I first learnt about the 9Round circuit-based boxing concept years ago while holidaying in Miami, where the fitterati were raving about the 30-minute workout.
A Trump presidency and a global pandemic later, I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed when I finally got to try it out for myself after I discovered it had hit UK shores.
There are now studios in Belfast, Glasgow and London — where there are 13 alone, including Bankside, Acton, Seven Sisters, Bow, City Road, Cannon Street, London Dock, Fulham, Croydon, Earl’s Court, Stratford, with newly-launched outposts in Shoreditch and Hoxton — each offers a free taster session before you commit to membership.
Here’s why I think it might just be the fitness scene’s best kept secret.
There are no class times
The beauty of 9Round is that you can literally do a class every three minutes without any commitment or booking. It’s so flexible and can be easily and conveniently slipped into a small gap in your schedule, adapting to you and not the other way around. As someone who is perpetually racing from the office to meet overly optimistic class bookings, this was genuinely a godsend which took late or missed class fees out the equation.
How it works
As the name suggests, there are nine rounds, each of which lasts for three minutes with a short break in between to move stations. The session begins with skipping, followed by four rounds of traditional boxing and kickboxing, including pad work with a trainer, before you whip your gloves off and try your hand at the speed bag, finished off with a solid abs session. And all takes just 30 minutes.
You simply start your workout as soon as the first round is clear and I found I rarely had to wait (if at all) even in peak busy periods in the pre or post-work rush.
The workout changes every day
While the circuit follows the vague structure above to ensure a full-body workout, the actual exercises change daily - even the skipping gets switched up with heart rate-raising effects. Each round has a whiteboard beside it detailing the exercise but the trainer walks you through each one too. There’s also C.H.O.Ws (or challenges of the week) with prizes for the winner.
You work one-on-one with a trainer
Investing in a personal trainer doesn’t come cheap and 9Round is the closest you’re going to get to it without forking out £50+ a session. Throughout the workout, you get tips and tricks from the instructors on how to improve your technique and there is also a dedicated round for pad work (the only contact boxing of the session). This personal one-on-one element helps you to ensure your jab, hooks and crosses are on point, while improving your coordination and stance at the same time. Throughout the week and on various weekends, there are also dedicated technique sessions for those looking to sharpen up in a particular area.
You can monitor your heart rate in real time
Heart rate monitoring is more popular than ever in the fitness world. When you begin your membership at 9Round, you are given a MyZone MZ-3 heart rate monitor that tracks the intensity of your workout, as well as the amount of calories and fat that you are burning. It’s then displayed on the screen in the corner which serves as great motivation to encourage you to push yourself further with each session. You can track your progress more scientifically on the accompanying app.
Level things up with a Challenge
If you want to see real improvements in your fitness, strength and mental resilience, there’s nothing like a challenge to give you motivation. 9Round runs the Stronger in 30 Challenge, which as you can probably guess, takes place over 30 days with unlimited training sessions during this period. On your very first session, you are measured at your arms, waist, hips, legs and more and also complete a fitness test so that you can compare results at the end of the month. You’re also given nutritional advice and are encouraged to set goals for yourself. I was genuinely impressed with the progress I made.
It’s fantastic for stress relief
Finally, when it comes to releasing pent up stress and tension from the day, there are few things that compare to boxing. Put on your gloves and punch or kick your problems away. It just really works.
Prices start at £49 a month depending on the studio and you can try a class for free before committing. For more information visit 9round.com