THE BASICS: A proper Rocky Balboa workout at a friendly, welcoming boxing gym that means business on Tottenham lane, right opposite Hornsey station. There were as many girls as guys in the class so definitely a good find for feisty aspiring Hot Bitches… Get FIT not HIT!!
THE BITCHES: Carly (where the hell is everyone else lately?)
THE CLASS: Boxing. Yeah, you heard me right.
Matt, founder of Total Boxer had contacted me through twitter and invited me to head over and give them a go. Despite a peppered history in which I was officially the smallest and least intimidating SA licensed bouncer in Chelsea circa 2008 (true story), I was slightly apprehensive about the idea of a boxing class. I talk a big talk but I’m actually a bit of a wimp. However, the rules of Project Hot Bitch stipulate that all kind invitations must be accepted, and so after chatting on twitter a bit more, I nervously but excitedly headed off to Tottenham on Tuesday afternoon for the 6.15pm class!
My only experience of a boxing gym prior to this was “Basher’s” on Eastenders (much to my shame), and so I was pleasantly surprised to walk in and find a spotless, bright warm studio with high ceiling, huge mirrors (to watch myself look increasingly fatter and sweatier as the class progressed – joy) and best of all shiz-loads of awesome looking equipment.
On arrival, Matt recognised me and gave me the warmest welcome, which was really lovely and put my mind at ease about this boxing malarkey. He introduced me to Tony, who was going to be running the class along with Deniz. I chatted to Tony about Project HB whilst filling in registration forms, and all the while he unthreateningly sipped on a cup of tea. These boxing types aren’t what I was expecting at all! A cup of tea indeed!
Anyway, cup and saucer aside….. let’s get down to the class. it was made up of about 10 people, and we fitted nicely into the studio; more than 15 would be a bit of a squeeze I think. Also great was the fact that male/female ratio was about 60/40 (I know these are small quantities and it should be easy to give you exact numbers, but I cannot express how little information my sweat-addled brain takes in when it is concentrating on staying alive and exercising simultaneously). Anyway, what I am trying to say is that there were some other women in the class.
Before we started, Tony patiently helped me to wrap my hands up in long cotton straps, to protect them in the boxing gloves later. It felt a bit strange but I got used to them quickly, and it was necessary, especially for wrist protection. Plus they made me feel like a hard-ass boxer, so I was definitely in the zone! Veteran class attendees put their own straps on, and I thought it was really kind of Tony to take the time to help me as the newbie. These guys really did engage with the class and make it feel bespoke and personal.
And so we began! Skipping was first- a big clock counting down intervals of time was programmed by Tony as he encouraged us to skip fast-slow-fast-slow. It was exhausting. (And a retrospective sorry to all who had to witness the undignified reality of a shamefully cheap sports bra.)
Skipping is one of those things that I had nostalgic memories of. WRONG. I could barely breathe after this warm up. I was pretty pumped though, and ready for the next section- actual fisticuffs!! REAL LIFE BOXING, BITCHES!!! Hurrah!
On with the gloves. Too exciting. Myself and another newbie were taken to one side to learn the basics with Deniz, which consisted of 6 main moves, including upper cuts and hooks. All the time he was mindful to remind us of the importance of keeping our stance and using our whole body to deliver the blow, rather than just punching from the shoulder. Sharp, clean moves were key, and we practiced these as the rest of the class had a “free” session moving around the room and swiping at the air….. like cats swiping flies. Or more like GODDAMN LIKE TIGERS SWIPING CROCODILES IN AN EPIC FIGHT TO THE DEATH. Yeah, definitely like the second one.
This section was over and it was onto the most exciting part of the class for me… bag-work! Punch-bag, prepare to DIE, YOU MOFO!!!
We were each assigned a bag (it was pretty relaxed- everyone just grabbed a bag and there was no system in particular- I even shared one at one point) and had several minutes to punch the s**t out of it with newly learned skills! And no I don’t know how many minutes exactly, I was concentrating on remembering to breathe, remember? Anyway, we moved around the bags and after completing all of them, we had a small die, a drink and I wondered if I would be able to type tomorrow. (Answer = no.)
We partnered up after this and took it in turns to hold the bag whilst our partner practiced speed and agility- keeping up speedy little hits against the bag whilst our partner encouraged/yelled at us. Good way to engage with other class participants, and also a good way to keep us all going when bodies were starting to flag.
Final part of the class was what I shall refer to as the Torture Stage. Amongst others, we completed reps of squats, press ups, sit ups, really really difficult sit ups and burpees. I hate burpees. I HATE THEM. We did 4 rounds of them. My pathetic little muscles nearly cried.
Everyone was absolutely shattered by the end of the class. Sweat was pouring down my face, and my weedy arms were shaking.
What a work out!!! I was so pumped, seriously. This was a ridiculously hardcore class. I can attest to this by saying “OOOF!” like an old lady every time I had to get up or sit down for the entirety of Wednesday.
Total Boxer. I think you broke me. For this, I SALUTE YOU!
THE VERDICT: A seriously hardcore workout with the chance to learn a new skill and feel like a hard-ass as a bonus. A welcoming bunch of people, a great space, and I thoroughly recommend that women give it a go. My body hurt like hell but despite the muscular aches, I felt fit and foxy the next day. Goddamn lucky colleagues!
THE EXTRAS: I think this is all the extra information you need, really:
Hideous. Genuinely hideous.