Test Drive: Working through frustration at 9Round Kickbox Fitness

The fitness franchise takes cues from circuit training, CrossFit, and boxing gyms

Photograph courtesy of 9Round

Lately I’ve been in the mood to punch someone. I’m not proud of that. But the political drama of the past month has made me feel like I’m perpetually stuck in rush hour on the Connector, white-knuckling the steering wheel and pointlessly screaming. I’ve found few constructive outlets for my fear, bewilderment, frustration, and occasional blind rage (getting into a Facebook fracas doesn’t quite cut it). So I’m glad to have discovered 9Round 30-Minute Kickbox Fitness.

The franchise has a location in Decatur, not far from the new Walmart, tucked into the bottom of a strip mall. It’s not much to look at: There’s just one room, lined with mirrors and boxing equipment. The model is not that different from Curves, where you move from one circuit-training station to another under the guidance of a trainer and a timer. But 9Round also takes cues from CrossFit (with workouts scrawled on whiteboards and no set class times) and boxing gyms (which means you get to punch a bunch of stuff).

The room has nine stations—nine rounds—that offer a variety of cardiovascular and resistance training in a 30-minute circuit. There’s jump rope, push-ups, burpees, toe touches, and squats at some of the stations, and then at others you put on provided boxing gloves and kick and beat the crap out of heavy bags and speed bags. A new circuit starts every three minutes, signaled by a bell. A trainer is on hand to run newbies through the circuits, but otherwise you can show up any time and jump into the self-guided workout.

It felt so good to lay into those bags with my (very mediocre) uppercuts, jabs, and crosses. I was sweating and panting at the end of each round. (My only complaint is that they don’t want you to drink water during the 30 minutes, saying that you shouldn’t need it. I felt like turkey jerky by the end.) The trainer also helped me figure out how to hit a speed bag with some coordination: You count musical triplets. I’m not ring-ready, but I’m happy to have a place to put my aggression—and that it isn’t in someone’s face. 2899-B North Decatur Rd., Decatur, 9round.com