A Knockout of a Fitness Routine

Photography by Create + Gather
Joél Cotreras, instructor at Union boxing gym
Joél Cotreras, instructor at Union boxing gym

“You feel like a tough bad-ass who can do anything.” That’s how Gloria Quiming describes the experience of boxing, an old-time sport that has emerged as a major fitness trend, as evidenced by the number of boxing gyms that have opened around the city of late.

Quiming, who co-owns Union boxing gym as well as U Barre, a contemporary Pilates studio, both in East Sacramento, came to boxing a decade ago through her Pilates work. “Many people don’t realize that Joseph Pilates was a boxer, and the principals of the training are the same for both boxing and Pilates,” she explains. “The idea behind Pilates was for it to be applicable to other movements, and what greater expression of power and movement than boxing? I just fell in love with it.”

The origins of today’s boxing craze can be traced back to boutique gyms in places like New York City and celebrity models like Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss, who took to showing off their boxing prowess—and the sculpted body that comes with it—on social media. “It has taken off across the country; we get the trickledown effect here in Sacramento,” says Quiming.

Boxing is a high-intensity workout that can improve strength, coordination and cardiovascular health, not to mention one’s physique. But Quiming insists there’s “so much more to it than six-pack abs or defined shoulders.” Boxing is a major stress reliever.

“It’s this mix of hard-core workout and therapy,” says Quiming. “It changes your mindset. The people who come into the gym all have something to figure out, and it’s not necessarily physical. The client that comes in to box is a little bit more serious. When they put their gloves on, they are prepped and ready for what’s next.”

All exercise makes you feel better, says Quiming, but only boxing offers the visceral satisfaction of throwing a punch. “It just feels good to punch something. There’s something really therapeutic about it,” she says. “People identify with the image that boxing conjures up: If you get hit, you shake it off and you get back up. I think people get so much out of that, beyond the physical workout.”

And despite the sport’s popularity among supermodels and high-performance athletes, Quiming says boxing workouts are accessible to all. “We opened with the idea that we could reach out to people who were maybe intimidated or thought this was a workout for someone above their fitness level,” says Quiming. “We tell people, ‘You can do this.’ It’s for everyone.”