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Make like Rocky Balboa and punch above (and below) your weight at one of New York’s world-famous boxing institutions. Boxing is incredibly effective for stress relief, so is especially recommended if you’re on a stressful business trip or just need to let off some steam. As well as stress relief, this sport of champions is a great fat-burner (500 cals per session, anyone?), good for increasing muscle tone and improving core stability. It also clears your head and makes you feel incredibly powerful which is never a bad thing.
The city is littered with ‘fight clubs’ and some are better than others so do your research. Or take a little look at our handy list below…
Church Street Boxing Gym
While boxing greats such as Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis and MMA stars such as Chris Weidman and Liam McGeary have trained at Church Street Boxing Gym, so have men and women from just about every background imaginable. They pride themselves on having struck the right balance between an authentic fight gym and a welcoming environment with a true sense of community. Their class schedule includes more than a hundred Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Boot Camp classes per week across their two venues. Check out: churchstreeboxing
Michael Olajide founded Kingsway Gym so that anyone can enjoy boxing in a friendly and safe environment. As a formerly ranked boxer and Nigerian Lightweight Champion with 76 professional bouts under his belt, he trained boxers of every level from actors and recreational boxers, to world-class amateurs and professional fighters.
When you enter Kingsway Gym and walk up the wooden stairs, the first thing you notice is the smell of adrenaline that pumps up your own passive muscular reflexes in preparation for a vigorous workout. That stuff is contagious. As you look around, you’re immediately visually stimulated by the variety of boxing pictures, logos and collages of high-impact fight scenes representing championships and successes of days gone-by.
Each step you take along the narrow corridor filled with boxing memorabilia prepares you for the workout ahead and begins to awaken your warrior spirit. Along with two regulation-size boxing rings, Kingsway also offers treadmills and a complete weight training facility. One for the ladies: if you’re not exactly comfortable working out next to the big boys, Kingsway Gym offers a women-only class on Saturday mornings which is worth a visit.
Boxing classes don’t make you a fighter any more than spinning classes make you a cyclist. This is a boxing gym for people who want to box, not to make a better living but to make living better. We love this philosophy so much. You don’t have to be a professional fighter to be a ‘professional’ fighter.
Trinity’s fighters are men and women who want to train like professional fighters but don’t want to get punched in the face for a living. They work as doctors, lawyers, actors and artists by day and train like Sugar Ray Leonard by night. The difference is they’re not getting a black eye doing it. Just because you like playing football doesn’t mean you have to play it in the Premier League or NFL. At this gym, they offer the two-hand touch version of boxing. So, you’ll get a body like a fighter without getting a mug like one too.
Regardless of your fitness level or athletic ability, they can transform you, physically and mentally, into a fighter. The first time we went here we knew we’d keep coming back again and again. They really encourage women to be unapologetic when it comes to throwing punches in the ring and they cater for kids too, building self-confidence and self-esteem. The atmosphere is awesome and class sizes are kept small. This place is for real people living real lives who want to improve their fitness and mind state. We LOVE.
We’ve been to this place just the once but as you enter, you’re greeted with a Muhammad Ali quote on the wall:
“Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”
Words to live by? It’s in a great location in the West Village and is run by Rob Piela, a former boxer. The trainers here focus on ‘proprioceptive’ training: doing things slightly off-balance, as if on a wobble board.
It’s a pretty simple, no-frills gym (just the way we like it). It’s been hyped up a lot recently as it’s been frequented by a few Victoria’s Secret models, which might be enough motivation for some to get into the ring…
Next time we visit, we’re going to sign up for a private training class, it’s meant be their speciality.
Shadow Box calls itself a ‘boutique fitness boxing studio’, with the emphasis on ‘fitness’. They’ve created a full-body workout incorporating high-intensity rounds of shadowboxing, body-weight exercises and heavy bag work using various guided punch combos. The result is a 45-minute workout that helps you both lose and find yourself. It involves shadow boxing (contactless boxing) in a dimly lit studio environment and all movements are paired with high-energy music to inspire and motivate. It promotes focus within one’s own personal space and we found it very effective.
Overthrow New York
Down on Bleecker Street, we found this Fight Club-esque basement boxing studio where group class ‘Underground’ is 45 minutes of shadow boxing, heavy bag work and basic boxing to high energy music. Overthrow’s Boxing Burnout takes place in the infamous Underground level 9, were fighters learn footwork, boxing technique and what it feels like to move and box like a fighter. A must-see if you’re near Bleecker.
This place opened quite recently in the Flatiron/Chelsea neighbourhood in New York and is founded by four entrepreneurs who saw an opening in the group fitness world to shake up stale norms. From their unique backgrounds—hospitality, service, and fitness education—and their shared urban-chic-meets-street POV, comes Rumble—the next generation of group fitness. One that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still delivers an incredible and effective workout.
Rumble incorporates the best principles of the sweet science of boxing and strength training, all to help you develop that lean, strong, and confident fighters physique. Rumble is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), strength training, metabolic conditioning (METCON), and uppercut throwing cardio in one clean class.
This place has similarities to London’s KOBOX and 1Rebel’s Rumble class. It’s fierce though and if you like the idea of getting super fit using HIIT but love the head space and power you get from boxing then this you’ll want to check this place out. Pronto!
Box + Flow
Again very new to the New York fitness scene. This place is like a dream to us. Mixing our two favourite physical practices of yoga and boxing for fitness and a clear head space. Wow. Just Wow. So what is it? They say Box + Flow is for Women that aren’t afraid to get messy and Men who aren’t ashamed to flow.
Their 50-minute box + flow classes are about letting yourself get messy on a heavy bag to beats by DMX + Nirvana before craving the solace of your child’s pose. From there, they take it into a fast flow sequence to open up the shoulders, heart, and mind with Bon Iver, Mac Miller, Frank Ocean and Solange in the background.
The most skilled fighters have flow in their fight. They urge you to let your mind detach as you flow thru the fight + fight thru the flow. They want you to let it be a dance. Everyone trains barefoot (so good!) to ensure easy transition from the bags to the mats. The class starts with an HIIT shadowbox warmup to learn technique and fundamentals of aerobic boxing before taking the skills to the bags.
After lengthy combinations and two partner rumble rounds, your adrenaline is pumping just as gloves + wraps are removed. You then make your way onto your yoga mat for a juicy flow to sweeten the struggle and bring balance to the fight.This class is designed for all levels and a private room is available to hone boxing and yoga technique for those who want to sharpen their skills and feel more comfortable in group classes.
Every day we are confronted with situations out of our control. we choose to fight or we choose to flow. Fight is the fire, our potential; the will to win, the want for more. Box + Flow challenges gets you to dig that little bit deeper, and search inward to find your fight and then let things flow. Next time you’re in the Big Apple and fancy some yoga moves with the hero’s fight then you’ll jam this place.
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Of course, if you’ve had your fill of yoga and don't fancy getting your Rocky on, New York has a…