By Christie Melhorn, March 21 2017 —
The wellness trend dominating Calgary has nurtured a diverse crop of sleek fitness studios across the city. In November 2016, Rumble Boxing studio opened its doors on 17 Ave and I recently had the opportunity to actualize my Mortal Kombat fantasy in a group boxing class. While channeling my inner Raiden, I learned how emotionally and physically intense boxing is as well as what a great release it can be for students.
Right away, Rumble’s monochrome colour scheme, accented with pops of pink, establishes a sense of inviting edginess. A traditional boxing ring in the studio’s foyer demands the attention of passersby. Whether you’re an experienced boxer or not, the presence of the ring injects an exciting sense of challenge into Rumble’s atmosphere.
When I first arrived, my class instructor was waiting at the front desk, fitting newcomers with hand wraps to be worn under our gloves. She diligently told each participant what we would need for class and where everything was in the studio. Her attention to detail made me feel acknowledged and welcome. As none of the standard glove hand wraps fit me, our instructor provided me with a cotton weave strap and patiently showed me how to correctly dress my hands with it. Even if you have never boxed before, looping a band of cotton weave through your fingers and around your wrist makes you feel like a total badass — and it never hurts to enter a workout with bolstered self-esteem.
After this, I was given a thick set of gloves that were surprisingly fun to wear. The tactile experience of both wrapping my hands and putting on the gloves definitely set me up for an engaging workout.
The “heavy-bag” studio — where the group classes take place — offers a sensory experience equally as engaging as the studio’s front. The room is equipped with 36 bags evenly distributed around a central bag where the instructor leads the class. The studio’s black lighting is accented with
alternating blue and red light, vivifying the luminescent numbering on each bag. As a ‘90s kid who fiercely treasured my Lite-Brite, this evoked a comforting yet invigorating sense of nostalgia. And even if you don’t have an affinity for ‘90s paraphernalia, the unusual workout environment was stirring and immersive.
The class itself was extremely satisfying. Our instructor concisely described and demonstrated basic boxing steps to ease us into the class. She showed us the correct posture and series of steps to maximize our workouts but emphasized the importance of listening to our bodies and going at our own pace. This dismantled tension in the room, as many of us were first-timers.
The majority of the class was a synthesis of cardio and strength moves that offered an incredible endorphin rush and stirred up a serious sweat. As a dedicated runner, I sometimes forget how effective other forms of cardio can be. Combined with punching, squats and pivots, boxing can seriously kick your butt. According to Shape Magazine, you can burn up to 300 calories in a half-hour boxing session, making it one of the ultimate forms of high intensity interval training. It is a full-body workout that boosts speed, power and your metabolism, offering some justification for that extra Starbucks drink you might need to get through a study session.
As an added bonus, Rumble favours reggae and hip-hop tracks to ramp up their classes and give boxing a sensuous dance element. The aggression and rhythm of your movements are carried by the smooth bounce and pulse of the class playlist , making time and stress melt away.
This is not only nourishing for your body but also for your mind. Rapid, purposeful punching demands sharp hand-eye coordination and recollection abilities. Cultivating these skills translates well into student life by nurturing memorization and decision-making. Collectively, all of these factors can sculpt a healthier and more balanced lifestyle between diet, exercise and academic goals.
However, even if you just want to box once in awhile, it offers fantastic stress relief. Students tend to shelve their emotions without even realizing it when caught in a flurry of papers and exams. Spare yourself the 1:00 a.m. TFDL emotional meltdown and hefty tab at the Den by blasting out repressed anxiety and stress on a punching bag.
As far as pricing goes, Rumble veers a bit on the steep side for a student budget. However, they do offer 10 per cent off for those who provide a valid student ID upon class purchases. With this discount in effect, drop-in classes sit at $18. A 10-class card costs $162 or you can purchase a 20-class card for $322. While this is more money upfront, it ultimately shaves off a few dollars for each class. Monthly memberships are also offered for around $180.
Rumble embodies a steely but welcoming atmosphere that pushes you to move and think fast. I left the studio feeling invigorated and accomplished. As exam week crawls closer, it’s important to balance school stress with the sense of relief an experience like this can offer. While I don’t intend to become a professional boxer, I also don’t intend to sink to the point of student insanity that I did one semester when I punched a bathroom stall in the Social Sciences building.
Next time you have the urge to punch something — which is totally fair — go and do it somewhere cool and constructive in a boxing class at Rumble.