◊ THE CLASS: Knockout ◊
WHAT TO BRING
Giant water bottle
Clean indoor shoes
Hand wraps ($12 to buy – free with some packages)
Boxing gloves (you can borrow for free, or if you’re feeling especially badass you can buy your own for $45)
Champs Boxing Studio is a relatively new player in Edmonton’s fitness scene, and definitely knows what’s up. When we saw that Champs had signed on with Fitset, we were quick to put this one on the ol’ to-sweat list (it’s like a to-do list, only harder). We’ll say this; it was nerve-wracking going into our first ever boxing class – but this studio and their staff are ready to make you feel comfortable, not to mention kinda badass. The space is modern and just cool; from the boxing room, to the ring in the middle of the studio, and the instructors enthusiastically teach anyone how to wrap up and throw a punch. We definitely had more fun than we expected, and dare I say we felt like… champions? (ha)
Located in the heart of downtown Edmonton, Champs Boxing took up residence in the old Mother’s Music building on 109th Street and 103rd Avenue. This puts the studio blocks away from Grant McEwan University, and easy walking distance from multiple LRT stations and along numerous bus lines running through the core. If driving, there’s plenty of meter parking around the area. We went to a 9:30am Sunday class, and were able to snag free parking right next to the building on 103rd Avenue – it really doesn’t get better than that.
Parking is as follows:
- Street Parking Available (1st come, 1st serve): Monday – Saturday before 9:00 am: FREE
- Monday – Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm: $3-4/hour
- Monday – Saturday after 6:00pm: FREE
- Sundays (all day): FREE
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
Champs offers a single signature class, the 50 minute Knockout. This class is available 3-4 times a day and works SUPER WELL for most schedules. Considering Champs’ location, class times are generally based around someone who runs a 9-5 schedule, with daily options at 6:15am, noon, and 5:30pm. In addition to the signature class, Champs offers a boot camp a few times a week (think traditional bootcamp meets HIIT), and a Bag Drill Burn which teaches the technical aspects of boxing. The 50 minute Knockout takes place in a dark room filled with punching bags, and they’re great for both beginners and experienced boxers, as the format of the class makes it easy for first-timers to catch on but veterans get an awesome workout as well. Champs recommends arriving at least 20 minutes before class for check-in. If it’s your first time, we can say with all the certainty that they’ll take care of you – about 10 minutes before class they’ll call all newbies to the ring to show everyone how to wrap their hands and give a quick overview of the basics.
Prices at Champs are slliiiiightly higher than most boutique fitness classes in YEG running at $23 per class, but that $23 also gives you a pretty damn good workout, so like, fair. Hand wraps are a requirement, and if you don’t already own them Champs sells them for $12. They have a really great first-timers deal; $30 for two 50 minute Knockout classes and your own wraps. If you decide Champs is the studio for you, they also sell 5 ($95), 10 ($170) and 20 ($300) class passes that lower the overall cost per class nicely. In addition to this, Champs offers 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year unlimited passes as well – just be sure to do the math and make sure the value is in it for you.
Class Pack Prices
- Drop-In: $23
- Newbie 2 Class + Wraps: $30
- Newbie 2 Week Unlimited + Wraps: $65
- 5 Class Pass: $95 ($19 per class)
- 10 Class Pass: $170 ($17 per class)
- 20 Class Pass: $300 ($15 per class)
- 1 Month Pass: $225
- 3 Month Pass: $510
- 6 Month Pass: $950
- Annual Pass: $1750
If it turns out you’re like, really into boxing, and want some 1:1 coaching, Champs also offers Champs and Contender Coaching with one of the instructors. More details here.
Okay so, this studio is BOMB. We didn’t really know what to expect bc this was all suuuuper new for us – but it’s huge, well designed, and the aesthetics are on point. Naturally, they’ve got all the stuff we are used to; great change rooms, programmable lockers, ample seating, good quality product, etc. But they also have things we were not expecting, but were very happy to find (hello cold towels after class – this doesn’t seem like a boxing thing to us, but we like it). There’s also a huge boot camp area and a beautifully designed space upstairs for future services (think juice bar AND physio).
The interior design is really interesting. Throughout the studio there’s a mix of red/white/black, with hints of marble and wood, and it all just kind of works really well to provide an open, clean, and moderately badass space. When you first come into the studio, you’re greeted by a front desk and the awesome staff who will show you what’s up. A huge merch section is straight ahead next to a stack of programmable lockers and a seating area. Dominating the middle of the studio is a boxing ring, not used for regular classes but definitely acting as a catalyst to make you feel like a boss just for being there. The change rooms are upstairs, and they’re HUGE and gorgeous. You guys. There’s one studio for the signature knockout classes and a gym on the second floor for bootcamp.
The main studio, or “knockout room”, is dark, with 40 bags hanging from the ceiling and a club-like sound system. The low lighting provides the perfect amount of anonymity so that you can still see the instructor, and he or she can make sure you’re doing everything safely, while also hiding from your fellow classmates that you have no idea what you’re doing. Just us? Cool.
The crowd is mostly regulars in their 20’s to 30’s, with our class being about 75% female. The staff and fellow fighters are incredibly warm to first-timers and novice boxers, so don’t feel intimidated to give it a shot – there will also be plenty of time before and after class to chat up some regulars and get used to the place.
- Champs apparel and accessories
- Gloves rentals are free – they can be purchased as well
- Mens and womens change rooms with showers and washrooms
- All toiletries and shower products such as shampoo and conditioner, hair ties, hairspray, etc are included
- Filtered water, and you can buy water bottles for $2
- Programmable lockers
Champs has a team of ten coaches who vary in their athletic backgrounds but all bring a bit of their own spice to the studio. Many have a background in boxing or martial arts so you know the boxing drills are the real deal. The studio was opened by Canada’s eight-time women’s world boxing champion (you read that correctly, eight times), Jelena Mrdjenovich. Jelena is well known in Edmonton for working hard and pushing others to gain experience, increase knowledge and get stronger. We totally think this studio is a reflection of that goal.
How excited were we to review another of Farha’s classes? VERY! If you’ve been following along lately, we recently took a class with Farha at CycleBar, where she’s a spin god – so to see her in a completely different setting and owning it just as well was a treat. As if being a spin boss and boxing bad ass wasn’t enough, our girl Farha is the literal picture of fitness goals, an impressive human all-round, and so welcoming to every studio we’ve seen her in. She’s a mother of three and teaches at UofA’s faculty of Education, and somehow manages to make it all seem easy. Farha was sure to guide us (and a whole group of other eager newbies) through the basics of wrapping, boxing, and just being in the studio as a whole, from the minute we walked in until we left. She’s a fantastic instructor, impressive athlete and overall wonderful human.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Dang, you guys – this is a class that makes you leave it ALL in the room, and we like it. Classes are set up in the ‘Knockout Room’ – which is, simply put, a dimly lit pain chamber. Each person in the class has their own individual punching bag, and the class uses a combination of rhythmic boxing techniques and body weight exercises to leave you completely spent.
The format of the class was broken into parts (based on the music – new track, new part) and each round had a different focus. The first two-three tracks were a warmup, and trust, this will make you feel like the warmup is the actual workout. After the warmup, there was a track where you work on technique, and we moved a bit slower to get the feel for the basic combinations; a jab, cross, hook, uppercut, etc. This is to ensure your form is correct. Once we got the basics down, we got to hit the bags. This is where you get to channel your inner champion and go to town. The rest of the tracks were a combo of HIIT, power combos, slow combos, and core work – all with different intensities to get us to our max multiple times in the class. Our definite favourite part was the reset track, which is when the room got super dark, the music got super loud, and we were allowed to get into our heads and enjoy the moment – actually amazing, you guys.
While this class was definitely difficult (and at times confusing as hell), there’s lots of inclusion, and tons of room for modifications, if needed. The whole time Farha was hands on, walking around, coaching and correcting form. We rated this class Way Hard but we got the vibe these classes could fit anywhere on the difficulty spectrum depending on how much YOU want to put into it. Get in the rhythm, or beat the hell out of that bag – you do you. And the best bit, no one will ever know bc that room is dark AH.
If you’re into this class or want to try something else, see Champ’s schedule here.
See ya next week, champ.