My favorite activity at The Ring is watching ripped, 23-year-old college students whose primary athletic pastime is lifting heavy objects puke out their intestines during the cardio portion of 12-round classes.
I’ve been going to The Ring for about four years. Before then, I tried Planet Fitness, the YMCA, and BSC in search of a worthwhile workout, but nothing really compares. Let’s face it, what your fat ass needs is a one-armed man hitting you with a plastic bat while you run up and down very unsafe concrete staircases for an hour. This is what The Ring offers.
The Ring is basically a sweat mill where ex-boxers teach an hour-long class, every hour. The varieties are technique, 12-round, sparring, and strength training, spread throughout the day. They all include extreme cardio workouts mixed with heavy bag or pad work, such as burpees, jump rope, mountain climbers, leg lifts, etc. Each trainer has his/her own style, but all are very good at causing you pain.
In terms of layout, the place has two full-sized rings, rows of those lame electronic bikes, a number of useless treadmills, two dozen heavy bags, three speed bags, and a small weights area with the usual array of boring exercise machines. Lots of long mirrors to observe your body failing at basic exercise. You don’t have to have any equipment other than wraps (they have grimy baskets of gloves, jump rope, and mats) but if you don’t like wearing other strangers’ sweat, you should bring your own. Get a Groupon that comes with gloves and wraps when you sign up to save money.
The Ring is about as clean as it can be given the constant rotation of sweating bodies. It is dirtier than BSC and Planet Fitness, but not as dirty as the YMCA in Central Square. The bathrooms are gross and should be avoided. No showers. Showers are for babies who can barely defeat the force of gravity. Are you a baby? Do you wear bright neon Nikes and a trendy tank top to the gym? *Baby.* Do not wear anything but a blood-stained T-shirt from high school and ratty shorts to the Ring. Anything else would be gauche.
The Ring costs around $130 a month if you want to go any day, or $99 a month for weekends. I know, that’s expensive. But then again, don’t you pay $130 a month to play CandyCrush on your cellphone? Priorities, layabout! This is America. Vanity comes first.
Speaking of vanity, there are as many ladies at The Ring as dudes. The Ring is not a frat house. But the ladies are more like Charlize Theron in Mad Max than pre-law-school Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, so don’t fuck with them. They have places to go and people to punch.
You don’t have to spar with people if you don’t want to (sparring has its own class that you have to deliberately decide to drop into), but don’t be a wimp! The worst that will happen is a bloody nose, and then you’ll have your wardrobe all set. Technique classes involve pad work, which means you use mitts with a partner. Strength training and 12-round classes are basically the same, depending on who you train with.
As far as trainers go, they’re generally good-natured and capable and only make fun of you because you suck and everyone knows it. When you get better they’ll eventually acknowledge you as something other than a sack of flab, but 90% of them are not actively competing and The Ring isn’t their full-time job. So unless you want to shell out $100 an hour for one-on-one training, don’t expect them to care about you specifically. I did a one-on-one package with Jeff–the one-armed bat-wielding trainer who doesn’t give a crap if you need a drink of water after doing a hundred leg lifts–and it was fun. I still suck though.
So, to recap, cons of The Ring:
- It’s in Allston. (Like, who even wants to go there?)
- It costs a lot. (You CandyCrush slob!)
- It’s not super pristine like a bougie Vim Fitness gym that’s at the same price point. (But how many people there can jump rope for 30 minutes straight?)
- No matter how in shape you get from working out here, people will still say incredulously *You* box? because all they’ve ever seen of boxing champions is Stallone on steroids.
And the pros:
- You get intense, drop-in classes every hour taught by ex-boxers.
- It has all the basic exercise equipment you’d get at a regular gym, plus heavy bags.
- The workouts are varied, fun, and directed by professionals who will yell at you if you slack off, so you are motivated to come in and kick ass.
- You learn how to fight while you get in shape.
Get off the couch and go to Allston. The Ring will help you fend off the mutant hordes that live there. Always a plus.