Why this new fitness class really packs a punch

Features writer Camille Hogg gets the gloves on for a boxing-inspired fitness class that’s more about the fun than the fight! 

What is it?

Punch is a workout that combines strength, boxing and cardio. With a tagline that it’s ‘less about the fight and more about the fun’, this is not a technique-heavy class, so it’s perfect for total beginners.

With two different styles of class on offer, the workout I try is PunchIIT. A blend of interval training and boxing, it fuses elements you’d find in the ring with cardio for an action-packed workout that will fire up your fat-burning and add some muscles into the bargain.

Each class is 45 minutes of non-stop movement, so fuel up and come prepared
with plenty of water.

Do I have to be a martial arts master to participate?

Not at all – the class welcomes beginners as well as seasoned fighters. You don’t even
need to bring the gloves or wraps – everything will be provided to you before the session.

At the beginning of the class, you’ll be taught a series of moves, such as a jab,
hook and uppercut. All the moves are numbered, so when it comes to combination, you’ll instinctively know which hand and move to use.

If you’re as uncoordinated as me, you’re bound to get the combinations wrong a fair few times and feel a bit silly – but there’s no pressure and you’ll be so focused on getting it right that the time will fly by.

What’s the class like?

We start things off with a warm-up designed to get all the muscles working, and we do a few rounds of press-ups, squats and boxing combinations.

Next, the lights are turned down and the music is turned up for the actual workout –making me feel like I’m at a strange disco mash-up of Fight Club and Saturday Night Fever.

The class is structured in 12 rounds that alternate between boxing combinations
using a bag, bodyweight exercises such as squats and press-ups and activities using a weighted plate.

While I handle the weights well, I quickly realise that I’m definitely no knock out when it comes to boxing. As the instructor shouts out new combinations and I fumble to get my gloves on, there are many mis-swings, but the fun atmosphere means that I laugh it off and give it another shot.

After a while, I get the hang of things and begin to punch and pivot with a bit more elegance, punching all of my stress from the day into the bag. It’s cathartic.

As the class wraps up and I leave with legs like jelly, I can see why Punch is so popular – it was pretty fun and I’ve no doubt that with regular practice, I might get a bit better at actually hitting the bag.

How can I take a swing at a class?

Punch offers three different classes depending on your fitness goals and preference. Alongside PunchIIT, the gym offers PunchARD, which teaches more traditional fighting skills, as well as Punch Ladies, a women-only session that I’m told is no less intense than the original.

Classes at Punch cost AED 100. International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Saif Al Ghubash Street. Class times vary. Contact: 02 666 9717, punchclub.ae

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