Crash Course: The “training class” at DC Boxing & Fitness offers a cardio-centric 45 minutes geared toward getting you in tip-top fighting shape. No, you don’t have to jump into the ring, but be prepared to fight tooth-and-nail through an intense barrage of plyometric moves, heavy-bag work, and bodyweight exercises. Believe me, burpees and round kicks make a formidable opponent any day. This is a non-stop, in your face, no frills class that will leave you in a pool of your own sweat. If you like high-intensity cardio, this is the class for you. Click here for a schedule of class times. Please note: DCBFit is now under new management and Coach Jerome’s class is no longer available. Stay tuned for updates about where it might appear next! [line]
[left]where: 1000 New Jersey Ave/Navy Yard Metro
bring: water bottle, towel, clean shoes, boxing gloves
perks: across the street from metro
sweat score: 9 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: clean shoes
cost: $95 per month for training [/right] [line]
You have to get ugly to look pretty. – Coach Jerome
I was lying face down on the mat, praying for the pushups to end and slowly sweating through every single item I was wearing. Those words, that phrase, felt both motivating and ironic. But I could appreciate the sentiment. Nothing about what I was doing was pretty. I was flailing my arms at a heavy bag. Jumping up and down like a crazed pogo-stick addict. Sprinting in place as fast as I could. Lurching toward the floor and doing rapid-fire mini pushups. Flinging sweat at complete strangers. Grunting. Even whispering a few expletives under my breath.
This class, my friends, is ugly. It requires good old-fashioned hard work and grit. And it is awesome.
Indulge me, if you will, in a little soapbox moment:
One thing that never fails to amaze me about the fitness world is how easy some folks make it sound to get into “the best shape of your life.” While I understand that statement is entirely subjective, if you are hoping to lose weight and make some serious changes, it’s going to take a lot of work. Hard work. Work that shoves you outside of your comfort zone and makes you stay there. No it’s not “fun” and it’s certainly not “pretty” – which is why I appreciate a class like the one at DCBFit where that ugly, sweaty, explative-strewn process is par for the course, expected, and celebrated.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, on to the crash review 🙂
DCBFit is a Thai boxing and MMA studio located directly across from the Navy Yard metro stop. There aren’t any big signs hanging from the building, so in case you can’t find it, it looks like this from the street:
When you walk inside, you’ll be greeted by someone at the front desk and asked to sign in. Put your belongings in one of the lockers along the wall, grab your water bottle and boxing gloves, and take off your shoes. That’s right. No outside shoes are allowed on the mats at DCBFit, so either bring a fresh pair to wear during class or get ready to work out in your socks.
The majority of the space is taken up by a boxing ring and a large heavy-bag section. Every other nook and cranny is filled with some sort of training equipment, whether it’s a cardio bike, free weights, or MMA pads. There are two generously-sized restrooms in the back of the gym (no showers) where you can change before/after class if needed.
I showed up to crash the 9:45 class on Saturday morning and walked into the fogged-up studio with my coffee au lait just as the 9 a.m. folks were finishing. From what I could tell, I was in for a whooping. Jerome was pacing back and forth, yelling out a loud mix of encouragement, demands, and expletives. Everyone in the class was drenched in sweat. I clutched my coffee cup and nervously smiled at the woman waiting patiently next to me. It couldn’t really be as bad as it looks, right? *gulp*
I put my half-emptied coffee on a shelf, grabbed some loaner boxing gloves, and tried to look like I knew what I was doing. No sooner than the last 9 o’clock person stepped off the mat, we were jab, cross, and upper-cutting away at the heavy bags. Jerome didn’t miss a beat. He would call out a combo, demonstrate it, and the rest of us would try to keep up. Some folks had more experience and aced the combinations. Others, like me, not so much. It didn’t matter. It got our heart rates up and the point was to just keep moving.
Jab. Cross. Punch. Sweat.
Then…the gloves came off.
The second portion of class focused less on bag work and more on plyometrics and interval bodyweight training. Each round consisted of fun things like mini-pushups, diamond pushups, pike push ups, planks, high knees, and jump lunges. Instead of resting in between intervals, we did burpees. Now…interpret burpee as you will, but the point was to just keep moving the entire time. Was it crazy hard? Absolutely. But like Jerome said, you have to get ugly to look pretty. Nobody’s going to get fit just standing around.
Third part of class: back to bag work. This time we practiced knees and round-kicks. Truth: nothing makes me feel more badass than kicking the stuffing out of a heavy bag with a few round-kicks, even when I’m flinging sweat half-way across the room while doing it. We alternated legs to the tune of Jerome’s increasingly-louder yelling. Left, right, left, right. If we weren’t exhausted from the first half of class, we were now.
For the finale, we landed on our backs for core work. One of my favorite moves we did involved holding the heavy bag between our legs and crunching up to punch it. Need motivation? Jerome will gladly get in your face for a little extra “encouragement.” After a dozen or so of those, I had officially tapped out. Phew! I’m spent!
The 45 minutes flew by. There was honestly never a time I looked at the clock out of boredom or desire to be somewhere else. Sure it was a really hard class, but it was engaging from start to finish. The transitions were smooth, the instructor was a force-of-nature and captivating, and the group was welcoming and supportive. And at just 45-minutes, I was in and out of the whole operation in under an hour. Even got to grab my still-hot coffee off the shelf to enjoy on my trip home.
I loved this crazy class. And if you’re looking for a cardio-infused round-house kick to the face, you will too.
Crash it and let me know what you think!