From iconic fighters like Mohammed Ali, Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather to blockbuster films such as Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, and The Fighter, boxing has long captured the attention and affection of people across the globe. Whether it’s the massive fictional villain Drago or a more compact figure like Manny Pacquiao, shirtless competitions expose sculpted bodies that boast countless hours of the rigorous exercise habits required of these athletes to stay in competitive shape for their sport.

While mixed martial arts and UFC may dominate television screens and barroom banter these days, boxing remains beloved when it comes to fitness. With the recent popularization of high intensity interval training (HIIT), boxing is trending once again, as it is a killer HIIT workout. In addition to classes led by instructors, like Tabata or Tae Bo, virtual boxing is catching on too. The Nintendo Switch has music-infused boxing and Mirror offers training in the sport as well.

Starting a new or otherwise unfamiliar workout can often feel intimidating, though, so for those wondering if boxing is a worthwhile investment of their time or just curious as to what to expect out of a class, Health.com published a recent article reviewing Gloveworx in New York City, writing: 

Boxing basics: Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, roll, slip—these are the basic moves you’ll typically learn no matter what type of boxing class you sign up for. You’ll also be regularly reminded to keep your gloves up (because no one wants to take a punch to the face). Just don’t make the mistake of thinking boxing is only an upper body workout. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to be full body, and you’re going to be sore afterward. Count on sparring in the ring, heavy bag work, possibly hitting the speed bag, and general exercises (think squats and planks). 

What Gloveworx says you’ll get: While this boxing studio offers a variety of classes—Boom X,  Boom, Lightning, Blitz, and One-On-One—I took the hour-long GWX 101. This class is touted as a “slower-paced session delivered in a small group of 2-6 people who are learning the ropes… with a coach who is focused on getting your technique just right.” The class description also notes that you’ll perfect the basics of throwing punches and boxing footwork.

What I got: First of all, don’t be fooled by that 101 moniker. This class will kick your butt! We started with the most comprehensive warmup ever—it took 15 minutes—ensuring that every single muscle in the body was primed and ready to go. Next we learned the proper mechanics of each punch, first practicing via shadow boxing, and then moving on to one-on-one glove work. Just when my heart was really pumping and fatigue was starting to set in, we headed to the Versa Climber for some sprint work. (FYI: The Versa Climber is hard AF, and I despise it.) To round out the workout, we finished with some core work, holding planks for several rounds of varying times.

Sculpted abs are great and improved self-defense skills are always good too, but staying in shape is the real reward for those willing to keep their gloves up and their feet sliding.

To read the full writeup click here.