will be using the funds to fly up industry professionals to do seminars. The Combat Sports Association would heavily subsidise this so it’s open to anybody who is interested, no matter their income.

  • You are also the owner of an inclusive fight gear brand called Feud Fight Gear. Can you talk a bit about why you started the brand?

I started this brand because when I first met Paul, I wanted to buy him a new pair of Muay Thai shorts. The only good designs tend to be brands out of Thailand which I had to import into Australia.

The ones I could find within Australia were clearly designed and catered for men. The way the shorts were designed there was a lot of material around the crotch and a lot of baggy material around the legs. When women put them on, they would have a massive bulky bit around the front. Also there waa not enough room for a woman’s hips and bum. They weren’t cut stylishly and would definitely impact the way a woman is able to train in them. Either they conscious that someone can see up the leg or because women have smaller waists and bigger hips, they don’t fit at all.

So the way that my shorts are cut means that they’re comfortable for both men and women. The main focus is that both men and women feel comfortable and look cute when their training. At the end of the day when you look good, you feel good and if you feel good you train better.

  • Lastly in the few years the gym has been open it has gone from strength to strength. What do you believe is the gyms biggest achievement?

As I said before we cater for the 96% and therefore in our advertisements you see different members of all shapes and sizes and different abilities. I think one of the biggest things you see from other fight gyms is their marketing only really shows their top fighters but I think seeing only pictures of people with six packs is really intimidating. I’ve said before I personally would not step foot into another Muay Thai gym because I just wouldn’t feel comfortable. Combat sport is such a male dominated industry so the fact that we’ve been able to achieve 50% male to 50% female ratio of members is a real achievement for inclusivity. I think this is reflected on our mats and on our social media and marketing.

And importantly we’ve always stuck to our main core values of the gym; integrity, honesty, community. I think the community we have created at Pretty Top Team is the best thing about it and that’s what keeps people coming back!


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