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Build Mental and Physical Toughness with Boxing, Kickboxing, and Strength Training

By Taylor Smith | Photo courtesy of CKO Kickboxing

Cardio is out and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is in. Many workout enthusiasts are noticing that their spin classes and running routines aren’t cutting it anymore when it comes to building overall health.

Boxing and kickboxing are growing in popularity throughout New Jersey and New York because people are seeing results. It is not only a good skill, but also important as a tool for self-defense. According to experts such as Dr. Timothy Francis Las Vegas and others, learning martial arts or other defense skills is immensely helpful, especially to women. So, it is no wonder that there has been a recent rise in the number of people signing up.

The fighter’s physique, long desired for its lean look combined with powerful muscular strength, is what people are after and requesting in many gyms. It can be hard for some to build muscle when they are working out, but perseverance as well as potentially trying pills that get you ripped (with support from a doctor of course) can help people reach their fitness goals. Here is the rundown of some of the gyms throughout the area that is not only offering opportunities to build muscular strength but is specializing in it, with well-trained fighters as instructors challenging both the body and the mind.

Photo courtesy of CKO Kickboxing


CKO Kickboxing
900 Madison Street, Suite 2, Hoboken

This Hudson County gym boasts 20,000 square feet between two floors. Your first trial class is free (Hoboken residents receive an upgrade to one free week with purchase of starter gloves). Unlike some kickboxing gyms, at CKO you’ll be able to burn tons of calories and excess energy by hitting heavy bags, rather than air. Classes run between 45 minutes and 1 hour and will allow you to go at your own pace. Any level, male or female, is welcome at this all-inclusive gym, regardless of experience. Flexible membership programs are tailored to your individual needs, goals, and work schedule with classes being offered all day, throughout the day, starting at 5:30 a.m.

CKO Kickboxing boasts several other locations in New Jersey and New York, including 621 Route 130 in Hamilton Township; 609.838.2872.

Photo courtesy of The Gym

2 Chestnut Ridge Road, Montvale (201.802.9399)
20 Nordhoff Place, Englewood (201.567.9399)

THE GYM maintains locations in Montvale and Englewood. With an emphasis on top-tier instructors and the latest equipment, the overall atmosphere is reminiscent of a five-star hotel. Boxing-oriented group fitness classes include the popular Kick-Box and Boxing Bootcamp.

7 Forrestal Road South, Plainsboro

With exceptional spaces designed to inspire and energize, the LIFETIME brand of fitness clubs offers a huge selection of weekly group fitness classes including Strike, a martial arts-inspired class utilizing kickboxing skills, weighted gloves, punches, strikes, blocks, and heavy bars. While not boxing-oriented in nature, Spartan Strong is a fast-paced circuit workout that will elevate your heart rate while using bodyweight moves and all the major muscle groups.

Image courtesy of POE Yoga

POE Yoga
531 Millburn Avenue, Short Hills
(Additional locations in Fair Haven and Far Hills)

This attractive hot yoga studio also offers weekly boxing classes known as Poe Punch. Targeting the whole body, these classes will improve strength, aerobic capacity, speed, flexibility, coordination, and balance. Paired with heavy bag work, kickboxing, high energy music, and body weight exercises, Poe Punch will have you nailing complex boxing combinations in no time. Gloves are required, and all levels are welcome.

Photo courtesy of Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center

Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center
1225 State Road (Route 206), Princeton (609.683.7888)
7 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro (609.799.7777)

An affiliate of Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center with a second location in Plainsboro, Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center specializes in full-body care and training for all ages and fitness levels. BodyPump, BodyCombat, Kettlebell AMPD Demo, Piloxing, Tabata and HardCORE are just some of the high-intensity, strength-focused classes that are included in every gym membership.

Venom Fitness Boxing and Fitness Center
681 Lawlins Road, Unit 210, Wycoff

Exceed your expectations and push your limits at this no-frills gym experience at Venom Fitness Boxing and Fitness Center in Wycoff. Both boxing/kickboxing and boxing/MMA competition-style classes are offered, along with equally physically challenging options like Cobra Sculpt and Viper Bootcamp. Venom promises that in their boxing classes you’ll learn real boxing technique taught by real boxers, build core strength, learn self-defense, and burn between 800-1,000 calories per hour.


Gotham Gym
600 Washington Street, West Village

At Gotham Gym, train like a fighter with real fighters. Attendees are asked to bring boxing gloves and hand wraps, but you can also rent or purchase your own at the gym. Gotham Gym creator and owner Rob Piela has worked with everyone from celebrities to construction workers. Fellow fighter Randy Humola started personal training after a stint in the Marine Corps. Lastly, Mike Castillo began boxing at the age of 15 and has competed in the NY Golden Gloves seven times, taking home two silver and two bronze medals. After a stint in the Marine Corps, he joined the Gotham Gym family and has provided members with an intense and focused workout experience.

Photo courtesy of Overthrow Boxing Club

Overthrow Boxing Club
9 Bleecker Street, NoHo

As raw, real, and authentic as New York City boxing gets. Underground Boxing, Ring Work, and private training are all offered at both the NoHo and Brooklyn locations. Underground Boxing is taught by pro fighters and top level amateurs. This 45-minute Boxing Burnout class incorporates shadowboxing, heavy bag work, and basic boxing technique to high energy music. Overthrow’s Boxing Burnout takes places in the infamous underground level of No. 9 Bleecker. During the 45-minute Ring Work classes, participants learn footwork, boxing technique, and what it feels like to move and box like a fighter. All of this action takes place on the main level of Overthrow. Gloves are included and hand wraps are available for purchase. Classes number between 10-24 fighters and are no contact.

Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing

Rumble Boxing
146 West 23rd Street, Chelsea
(Additional locations in NoHo and the Upper East Side)

Rumble is certainly on-trend. This boutique fitness experience combines the best principles of boxing and strength training to help you to develop that lean, confident fighter’s physique. Rumble is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), strength training, metabolic conditioning, and uppercut throwing cardio in every class. Heavily-weighted aqua training bags and a nightclub quality sound system keep the energy levels high. Private training is also available.

Throwdown NYC
3 East 17th Street, Flatiron District

Throwdown NYC is a full-service boutique fitness studio in the heart of the Flatiron District. They utilize over 20 years of experience in martial arts, fitness, rehabilitation, strength training, and mobility for maximum results. Throwdown aims to bring mixed martial arts (MMA) to a broader population. Kickboxing, HIIT Strength, and Boxing Level I and II classes are offered weekly.

Photo courtesy of Willspace

254 West 10th Street, West Village

“Every body needs Will.” That’s the motto behind Willspace in New York City. Here, mobility and strength are intertwined. RE:TRAIN is a deliberate and systematic method of training by world-class athletes that breaks down the fundamentals of performance. Students are promised improved mobility, core strength, body control, weight lifting, and endurance.