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Workout Tryout: Boxing-Inspired Training at Punch Fitness Center

The Basics

Founded in 2006 by Adelino Da Costa, a champion kickboxer, Punch Fitness Center specializes in boxing- and kickboxing-inspired workouts that hit the physical, mental and spiritual sides of fitness. Focus is key at its locations in Harlem, on the Upper East Side and in Greenwich, Connecticut (Punch also trains in the Hamptons (pictured above) from Memorial Day to Labor Day); the private and semi-private instruction, with group classes coming soon, centers on creative bodyweight exercises, jumping rope, sprints, shadow boxing and sparring. “Most [of our pregnant] women do box throughout their pregnancy and workouts are modified to target specific areas that are more prone to weight gain during pregnancy,” says Da Costa. “We'll incorporate more strength training that focuses on the arms and triceps, or target the obliques with more rounds of kicking. Very targeted workouts like these help the body recover post-pregnancy much faster than normal.” It’s the kind of place where a warm-up feels like a workout and a workout feels like…well, read on.

The Experience

We (at nine months post-baby) visited the Upper East Side locale, which is every bit an old-school boxing gym save for a neat and tidy locker area. The majority of the trainers—or, as Punch calls them, Sokumasters—are former or current fighters. Ours wasted no time getting us moving with jumping rope, high knees, inch worms to planks, squats, squat jumps and more jumping rope. “By constantly moving and confusing the muscles with combinations of different exercises,” says Da Costa (pictured, above left), “you build a stronger, leaner body.” And how. We hit the Jacob’s Ladder, a Sisyphean torture device (well, more accurately a piece of gym equipment that takes you on a perpetual ladder climb), before a dose of core work involving leg lifts, planks and crunches. Then it was on to the boxing. (Just in case we got too used to resting, our trainer had us stand in a squat as he wrapped and gloved our hands.) Numerous jabs, hooks, kicks and knee strikes later it was off to the challenging self-powered and motorless Curve treadmill for a closing sprint. After a final stretch we emerged back on the street, tired but euphoric.

The Verdict

If you’ve wondered how the outer reaches of your comfort zone feel, this is the place to find out. Your body and brain will never be bored and the no-nonsense motivation and support will keep your spirit—and your confidence—high. “One of our clients has had five children and has boxed through all her pregnancies,” says Da Costa. “She is incredibly strong and fit—it's hard to believe how many children she's had!” Group classes are coming soon. 1015 Madison Ave., 212-288-2375; 111 Central Park N., 646-476-9589; 321 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, CT, 203-992-1916;



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