Why is boxing becoming so popular as a workout? And what are the best luxury boxing gyms in the world right now? We’ve explored the latest overall trends in fitness, the new studio fitness classes and enhancements, the best luxury gyms and the latest in fitness tech. Now our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy breaks down what you need to know right now about boxing as a way to get and stay fit.
how boxing became my go-to workout
As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, boxing was synonymous with Rocky movies and Mike Tyson (before the ear chomp and its aftermath). I never gave it much thought growing up, except when the sport appeared in a glamorous movie scene. In film, boxing is often the setting when mobsters get in a fight. Or when its time for the boxer’s girlfriend to showcase her extensive portfolio of anguished facial expressions.
I was just as bewildered as everyone else when a few years ago, supermodels like Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls started posting photos and videos of themselves training in the ring.
Don’t those type of willowy, pretty girls do yoga and barre?
Then the 2016 election happened. And in an absurd, yet logical, coalescence of events I found myself wrapping my knuckles and putting on my first pair of boxing gloves at an I-love-kickboxing studio. It’s helmed by Larry Batista, a 3x welterweight kickboxing champion and 3rd degree black belt.
I started training 4 to 5 times a week, jab-crossing and roundhouse kicking my way out of the grief of what should have been. The result? A calmer mind, and sculpted muscles where I never thought possible.
what you need to know about boxing
Why is boxing so popular now? Well, dear reader, part of the allure is the intimidation factor.
Women, especially, are rarely encouraged to move in a combative and aggressive way. Instead, we’ve been trained to make ourselves as small and tucked in as possible. After 30+ years of carrying one’s body in this way, boxing, kickboxing and other mixed martial arts feel revelatory and empowering.
It’s an all-encompassing mind and body workout that not only incorporates body weight strength training and high intensity interval training but also works on your agility, speed, hand eye coordination, and memory.
There’s never been a better time than now to connect with your inner badass. In fact, I’d argue that we need all of you to connect with it ASAP! And because of the efficacy and popularity of the boxing workout, there are a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing the right studio.
We’ve rounded up the most posh studios where you’ll be able to train like a real fighter but then float like a butterfly…over to the sauna.
the top luxury amateur boxing gyms in the world right now
1. Everybody Fights – Philadelphia
We have to start our list of the most luxe boxing studios in – where else – Philadelphia. It is, after all, America’s historic boxing city which has produced some of the greatest fighters of all time: Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, and George Benton. And even a fictional hero you might have heard of? But unlike Rocky Balboa, you won’t have to throw any hooks at slabs of hanging meat at Everybody Fights.
Owned by George Foreman III, and with locations in Boston, Kentucky, Chicago and New York City, this 12,000 square-foot space is brand new as of this month, with two full-size boxing rings.
The workout is modeled after a traditional boxing training camp. However, the gritty environs covered in graffiti that we imagine when we think of a boxing gym are replaced with the amenities of a luxury fitness studio. You’ll not only find additional state-of-the art workout equipment here, but also enjoy a full-service locker room with steam room, blow dry bars, juice and coffee bar, and a lounge area. Sounds like a knockout combination to us!
2. Aerospace – New York City
Offering the most “savage and serene workout experience on the planet,” former champion pro boxer Michael Olajide Jr’s Aerospace is sleek, minimalist and sophisticated.
Don’t let the pristine space fool you. The workout is grueling and intense, with straight-up boxing classes, or combo classes of boxing mixed with cardio conditioning, jumping rope and even ballet. You’re likely to get so into the zone that you won’t even notice that it’s the favorite spot for many Victoria Secret Angels, as well as Hugh Jackman, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Jake Gyllenhal.
3. Gloveworx – Los Angeles
With locations in LA, Santa Monica and now, NYC (in the Oculus), aspiring boxers can train in intimate group settings with world class coaches.
A full-size competition ring takes center stage. Other resistance-training equipment like heavy bags, VersaClimbers, Woodway treadmills, SpinPro bikes and Olympic lifting racks fill out the rest of the space.
Your intense workout is rewarded by a lavish and professional recovery room where you can soak your muscles in Whirlpool ice baths and hot water therapy.
4. BXR – London
Impeccably designed, BXR upholds the authenticity of a boxing studio combined with upscale amenities. The workouts are lead by London’s most respected boxing coaches and elite trainers who are obsessive about form and technique.
The gym is rounded out by other equipment- rowers, TRX and Europe’s first VersaClimber studio. Anthony Joshua, Olympic gold medalist and IBF heavyweight world champion, is BXR’s founder. He has brought in clinical experts to address rehabilitation and recovery. And with a Joe & the Juice bar lounge and luxurious locker room and sauna (outfitted with Malin + Goetz bath products), we just may be “in the ring” for another round.
5. Tiger Muay Thai – Phuket
It doesn’t take a genius to guess the difference between boxing and kickboxing. It feels just as cathartic to kick something as it does to punch! While there are plenty of kickboxing studios stateside, if you ever find yourself in Asia, perhaps a trip to Thailand, the original home of kickboxing, is in order.
Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket is the world’s most highly-respected facility, where professional fighters and athletes come to train.
But it’s also beginner-friendly, and accommodating to vacationers and adventurers. There are bungalows and villas for prolonged stays and over 150 classes. They range from Muay Thai “the art of eight limbs”, to Mixed Martial Arts; Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; Cross Fit; Conditioning; and Yoga.
Their second facility, aptly named Tiger Muay Thai Beachside is newly opened as of this month, and overlooks Chalong Beach. It doesn’t get more luxurious than taking a dip in the ocean after working up a sweat!
top luxury amateur boxing gyms in the world right now.
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Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, fitness and even investigating police misconduct. Julie lives in NYC where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing and spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.