Welcome to Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s new workout review series. We get sweaty at gyms and studios across Toronto and give you the low-down on what they’re really like.
United Boxing Club opened in 2014 as a not-for-profit organization focused on using boxing to keep youth active and off the streets. Though still a social enterprise, it has recently rebranded and is now a no-frills boxing gym with an inclusive, positive vibe, offering programs for all ages, all people and all levels. You can come for group classes, intensive training camps or one-on-one private training.
Located at 1034 Bloor Street West (blocks from Dufferin Station), United Boxing Club spans 4,000 square foot, but still feels compact—especially when it’s so full of sweaty bodies, the windows get fogged up. The space is maximized for group workouts: while our class of 20 people began in the open area, a simultaneous class started on the other side with the heavy bags, and private sessions were training in the boxing ring in the middle.
Open to all levels, the Fitness Boxing class at United Boxing Club is described as a “fun, energetic and intense boxing cardio workout that will help you burn fat, build lean muscles and learn to throw a mean right hook.”
The one-hour workout starts with cardio drills to warm up (gloves off), followed by partnered cardio exercises (gloves on), and then boxing combos on the punching bags (gloves and fight faces on). You don’t need boxing experience to follow the simple moves, but for more advanced members the instructor gives tips on perfecting form and technique. Unlike gyms where fitness classes are predominantly attended by women, here you can expect a more even split of men and women.
We Tried It
Last year, I was so focused on running, I didn’t have time to fit in many fitness classes. Coming to United Boxing Club reminded me of how much I love and miss full-body workouts that challenge areas I typically ignore (namely, core and upper body).
I alerted the instructor before class that I’m in my second trimester, and I brought my friend Veronika, a long-distance runner, who knew I’d have to modify some exercises. We both found the class moderately challenging but really fun, and were sweating from start to finish. I especially appreciated that the instructor didn’t coddle me, but instead just kept an eye on me and treated me like the rest of the class, correcting my form when needed. (Bonus: you may get an extra boost of motivation from the cute instructors with French accents.)
If you want a sweaty workout where you can also build your boxing skills and don’t mind a no-frills space, United Boxing Club is a great place to get acquainted with the sport and improve your technique. While very friendly to first-timers, the Fitness Boxing cardio class we took may be too intense for someone who doesn’t work out regularly. This gym also may not be for you if primo changing facilities are top priority; the basement bathrooms are bare-bones.
United Boxing Club, 1034 Bloor Street West, Toronto, 416.268.0696, unitedboxing.club. 60-minute workout; $20 for one drop-in class (but there are intro offers).