“I was reminded that, deep down, I still have a fiercely competitive athlete begging to be let out.”
I consider myself a lover not a fighter. My default self-defense technique is trying to find common ground through friendly conversation. That all changed on March 18 at the Gloveworx boxing studio in Santa Monica, California. I walked into its facility, wrapped my hands nice and tight (I had a trainer help me because I didn’t know how) and then proceeded to put a little hair on my chest.
Its Saturday morning Signature Session is described as:
“High-intensity group circuit training with 4–5 stations … one-on-one mitts in the ring, heavy bag work, variable cardio and strength & conditioning.”
The Max Barrett Signature Session is described much differently:
“High-intensity deliberation of actually going to the gym on my drive home … followed by arbitrary training routine based on availability of equipment.”
To add to my lack of preparation, I’m also not a big group workout guy. I don’t really like benchmarking myself against other people in real-time. That’s too much pressure.
Just let me do me, OK?
If I want to stop at 7 pull-ups when I told myself 10, no one needs to know. They could be thinking I wanted to do 5, and ended up beasting out 2 more on top of that…
When I arrived at the gym, the roughly 25 of us were broken into four groups. I can only assume my group was carefully curated based on the select few of us who looked like genetic freaks, but I can’t confirm that.
My particular rotation ran in this sequence:
- Cardio with Ash
- Turf training with CJ
- Mitts in the ring with Dustin and Leroy
- Bag work with Leyon
Each station is timed, and we ran through three rotations of the entire circuit. At first I didn’t really pay attention to the clock, but as fatigue set in I couldn’t help but look at that thing and come to the conclusion it had a personal vendetta against me and was resetting itself every time I looked away. But there was no way I was backing down from a challenge when I was being given mother-lifts-car-to-save-child type of adrenaline from the encouragement of the staff and my fellow boxers. So when I was told to punch, run, bike, squat, climb or jump, I asked the “how high?” equivalent for each one of those movements.
“There was no way I was backing down from a challenge when I was being given mother-lifts-car-to-save-child type of adrenaline from the encouragement of the staff and my fellow boxers.”
While I imagined starting and ending my session by rocking the heavy bag with big, nasty hooks until it started to tear at the seams, I learned the sweet science is actually very artful at its core. I had to stay on my toes, and be nimble and precise at all times. My body apparently had been starving for this type of full-body workout because I had several muscles reminding me they still existed during and after each different exercise.
In my group, I met a woman named Sarah. This was the first time I’d met Sarah. She was perfectly nice, and we got along fine. But at the end of the hour-long session, after we’d sweated and punched and endured together, I was ready to put her in my will. That was the strength of our bond; in the event of my passing, I wanted to leave her with something, anything, as a tribute to the effort she put forth — that we put forth — during our Gloveworx workout. That’s not the type of relationship I have with the guy I awkwardly negotiate terms of “who gets to use the flat bench” at my other gym. I actually hate that guy. But not Sarah. Sarah is good for life.
Speaking of good for life, every single trainer at that studio unequivocally has your back while you fight through those 60 minutes. I can feel my adrenaline start to flow as I’m writing about them. I’m ready to run through a brick wall for Leyon, CJ, Dustin, Ash and Leroy. One for each; five walls total. Their energy is absolutely electric. At every station, they’re waiting to pick you up from any depth of fatigue and push you forward. I wasn’t making it through the workout without their desire to see me succeed. I appreciate you boys.
At the top of this blog I explained I’m not exactly a “tough guy.” But when I climbed through the ropes of that boxing ring, I felt ready to unseat the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. I’m usually quick to tap out when I feel my body starting to struggle, but on that day I was bringing a “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality to every exercise. I was reminded that, deep down, I still have a fiercely competitive athlete begging to be let out. I needed that reminder, and Gloveworx provided it.
It’s something that I need more often, so I’ll be seeing Leyon, CJ, Dustin, Ash, Leroy and Sarah again very soon.
Inspired? Train at Gloveworx today.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT