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Gigi, Karlie, Adriana, Kendall… You name the model and it’s almost guaranteed that they love to box. And it’s no wonder because it’s one of the very best all-round workouts for defining muscles, getting lean, bolstering bones, busting stress and, well, feeling like a boss. “Boxing involves every muscle in your body,” says KOBOX trainer Maciela Servend, and because it strikes the right balance between cardio and resistance training, you’re getting a whole lot of workout in just one class.
Aside from the health benefits, it’s a great skill and one that provides a great base for self-defence, not to mention the thrill of whacking a bag, which you may or may not be visualizing as something – or someone – else.
Here are our favourite London boxing classes to get a bit punchy.
Box to the dulcet tones of Justin Bieber, Ashanti, Kendrick Lamar and any other 90s RnB meets Pop combo at this fight club night club. It’s boutique (so there are nice showers, hairdryers and changing space in the vicinity), but doesn’t take itself too seriously, which in our books is a major plus. Each trainer does it differently but you’ll typically do four intervals, during which you’ll move from punch bags to planks, burpees and push-ups and vice versa. “If you’re engaging the right muscles with power and speed you can easily burn around 700 to 1000 calories per class,” says Servend. It’s a tough workout but the tough really do get going when listening to such good music.
Studios in Chelsea and The City. First time class £25 for two, including KOBOX hand wraps
Punch bags aren’t for everyone and for those that find them that little bit too intimidating, BoxFit is a really great place to start. The class combines aerobic movement with shadow boxing (which is what the us mere mortals would call punching thin air) to create a really sweat-inducing workout. Our top tip is to really punch like you mean it – whether that means visualizing your ex or someone equally infuriating; because you’re not hitting a bag, it can be easy to get a bit sloppy.
BoxFit available at Frame in Shoreditch. £12 per class
If it’s a solid technique you want, then Blok’s new boxing studio is a super cool, bare-bricked, warehouse-style gym with instructors that put the emphasis on footwork, endurance and, essentially, how you throw a punch. One of the best classes they offer is Box & Bell; it blends cardio - hitting the Lonsdale (blast from the past) punch bags – with resistance exercises using the dreaded kettlebell to target the core and leave you with ripped abs, I’m assured.
Blok is in Lower Clapton. Single class £14
You don’t get much more luxurious than BXR, a members-only boxing gym in Marylebone with low-level lighting and a Joe and the Juice bar inside (inside!!!). Aside from how good looking it is, know that Anthony Joshua is also one of the founders, meaning that you get a pretty damn authentic experience too. Sweat by BXR is the pay-per-class option that offers a whole assortment of workouts, but the Skills class is the one during which you’ll learn your upper cut from your jab and your hook from your cross – the soundtrack is pretty good too. We recommend any of the classes with trainer James Pisano, who is as testosterone as they come and will put you through your paces in a very fun way.
BXR is in Marylebone. Single class £30
Head to the sleekly designed, friendly-staffed AnotherSpace for their HIIT45 workout that uses boxing work to fire up your metabolism and melt away calories and fat in the process. “Boxing is super high-intensity so even after you’ve finished, your body continues to burn calories for up to several hours after you’ve exercised,” says Servend. At AnotherSpace, you do intervals, which aside from the punching, comprises other HIIT exercises, so anything from lunges and squats to using weights and deadlifting. The best bit is that there are screens on the walls that indicate how long you’ve got left doing each exercise, which trust me helps when your legs are about to give way.
AnotherSpace is in Covent Garden. Single class £20
If authenticity is the name of the game and you want to get all Jake Gyllenhaal-in-Southpaw then Box Clever is your place. There is none of the faff - the fancy changing rooms and kale-scented hand washes - in fact, you’ll find it hidden away in a multi-storey car park, but that’s what makes it one of the very best, and most fun. The brave should try The Wake Up Session – it’s a mix of high intensity, punch bag work and ab-sculpting exercises – while those even braver, who really want to get the full monty of boxing, should try the Master Class. You’ll be skipping, boxing and sparring for an hour and a half with a trainer to help refine your technique.
Box Clever Sports is in Ladbroke Grove. Single class £15
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