Kira Stokes’ Fusion Ride At The Epic New FIDI BFX

When I heard that BFX had designed an indoor cycling studio, where half of the space was a dedicated workout floor in their new Financial District location, I was curious. I haven’t actually had a class where we got off the bike in the middle really slay me, but when I heard that Kira Stokes had been given free reign to develop the program that put it to use, I knew this one had to be good. Last week, I finally got to test out the new Fusion Ride.

BFX Kira Stokes II

The new BFX is just seriously beautiful – with lots of marble and clean elegant space. The Chelsea location is nice but this one is just next level. At check-in, I ran into people I knew and totally missed the part where they tell you whether you start on the bike or the floor! So as we were filing into class, everyone was going to their assigned places and I was completely lost. I snagged Kira and asked if I should go back out and find out where I was supposed to be, but she shook her head and sent me off to a bike. I was SO glad to start off on the bike, though, because it let me warm up and get to see what was coming up when it was my turn on the floor.

Each part of the workout was broken into 3 blocks – Power, Strength and Endurance. On the bike that means – interval drills, heavy hills and endurance pushes. It was weird to be on a bike with my sneakers on, but I got used to it after a little bit – plus, it made the transition off the bike quicker. BFX does use the standard bike pedals so if you have your own shoes you could totally rock them- just make sure you are quick at changing them. Kira doesn’t have much tolerance for dillydallying during a workout!

BFX Kira Stokes

The thing that I’ve always liked about Kira’s classes is that there is a reason for every single move and where they are in the program – this class isn’t any different. On the floor, I snagged a spot next to my friend and after a quick demo from Kira on proper form of the 1st round of exercises, we were off. In a super helpful move, this class also used projections on the wall with the moves we were doing for each block. My friend was much better at following what we were supposed to be doing but a sneak peak up at the wall came in handy for me often! One thing I really liked in this class was that there was another instructor, the awesome Claire Gould, on the floor with us. She’d demo a move if anyone looked lost, fix form for people and just generally keep the energy up. It was Kira’s class and she was all over everyone but Claire totally had her back, keeping tabs on that huge, split group.

BFX Kira Stokes III

The first segment was a power segment and that night’s version involved a couple of AMRAPS (as many rounds as possible) using moves that built off of each other like TRX Squats to Squat Jumps to a row, then weighted Lunges and plyo alternating Lunges rounded out with a TRX Tricep push up. It felt very classic Stoked series. The next segment was geared towards strength and used heavier weights and slower movements. Those sandbags with their shifting weight were deceiving! One of the moves involved a Squat Thruster with a Tricep press, and while the weight that had been fine in the classic Squat Thruster, suddenly wasn’t fine when it went back behind my head. I couldn’t raise it up to save my life. I got totally stuck – but of course Kira noticed immediately and was swapping the bag out before I even had a moment to process! Then it was down on the ground to finish that round out with a plank sandbag pull – which when Kira demoed, it sailed across the room but when I did it, moving it even fully over to the other side of my body was comically hard.

The final segment, the endurance round – made me feel a little bit like I didn’t have any. It was all about keeping moving with full body movements that blasted up your heart rate. That round was a little bit of a blur because by the time it hit I was totally wiped out! The Fusion Ride was challenging, fun and actually really worked with the spinning combined with the floor work. In an hour that flew by, the ride and floor work had effectively kicked my ass… but man, I really do have to work on those bag pulls – that was just embarrassing.

Photos and video: Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for Fatbottomslim

 

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