We Tried It: Cecily Tynan’s Favorite Workout (Nope, It’s Not Running!)

Emily at Joltin' Jabs

Emily shredding (sort of) at Joltin’ Jabs

The Need-to-Know
Beginner friendly: Yes.
Time commitment: 50 minutes.

What: Boxing at Joltin’ Jabs, 1510-12 Sansom Street, Center City.

When: Wednesday, November 4th at 12 p.m.

Instructor: Owner Joey DeMalavez. 

Thoughts walking into class:

Adjua: Going into Joltin’ Jabs, I was nervous. I’ve never boxed before, and I have notoriously weak arms, so that’s not really a great combo for, you know, a boxing class.

Plus, Joey DeMalavez trains Cecily Tynan, and Cecily Tynan looks like she could beat the crap out of me, which means Joey Demalavez can definitely beat the crap out of me on the boxing floor.

Emily: I was excited! And terrified! But mostly, I was worried I may enjoy punching things a bit too much.

The vibe:

Adjua: The studio is very bare-bones, but once you start working out, you realize there really isn’t any need for frills.

Emily: I was worried for a minute at the beginning of class when we did some ab work sans music. It was dead silent in there, aside from the occasional grunt. (Probably coming from me.) But then Joey turned on the tunes — preeeeetty sure the first song was “Ms. Jackson” — and It. Was. On.

How we felt halfway through:

Adjua: Halfway through, I didn’t feel like I was going to die — yet. Considering right now, as I’m writing this, I can barely type because my arms are so dead, I’d say this is impressive. I did notice that my form seemed to get worse as I went on, and I don’t know if this was just me being physically tired or if I was just sort of forgetting what I’d learned 20 minutes before. What was nice, and I think helped with the whole not-feeling-like-death thing was how quickly the workout moved from one exercise to the next: We were constantly switching from punching bags to jumping rope to punching the air to crab-walking and so on, so every time you got really tired of an exercise, you were already on to the next.

Emily: It didn’t take long for my left arm to officially feel like Jell-O. Also? Bear crawls while wearing boxing gloves — You’re crawling on your knuckles, people! — was actually very, very difficult.

Oh, and to back up for one second, when we first walked in, it was clear that the four other folks in the class had been around the boxing block a few times, so I was unsure how it would work having two absolute beginners in the mix. I quickly realized the format worked perfectly: Joey had each of us at stations, and the more experienced folks just followed his verbal cues and did their thing, while we worked with him one-on-one for about 10 minutes at the beginning of class to learn the basics jabs, punches and blocks.

Most badass moment:

Adjua: I think it would take me a few more tries to actually feel like a badass while boxing. So I guess I will say my most badass moment was when class was over and I was still alive.

Emily: When Joey put on his punch mitts and I let it rip. I realized quickly that having something physical to, you know, actually punch is way more satisfying than punching the air.

Most embarrassing moment:

Adjua: When I used the bazillion Chaturangas I did the night before at yoga class as my excuse for being so terrible at push-ups. I couldn’t help it, though — workout excuses run in my blood.

Emily: When it became very, very clear that I am terrible at knowing my right hand from my left hand. Yes, you guys, I am 31 (almost 32) years old, and this is a skill I have yet to master. My kindergarten teacher mom is more ashamed of this fact than I am. If given a second to think, I can always remember which hand is which, but that’s the issue here: I actually have to think about it. It’s not instinct. So in a boxing setting, where you don’t have time to think and you simply have to react, this little handicap is on full display for all to see. And mock. (Yes, Joey ribbed me a little, but it was completely and totally deserved.)

Most surprising moment:

Adjua: When I could not for the life of me get the three-count rhythm down while hitting the speed bag. I thought hitting that tiny thing would be the easiest part of the workout! I was also pleasantly surprised when the workout ended. There was no cool down so it was just like BAM, it’s over, which was a nice surprise.

Emily: When class was over. The 50 minutes flew by like that.

How we felt afterwards:

Adjua: It’s been three hours since class ended, and I legitimately can’t feel my arms right now. (I swear, it has something to do with the Chaturangas!) I’m pretty sure I’ll be feeling the workout in my core tomorrow, too.

Emily: Invigorated, strong, and 100 percent sweaty. When I came back to work and realized I was having difficulty typing — yes, typing — because my hands, wrists and arms were completely spent, I knew I’d had a great workout.

The bottom line:

Adjua: Right now, I feel like I was in a street brawl and someone beat the crap out of me. So, that said, I won’t be running back to the studio right this second, but I will definitely be going back at some point.

Emily: It’s easy to see why people are addicted to boxing. It makes you feel so utterly badass to punch the living daylights out of a bag. I will be going back, and bringing friends. (And probably taking names.)

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