I tried out STILL, a revolutionary new boxing workout- here’s what it’s like

Not the traditional boxing class you’re expecting.
Business Insider/ Joey Lee

Ever threw punches at a suspended black punching bag in a dark room illuminated only by streaks of neon lights while surrounded by sweaty strangers?

That’s exactly what the latest workout class by the newly-opened Guavalabs 2.0 boutique fitness studio at OUE Downtown has to offer and it could well be the new fitness rage to hit Singapore.

The newfangled boxing concept is called STILL and but really, it is anything but.

And if GuavaLabs rings a bell, it’s because it once had an outlet at Mandarin Gallery where it recently concluded a 6-month test run of its concept of “co-wellness”.

But what on Earth is “co-wellness” right?

According to GuavaLabs, it’s where instructors can rent fitness spaces to conduct classes for their clients. it’s also meant for the Regular Joe/Jane like you and me to sample different workout regimes by simply booking a slot online.

The new outlet at Shenton Way has much more to offer though. It’s a sprawling 5,000 sq ft space offering a range of curated workouts to appeal to different groups of fitness enthusiasts.

Not convinced? Neither was I. So I decided to try a STILL class to see what this was all about.

To be honest, it was awkward at first, but as I threw continuous punches, the adrenaline kicked in and I felt my heart rate go up. 

Accompanied by dimmed lights and the loud reverberating beats of pop music, I gradually let loose of my inhibitions and just went for it.

Here’s how the class is like and my verdict on how this space compares to my $1 gym.

Tucked away in a corner basement of OUE Downtown is GuavaLabs, a boutique fitness studio set up by the folks behind GuavaPass.

GuavaPass is a fitness app that allows its 60,000-strong membership community to sample different workout regimes at partnering gyms across Singapore and in partner cities around the world.

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

The fitness studio was really tucked away at a corner. You would have to squint to spot it.

As a boxing newbie with no prior experience, setting my sights on a mural outside the studio sparked immediate trepidation.

I asked myself: “What had I gotten myself into?” 

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

It was too late to back out now, so I steeled myself and met with Rhyce Lein, GuavaPass Singapore’s general manager.

Other than the boxing room, which was entirely decked out in black and exuded seriously “fierce” vibes, the rest of GuavaLabs facility was well-lit and had a more welcoming ambience.

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

The reception doubles up as a retail space where you can buy emergency workout gear if you ever forgot to bring your gym bag. 

It’s also equipped with a juice bar so you can grab a refreshing blend after your workout. Take note: Guava’s off the menu – strange for a place that’s named after the fruit. 

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Other than a strength-training room with the usual set-up of weights, gym balls and kettle-bells, the rest of GuavaLabs seems more suited for a yoga-enthusiast rather than a gym rat. 

There weren’t any treadmills or stationary bikes in sight and Mr Lein explained that the decision not to buy any heavy equipment was “so the rooms could be flexible” and used for a range of activities.

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One unique service GuavaLabs does offer, is that at $60 per class, trainers will be able to rent facilities to train their own clients, without having to sign up for any memberships.

Trainers have the choice of whether to list their classes on the GuavaLabs’ website and they get to keep most of what their clients pay for their classes. GuavaLabs takes a small cut after five booked spots for a group class.

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

Now for the main event. What I did come here for today was to check out the STILL (pictured below) class: It’s hybrid between boxing and spin class, according to Mr Lein.

Spinning is a group-workout where participants exercise on stationary bikes in dimmed rooms to the tempo of high-energy music, orchestrated by the instructions of a trainer.

STILL incorporates elements from spinning such as darkening the room and using flashing lights and high-energy music to put a twist on the traditional boxing workout. 

Supplied/ GuavaLabs

My instructor today was Ms Leona Hui (in the grey tank-top), whose enthusiasm helped raise the energy level of her participants, whom I assume, came directly from their workplaces. 

Each STILL class can take a maximum of 17 participants and starts at 6.30pm. Most of us got there a little earlier to get acquainted with binding our hands with what’s called a wrap – essentially cloth with a velcro strip. It’s what boxers do before donning boxing gloves.  

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What followed next was an intense 11 rounds worth of cardio and strength training exercises which included squats, burpees, planks and lunges. 

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

If you’re here to learn “proper” boxing techniques though, you’ll be sorely disappointed because in STILL, you just mimic the types of punches the instructor throws. 

Also, half the time my view was obscured by the teardrop-shaped, water-filled punching bags suspended by metal chains. 

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

But if you just want to get moving and sweat after a sedentary day in the office, then this is the right place for you. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie like me or a pro-level boxer because the workout isn’t so much about technique. Instead, the aim of the workout is to raise your heartbeat.

Ms Hui, who has years of boxing experience, was kind enough to offer to teach the correct techniques to early-birds like myself. 

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

When the 60-minute class was over, I did a comparison of GuavaLabs and my favourite $1 ActiveSG gym.

Here’s the verdict: The GuavaPass scheme is a value-for-money way to spice up your workout and keep you from getting bored in a regular gym. 

It offers classes like aqua-spin, yoga + and webarre that are offered by other high-end partner-gyms that you would otherwise have to pay an exorbitant price for. 

As a gym though, it’s unfortunate that it eschewed classic equipment like treadmills and didn’t have water-coolers installed yet.

I was told that GuavaLabs is going to install one soon but in the meantime, the outlet stocks and sells bottled water for $2 a pop.

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Take note if you’re one of those who can’t stand not showering after an intense workout, you need to know this: There are only three shower stalls (in the ladies) so you will need to jostle with the others for a spot if you’re in a hurry.

The biggest plus in my opinion, is that you’ll only need to bring your gym clothes, a towel (or you could rent one for $1) and a water bottle.

From soaps and shampoos to deodorant and mouthwash, everything you’ll need is provided for if you’re rushing back to the office afterwards. 

Business Insider/ Joey Lee

GuavaLabs is located at #B1-04/05/06 at OUE Downtown.

GuavaPass’s monthly unlimited scheme is priced at $179 a month. The three-month scheme is priced at $169 per month and the GuavaLite (a four-class package) is priced at $99 a month.

Use promo code “GuavaBI” at www.guavapass.com for 50% off the first month of a three-month package.