BXR – an elite fitness studio in Chiltern Street from boxing champion Anthony Joshua – opened in January 2017 offering its members the kind of training, facilities and expert advice available to professional athletes, regardless of ability. Its Sweat by BXR concept is a programme of classes divided into Skills, Cardio, Strength and Mobility and led by some of the industry’s top athletes. Given that boxing it at the heart of this brand, Brummell signed up for the Boxing Skills class with coach Marcus Parkin – a high-intensity 45-minute class focusing on the essential elements of boxing techniques combined with bodyweight and core exercises to high-energy music.
With around 10 punch bags hanging from the ceiling, the low-lit Skills Studio is an intimate space surrounded by flattering glass mirrors. The classes at BXR are small, which enables the coach to give time to each participant and there’s definitely more than enough room to swing a hook. Marcus welcomes us in at the door and – after ushering us to grab a pair of (surprisingly stink-free) boxing gloves – he quickly starts up his playlist of upbeat trap music, which he says is, ‘motivational’. He is right. Fifteen minutes in, we’ve done shadow boxing, push-ups, squats, burpees and mountain climbers along with the first round of bag drills (jab, cross, slip, hook) and we’re still going; this class is non-stop energy.
The benefits of a smaller class quickly become apparent, as a mic’d up Marcus pops up behind the bag more than once during each drill, correcting our footwork and championing every successful combo with a ‘YES’. As well as aiding the momentum, the carefully curated playlist also spurts appropriate words of encouragement (“keep your hands up, keep your hands up”) – who knew semi-aggressive rap could be so invigorating?
Multitasking Marcus also changes the lighting regularly during the session, which complements the music and the drills – he really is juggling a few things here while giving each of us quite a lot of attention (which also cleverly stops us from taking a cheeky “unauthorised” breather). As well as being a full-on cardio session, it’s fun and we leave feeling like we have learned something new – and all in just a few three-minute rounds on the bag. It’s less aggressive than we were expecting, more controlled and focused on strength. A friendly fist-bump from Marcus as we leave cements our new level of respect for the practice.
The spacious and luxurious changing rooms designed by Bergman Interiors are equipped with plenty of large code-controlled lockers. The showers are large enough to wash (with dreamy Malin + Goetz products), dry (with soft, large complimentary towels) and dress in, while in the main changing area there are a host of essential pre- and post-workout beauty items to ensure you are ready for the rest of the day. Top up your water bottle on the way out or relax in the onsite Joe and the Juice bar with a pineapple, passionfruit and apple sports juice.
The small print
There are various ways to train at BXR: Membership options include £210 a month for 30 classes or £300 for unlimited classes; single classes start at £20; or buy in bulk with Sweat Packs from £85.
In a nutshell
This is perfect for anyone who loves a quick blast of full-on fitness while honing their skills. Marcus balances the coaching, music and lighting perfectly to provide a fun and motivational experience.
BXR London, Chiltern Street, London W1U 5QY; Sweat by BXR Canary Wharf, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AR; bxrlondon.com