If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of the highly-publicised Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor match last year, you’ll realise that boxing matches can be a toe-curlingly blood-stained affair.
But there’s a reason why boxing has been the workout of choice for supermodels all these years. The seemingly simple amalgamation of punches and dodges actually rolls both cardio and strength training into one. Besides, you’ll be hard pressed to find another sport that lets you get in tune with your inner badass like boxing does.
Aiming to dispel hackneyed ideas of brutal testosterone-dominated boxing gyms is Uppercut. The boutique studio is the latest exercise nook to join the trendy Telok Ayer precinct, and promises to let you float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, sans getting beat up.
Having been to old-school boxing gyms before, we’ll go right ahead and admit that we had our reservations about this non-combat workout — it came across as slightly gimmicky. Would this be a Tae Bo revival all over again?
The answer to that question — thankfully — was “no”. We decided to give this stylish facility a chance and signed ourselves up for a trial class. Here’s what we thought about it.
The bustling Telok Ayer Street isn’t short of boutique gyms, but few are as good-looking as Uppercut. The second-storey facility is relatively spacious for one that’s located in a shophouse, and splashed with a monochromatic colour scheme that extends from its decor to equipment — the boxing gloves and hand wraps are specially designed and branded for the gym too.
The space isn’t short of natural light, creating a relaxing and refreshing ambience before you start your big workout, especially if you’ve been cooped up in the soulless confines of your office all day.
You can’t go pass the sunlit reception without noticing a customised vintage boxing ring — wooden poles and all. Besides being a fabulous platform for all your Instagramming needs, the ring also accommodates for personal training sessions with the trainers, each tailored to your specific fitness goals.
A mini retail space stocks a selection of pieces by local activewear brand Kydra, so you’ll have equally photogenic clothes to match. Uppercut has promised an upcoming exclusive collaboration with Kydra.
The contemporary aesthetic takes a darker turn in the class studio. We were slightly disoriented when we first stepped in: The dimly-lit area, with its strobing black lights and loud pumping music, looked more like a nightclub than a gym. Eleven floor stations and Aqua Training Bags — teardrop-shaped, water-filled punching bags that have a lesser strain on joints during impact — are hints to what one can expect from the class.
There are only two classes to choose from: Undercard and Overthrow. But what Uppercut is lacking in variety, it more than makes up for with quality.
If you’re new to the sport, the Undercard is a 50-minute foundation class that’s far from intimidating. Tailored specifically for those with zero experience, the trainers patiently went through the basics of boxing, from the correct stance to the six basic boxing punches required. Hand-eye coordination is key for boxing, and this class will challenge both your body and mind to stay focused throughout.
After we got the moves down pat, the Overthrow class was next. The more dynamic 50-minute burnout session is quite simply a test of strength and stamina. Like a championship bout, the session is 12 rounds of complex boxing combinations and high-intensity bodyweight and kettlebell moves.
While it’s nice to be able to stop and catch your breath between sets, Uppercut is a believer in active rest, which maximises the workout by moving a little between sets. The benefits of active rest are many, including getting you past plateaus and aiding with muscle recovery. The music blaring from the speakers means that no one — including yourself — can hear your muscles crying for help.
Uppercut is designed to motivate and make you feel like a million dollars from the minute you step into the reception, right till you’ve showered and ready to leave.
The classes are vigorous and will push you to your limits; yet most importantly, they’re good fun. The trainers (we had Barbara and Tiffany in our class) are all boxing professionals, and their solid background really shone through as they confidently guided everyone through the movements.
It’s not every day we get a good sweat on and leave the room thinking about going for the next session, but Uppercut is a properly entertaining way to get fit, vent your frustration, and then feel good after. We promise you’ll feel quite sore the following day (and even the one after), but you’ll be heading back for more.
(All images: Uppercut)