If exercising until you think you’re going to vomit is your sort of thing, then KOBOX is for you…
A beginner tries is backkkk and this time I’m boxing at KOBOX!
If you’re new to this series, I’ll quickly catch ya up: there are so many things going on in London that I would LOVE to do, and yet all-too-often I let opportunities pass me by because I am too nervous to do them.
What if I look like a twat? What if I get it wrong? What if I walk in and everyone one turns around and points and laughs at me and makes me leave?
You know, the normal anxieties facing a woman in her mid-twenties.
One of my biggest problems areas is with exercise. I very much recognise these feelings of ‘gymtimidation’ when it comes to trying new fitness classes; particularly as our appearance and ability are so likely to be called into question.
And I hate that. Because there’s so much going on in London and I’m letting it pass me by because of something as small as fear? Yes, no thank you. NO MORE OF THAT.
I’m pushing myself to try new things, and because I know I’m not the only one prone to feeling feelings of fear before trying things for the first time, I’ve decided to dedicate blog posts to all that I try in the hope that I might be able to help ease the anxieties that come with the unknown.
So far I’ve talked about swimming in a public pool, the spinning classes at PSYCLE and the infamous BARRY’S BOOTCAMP. If there’s something you want me to try for you, hit me up, but in the meantime, let’s get into what it was like trying KOBOX for the first time!
CLASS: FULL BODY @ KOBOX
LOCATION: KINGS ROAD
TIME & DATE: 14:30, 6 JANUARY.
A bit about KOBOX according to their website:
“Where fight club meets night club.
Punching bags, burning fat and sweating lots, each 50-minute, high intensity class will see you tackle all the fundamentals of boxing.
The lights dm,, the beat drops and your inhibitions fall away…”
They’ve got one studio in Chelsea, one in Marylebone and one in the City.
They’ve got loads of classes and packages available on the websites, there are loads of instructors, classes every hour, every day and there are different types of classes available; full body, lower body, upper body and core.
The classes are about £20 each, they get cheaper the more you buy at once. I am beginning to understand that this is pretty much standard for London.
The Booking Process:
So easy, only complicated by my idiocy. KOBOX offer a beginner’s offer which is basically two classes and free hand wraps for £25. Spoiler alert: I’m v grateful for the second one and will defo be using it just as soon as I’ve recovered from the first.
I booked the day before the class with my friend Sarah, it was very easy and we were even able to bagsy boxing bags next to each other (much like choosing your seat on an airplane, the choice is yours if you book early enough!).
Unfortunately I’m a moron and booked my class for the wrong day (bag next to Sarah if she’d have arrived 24 hours earlier… DOH!), but the staff were SO nice and when I arrived they moved me free of charge into the class I’d wanted to go to, ensuring S and I could still be next to each other.
First impressions on arrival:
Before I arrived, I was incredibly apprehensive (maybe because I knew my fellow classmates would probably be able to knock me out in one punch if they didn’t like the look of me) but the anxieties totally evaporated the second I walked into the room.
The staff were so nice and helpful and smiley and although it was busy in the reception area, it felt utterly friendly. Of all the classes I have tried, this felt the most like I was walking into a community, if that makes sense.
You get given your own set of ‘under’ gloves, that are yours to keep when you sign in, that you bring with you to every class thereafter (they know you’ll be hooked after one, obviously!).
There is a bar where you can order protein shakes and water from, a big table to the left of that, some benches and lockers and at the back of the room are the changing rooms.
They’re nice, clean and with shampoo/deodorant/hairdryers to use which is a god send I’ll be honest with ya! I’d imagine it’s busy AF at lunch times/straight after work but it was absolutely fine when I was there.
They invite beginners in for a quick lesson with the instructor before the class which is so incredibly useful and not just because you get a sneak peak at the studio before you begin!
It’s a big room with one half dedicated to hanging punching bags and the other half, an open floor space with numbers and equipments against the walls.
It’s dark with ‘disco’ lights (apparently the lights are even cooler at the other studies), that give a sort of UV effect.
There are probably thirty bags in the room but it’s huge so feels far from cramped or overwhelming.
At the front of the room, above the wall numbers and equipment, there is a projection which, during the class, will show the numbers, representing the punching sequences that you need to be doing on the bags.
It sounds complicated but makes sense when you get into it and it’s incredibly helpful (I didn’t know it was there for the first two rounds because I’m a TWAT).
Right, so I know that all the classes will differ but I suspect that the format will fundamentally remain the same; I started on the bags, and then went to the wall, then back to the bags, then to the wall and on it went.
You grab yourself two gloves from the buckets on the door on the way in and a towel from the shelf. You go in and find your boxing bag and your wall spot. I was Bag 11 and Wall 16.
I put my phone, towel and water down on the floor by my wall spot, put my gloves on and stood at my bag as I waited for the class to start.
I’d learned the basic punches in my pre-lesson with instructor and from there was pretty much left to my own devices as we started punching: I FUCKING LOVED IT!!!!!!
If you’re not entirely sure if you’re getting it right, that’s okay. There are people to copy but also, at the end of the day, a punch is a punch, the bag isn’t going to hit you back so as long as you’re punching then you’re probably doing okay.
Jesse, the instructor, was giving great instruction and we could hear him clear as a bell over the music.
After ten minutes or so (I had no concept of time in there so that’s an estimation), we were done on the bags for this round and told to move to the wall and this is where I started to feel like I was going to DIE.
We started with weighted lunges and squats and were then told to do 20 burpees in one minute. If we did them all, we had to hold the plank until the minute was up. We did this three times back to back. No time for the plank? No rest. You just keep going with the burpees.
I was mentally writing my will as I went….
(Other wall stuff in the following rounds included a lot of work with the TRX, press-ups etc. and then star jumps, mountain climbers and all that fun stuff).
You do all of this with your back to the wall which means you end up facing the bags, in a semi-circle formation with the other wall-ers, while the other half of the class are on the bags.
The way that the room is laid out and since it was so dark I don’t exaggerate when I tell you that I can’t remember what one person in my classroom looked like. I was anonymous and so were they, I think that might have been why I loved it so much.
After another ten minutes or so you switch, back to the bags and it goes on like this until the end of the class. Punching, wall stuff, punching, wall stuff, you get the gist.
By the end of the punching sessions, I was having to dig really bloody deep to find more energy and if I’m honest it was very powerful. I was channeling all of my stress and sadness and pushing it off and it felt properly awesome.
A song called “Heartbeat” that I’d listened to a lot as a quite unhappy teenager came on at one point and it was the weirdest thing; all of these emotions welled up inside me and I just sort of exploded out all of these feelings I didn’t even really think I was still harbouring in these punches. I don’t mean to sound too cheesy but it was pretty epic.
My heart rate monitor at the end showed I’d burned 580 calories but I know that the ‘strength’ training element of the class meant that I’d worked harder than that indicated I had.
I can’t imagine another situation in which I would have pushed myself as hard as I did in that class, honestly.
Thoughts by the end:
- No two ways about it: I adored it.
- It’s a bloody amazing stress reliever; if you need an outlet or a way of getting out your head this is the PERFECT exercise for you, I can’t recommend anything higher.I knew I was going to really ache the next day (it’s the next day now and I really, really, reallllyyyyy do).
- If you’ve never been boxing before, this is perfect, you get to wear the gloves and do it seriously and properly but you don’t have to deal with the worry of looking like a knob or getting it wrong.
- It’s quite expensive, but I’m inclined to say that it’s worth it.
- Of all the classes I have tried, I think it would be this that would cause the biggest changes both mentally and physically. My head, my body, it all felt AMAZING.
- Show up 15 minutes early to your first one so you’ve got time to find your lockers etc before you initiation before the class starts.
- Listen hard in the talk at the beginning because that’s your one chance to ask questions!!
- DON’T WEAR JEWELLERY!!! Obviously rings (I left mine in the locker) but bracelets too because the gloves go quite far up your wrists. Also, necklaces bounce around and can whack you in the face if you’re taking the burpees seriously enough.
- TAKE A SHIT TONNE OF WATER CAUSE BABY YOU’LL NEED IT!
- Start on the bags if you get the choice and if you like to check yourself out whilst you are working out then go by the walls because they are all mirrors.
- Remember that the instructions are at front, if you’ve got bad eyesight, get up there!!!
- When it comes to the punching, if you are anything like me, I’d recommend imagining your own, younger face filled with worry and sadness on the bag and punch that all out and it’s powerful AS FUCK!!!!
So there you have it, my KOBOX experience.
I adored it.
I mean, I hated the burpees and the mountain climbers and the star jumps but I LOVED it.
My body is so sore today, my back is killing me (in a fab way), and I did feel like I was going to vomit like four times BUT even as I was doing it and loathing it I knew that I was adoring it.
For my mental health as much as anything else, I think I will be going back to this one on the regular.
£20 feels steep, but at the same time, I can’t put a price on that feeling.
I’ve also found that since I stopped drinking I’ve got a bit more money on my hands, so might as well spend it somewhere eh?!
Already I feel like part of the family, I’ve got the gloves and I know I will for sure be going back. Cannot recommend it highly enough!
PS. I’ve wanted to go to KOBOX forever and I think that’s exclusively thanks to the IRL #influencing of my fave Instagram gal @sophiemilner_fs who has long since sworn by it.