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Scott Chasserot

Weird workouts: put your best fist forward with boutique boxing

By Cath Clarke
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Spinning? Boring. Treadmill? Triple boring! It's time to try one of these sports of a different sort. How about...boutique boxing?

Vogue has decreed that boxing is the fashion world's favourite exercise. Supermodels Cara Delevingne and Gigi Hadid swear by it for a lean, toned physique, and boutique boxing gyms are opening all over London. Looking for a class taught by a woman, I find professional fighter Marianne Marston (aka The Golden Girl) who runs female-only classes at an old-school boxing gym behind Euston station.

Ringtone Gym is pretty basic: concrete floor, boxing ring (actually a square) and a few punchbags. But it's way less macho and intimidating than I'd been expecting. As for Marianne, this woman is hard as nails. A petite blonde, she has not one inch of body fat, anywhere. Her class is one of the most exhausting, sweaty workouts I've ever done. It starts with burpees, star jumps and press-ups. I'm shocked when, just ten minutes in, Marianne shouts 'Gloves on!' This is a beginners' class, but there is actual sparring. (Warning: the gym's gloves stink worse than teenage-boy trainers. Regular attendees all bring their own.)

It's at this point I realise I have never thrown a punch. Not a single one in 37 years. Sparring genuinely freaks me out. I do not want to hit another human being. Marianne steps in as I feebly tap my sparring partner's gloves, holds up her hands and barks: 'Come on, hit me!' After the lesson, she tells me it takes most women a couple of lessons to really give it some welly.

For a first-timer, there's a lot to take in - jabs, crosses, uppercuts - and the 60-minute class flashes by. But the other women are friendly and welcoming. And boxing is ridiculously effective, combining cardio with toning and core-strengthening. By the end of the class I can barely feel my arms, and the next day, never mind land a punch, I can barely lift a teabag out of a cup.

Great if... you're looking for a powerhouse, full-body workout.

Avoid if... you don't want to get your hands dirty.

Ringtone Gym, 141-153 Drummond St, NW1 2PB. Euston Square or Warren St. £15.

Don't fancy swinging punches? Why not try surfboard yoga or cheerobics?

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