Gym Review – The Ring Boston on Commonwealth Avenue

As mentioned in my previous two posts, I have been meaning to write reviews about the Brighton/Allston health club options that I have been a member at during my time here.  The first was the Beacon Hill Athletic Club in Cleveland Circle, and the second was the Boston Sports Club in Allston (BSC Allston > BHAC).  This review is about The Ring in Boston, a boxing gym, where you are trained by former and current pro’s and amateurs and world-ranked boxers – and, you might even bump into Shawn Thorton or other Boston athletes.

This gym is by far the coolest place I have ever worked out… other than my favorite spin studios.  Overall satisfaction: A+.

Location: The gym is located on the second floor of a building on Commonwealth Avenue, right near Boston University.  Convenient for me, but not for those who live in other parts of Boston.  Right off the T, and if you can find street parking on Commonwealth (I usuallllllly do), it’s great.  They also have a small parking lot that you can park in past 5pm most weekdays which has saved my ass when I haven’t found street parking.  It’s also located next to my favorite music venue in Boston, The Paradise, and last week I actually went to an hour long class at the gym, and then went to see the Ting Tings in my sweaty clothes with my boxing gloves in my gym bag.  A++++

I'm bringing my air mattress and shacking up in this building. This is all I have ever wanted in life - a boxing gym next to my favorite music venue. Love.

Price: Here is my ONLY beef with this gym. Last I checked, its: $99 for a weekend-only membership, $120 for a weekends + anytime before 5pm on the weekdays membership, and $139 for unlimited monthly use.  It’s also only open from noon until 10 or so every day – the weekends is like 10am until 5 or 6pm.

However, they do a free trial class, which is basically an orientation class into boxing and the type of workout to expect, and after you complete that, you have a free week-long membership to use whenever you want to start. Sweet!

Julie and I did the free trial class in October 2010, and I don’t think either of us actually used the free week (stupid!).  I bought a $60 groupon that I saw for free wraps and gloves AND unlimited monthly membership.  Shwing! I used this month in May of 2011 (perfectly coincided with a very rough time in my life, and I can’t tell you enough how therapeutic this workout was for me. No wonder bullies beat people up, it’s awesome!)

I was so sad for my month groupon to be over at the end of May because I knew I’d never be able to afford a regular membership.  A few more groupons came around throughout the year, but they had fine print about not being able to use it if you had been there in a 12 month period.  So, another one came around in January 2012 and I jumped on it – and it was a little cheaper than the original since I did not need the gloves and wraps.  Technically I shouldn’t be able to use it until May, but no one noticed. So, overall, price is an F. Fail. 

Locker Rooms: Non-existent. Two small bathrooms. I think that’s okay though. Who needs showering, anyway. C+

Staff: Awesome. The front desk people are friendly and nice, and the trainers are amazing.  The trainers each have a bio on the gym’s website, and you can see just how legit they all are.  They range from young to middle aged, serious to extremely goofy, and super sexy to a little overweight but you would not want to cross him for fear of dying from a single jab.  A+

The Club: Heaven on earth.  They have renovated it since I did my month there last year, and now it is double the size.  They added a bunch of cardio machines, a ton more heavy bags, a whole other ring to fight in, and an area to do your own workout with a few benches and free weights.  Here are two pictures I creepily nabbed tonight, which do not do this place or the space justice:

The original area of the gym

A portion of the renovated area.

Honestly, it is such a cool atmosphere in here – and the workouts are ridiculous.  I was pouring sweat today.  They have hour long classes from the moment they open until they close, and they switch between “12 round boxing workout” and “shadow boxing technique” classes.  I have only been doing the 12 round boxing workouts, and they are just so badass. You can also come and do your own workout, or kinda jump into a late class, or sometimes I will do my own workout and then jump in on the abs at the end.

A typical class starts out with 10 minutes jumping rope, and then any sort of squats with medicine balls/partner squats/side lunges/lunges with medicine balls/power lunges/burpees/mountain climbers/pushups/jumping jacks/squat jumps/really difficult tricep/bicep workouts with weights, or getting in the ring and side-running around it, step ups on the ring, or fast feet, etc, etc. You get the point. It’s balls to the walls crazy and they give you plenty of break time in between the rounds.  There are real boxing timers that are constantly running, so you are really doing 3 minutes of work and then taking a break and then going back for 3 minutes of work.

In addition to the muscle conditioning and cardio, you do a lot of heavy bag work where the trainers call out punches and you do them.  This lasts until the last ten minutes or so of class, where you do a ridiculous ab workout.


The Trainers: Between the two stints I’ve worked out there, I have taken classes with a lot of trainers.  

1. Jeff “Lefty” Legget: I legit want to be best friends with him.  He was ranked 6th in the world at one point, and has since lost an arm (straight up badass), and I have tried googling it to figure out how, but no dice.  He’s always got a smile on his face, and he’s super nice and friendly.  He’s also tough, and focuses a lot of his classes on heavy bag punches with long combo series.  He’ll yell out “1-1-2-5-2-3-1-4” and then someone will go, “What?” and he will smile because he already forgot the combo, too.  His abs workout at the end of class left me sore for like an entire week.  I was absolutely dying during one of the sets because it was a super hard move, and he was hitting me with a whiffle ball bat and I went into a laughing fit.  They’re those kinds of trainers.

2. Tommy “The Gooch” McInerney: This is Shawn Thorton’s trainer, and he means business.  He rarely smiles, no time for small talk, and always seems to have a well-thought out, planned class for each round.  Maybe he’s winging it, but I’d never know!  He’s tough, and the kind of trainer that you’d really want to impress for his approval.

3. “Big Tom” Jenkins: The kind of guy that can tell a really great story, and have you laughing and finding yourself wanting to get a beer with. In fact, he might have asked me to get a beer once, and I’m pretty sure he was joking, but if I had said yes, I’m pretty sure we would have gone next door for some music and brews. He’s a tough trainer as well, and will come around and give lots of pointers or show you how it’s done.  He’s got a TON of energy, and makes you laugh during class.

4. David “Lil Batista” Mejia: He’s younger (I think he’s a year or two younger than I am), and an amateur boxer. He’s a little firecracker, and his bio on the website says he can do 103 pushups in 60 seconds, and I don’t know if they are kidding, but I am going to believe that they are not, because that is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. He’s little, but jacked.  The kind of guy that has that quick, agile thing going. He’s got a ton of energy and raps when a good hip hop song comes on.  I gave him a ride home once and we talked about Deadmau5. Best friends forever!

5. Nick Rothstein: Again, the type of serious trainer that you REALLY want to impress. I haven’t taken his class this month, so I can’t remember much, other than that his class was effing hard.

Trainers get an A++. Love them all.

The members: All shapes and sizes, and I’ve seen all ages, but recently I have noticed this time around it’s fairly young. I enjoy that, but I also like watching older people kick ass in the class, too.  It’s right next to Boston University in a very young area, so that’s the kind of crowd it draws – plus, I think a LOT of their members are groupon members, who come for a month or so at a time like me.

PLEASE DROP YOUR PRICES, that is my only complaint. You guys should REALLY check this place out if you are in the Boston area, looking to shake things up – even just for a free trial class.


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