by Katie Mark
I walk into The Club at 5:50 a.m., pass the two boxing rings, and drop my bag in what some gym rats may consider a posh locker room. Loud punches can be heard on the heavy bags hanging in the two dark corners of The Club. On the turf, I mentally prepare myself for BOXFIIT™ Strength Extreme and gaze at early risers sparring in the rings under bright lights where you’ll never see a dull workout. I look along the ring at the assembly line of kettlebells, dumbbells, rowing machines, battle ropes and BoxMasters that will drench me in sweat by the time they’re done with me.
It is a club with no “bros” and no unspoken dress code.
I’ve worked out at many gyms, and nothing compares to The Club. The Club facilitates a community that the cliques at Equinox, LA Fitness, and CrossFit gyms could never rival.
This community atmosphere, situated in Fort Point of South Boston, radiates from the owner George Foreman III, the son of two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman. Foreman built a community of members who work together through boxing workouts, and it is one in which you walk in and know: this is where you are meant to be.
The professional boxer and entrepreneur Foreman developed his Fighters workout around Fight Intensity Interval Training (FIIT), which is equivalent to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT workouts are scientifically supported to burn calories and improve athletic performance in less time than traditional workouts.
Foreman’s Fighters workout in The Club’s warehouse-like atmosphere revolves around the art of boxing fitness. FIIT tests your strength and endurance through boxing, strength and cardio drills by using equipment such as kettlebells, weights, rowing machines, turf exercises and suspension.
Under FIIT is the BOXFIIT™ workout series, which includes FIITWORK™, BODYWORK™, BAGWORK™, and ROAD WORK™. For instance, BOXFIIT 360™ is a circuit-style workout that includes a warm-up, 12 stations of 2-minute high intensity rounds, and a cool down. The workout is done in teams of two to four people.
But what makes Foreman’s BOXFIIT™ workout so unique?
Many HIIT workouts are performed using just cardio equipment. Yet, both strength training and HIIT workouts are some of the best exercises for us; combining the two creates a powerfully effective workout. BOXFIIT™ combines boxing with strength training and cardio.
Just outside the rings is a dark corner where you won’t get The Club’s bottle service (that’s upstairs at the water fountain or organic, cold-pressed juice bar), but heavy bag service with BAGFIIT. Get your hands wrapped because BAGS + Body’s bootcamp-esque workout consists of a 30-minute grind of cardio and non-stop punching on a heavy bag.
If you aren’t motivated already, here’s a fun fact: boxing fitness is the “secret” training tool for many Victoria’s Secret models (cue Foreman’s BOXFIIT™ as healthy swag?)
Friedman Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition PhD candidate and instructor at The Club Nicole Schultz says the classes offered don’t just throw newcomers into boxing. The instructors always provide members with modifications and thoroughly explain the techniques.
“Both the way the instructors teach and how they interact with you outside of class—willing to talk and work with you—is how The Club helps its members who are new to boxing,” Schultz says. “They always welcome you in, show you around, and there is always someone who approaches you to help.”
The welcoming atmosphere comes from the trainers, staff, members and George himself. It’s rare that you leave the workout without making a new friend.
Foreman not only creates a community for his members, but also for his staff.
“It’s unique how much George invests in his trainers and provides professional development and opportunities for growth,” Schultz says. “His instructors and trainers are part of a family, and the genuine love for what they do is contagious.”
Fellow Friedman student Skylar Morelli introduced me to this unique workout three months ago. She always told me about a “super cool” gym I needed to try. I always blew it off. As a multi-sport athlete, how could this gym be any different? Well, I was wrong.
My first class was BOXFIIT™ Strength Extreme, which I’d argue as the most challenging class at The Club. The warm-up is tougher than most people’s workouts, and the three rounds of demanding strength work soak you in sweat halfway through the first round.
Following the warm-up and first few stations of round one, which included swinging 20-pound kettlebells, pulling ourselves up on suspensions, and pushing a weighted sled, I looked over at Skylar and said, “If there was a suggestion box, I’d suggest changing the class title from “Strength Extreme” to “Torture Extreme.”
But, it was not torture. THAT workout curriculum is how we SHOULD exercise. We should push ourselves to the limits. We should raise our intensity. Countless studies have demonstrated that HIIT workouts work. And that’s the swagger we need to take our fitness to the next level.
Now, I attend 6 a.m. Strength Extreme twice per week. Crazy, huh? Not at all. You get an unbelievable feeling after grinding out an hour of plyometrics, kettlebell exercises, jump squats, suspension exercises, different variations of push-ups, etc. You’re left feeling “lifted” and experiencing an afterburn accompanied by euphoria. Yes, euphoria.
The Club is now my “breakfast club.” I alternate my mornings with one to two classes such as Bags + Body, BOXFIIT 360™, and BOXFIIT™ Strength Extreme. The classes are a personal challenge of skill, endurance, and strength. And when you reach an addiction to the challenge (which may happen quickly), you just might come back for a late afternoon class.
“The gym holds more purpose than simply getting a workout in,” Schultz says. “It instills a fighting spirit, which translates to everyday life. I think the strength, empowerment, and confidence gained from boxing can translate to every aspect of one’s life in a beneficial way.”
Foreman’s “Everybody Fights” brand drives this deeper “purpose.” Facing your daily challenges and taking them head on makes you a fighter. “Everybody Fights” permeates within the walls of The Club through the Fighters workout.
In my humble opinion, “Everybody Fights” goes through your mind when you’re battling out the last round…or when you’re just in the warm-up of BOXFIIT™ Strength Extreme.
Honestly, after one workout, Foreman’s “Everybody Fights” philosophy and Fighters workout will hook you.
The Club is a community where you want to work out, not where you should work out. It’s where you can gain and maintain health swag through the art of boxing fitness.
After a waterfall shower, I grab an iced coffee from The Club’s juice bar and post up on a bar stool at the high top table along the glass wall overlooking the rings in the atrium below. Thought-provoking mantras plaster the brick walls that bleed black and orange: “Everybody Fights,” “Fight or Flight: I Fight,” “I Fight For…I Fight to…” It is an unmatched atmosphere.
And as I walk out of The Club, I smile…because I can’t wait to come back.
Katie Mark is a second-year MS/MPH student from Miami, Florida. She spends too much time at The Club.