Trinity Boxing NYC: An Amateur’s Guide To Training Like A Professional

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Boxing is one of those things that I think, if you want to study, you have to go to a real deal boxing gym – the standard gym version of boxing just isn’t going to cut it.  Last week, I went to Trinity Boxing Club and got schooled.

There are a lot of boxing gyms in NYC but Trinity Boxing stood out to me because their whole motto is that they are “for people who want to train like professional fighters but don’t want to lose their front teeth doing it.” Hello. Exactly what I wanted.  Teach me how to throw a punch but don’t punch me in the face. Is that so wrong?

Trinity Boxing Sign

I set up a “trial lesson”, which is Trinity’s version of a 1st time session to see if it’s for you – and at $30, it’s hands down one of the best deals in the city.  The trial lesson is roughly an hour… unless it takes longer.  So, good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t plan anything right after a trial lesson.  After checking in with John Snow, manager of Trinity Boxing, signing my life away (as you do in any new spot), I made it downstairs to stash my stuff in their women’s locker room. It’s basic but totally better than any other boxing gym I’ve seen!

John Snow Trinity BoxingAs I made my way upstairs, I was a little nervous about what was ahead but also REALLY excited to see what was in store. At the top of the stairs, John appeared and asked if I was ready.  I answered with a huge grin, to which John just smiled and raised an eyebrow: “As ready as I’m going to be!”.  Looking back, I realized that he knew that he was going to kick my ass. He wrapped my hands and explained that they were to protect my tendons, not my knuckles and then took me to the back of the gym to warm up. “Ok, you have 3 minutes of jumping rope, the buzzer will sound when you have 30 seconds left – keep going. When everyone else stops, so can you.” So for 2 rounds of three minutes, I jumped rope. It was brutal.  For me, jumping rope gets old fast but I managed to keep it up. I didn’t want to show any weakness… game face, people.

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Next up was “shadow boxing” – which is basically just trying to get the general moves down. After slipping a pair of gloves on me, John called Ramon, a boxer and trainer at Trinity, who moved in to show me the ropes for the next two rounds of 3 minutes.  I tried to get the general moves down but really, I was just waiting to hit something.

FBS Trinity Boxing 1

The next stop was a heavy bag anchored to the wall that we used to work on combining the punching from Shadow boxing and lateral movement. It was comically hard for me to get the hit, move, hit, slide back routine. I kept getting overly excited and either going too fast or forgetting to move over at all but damn, it was fun to start actually using those punches.  John patiently gave me pointers in each round and never made me feel bad at all.

2Next up was hands-down my favorite of the bag work – the heavy bag. Circling around the bag and combining punches just felt awesome. It doesn’t move that much, so it was easier to move around and really get a feel for hitting that heavy bag. I’d get pointers, nod and try to put them into effect.

Water at Trinity BoxingI was wiped out at the end of those two 3-minute rounds and gratefully accepted when offered water… which of course you need help with because your hands are sealed up in those big gloves. Pro tip: Wide mouth bottles are not awesome in this scenario, there is a solid reason every boxer is seen with a squeeze bottle. Lesson learned.

Medium Bag at Trinity BoxingThen we were off to a free-swinging medium sized heavy bag. I was epically bad at this one since I was just terrible at gauging when I should be swinging and would scoot back when it would swing back at me.  This bag really shows what your weakness would be in a fight, because as I was told “no opponent stands there and waits for you to hit them. They are going to move – AND swing back at you.”  I worked for the next round to not back up, keep moving and get that timing right.

Trinity Boxing Flag and FBS

The final 2 boxing rounds were with Ramon wearing boxing mitts that would serve as my targets. Seriously, there is hardly a better sound in the fitness world than when your glove really connects with the catch. Thwap! He would call out combos and I would throw them. Sometimes well. THWAP! Sometimes not… at which point he would stop and demo again what I was going for. This was so much fun it felt like the room fell away and I was able to just focus on swinging, connecting and that awesome sound.

Mitt Work at TRinity BOxing At the end of that final round, John checked in on me and took off my gloves. Ramon moved in to help me remove the wraps and I thought the lesson was over until I was told to follow Ramon for conditioning. A member who’d just gotten there joined me and we did rounds of various ab work, mountain climbers, and planks for time. It was fun and a good way to end – I was tired but could get through all the moves without collapsing, which is always a good thing!

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Then it really was done. I toweled off, drank some water and looked around the room and just reveled in being there.  Trinity boxing is serious about their sport but really, they just want to help you find that love of their sport and at Trinity, that is easy to do.  I walked out of there physically exhausted but giddy with excitement AND trying to figure out how I  could do it again…

Photos and video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FatBottomSlim

Ready To Work: Exceed Physical Culture With Ed Cashin

This week I finally made it up to Exceed Physical Culture to take a class. I have been hearing about how great the UES studio is for ages, so even though the “full body” description was a little vague, I knew I would be in good hands with one of the founders, Ed Cashin.

Exceed2 Ed has 25-years of personal training experience where he specializes in TRX, Russian Kettlebell and sport-specific training. Exceed Physical Culture was started because of his belief that “clients should have a facility that allows them to vary their workouts in an atmosphere that inspires results.” I don’t know why but I was shocked when I made it to Exceed and found the stunning street level studio. The main space is large with a glassed-off space in the back where the group classes are held – the space even includes Monkey Bars! The rest of the space that includes another downstairs studio, is used for personal training.  When I got there on Monday morning, the studio was filled to the brim with people working hard – always an inspiring sight to walk into!  I hurried downstairs to the changing room, stashed my stuff and made my way back up to class. I was ready to work.

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I met Ed and he gave me a brief overview of how the class would go before it started. We were going to be doing 4 stations per round – rowing/jump rope, TRX, Bosu Ball and a Kettlebell station with a pushup “break” in between each round.

After a brief dynamic warm-up session, we were broken into groups of four and did each exercise for time. The change up in this class was that the time at each station was based on whatever group was doing rowing. Each time, the rowers were given a distance in meters to hit and everyone else went at their station until the rowers covered that distance!

XCD1Exceed7There were 18 people in the class – which seemed huge for the small group space but once the class started, it never seemed crowded at all. I started out on the Bosu ball.  Ed described the first move, a push up with one hand on the Bosu ball with a belly slap with the other hand when I came up.  I knew I was in for a fun, ass-kicking session if that was the starter move!  Next station, I was on the jump rope and got a chance to scope out the room.  It was a fit crew and each station had some fun, challenging move – at TRX there was a one legged squat with leg lift, Kettlebells started out with a squat with press up. For the following rounds, each station had a new move that Ed would explain during our pushup “break.” I was so impressed with his ability to mix in so many creative and challenging moves using so few props!

Exceed4This class kicked my ass and I loved every single minute of it. In each round there were moves I had never tried before –and I loved the competitive cardio on the rower thrown into the mix. Knowing that the whole class was counting on me to get those meters done so they could move on made me haul ass. It was so fun to have all of these challenging new moves and really see what I could do. At each station, for every round, I was impressed with Ed’s ability to always be there, checking everyone’s form constantly – that kind of attention and focus on form is what makes a challenging class absolutely amazing.  I can’t wait to go back… and I really want to try out those monkey bars!

 

Photos and awesome video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media

Peak Performance & the kick-ass session in NYC’s training mecca…

So last week, when in the middle of a chat about As 1 getting a Jacob’s Ladder and how it would be fun to try it with another As 1 junkie, one of my favorite fitness partners-in-crime – SINworkouts – joined in, listened for a minute, and then said: “Peak has those! Wait, you two HAVE been to Peak to train right?”  And with that, SIN hatched a plan for the three of us to go train at Peak Performance. She has seriously impressive skills on making these things actually happen…

It doesn’t really cover it to say that I was excited, because I have wanted to check out Peak Performance for ages. Seriously.  AGES. Joe Dowdell’s mecca for both professional athletes and people looking to seriously commit to training is always listed as one of the best in the country and this fitness fiend has desperately wanted a peek into Peak.  I know trainers who work there (but I can’t afford their sessions), people who train there (and OF people who train there – Olympians & some of the most impressive MMA fighters in the world train there when they are in NYC) but the chance to actually train there myself seemed slim to none. However, on Tuesday afternoon, there I was…sprinting to make it to Peak on time. I didn’t want to miss a second of my session but MTA apparently thought being stuck on a bridge was a better idea, so when my train finally pulled into Union Square 10 minutes before I was supposed to be there, I took off my jacket stuffed it in my backpack and sprinted to Peak. The gym is housed on the 8th floor of a non-descript Flatiron building, and is this HUGE, open, loft-like floor with big windows and lots of natural light. It is a seriously beautiful, inspiring space to workout in. I was the first to arrive (yay!) and Kindra Hanson, the absolutely stunning but seriously cool General Manager, greeted me and showed me to the lockers & changing area. Since I was already in my workout clothes, I dropped off my bag in a locker, popped the key on my wrist and headed back out to the juice bar to wait for my pals who arrived just moments later.

SIN had our workout all planned out and Kindra joined us for the kick-ass session. The plan was filled with fun variations on standards and then things I had never done before.  It was ridiculously fun. It even used equipment that I had never even seen in a gym to use! My favorite new piece was called the Prowler – which sort of looks like that sled you see football players push across a field in a practice –basically it is a heavy metal sled that is loaded with weight, which you then crouch down and shove across the gym floor. Did I mention the huge open floor couldn’t have seemed bigger at that moment? I was much better at that one, though, then the weight sled that you yanked behind you with ropes.  But I LOVED getting to try so many new things! We were there in a weird middle of the day time and most of the people working out were trainers, who shouted out encouragement as we moved the heavy things across the floor. Nothing is as motivating as that! Plus, I got to meet two of the Directors of Peak Performance, including Dan Trink (read his amazing Greatist article about his journey to Peak – HERE) – which was cool. I love meeting people who love what they do and just want everyone in their space to kick ass. Supportive fit people really are the best… especially if you are the least fit in the room (yep, that was me) and they are still yelling for you!

We moved into the small studio to finish up our workout with lots of planks, prone jumping-jacks and medicine ball sit-ups, even trying a crazy one legged crow pose… which I almost got but I will nail eventually! A little practice and I can make it happen. It was such a cool, awesome, fun group and the session went by in a flash. I am still not quite sure how it happened that I got to work out in one of the best facilities in the city but it was easily the coolest thing I have done in a long time.

 

Photo of Peak Performance from their Facebook page, bottom image just a good reminder to work harder.