Shadowbox recently opened in my New York City neighbourhood and has been packing in punters with a jab, cross, hook prerogative, including myself.
I’m a kickboxer from way back, though the legs don’t kick as high 10 years on or the punches land as hard, but it could just be lack of practice. Regardless, when I tried Shadowbox, I enjoyed the class enough to go back for a second slug at the bag this week (despite the fact my abs were counting down the sweat-intense minutes to get out of there).
Located in New York’s Flatiron district, the aim of Shadowbox’s founders was to deliver a modern studio that was a stylish step up from the uniform grittiness of your usual boxing gyms that traditionally train professional fighters.
They’ve achieved it in sleek, slick form, but don’t be thrown off by the designer interior, their classes are designed to deliver head-to-toe conditioning results. Forty-five minutes includes a warm up session (burpee jump-squats anyone?) that will have you soaked in sweat before you’ve even slipped the gloves on, an intense shadowboxing session, then guided bag drills with core work in between sets.
Make no mistakes, as the website promises, this is a gruelling workout.
On my first visit, I met Victoria, a super-fit, American gal who’s been frequenting the studio several times a week. “Boxing makes me feel strong, confident, and capable of tackling my fears,” Victoria tells me, conveying what I think to be the reason most of the female-heavy clientele continue to show up. “It’s also fun and it teaches me a sport while shedding stress and fat, and gaining gorgeous, lean muscle. It challenges me, focuses me, and allows me to celebrate my beauty as a strong woman.”
Victoria mentions she also loves to spin, Soul Cycle to be exact. Which got me thinking, is Shadowbox the new Soul Cycle? In case you’ve been hiding out in the freezer this New York summer, or the sauna for cold Aussies, Soul is the boutique cycling phenom that is a dance party on a bike. It started taking over the US spin scene a few years ago and I admit, I am addicted. They incorporate high-energy music with even higher-energy instructors to get you pedalling for your life, while standing up, for a solid 45 ticks. What’s great is, they provide towels, slick bikes, Smart Water is available to buy and clip in cycle shoes are for rent. Classy locker rooms with all the amenities a physically-beat girl, or guy, could need are at the ready post class.
Shadowbox is the same jam. “The instructors have a great energy and motivate the class to work hard,” says Victoria. “The polished boutique decor makes Shadowbox inviting for those who want to experience boxing, both shadowboxing and heavy bag work, without the intimidation of an old-school boxing gym.”
A raw-roped, vintage-vibe boxing ring in the entrance that’s specifically for sparring. Forty luxe leather bags in a dark nightclub-vibe studio with state-of-the-art sound system. Polished locker rooms, crisp white towels, jars of hair elastics and C.O. Bigelow products. At $34 a class you want to be washing down with some designer skincare afterwards. And of course no fitness outfit would be complete without its own apparel line and juice bar servicing the entrance.
“We wanted to drop the intimidation factor to make boxing more inviting and accessible,” confirms owner Daniel Glazer, a former trader who came up with the idea after struggling to get his wife to join him at his usual, gritty boxing workouts.
With supermodels like Adriana Lima and Gisele Bünchen making boxing beautiful, Shadowbox is onto something. Even one of their instructors, the tough and toned Julie ‘Jaws’ Nelson, is a Wilhelmina model (she’s also a Soul Cyc instructor FYI).
She’s a furious teacher, demanding maximum output when you’re on the floor performing mountain climbs between punches. While Olympic fighter Raymond Montalvo is an instructor who demands you focus on your technique during the intense interval rounds.
What are you waiting for? Join the fashion-gloved movement now!