CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: AEROSPACE; OVERTHROW; GOTHAM GYM; SHADOWBOX; CHURCH STREET BOXING; PUNCH FITNESS
Walking around New York City these days it’s not unusal to see a pair of boxing gloves draped over the shoulder of a fashionably dressed woman. Check out Instagram and you’ll see many a fashion model punching it out with her trainer in sweaty style. Boxing has become the hottest workout in town. A slew of new boxing fitness studios opened their doors in 2015, from the spa-like Shadowbox to the nightclub grungy Overthrow. Long established boxing gyms like Gleasons in Brooklyn, which opened it’s doors in 1937, has more new members than ever, particuarly among women.
Fighters are known for their fitness and ripped physiques. Not only does boxing tone muscles and build full body strength, but it’s a major cardio workout, as anyone who has jump roped or hit the heavy bag for 3 minutes straight can attest. Just one boxing class can burn up to a thousand calories. It’s a sport that requires not just physical but mental discipline as well. Putting together a series of jab-hook-cross-upper cut combinations while bobbing and weaving requires intense focus and concentration, in addition to muscular and cardiovascular strength.
We spent the summer checking out New York City’s hottest boxing gyms, both old and new. Boxing classes in general feature a mix of calisthenics like squats, lunges, jumping jacks and other plyometrics; good old fashioned sit-ups and other ab work; jump rope, shadowboxing, mitt and heavy bag work. Choosing a boxing gym can come down to location. Do you want designer chic or a “Rocky” style gym? Do you want to actually fight or just train like you do? Whether you’re looking to rule the ring or just blow off some steam, we’ve got your guide to all the hot fight clubs in town.
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“Home of Underground Boxing”, the recently opened Overthrow feels more fightclub than fitness studio, and in fact the space is a former afterhours club and meeting spot for radical activists. Dimly lit with red hues, class at 7:30 am had a been-up-all-night vibe, but packed a punch. Classes are taught by pro and top amateur fighters, who put an emphasis on proper form. The 45 minute Boxing Burnout Class incorporates basic boxing technique, shadowboxing, heavy bag work, set to club thumping, heart pumping music.
Whereas many boxing gyms train you like a real fighter, Shadowbox takes a fitness only approach, and the design of the space is like a boxing spa. Opened last spring, this street level studio offers daily heavy bag classes in a cool dim blue room hung with 40 bags. There is private training as well in a vintage whitewashed ring flooded with natural light. Workouts consist of intense shadowboxing and guided heavy bag work, interval training and body weight exercises, paired with high-energy music for a grueling full body workout. A ringside café serves Intelligentsia Coffee and Kilogram Tea, as well as fresh designer juices. The locker rooms feature full-service amenities and complimentary toiletries by C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries.
Run by former kickboxing champion Adelino DaCosta, Punch Fitness Center has multiple NYC locations as well as one in the Hamptons and Greenwich, CT, offering both classes and one-on-one training. Style Of Sport took it uptown to Harlem, for our own private class with a group of lucky friends who were swagged out in leggings provided by Prismsport. Classes integrate boxing with conditoning drills, performed both as a group and individually with a trainer. It is a heart pumping non-stop workout. Even hand wraps are put on while in a squat position.
A favorite among such top models as Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne to name a few, Gotham Gym is one of the hottest of the newer boxing facilities. Their motto is “Train Like A Fighter”, and the gym offers daily classes focused on boxing fundamentals and conditioning, as well as private instruction, to make sure people do. Small group classes take place in the ring, starting with a series of intense warm up exercises and cooling down with core work. In between, students pair up, focusing on mitt work from both sides of the glove. Surprisingly providing the moving target for your partners punches is as much of a workout as hitting itself!
Former champion boxer Micheal Olajide Jr. has been a fixture on the NYC fitness scene for many years, and Aerospace was one of the first to offer boxing conditoning as a studio fitness workout. Co-founded with former ballet dancer Leila Fazel, Aerospace is a sleek and modern facility. It is far from your typical grungy boxing gym, but make no mistake, you’ll train like a pro. Classes like Aerobox, Aerojump and Aerosculpt are consistently rated some of the toughest in town – non-stop interval training consisting of a lot of jump rope, shadowboxing, along with other muscle endurance exercises with weight bars, hand weights, resistance bands and gliding discs. Aerospace is a favorite with Adriana Lima, Candice Jablonski and other Victoria’s Secret models, and where they go to get whipped into hot swimsuit shape.
The original NYC boxing gym and the oldest in the USA, Gleasons has been around since 1937 and where such legendary champions as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Robinson have trained, as well as Hilary Swank for her Academy Award winning role in “Million Dollar Baby.” Located in Dumbo, right under the Brooklyn Bridge, this no frills, real deal facilty offers primarily one-on-one training to both pros and regular folks alike. There are three full size boxing rings, and one full size wrestling ring, hanging bags of varying sizes, double end bags and uppercut bags. A selection of cardio equipment is also available for use including treadmills, steppers, rowers and stationery bikes, in addition to an assortment of free weights.
Mendez is another old school, real fighters gym offering traditional boxing circuit training. Every 3 minutes a bells rings for intervals of jump rope, shadow boxing, heavy bag, mitt work, and other conditioning drills. There are trainers on the floor with years of fight experience, offering both group and invidual workouts, and stressing technique regardless of whether you have any intention of actually ever getting in the ring. The first class is free. Just show up and jump in!
Opened in 1997, Church Street Boxing Gym, is the largest “fight gym” in New York City, offering a variety of boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) classes. With an authentic boxing gym vibe, greats such as Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis have trained here, yet the doors are open to any and all just looking to get into great fighting shape.
Title Boxing Club is a national chain with multiple US locations that offers boxing and kickboxing fitness workouts. These total body core strengthening workouts boast up to 1,000 calories burned per hour. Group classes take place in an industrial warehouse, movie set like facility, and feature traditional boxing drills and conditioning, with a focus on heavy bag training. First class is free!
NOT NYC BASED?
HERE ARE A FEW OTHER STORIED BOXING GYMS AND FITNESS STUDIOS IN A CITY NEAR YOU!
Miami’s World Famous 5th Street Gym was founded in 1950 by Angelo Dundee, famed trainer of Muhammad Ali, and later Sugar Ray Leonard. 65 years later it still retains its original vibe and unbeatable reputation.
Prevail is a trendy fitness boxing gym in Los Angeles focused on circuit training and conditioning. A favorite of among LA models and former Miss USA Olivia Culpo, they offer fun, high-energy group boxing classes and an empowering exercise regimen.
Founded by pro boxer George Foreman’s son, The Club offers 20 different combination classes, steam showers, a juice bar and a pro shop. This super popular spot caters to everyone from college students to businessmen, corresponding with the gym’s mantra of “Everybody Fights.”
Sam Colonna served as the Head Boxing Coach of Chicago Boxing Club, guiding them to 5 Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament Team Championships from 2008-2012. With over 30 years of experience, he now offers coaching and group classes not just to fighters, but anyone interested in boxing fitness.
Featuring its own signature brand of fitness kickboxing in Nashville’s hip district, The Gulch, Hot Box also offers a complimentary dynamic strength program called “The Ring”, featuring everything from treadmill to kettlebell training. Classes boast between 800-1000 calories burned.
Located in Philadelphia, home of Rocky Balboa, Strength Academy is located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Northern Liberties. The gym offers Muay Thai, boxing, kettlebell, strength and conditioning classes under the tutelage of pro fighters and trainers specialized in each discipline.