Are You Thinking About Joining a Boxing Gym?
Joining a boxing gym can be a difficult and intimidating process if you are new to boxing. There are a few reasons for this.
1. People often have the preconceived notion that you need to be a tough guy/gal in order to join a boxing gym.
2. It can be difficult to know if a gym’s rates our good or bad.
3. There is a wide spectrum of boxing gyms. From the classic old-school grungy boxing club with an old established trainer to fancy modern “boxercise” gyms, and everything in between, there’s definitely lots out there, which can make it difficult to choose one.
Therefore, we felt it may be beneficial to share our personal experiences, as well others’ we know, to provide some information which will hopefully help you narrow your choices.
The Classic Boxing Gym
This is my personal preference. The classic boxing gym, in our experience, is one that focuses only on boxing and nothing else. At these types of gyms, trainers will typically have a hard-nosed old-school mentality while still taking advantage of modern or cutting-edge products and techniques.
Although these boxing gyms may appear old and dirty, the experience of the trainers usually makes up for it. Plus, you don’t really need fancy stuff anyway. As long as things aren’t falling apart, the condition of the facility shouldn’t affect your workout, and it likely means lower membership fees, too.
Before joining any type of gym, we always recommend stopping in first to check it out, maybe even see if you can get a quick tour. This will give you an idea as to how friendly the training staff is and if you will be given the level of attention you will be looking for.
Another thing to watch out with in these types of gyms is their sparring protocol. Some really old-school gyms tend to throw you in the ring fairly early. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most, if not all, gyms will match you with someone similar in size and experience, but if sparring is something you absolutely don’t want to do, make sure there’s no problem with this ahead of time.
The Modern Boxing Gym
After moving to a different city I decided to join a more modern boxing gym, mainly because the location was so convenient, but it also seemed pretty bad-ass. This place had two floors, tons of equipment, 24/7 access, a really nice ring, and reasonable rates.
They also focused only on boxing, stating clearly that boxercise just wasn’t their thing. I figured this would be great. I nice big gym with lots of equipment in a convenient location. Can’t beat that!
However, one thing I didn’t account for was simply how many trainers there were. You would think this is a good thing, like having a small amount of students per teacher in school, but it sort of backfired. I found that with a lot of the trainers I had to actively approach them and have them work with me for a couple minutes, and often times they were simply too busy with other stuff.
Perhaps even worse, I would receive advice from one trainer, have them spend a good amount of time ensuring I had the technique down, only to have another trainer tell me to do it a different way. This was probably the most frustrating aspect.
The only other thing I didn’t like was there was too much of a business model. I can’t fault them for this, but over time the membership rates gradually increased until it got to the point where it just wasn’t worth.
In summary, these types of gyms could be great for what you’re looking for, just make sure that you speak with the staff ahead of time to get an idea of how they run things and what you can expect in terms of instruction.
To be honest, we don’t have much personal experience with these gyms other than knowing the services they offer. Generally speaking, these are the new gym that you often find in the city core offering boxercise classes. Instead of individual or small group workouts with intermittent instruction from a trainer, these are larger classes held all at once that focus purely on exercise and not so much fighting technique.
We don’t have anything against these gyms and their purpose, but if you’re interested in the sport of boxing itself and want to learn proper boxing technique, maybe spar a little, then this isn’t the way to go.
However, if you’re looking for a challenging workout and want the structure of a class to motivate you and build into your routine, but don’t really care about the sport itself or don’t want the physical contact, then this may be a good option for you. Just be warned they can be a little expensive, but it is a good workout.
What to Know Before Touring a Boxing Gym
All you need to before you go check out some boxing gyms is what you want. It may seem dumb to bring this up, but having a good idea of what type of workout or activity you’re looking to participate in is always a good idea. For instance, the questions below are questions that you may want to consider asking/answering yourself before you spend a lot of time looking around.
– Do I want to learn proper boxing technique? Or will a good boxing-related workout suffice?
– Is sparring something I will be interested in at some point?
– How modern or comprehensive of a facility am I looking for?
– How much a I willing to spend per month?
– How long are memberships? If I decide I don’t like it, will I lose money?
– Do I want constant instruction from a trainer, or do I prefer to have a small amount of instruction and just work on my own?
– Do I want a class structure or a drop-in structure?
These are all just considerations. Maybe some of these points don’t matter for you, or you can add some more of your own. Either way, knowing what you want will allow you to be more decisive.
Things to Ask the Trainers
If you do end up checking out a couple different options for boxing gyms, here is a list of questions that may end up being beneficial for your decision-making.
– How much attention does each individual receive from the training staff?
– Do I need to fight competitively to join?
– Is it expected that I spar? If not, will I be allowed to spar at all?
– Are there better times of the day to come than others?
– Do you offer classes or any other additional services?
– Do you plan on remaining at this location for the foreseeable future?
– Do I need to purchase anything other than a membership? Some may require that you purchase your own boxing gloves.
– If I decide this isn’t for me, can I leave without losing money?
We hope this brief introduction to boxing gyms comes in handy for you. Generally speaking, in our experience, any boxing gym we’ve been to is more than happy to chat and provide any information about their gym/club. Additionally, most are very straight forward about things to, so they should provide honest opinions about whether or not their gym/club is appropriate for your needs. Don’t be at all intimidated. Before you know it, you’ll be in the swing of things with a new type of workout and some newly acquired boxing skills!