The Burn: Rumble Boxing Has the Workout (and Physical Contact) We’ve Yearned For

Big news, everyone: I left the house.

If you’ve tried to invite me anywhere recently, you probably know that I’m being extremely COVID-cautious—so unless it’s a zoom date, takeout picnic or that one distanced virtual sketch comedy show (I am what I am) the answer is no thank you.

But I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to (safely) try out Rumble Boxing, Yaletown’s newest boxing and personal training studio. I opted out of a group class and went with a one-on-one session, which I felt more comfy with. 

After my sign-in and all-clear temperature check (cue moment of peace) I was introduced to Vince, a “master trainer” (cue moment of intimidation). I let him know I’d done exactly one boxing class about two years ago. He let me know that he’s new to Vancouver—he’s part of the original Rumble team from Calgary. So though he’s a pro in the ring, he probably doesn’t own enough umbrellas. You never will, Vince.

The Space

There are advantages to not knowing a life pre-pandemic—as is the case with Rumble’s Vancouver location, which opened in late May. Unlike other studios that had to pivot their regular operations, Rumble started out COVID-ready. The classrooms and personal training area are all marked with floor tape, so each participant stays in their little box (which is a good call for boxing, anyway—you don’t want to get too close to someone else’s punching bag). Everyone gets a temperature check upon entering, and the locker area is closed until the world gets less virus-y. 

My session took place in the personal training area, but I did get to poke my head in a group workout room (sorry for harshing your groove, Thursday morning class), and the space has vibes similar to cosmic bowling. Like most millennial-age studios, the music is loud, the instructor is peppy, and the energy is electric. Plus, you get to hit stuff.

The Workout

I could make a weird observation about how having a personal trainer wrap my hands for boxing is the most intimate encounter I’ve had with someone outside my household since March, but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll focus on the boxing. I learned how to stand (sideways, feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, left foot facing my opponent), how to throw two punches (jab and cross) and “slip” (or dodge) an oncoming move. Vince’s friendly demeanor and constant positive reinforcement was extremely supportive, and I felt like I was working out my brain and my body at once. And again, I got to hit stuff. I can run and do pilates all I want, but to me, there’s nothing like a contact sport (even if the contact you’re making is with a punch mitt).

I was sincerely shocked when Vince said we had only two minutes left—the half-hour session flew by. Even though I like to exercise, it’s very rare that I make it through a workout without staring at the clock and thinking about whatever’s in my fridge. 

The Verdict

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: boxing is my favourite of all the workouts I’ve sampled for the sake of journalism. Especially in these secluded times, making physical contact with something—anything—is really fun.

That said, our city’s COVID-19 numbers and protocols are constantly changing, and I know lots of folks aren’t down for in-studio workouts right now. Rumble also offers online classes if you’re looking for something remote.

Also, maybe don’t schedule your workout in the morning if your job is largely typing-based—my hands shook for a good hour after the session. Probably the only hand-shaking I’ll be doing for a while.