Hotbox fitness is a hot kickboxing/yoga/weight training studio in Nashville’s Gulch. They offer a variety of classes throughout the week in their two studios on the first floor and have a full gym on the second floor.
Ryan and I decided to try out our first hot kickboxing class this past Saturday afternoon. Lululemon, a national athletic clothing chain, has monthly promotional “studios of the month” that offer free classes, so we decided to take advantage. We had a bit of trouble finding the studio, (completely our fault) and I began to assume the worst – having been at Hot Yoga Plus for almost two months, I assumed the policies were around the same – you MUST be early. NO exceptions. Doors are LOCKED at 2 minutes till. Even if you sign up early online, we DO reserve the right to give your spot away without notifying you if you’re not early enough. As someone who hates to be late to anything, ever, policies like this give my stomach a queasy feeling. Thus, we arrived on time, (read: late!) anxious and nervous and ready to be scolded.
What we found was the exact opposite: I was amazed at how friendly the front desk staff were right away. Amazed! They put us at ease immediately with their genuine happiness to meet us and gave us a little tour of the very professional yet down-to-earth facilities. As they helped us wrap our hands in the provided handwraps, (at no additional charge!) more staff and regular students approached us and introduced themselves, each as friendly and open and happy (and toned) as the last.
We arrived in the classroom, took off our shoes, were each assigned a 120lb bag, and were warmly welcomed again by the instructor, Jamie. The classroom was comfortable; the big bags provided some privacy, but the room was still open so that the instructors could pay attention to our form. Music blasted from the speakers and instructions were belted (oh, to have a voice that can sound tough and loud enough for people to hear in bars! I’ve always wanted one of those) but that somehow made everything more comfortable, providing another shield to hide behind as we were still figuring things out. I can imagine that eventually as one gets better at this sort of thing, the noise might be more of an embowering battle cry among comrades.
We kicked, we boxed. We did pushups, we did sit-ups, we jumped onto our bags, music blaring the entire time. The instructors would militantly shout what to do, then come over and make gentle, encouraging suggestions: “try it this way – you won’t hurt your foot,” or, “that’s great, but try stepping out a little wider.”
Halfway through, my breathing was getting labored, but I was still having fun and working hard. I told myself that I would stay in, even though it was beginning to seem as if I was tickling the bag, not punching it. I remembered the girls and guys I see sometimes at yoga class. Sometimes when people take their first hot yoga class, they struggle a bit. I always want to tell them, “It’s ok. You can slow down. You don’t have to be a rock star on your first day – take a little break and come back when it’s comfortable.” So I took my own advice and stepped out for a moment to regain my breath.
Immediately another instructor popped his head out of the door.
Gloves above my head, I nodded and smiled.
“You’re KILLING it in there!” he hopped back inside.
I came back a few moments later feeling refreshed and ready to finish class.
Ryan and I chatted with the others in class as we stretched and gathered our things up to leave. Our clothes were soaked and my body felt like it would never stop sweating. In yoga, I am aware of every drop of sweat that rolls down my body as it happens; after this class, I just found myself soaked in it and didn’t know how it happened.
Ryan and I walked the short trek home, talking about how great HotBox was the entire time.
Aggressively friendly staff
Very comfortable environment
Sweaty smell upon arrival. Although after the first five minutes, your own sweat joins in and you start liking it, or stop noticing it.
It’s been three days and my left calf (always the weaker one) is still tight. I’ve found that hobbling out of bed in the morning is a nice little reminder of how tough I am.
I’ll definitely be going back. This studio is incredible – if you need to wake up your workout, to make a friend, to relieve stress, or to just feel a little closer to Hillary Swank, this is the place for you.