◊ WHO THIS IS FOR ◊
fitness junkies looking for an authentic boxing experience that’s non-stop and pretty independent
WHAT YOU NEED
Water bottle, running shoes, hand wraps (can be purchased), boxing gloves (can be rented)
Studio K-O is founded on the principles of authentic boxing training. The classes provide a combination of on-the-bag boxing technique and intensive off-the-bag exercises to give the ultimate workout in strength, cardio, agility and power. With coaches and trainers who have actually seen the inside of a ring (some several times over) these next level, high-intensity workouts are coupled with no frills and an all-focus feel. The format of the classes are unlike anything else in Toronto with independent boxing drills at nearly 20 stations, requiring you to draw quickly from the memory bank on the basic 1-6 boxing punches. Prepare to get sweaty and get challenged, because Studio K-O undoubtedly stands up to its “authentic box fit” mantra.
Read on for the full article of Studio KO
There are two location in Toronto on King West and Queen East. We visited the King West location, so this article mostly references that studio, but we understand them to be very similar in amenities and experience. In the spring of 2019, the King West location moved from 788 King Street West where they shared space with Studio Lagree, to their now fully independent space a few doors down. They are literally steps away and it’s a much better situation with more space, more privacy, and more amenities. Studio K-O also has a handful of international locations in London (three) and coming soon to Germany!
Studio K-O offers two classes; Box-Fit and KOnditioning. Box-Fit is their most popular and heavily scheduled class and there’s a strong focus on continuous punching and speed rounds for intense cardio burn-out. A deeper dive into what this sweat-fest entails is below. Box-Fit can be found on the King West schedule every weekday from as early as 6:00am to as late as 7:30pm, and on the weekends from 9:00am to mid-afternoon. The Queen East schedule is slightly leaner, particularly on Fridays and on weekends. KOnditioning is a 50-minute interval cardiovascular/strength training class, with boxing inspired conditioning exercises to give you a full body workout. It uses free weights and slam balls, and wraps/gloves are not required. This class is only offered at the King West location ~2/week so hunt it down here.
To book classes, ya gotta do it all online through mindbody. It’s ideal to arrive 15-20 minutes prior to your first class and they’re pretty strict on this. First timers aren’t permitted in the room at all if they haven’t come early, so they can provide a technique tutorial before class. They also don’t let anyone into the room after a 5 minute grace period. If you’re on the waitlist for the class you should be ready to go as if you were signed up for the class. If, at the 5 minute mark, a registered class participant has not shown up, you can join the class.
Studio K-O DOES accept ClassPass however all ClassPass reservations and cancellations are made through ClassPass as a third party booking system. Studio KO can’t change or alter a ClassPass reservation and any issues regarding a ClassPass booking has to be addressed directly with them.
Prices at Studio K-O are comparable to other boxing studios in Toronto, at $27 for a drop-in and cheaper if you buy class passes. That’s the same as Bolo Inc. and a bit cheaper than Big Hit at $30 for a drop-in. Wraps and gloves are given for the first class only, and then they’re available to rent for $3 for gloves or $5 for wraps/gloves. We strongly recommend to bring your own gloves and wraps cuz they can’t guarantee they’ll be odour free which is a bit eww. Studio K-O also offers private classes and is priced by 1-2 ppl ($100), 3-4 ppl ($150) or 5-12 ppl ($300).
- First Class: $17
- Drop-in: $27
- 5 Classes: $125 ($25/class)
- 10 Classes: $230 ($23/class)
- 20 Classes: $380 ($19/class)
- Intro package for $255 that includes 10 classes, gloves and wraps
The vibe is pretty hardcore. There isn’t a lot of fluff or extra amenities, nothing is “pretty” or all that instagrammable – it’s a clean, no-messing around, here-for a challenging class kind of place. Now that the King West location has more space to themselves, they’re able to spread out a bit and offer more lockers (locks provided), more individual showers, a small lounge “KOrner” with bean bags and a TV, personal care products, and a smoothie bar. The single boxing studio is a long, red, room with boxing bags on one wall and conditioning equipment on the other. What’s unique to K-O is every “station”, i.e. a boxing bag or conditioning equipment, has an instruction plaque indicating the exercise. There’s typically two versions given, one for more experienced boxers and one for beginners. We’ll explain below how this comes into play.
Studio K-O has carefully designed their classes to appeal to all levels of experience, but as per the “who’s this for section” up top – the style of the classes lends itself to a pretty fit crowd. That’s not to say that we didn’t see a number of newbies to boxing during our time there, but the pace of the classes is quick and the workout is hard, so the clientele we witnessed were most definitely comfortable in a highly sweaty space.
THE CLASS 🍍
box fit W/ DJ Laperle & Steve Miranda
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Once you arrive, you’ll receive your rental equipment (unless you brought your own) and a trainer will assist you in wrapping your hands, if you need it. They also have a video tutorial here. If it’s your first time, you’ll receive a one-on-one tutorial from the instructor showing you the 6 basic punches, but even if you’ve done a few boxing classes in your day, it’s worth joining the tutorial because the rest of the class is fast and you’re on your own. This is all done before class even starts, which is why they want you to come early, because as soon as the clock turns whatever time, shit gets real.
Classes start promptly on time and the instructor will take the first 5 minutes to explain the workout format for the day. This is where Studio K-O is unique. DJ quickly showed us the experienced combination and the beginner one (which was still damn hard btw) at each station. The combination’s are also written on the plaque next to each station but in short form using 1-6 and abbreviations for “upper” or “lower” 1-6. This is why an understanding of the basic punches of 1-6 are needed because after they explain it at the beginning of class, your only reference is the plaques. Then we had a quick warm-up with traditional boxing drills (high knees, shadow boxing, etc.) and we got into it.
We each chose a station and it didn’t matter where you started, you were doing all 20 stations in the 50 minute class. We performed our stations’ exercise continuously for 1 minute. Then for the 1 minute “break” in between, we did continuous punching AND high knees on-the-bag, or plank shoulder taps at the conditioning station. This was the format for the next 40 minutes and by station 4 the entire room was dripping with sweat. If you got stuck and couldn’t remember the exercise, the multiple instructors that were in the room were there to assist and were hawks for form and proper technique.
There’s so much going on, and you’re so focused on the challenge of each combo or exercise that all of a sudden, class is over. As we finished sopping with sweat and high fiving our neighbor, both of us shocked and impressed to have made it through, we were guided through a 5 minute cool down. Seriously, it’s intense and it’s the real deal. We have no doubt that every person who walks through the doors at K-O will experience a challenge and have a chance to augment their fitness while perfecting their boxing form.
Tabs is a freelance brand and marketing strategist, co-host of The After30 Podcast and creator of Fit-City Guide. You can find her in a fitness studio every week, chatting up the instructors and fellow class goers on their experience, and generally being a creep in the background taking photos of everything. When she isn’t writing for Fit-City Guide, Tab is chasing her toddler son, drinking bubbly (likely at the same time), and eating popcorn.