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Punch Up Your Fitness Routine: 
Find Balance with Knockout Boxing and Yoga Classes

By Lauren Keating

Fitness enthusiasts are constantly seeking innovative ways to optimize their workouts. Enter in-the-ring knockout workouts, dynamic classes that blend two distinct forms of exercise to offer a workout experience that aims to maximize health benefits. 
   Knockout workouts incorporate high-intensity routines such as boxing, martial arts, and kick-boxing, focusing on agility and cardio fitness. These workouts are combined with mind-body exercises like Yoga or Pilates that focus on flexibility and posture and challenge the cardiovascular system to increase muscular strength.
   The social media platform Pinterest calls knockout works the “ultimate 2024 stress reliever” among Millennials and Gen X. According to its Pinterest Predicts report, knockout workouts are a rising fitness trend for 2024 among its 482 million users.

 Saint Louis Boxing Club

“This feels like a gift for people to come in and get to be able to experience two different disciplines,” Walther, a physical therapist and RYT 200 instructor at the Saint Louis Boxing Club, said. “I would love it if it’s the beginning of a trend, and then it becomes just the norm. It is one of the greatest experiences we have.”
   The class includes advanced Yogis who may never wear a pair of boxing gloves, seasoned boxers who have never tried Yoga before, and those in between.
   “Boxing and yoga are both practices, old disciplines,” Norton (PT, NASM) said. “You’re not going to be master at it. We do a great job at keeping people where they are as far as fitness or skill level.”

After a warmup, a  Box + Flow class starts with 30 minutes of high-energy boxing led by Norton who brings the right amount of “crazy” to get the heart pumping. “Anybody who’s taking a boxing class for the most part loves the endorphins and the high you get from a higher level cardio like that,” Walther said. 
    After the boxing portion, Walther leads the class to 30 minutes of Yoga, allowing boxers to lengthen their muscles and stretch in a way they probably don’t regularly do. “Most of these people, if they weren’t coming to our class, they wouldn’t be doing yoga,” Walther added.
But Norton said the yoga portion in his class is not for the faint of heart. “It’s a very athletic brand of Yoga, which people like because they get the opportunity to get stretched out to work on the flexibility, mobility, but it’s still there’s a lot of strength building in it as well. So it’s very complementary in that fashion.”
    This includes lots of hip, shoulder, chest, and heart-opening movements. Towards the end of the class, the pace slows down, which also serves as a great cool-down from the cardio.
   With a killer playlist that includes upbeat, fun music, Norton and Walter feed off the energy in the room to “one-up each other.” Don’t expect to lie there and breathe with instrumental music for that yoga portion. These two disciples blend well because of what Norton called the pair’s “unspoken synergy.” They are skilled at building off movements such as extrapolating a split stance of a single leg boxing stance into the yoga portion. This results in a challenging yet engaging workout that is as fun as it is effective. 

Knockout workouts provide that well-rounded, full-body workout that helps build lean muscle, burn fat, and increase agility, coordination, and mobility.  
  “They get that benefit of the cardio and the strength — those heart-healthy benefits from boxing, and continue with the strength and mobility part in in the yoga,” Walther said. “Then we tap into that parasympathetic nervous system that starts to allow them to de-stress so that they are walking out feeling like they’re zen. They get to go through the whole experience of all the health benefits that you're needing in your workouts.” 
  While boxing and yoga are on opposite sides of the fitness spectrum, they are both great for mental health.  There is the release of rage and stress when hitting the bag in boxing, and the mindful breathing in the yoga to calm the mind. 
  “The mental aspects of boxing and yoga are very similar in that it's necessary to be present,  there's no room to be anywhere else,” Walther said. “And that is so beautiful. It’s such a grounding experience for a person.” 
“Wellness is a buzzword. To me, this class encapsulates wellness,” Norton said. “You get the cardio, the strength, the flexibility, and you get the connection with your mind.” 
  People are able to check both disciplines off their fitness to-do lists in one shot while getting all the benefits in one experience. 
  “I think people are starting to tune into being multidisciplinary in their workouts, you have to be well-rounded in your workout,” Walther said. “Being able to see how people experience the class and how they feel after there is it's really exciting because I think people coming in think, ‘This might be okay,’ and then they're blown away by how it feels to have both disciplines in their body by the end of the hour.” 

Heather Walther holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her certifications include Yoga (more than 200 hours), Pilates mat, Pilates reformer, barre, and spinning. She has more than 17 years of experience in the fitness industry. 
Heath Norton is a NASM-certified personal trainer who began instructing boxing classes after his own intensive boxing training. He opened up Saint Louis Boxing Club with his business partner in 2012, and has been instructing for 11 years. 


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