Welcome to Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s new workout review series. We get sweaty at gyms and studios across Toronto and give you the low-down on what they’re really like.
Studio KO sells itself as “authentic box-fit,” promising to teach the techniques used by legit professional boxers, while incorporating intense cardio blitzes and strength training. It’s the sister company of the Hollywood-born Studio Lagree, home of the slow-burn Megaformer workout.
If you’ve been to the original Studio KO on King Street West inside Studio Lagree, you’re in for a treat: The boxing studio has moved out and into its own dedicated space, just a couple doors down (780 King Street West).
Opened last month, the new location is bigger—two and half times. That means more showers, more lockers (currently cubbies until minor renos are complete), and a Boost Bar serving smoothies, juices and energy bites, with salads to come. For East Enders, a second Studio KO location recently opened in Riverside (672 Queen Street East).
The 50-minute sessions are still the same classic Studio KO, but the extra space means more stations, enough for 26 people, and more room to move. Expect an efficient way to get your cardio and strength done, with a series of punching combos and typical boxing exercises, like skipping and ducking.
We Tried It
My Studio KO instructor, Tara, set up our stations to go fast (each one for one minute, though in other classes this can be 30 seconds to two minutes), so I was always moving, with very little rest. Whenever I do circuits, I tend to have an inner monologue going: You’re a quarter of the way through. OK, half-way there! Now, time to do that whole thing all over again. But with 26 stations, I only had one round—which made everything fly by. Some exercises were unexpected—this was the first time I tried bear crawls while harnessed to the floor with resistance bands. I didn’t notice fatigue dragging me down, as I usually do with circuits that repeat round after round. In fact, I wanted to do it again!
Studio KO is best for those looking to improve their cardio and strength outside running or the usual weightlifting. It’s a solid workout (I’d rank the difficulty 4 out of 5), so expect to push your limits and work up a real sweat. But the music is motivating, the punches are stress-releasing, and the speedy pace is fun—and even more fun when you make it a fit date with a friend.
Studio KO, 780 King Street West, Toronto, 416.519.2069, studioko.ca. 50-minute workout; $27 for one drop-in class (first class $17); package pricing available; bookable on ClassPass.