I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am incapable of turning down an invitation for a free workout.
This was tested when the caveat was that this free workout would be one-on-one boxing training (no hiding in the back row!), and that I would be filmed for a promotional video while the workout was happening. Excessive sweating plus camera shy blogger does not a good video make, but ultimately my dedication to fitness on a budget, and the charmers at Skilloop, won this battle.
After applying enough make up to withstand fluorescent gym lights on camera, but not so much that I would appear so shallow that I put make up on to work out, I was off to Culver City.
Tucked into a particularly industrial corner of Culver City is The Gym@Hayden. It’s housed in the same building as a dance studio that I promise to check out if a free workout is ever offered to me there, or, ya know, when I get a job. On this midmorning weekday session, the gym is virtually empty, save a few folks meeting their trainers (and not a crew of videographers).
I am a boxing virgin. I’ve made it to third base with boxing activities on several occasions, including a stint with cardio kickboxing in high school (our crush on the instructor kept us going 4 days/week), complemented with my mom’s Tae Bo VHS tapes (Billy Blank motivates like no other). It turns out, however, that borderline-boxing a decade (plus) ago is not enough to prepare me for the real thing.
Nick hands me a jump rope, which I stare at quizzically. This thing looks familiar, although I don’t think I’ve jumped rope since age 10. A couple minutes into the jumping, I realize that both the coordination and cardio-challenge of jumping rope are harder than I remember it being in 5th grade. I think my legs were shorter then - definitely thinner - and my ability to jump without tripping over the rope was much higher.
Already worn out by this brief stint of cardio, it is time for Nick to teach me a few combinations, but not before wrapping up my hands and putting on boxing gloves.
Having my hands wrapped up by a trainer makes me feel truly bad ass for no real reason (other than mentally retained scenes from Million Dollar Baby and The Fighter). I already look much tougher. The boxing gloves really add to the intimidation factor, although I can tell Nick is only humoring me when he admits that he is intimidated.
Boxing. Is. Hard. Nick is very patient with me as I continuously forget even the simplest of punching combinations, and promises that I will be ready to win a bar fight when all is said and done. He also says that the key to staying youthful is chocolate, wine and coffee - this is my type of trainer.
I practice my new moves on Nick (and his protective gloves), and really go to town on the punching bag. I’m, perhaps, not THE most coordinated boxer, but I can confidently say that I’m not the least coordinated either.
As you will see in this video, I did improve throughout the class, and the cardio was a killer. I don’t know if I’m quite ready to face off with Mark Wahlberg’s fighter, but I think I could definitely kick Hilary Swank’s ass after that (to clarify: the 90210 years when she was dating Steve Sanders, not the Million Dollar Baby years when she had been trained by Clint Eastwood…give me time on that one).
Regardless, I’m loving Skilloop. Although I’m going to mainly hit it up for the one-on-one fitness training sessions with experts, they’ve got everything (cue SNL Stefon voice). Instructors for surfing, guitar, Adobe, cooking, styling and even authoring a book. Seriously, everything. I debated a private fire breathing lesson (no lie, it’s on there), but I super value my face.
3625 Hayden Avenue, Culver City 90232