Thanks to Gigi Hadid, where boxing was once reserved for men in sweaty, no-frills gyms, now it’s all the rage. Then there’s GB boxer Nicola Adams who took home gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and helped inspire a generation that boxing is just as much a woman’s sport as it is a man’s. Boxing is also a full-on workout. And it’s not just about mindlessly punching a bag either, there are combinations of moves that require coordination and a sharp mind. It burns around 700 calories an hour and is a sure-fire way to lean out and tone up your arms and abs. It was with these benefits in mind that I embarked on Kobox, a studio devoted to high-intensity boxing-based classes for its Fight Club—seven classes in seven days.
Located on the King’s Road and founded by Cheryl Cole’s trainer, Shane Collins, along with Joe Cohen and Ronnie Shahmoon, Kobox is a studio that offers high-intensity boxing-based classes. Gloves are provided, but you need to buy wraps, these protect your hands (seriously, you bleed without them). It takes a few goes to perfect the art of wrapping, but once you do you legit feel like Rocky.
The studio is split into numbered bags (the most luxe-looking jet-black high-shine punching bags you ever did see) and corresponding numbers on the walls. You can choose to start on the wall or the bag, throughout the class, you switch between the two. On the bags each punch corresponds to a number: on your left-hand side, the jab (punch straight ahead) is one, hook (punching across) three and uppercut (punching upwards) five, while on your right side, the jab is two, the hook is four and the uppercut six. The trainer flashes up different combos of numbers onto the wall throughout each round. It sounds confusing and it is for about 10 minutes and then you get the hang of it, I promise. Kobox is as much about serious technique as it is about getting fit, so you’re encouraged to take on a boxer’s stance and block as you would if the bag was about to retaliate.
Each numbered wall section has a pair of gymnast rings and a medicine ball. Around the room are mats, dumbbells and weight plates that are recruited at different times throughout. Each class has a different focus: Mondays and Wednesdays are lower body, Tuesday and Thursdays are upper body, while Friday, Saturday and Sunday are full body. Each instructor has a different style, from their playlist to their teaching approach. But what’s standard is that throughout the 60 minutes you go from punching the bag to various workouts at the wall (think burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, squats with weight plates, ab bicycles) before switching back to the bag to go all over again. Rather than intervals, sticking with the boxing theme, each go on the bag and wall is called a round. Rounds can last anywhere from three to seven minutes, and the shorter and sharper the rounds the faster I felt the class went. Needless to say, you’re left soaked in sweat and knackered by the end of it. Thankfully there are showers complete with fluffy white towels and Ren products.
The Fight Club
I decided on day one, that seven consecutive days felt far too daunting to comprehend and that I would take the week class by class, round by round, exercise by exercise. I feel like this is an important lesson for many aspects of life, whether you’re embarking on a big work project or revamping your house, you need to have an overarching goal and a plan, sure, but you need to take it step-by-step so as not to feel overwhelmed.
It was a pretty tiring week; I’m not going to lie. I live nowhere near the King’s Road (more’s the pity) so I had to be up at 5:30 a.m. to make the 7:15 a.m. classes to be able to be at my desk in time for work. I was knackered and starving by 11 a.m. each day. The thing is, I really wanted to get results this week so I knew I needed to be in a calorie deficit (eating fewer calories than I burned) so I knew if I ate all the food I craved after the workouts this wouldn’t be the case. To ensure I stayed on track I counted my macros. The truth is that you won’t see the best results from your workouts if you don’t eat healthy (I’m a qualified PT, I know this to be true). It doesn’t mean you have to lead a miserable existence, I had work drinks on Tuesday, dinner with friends on Wednesday and a birthday lunch on Friday and I ate and drank what I wanted on each occasion; I was just healthy the rest of the time.
While I had pushed myself at Kobox, I had also had a hectic week socially so I was genuinely surprised to find, by the end of the week, I had lost 2.5 pounds and an inch off my waist. What’s more interesting is that for the first four days I didn’t lose anything. Monday through Friday I didn’t notice much change but I truly believe that’s because I wasn’t sleeping long enough (thanks to those 5:30 a.m. starts) to reap the benefits. On Saturday morning I laid in until 10 a.m. before hot-footing it out the door for my 11:45 a.m. class. Beforehand, I weighed and measured myself and that long sleep was where the magic happened, I seemingly lost 2 pounds and 3/4 of an inch off my waist overnight. You see, I love to exercise but I love to sleep more. Rest is key to diet and exercise success, so much so that sleep should be factored into any healthy routine, with a rest day being key to success. Would I embark on Fight Club again? You bet I would, I lost an inch off my waist without having to eat lettuce and forgo alcohol for a week! Not to mention that, every so often, it’s good to push yourself to a limit you didn’t think possible—it’s confidence-boosting. I feel stronger and look leaner, but next time I’ll factor in plenty of sleep to compensate for that missed rest day.