It's no secret that boxing workouts are ridiculously good for fitness. Not surprising when you're trying to avoid someone throwing a haymaker at you for 12 three-minute rounds.
That's why boxing training has been one of the most popular forms of fitness over the past few decades, regardless of whether you actually plan to get into the ring yourself.
- Looking for London's best: The top fitness classes in the capital
The latest London class we've checked out is Boxcon, a 45-minute boxing-style session that combines traditional training with a range of strength and conditioning exercises. It's not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, but if it ain't broke...
The quick stats:
Location: Paddington | Class length: 45 minutes | Calories burned: 450 | Main focus: Cardio, strength | Exercise examples: Boxing drills, press-ups, skipping, assault bike, thrusters | Difficulty: 4/5 | Muscles worked: All of them
What is it?
The idea behind most hybrid boxing classes is to combine the many benefits of boxing drills, bag work and pads with strength and cardio training. The result is a killer workout session that ticks pretty much every box that someone hoping to improve their fitness might have.
That mix of cardio, adrenaline-fuelled boxing and strength sections help participants to get fitter, burn more calories and do it in a format that's far from boring. Specifically by moving around 12 three-minute workout slots focussing on different areas.
For block one you may be on the mat doing thrusters and renegade rows, then, when the bell rings, you quickly move around to bag work or – and we can only sympathize with you here – a calorie burn on the assault bike.
How good is it?
We've tested out a lot of classes over the past few years and if it's all-round fitness that you're looking for, there's not much that compares to a boxing class.
If you've ever done a full-on boxing training session you'll know that it can be relentless. Not only do you have to mentally focus on what you're doing the whole time as you try to avoid boxing gloves flying at you, but it also requires an enormous amount of really tough exercise.
By adding in strength and conditioning sections, Boxcon is a bit less intense. That doesn't mean it's easy, but the circuit-style format means that you only have to worry about a series of exercises for a limited period. Yes, you'll be covered in sweat, but you'll get through it knowing that in just a few minutes you get to do something different.
The class also has two separate coaches that split the training between the S&C work and the boxing drills. Although that means you can't actually hide from them, it does mean you get a level of support and guidance that you won't find if you're in a class with just one trainer.
They're also real boxing coaches, so they'll focus on your form and technique as well as making sure you're not being lazy.
The other thing that impressed us was the location. The Paddington arm of 12x3 is nice looking boxing space with a lot of room for movement outside of the central boxing ring. It's also kitted out with a healthy amount of top-end equipment.
Who's it for?
As with most hybrid boxing classes, Boxcon is more of an entry-level session instead of a training workout for actual boxers. That means that you don't need to have any boxing skills to take part as the workouts are largely focussing on developing fitness.
The various training exercises are scalable, so you can switch your weights, go at your own pace or modify some of the movements to make it easier if you're a beginner. That doesn't mean that they go easy on you, but you can take on the session at any level.
If you're the kind of person that hates running or you struggle with monotonous HIIT classes with the same exercises, the 12x3 format makes a nice change. The addition of boxing drills is probably the most fun element and the time ticks away very quickly as you work through the various movements.
Individual pay-as-you-go sessions cost £25 with various bulk offers available. Monthly payment options start from £69 where you'll get four sessions a month.
To find out more about the 12x3 Boxcon class, as well as the other workout options available (including 1 on 1 training sessions), click here.
12x3 has locations in Paddington and Aldgate.