Supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima are among the most recent celebrity converts trading in their yoga mats for boxing gloves. Kickboxing is a high-intensity workout that is equal parts confidence-boosting and calorie-blasting. Try it at any of these four gyms to feel the boxing burn.
iLoveKickboxing, Multiple locations
Don’t be fooled by the cheerful staff at the desk—iLoveKickboxing is home to serious workouts. “We try to create a non-intimidating environment—what’s nice about our program is that it’s for all levels,” said Kelly Murray, director of franchise training. The classes are designed to deliver a fighter workout. They start with a series of stretches and cardio warm-ups, followed by progressively tougher toning moves (think: burpees, push-ups, etc.). Next, members take to the bags with boxing gloves (included in the sign-up fee) for punching, kicking and combination training. Finally, everyone pairs off for partner work, where the members trade off practicing punches or performing tandem sit-ups. The class format remains the same, but the moves are constantly changing to keep your body guessing.
What makes them stand out: Commitment to service. Every location offers a private Facebook group for members where they can trade healthy recipes, tips for dealing with muscle aches or just get general encouragement. “That’s when people struggle. It’s when they leave and are faced with decisions about what to eat or should I go to class again tomorrow,” Murray said. “They need people who are sharing in the same journey.” Go
Fusion MMA & Kickboxing, Port Jefferson Station
Founded by co-creators Joe Funaro and Andre LeRouge in 2008, Fusion MMA & Kickboxing offers a blend of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, mixed martial arts and kickboxing classes. The most popular is the Fusion Kickboxing class that blends Muay Thai, boxing and American kickboxing on heavy punching bags incorporated with body weight movements and calisthenics. A typical class begins with a jump rope and calisthenics warm-up, followed by speed ladders and hurdles to improve footwork and increase heart rate. Next, athletes hit the bags and follow instructions from the trainer who calls out boxing combinations and quick-trigger moves like kicks and sprawls before cooling down with a serious of abdominal exercises before a final stretch to end the workout.
What makes them stand out: According to Funaro, their passion for kickboxing. “All of our instructor train in Muay Thai, boxing and karate. And a majority of them compete in combat sports—we practice what we preach. We have a wide variety of members in each class, meaning you’ll see fighters, soccer moms, teenagers and others all training alongside each other. Anyone can train like a real fighter here.” Go
Mutant MMA, Oceanside
The Mutant facility is impressive enough: they offer a steam room, Jacuzzi, smoothie and snack bar and the only official UFC size 300-foot cage in New York. But the thing that keeps members coming back is the variety of classes that accommodate everyone from ages 5 to 70. Their popular fitness program involves cardio kickboxing and other advanced sports-based workouts, such as circuit training, explosive strength and agility movements. A typical kickboxing class consists of a 5-minute stretch, a 10-15-minute warm-up, the bag workout and a 5-minute cool down. For the skeptical who want to give it a try before committing, the first class is free and necessary equipment is provided. Considering you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour, that might be enough to get you to sign up for real.
What makes them stand out: “All of our trainers are actual fighters or experts of a martial art—they’re dedicated specialists and life-long practitioners,” said Tengo Seppy, owner and head coach. Mutant also prides itself on its heavy bags, which leads to greater muscle toning than softer bags. Go
UFC Kickboxing Gym, New Hyde Park
Not surprisingly, a gym with UFC in the name is bound to offer an intense fighter-style workout. While they do provide classes based around disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, their most popular is the Daily Ultimate Training class. This high-intensity, boot camp-structured class features functional exercises designed to strengthen muscles through a variety of movements that differ from a typical machine-based regimen. Another favorite is the gym’s Muay Thai workout, which combines punches, kicks, knees, elbows and shins, and runs less than an hour long.
What makes them stand out: UFC Gym lives by the “train different” philosophy. Through exclusive access to UFC athletes, the gym makes elite training available to everyone—and they do it around the clock. “Our facility operates 24/7,” said Jordan Stein, general manager. They offer more than 100 classes per week, ranging from boxing to yoga. “Our coaches are dedicated to assist our members not only to achieve their personal goals, but also passion and determination through cutting edge training and the best coaches in the industry.” Go
LONG ISLAND FIGHT FOR CHARITY
Want to really pack a punch? Support Long Island Fight for Charity. The nonprofit organization allows participants to step into the ring and spar like a pro to raise money for area charities such as Long Island Community Chest, The National Foundation for Human Potential and The Genesis School.
Competing is not for the faint of heart. Businessmen and women turned aspiring boxers train for months with a coach. On average, competitors train for 150 hours or more, often losing 10 to 40 pounds in the process. After practicing on heavy bags, speed bags and in the sparring ring, they’ll compete in the main event: three lightning-fast one-minute rounds in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 people.
Since 2002, when Long Island Fight for Charity was founded, the organization has raised more than $1 million for our region’s charities. Past participants have included Sal Ferro, president, CEO and owner of Alure Home Improvement, and Jamie Stuart, weekend sports anchor for News 12 Long Island. This year’s main event is scheduled for Nov 20 at the Long Island Hilton and the search for volunteer boxers is now underway. Get involved at lifightforcharity.org.