Can Men’s Health Fit­ness Direc­tor Ebenezer Sa­muel punch away fat and forge men­tal tough­ness in Ge­orge Fore­man III’s hy­brid strength/ box­ing/car­dio class?

Men's Health (Singapore) - - FITNESS -

iI’m ap­proach­ing the end of round 10 in a 15-round gaunt­let of a work­out class. My trainer, Ge­orge Fore­man III (above), yells, “Go hard! Un­leash fury!” and for the next 30 sec­onds, all of us whale away on heavy bags, de­liv­er­ing hook af­ter slam­ming hook. It’s the Trainx360 class at Every­bodyFights in Man­hat­tan, and the lessons are clear for the 50-50 mix of about 30 men and women in at­ten­dance. First, punch­ing some­thing with all your might feels great. Sec­ond, it’s hellishly tir­ing. When the bell rings, for­get rest: I hit the floor,

box­ing gloves still on, and hold a plank.

From Rum­ble to Shad­ow­box, box­ing-in­spired group work­outs are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity as peo­ple seek new ways to burn fat, build mus­cle, and learn self-de­fence. But no gym aims to do it like Every­bodyFights, the Bos­ton­based box­ing club that’s storm­ing along the East Coast with plans to ex­pand to Cal­i­for­nia, Ken­tucky, Texas, and Washington, D. C.

At Every­bodyFights, you’re training the way Fore­man, the son of leg­endary “Big Ge­orge” and the cre­ator of Every­bodyFights, once did. Most group box­ing classes blend bag work with cal­is­then­ics to spike your heart rate. This gym pushes you through fat-blast­ing old­school box­ing drills, then uses other gym tools to hone your box­ing tech­nique. Sure, you work heavy bags, speed bags, and punch ma­chines, and you spar in the ring. But you also bat­tle Air­dyne fan bikes, row­ing ma­chines, and ket­tle­bells. You’re ruled by the clock, fight­ing through three­minute rounds, just like a boxer.

It’s all drawn from the training Fore­man him­self en­dured. Back in 2006, with Big Ge­orge as his coach, he took up box­ing in an ef­fort to lose weight. For four years, he trained un­der his fa­ther, pum­mel­ing his way to a 16–0 record (with 15 KOs). But the more fa­ther and son worked to­gether, the more ten­sion built be­tween them. In 2013, Fore­man de­cided to “take a break” from the sport. “I wasn’t get­ting a dad, and he wasn’t get­ting a son,” says Fore­man, now 35.

But G-3 wanted to stay fight­ready, so he built a gym for him­self in Bos­ton, where he’d gone to school, mak­ing sure it had what he needed to stay in fight­ing shape. Plan­ning his re­turn to fight­ing, he trained cir­cuit-style, go­ing from rower to Air­dyne to ket­tle­bells to sus­pen­sion train­ers to ring work, fin­ish­ing with core work. When his gym opened to the pub­lic, the box­ing and cir­cuit­train­ing ar­eas were un­der­uti­lized, and a friend sug­gested he turn his own work­outs into a group class called Trainx360, which is now his flag­ship class.

That’s not the only class here. Fore­man learned the value of yoga when fight­ing, so Every­bodyFights also of­fers a Flow class with med­i­ta­tion. There’s also an en­durance-fo­cused class with cy­cling, tread­mill run­ning, and row­ing. “Only 20 per­cent of what you do in our classes is ac­tual box­ing,” he says. It all lays the foun­da­tion you need to be a bet­ter boxer. Box­ers do wood chop­ping drills to build core and leg power; in Trainx360, I slam medicine balls. I squat low to pick up

ket­tle­bells, then stand and hoist them to my chest, a light­weight ver­sion of the hay­bale flips Fore­man did un­der his dad’s watch. Fore­man once slammed mal­lets into a tire to hone hand speed; he has me whip bat­tle ropes for the same rea­son. Fore­man keeps us mov­ing, al­low­ing just 15 sec­onds of rest be­tween rounds. Twelve rounds in, partly be­cause of how hard we hit the bags early on in the work­out, I’m drip­ping sweat, my legs are jelly, and my shoul­ders are on fire. That’s when Fore­man cranks it up: The last three rounds of­fer no rest, all planks, push-ups, and burpees. “Part of box­ing,” he says, “is learn­ing how to push through fatigue, ex­tend­ing your per­ceived lim­its, and work­ing while you re­cover.” I’m not see­ing the “re­cover” part.

Es­pe­cially not dur­ing the fi­nal 30 sec­onds of the day, when I’m most gassed. That’s when Fore­man shouts to go all-out one more time on the heavy bag. I throw a jab-jabcross, fire back-to-back hooks, deke, then de­liver an­other jab-cross. There’s some­thing in­vig­o­rat­ing about re­cruit­ing all your strength to throw those fi­nal punches. This is dif­fer­ent from bang­ing out a fi­nal set of bench-press reps.

This makes me feel like a war­rior.

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