What Is It: BoxUnion — Charlotte McKinney’s favorite boxing studio — combines shadow boxing and heavy bag drills with cardio, core work and plyometric intervals to “sculpt, lean and champion a fit physique in a thoughtful, motivational environment.”
Who Tried It: Gabrielle Olya, PEOPLE writer and reporter
Level of Difficulty: 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10). I took the “Box U” class which is catered to beginners, so it’s easy to follow along and they offer plenty of modifications for every move so you can do a workout that’s appropriate for your fitness level. While I was able to do all the moves the class required, that doesn’t mean it was easy! I guarantee you will break a serious sweat during the 45-minute class.
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The class started off with shadow boxing drills to make us more comfortable with the different punches (while also working our core and arms to do the moves). Then the boxing gloves went on, and we spent the remainder of class doing a mix of boxing intervals with the bag and floor intervals that included squatting, jumping, running in place and ab work.
While the class was physically exhausting (I was drenched in sweat about 10 minutes in!) the upbeat playlist and encouraging trainer helped me get through the whole class without stopping. I definitely felt challenged, but I was able to get so mentally lost doing the moves that I was honestly surprised when the class was over!
“It’s a really cool moving mind-body meditation,” Marxel Leobez, who trains the Baywatch star, tells PEOPLE. “You’re in constant movement so you can kind of let go.”
And it’s also a really effective calorie-burning workout.
“The sequencing we use in BoxUnion is like HIIT training,” says Leobez. “You’re getting your heart rate elevated and bringing it down, so you’re boosting your metabolism to burn fat and sculpt muscle at the same time. It’s a high caloric burn.”
In addition to scorching calories, the boxing moves work muscles throughout the entire body.
“By using the rotations, you’re using every spacial plane,” explains Leobez. “You’re working your glutes, you’re working your core, especially, to keep the balance, and especially the transverse abdominus which pulls the abs in tight. It’s a lot of core work, and on top of that it works out your arms. It’s a full-body exercise.”
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The Verdict: I left BoxUnion feeling sweaty and sore, but also really energized for the rest of the day. Not only did I feel like I got a great workout, but punching a bag was also an amazing stress reliever. I would definitely go back to sweat out a bad day (or start off a good one)!