Week 20: Skills @ Sweat by BXR

Week TWENTY already?! I feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface of all the fitness world has to offer! This week was a goodun…

Anthony Joshua is undeniably the hottest-man-in-the-world-right-now and his “passion project” investment, London’s latest gym offering BXR, is quickly earning a reputation as the hottest place to train. Opening earlier this year for members only, they have recently launched their pay-as-you-go concept, Sweat by BXR, and I’ve been itching to get down there.

There are three classes available for drop in: Skills, Strength & Conditioning and Cardio. I opted for Skills – a boxing based HIIT sesh…

What They Say:

Dedicated to developing a championship mindset, we offer our members the standard of training, facilities and advice expected by professional athletes, regardless of level of ability.

With boxing discipline at its core, BXR offers a wide array of services, including a range of combat disciplines, strength & conditioning, circuit training, group classes, clinic treatments and nutrition advice.

My Experience:

I booked in for a Skills class (a steep £30 drop in fee… one thing this gym ain’t is friendly on purse) and excitedly headed on my way, only to be greeted by chaos at the train station as someone had jumped further down the track, throwing me a big old dose of perspective.

I wasn’t going to get up to town in time so gave BXR a call and they were very nice about letting me change sessions at the last minute – I’d received a text telling me I’d re-booked before I even got off the phone.

Two days later, off I headed again… another day, more transport chaos. This time, half of Twickenham had been cordoned off with police cars swarming everywhere. I dumped the car and sprinted to the station. I wasn’t going to miss another sesh goddammit!

BXR is primely located on Chiltern St in the heart of Marylebone, and its interior lives up to the swanky surroundings. The members’ gym is on the ground floor, with a side entrance down to the basement for the pay-as-you-go studios. Slick is the word. The first thing you see is a sumptuous Joe & The Juice lounge – if I’d known I would’ve arrived early and camped out there on my laptop for the afternoon. I don’t normally mention changing rooms because – really – who cares, but they were insane. So spacious, so polished, so many perfectly rolled towels!

I was shown where the class would be held – a small, dark, mirrored room with a dozen or so boxing bags hanging ominously from the ceiling. A few minutes before we were due to start, a friendly bunch (mostly girls, a couple of guys) gathered outside and we were each handed a pair of fingerless gloves in lieu of wraps. Our instructor, Courtney, introduced himself and checked to make sure everyone was injury free and good to go, then in we headed. I was the only first-timer, but needn’t have worried as everything was clearly explained as we went along.

We each positioned ourselves by a bag and got warm and into the workout pretty quickly with a bout of press ups and squats, building up to sprints on the spot and squat jumps.

We each grabbed a set of gloves from a neat stack in the corner and got ready for the main event. The workout itself comprised several sets of 3 minute bouts, alternating between punching the bag and bodyweight movements. We were shown where to position our feet and how to strike the bag, and we moved through progressions, building speed and reducing rest as we went.

10 minutes in and I was dripping with sweat and trying awkwardly to remove layers without taking my gloves off… easier said than done!

The bodyweight exercises were things like mountain climbers, push ups, sit ups and tuck holds, and the boxing moves were simple to remember. Each 3 minute segment built up, finishing with an alternating tabata (20 secs on, 10 secs off) of freestyle bag attack and burpees… I was all flailing arms but boy was it a great way to blow off steam! I think I might just love boxing… well… in the safety of a class where no-one’s going to hit me back!

The music was awesome, and the coaching was spot on – a great balance of demo, explanation, motivation and cueing as needed.

As with almost anything, you can choose your own pace in this class. I love a HIIT sesh and find it hard not to go in all-guns, but you could cruise through too and just get a decent sweat on. The way the bags are positioned, you don’t really focus on anyone but yourself and could enjoy this at any fitness level.

The 45 minute class was over in the blink of an eye, and I – and the rest of the class – emerged dripping in sweat, pink faced and smiling from ear to ear. I had to shoot straight off afterwards, but would have loved to have sat in the lounge, refuelling and chewing the cud as I cooled down.

The S&C and Cardio classes look great too… the Cardio class uses a “VersaClimber” – a machine which apparently mimics climbing, providing a full body/low impact workout, I will definitely be back to give it a go!

In Summary:

This place lives up to its reputation and I had a blast. Go hard in these sessions and 45 minutes is more than enough to get a great workout.

The aim of these classes is not to make you a champion fighter, but to give you a great HIIT workout, learning something new and blowing off a serious amount of steam. The plush surroundings are an added benefit.

Where: BXR London, Chiltern St, W1U

Cost: £30 single drop in, packs available, dropping to £15 for 50.

How to book: www.bxrlondon.com

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