At the end of my first GRIT BXNG class, I thought I was going to pass out — in a good way. I was woozy and completely drenched in my own sweat. As my head spun and my treadmill slowed to a stop, a cheesy thought hit me: Do I actually have grit? I usually consider myself the weakest link in exercise classes, but there was something about this tough, full body workout that made me push harder than I had in previous classes. From the moment I walked past the sparkly, blue punching bag at check-in, I felt inspired to work hard, and get shit done.
GRIT launched this month, and it’s a 50 minute workout that combines boxing, strength training, and cardio on the treadmill. “It’s a one stop shop for toning and building lean muscle,” co-founder Ediva Zanker tells Refinery29. “And the strength workouts change every single time you go, so you won’t plateau. Sometimes we’ll use medicine balls, sometimes bands, some days dumbbell. It’s constantly changing and shocks your body so you always get the best results.”
Class takes place in a beautiful, dark studio with blue teardrop Aqua Punching Bags hanging from the ceiling in the middle. There are benches for strength training in one corner, and treadmills lining the walls of the room. They have a multi-million dollar lighting and sound system, with a giant TV screen that cycles through trippy and mesmerizing videos that show things like champagne bottles popping in 3D.
The class is broken up into three sections and a lightning round at the end. It’s basically a mashup combining training techniques from Barry’s Bootcamp and Rumble Boxing. Like both of those classes, there’s a lot going on all at once. The instructors have people doing all three activities (boxing, cardio, strength) at once, so they have to stay on top of keeping everyone on track. As the instructor explains how to do the strength training to one part of the class, you’ll be running, planking or boxing, so there’s no down time.
You might start on the boxing section, during which the instructor and TVs on one side of the room will tell you to cycle through different sets of boxing moves, such as ducks and upper cuts. From there, you’ll move to strength training, where you’ll do as many sets as you can of moves such as squats, lunges, and mountain climbers. On the treadmill, you have some options. If you’re a runner, instructors will ask you to alternate between three different levels: a jog pace, a run pace, and a sprint pace. For people who want to walk, you’ll increase your incline throughout class instead of the speed. (They have a guide for how to change the settings, in case you miss something.) They also have a bike in one corner, for people who prefer that for their joints.
You’ll do three long sessions of each, and then you’ll go back and cycle through them again for three minutes each section at the end for the “lightning round.” “We want people to push themselves harder than they ever thought possible,” Zanker says. “You know nothing is that bad for three minutes, so you can push yourself hard at the end. Maybe you slacked off in the first few rounds, but now you have no excuse because it’s only a few minutes. It’s designed to test your grit.” It certainly tested mine. I got up to an 11 sprinting setting on the treadmill, a personal best.
The class I went to had a rocking playlist that included a remix of “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande, “Stronger” by Kanye West, “High Hopes” by Panic! At the Disco, and other pump-up jams perfect for getting your heart rate up. The songs flowed together well, and the choruses seemed to be timed to the highest intensity parts of the runs on the treadmill. Some of the class playlists are created by the instructors, and some are inspired by one of GRIT’s high profile investors, Pitbull.
Another unique aspect to the class: There’s an open bar after, that will serve you mimosas or cold brew drinks after class. With your intro offer, they’ll give you tokens for complimentary post-class cocktails. This provides an aspect of community. If you don’t make friends with the people on the treadmill next to you doing the actions to “Single Ladies,” you’ll have the chance to befriend them at the bar post-sweat session. “Most studios you’re in and out, and there’s no place to connect with trainers or meet someone new from class,” Zanker says. “But with this you can share life experiences, and it becomes a place to connect with the trainers and people from class.”
The rate is a little pricey for such a new studio. Right now it’s $36 per class with packages available. The intro package is also $36, but you get two classes, one guest pass, two cocktails at the bar, and a limited edition gym bag with a pouch inside that holds sweaty clothes. This intro offer is fairly generous for what you're getting. But beware: You might find out you have grit and get hooked like me.