At Well TO Do series we check out fitness classes and report back to you on what we loved, what we didn’t and what’s hot now in the world of Toronto workouts. Here we take on Toronto’s beloved boxing studio, Studio KO.
Studio KO is an unassuming boxing studio, sharing a space with a rather intense looking Pilates studio that we also need to try, where we showed up at 6:45 am, got our hands wrapped, gloves on and were put right to work. Seven minutes of warm-up (think – jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees, nothing anyone wants to do) followed by 30 minutes of boxing drills left me feeling fantastic. The boxing drills were a combination of more complicated sequences, squat punches, more burpees and fast and furious one-two repetitions, with only a single one minute water break.
Our small class size (three!) meant I got to learn some footwork I hadn’t previously grasped at other boxing classes, and was unable to spend even a second slacking. All in all, a challenging class led by a no-nonsense and motivating teacher set in a great space with ample heavy bags and other equipment, made for a great start to a wintry Friday.
In the interest of full disclosure, every fiber of my being was fighting against getting up at 6am to go to my first Studio KO boxing class. The dark, the cold and my (sort of) late night were all making crawling back into my oh so cozy bed much more appealing. To be completely honest, knowing that I had committed to Eme that I would meet her for the class, and that she was having to make a much longer trek than me to get to the studio, were the only reasons that got me up out of bed, into my workout clothes and out the door (after a double shot of espresso with coconut oil, of course). So score for the workout buddy system that every resolution blog article seems to be promoting these days.
And, boy, was it worth it. The 15 minute walk in the brisk January air gave me the extra pre-workout boost that I needed and when I got to Studio KO, I was in a much better frame of mind (I think the exact words of my 6am text to Eme were “I am regretting this”). At the studio, after signing our waiver forms and loading all of our winter gear into lockers (self-locking, which is super convenient), Renato, our instructor, took care of our hand wraps. I tried to follow along to learn the proper wrapping technique, but he lost me after about 10 seconds…fitness goals, I guess. For your first class, Studio KO provides you with wraps and gloves – after that, they encourage you to buy your own, which I am actually tempted to do. And here’s why.
This class was INTENSE. The 45 minute class basically consisted of 30 second or longer intervals giving you a 100% full body workout. We started out in the center of the room (which is, shall we say, cozy…and windowless) for leg work (squats, lunges, etc.) coupled with a body bar. Then it was on to heavy bag training. We did a series of combinations…and more leg work. The frog squats nearly killed me, especially since my legs were still sore from my barre class the previous day. From there, we moved back to the centre of the room for arm work with weights – think punching combinations holding light weights. The grand finale was ab work – cue sweat. Renato was serious but encouraging and gave very helpful form corrections throughout. He definitely pushed us, but in a good way – as I said, INTENSE.
So would I go back to Studio KO? Absolutely. It was an incredible workout and so different from my usual workout routines. The boxing class really pushed me – I think my body is in a bit of shock…which is a good thing. Got to keep her guessing to see progress, right?
With a commitment to being the ‘real deal’ in boxing meets fitness, Studio KO teaches real technical boxing, with precise conditioning methods used by professional athletes. To find out more, click here. Studio KO, 788 King St. West, Toronto, ON, (647) 349-4788.