(This article first appeared in the August 9, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)
Juan Carlos Mancilla is an East Hampton native who has been competing in the boxing ring for 11 years. In 2016, the 27-year-old won by TKO at the Paramount in Huntington, officially turning pro and inspiring his latest business venture. As the co-founder of Spar Boxing, which opened its doors this summer, he decided to open his Springs location, found at 514 Three Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, with a “start small, aim big” mentality.
“As not just an instructor but a professional boxer I am able to bring something unique to the table that you can’t really get out here in The Hamptons,” Mancilla admitted.
“I introduce the public to the hard workouts we boxers have to endure to mold our bodies to be fight-ready as well as fun but effective workouts. So we decided to start out small then in a year or so get a bigger place after we’ve established our clientele.”
Upon arrival to this new location I was given a set of Spar hand wraps to keep (for future use, and to make me look totally badass) and a set of gloves to borrow. My morning class only had four early birds but the studio’s capacity is 14 to a class — sign up early to get a good spot.
After a quick stretch there were 10 boxing rounds on the aqua bags, followed by 10 rounds on a terra core, back and forth. The aqua bags (those teardrop-shaped bags hanging from above) are an innovative new technology for boxers that absorb impact much better than a traditional heavy bag, plus it’s better for the joints (for those with joint pain).
Throughout the rounds Mancilla demonstrated to the class how to properly punch, place their feet, and target their overall core and upper body as one. Having grown up with an affinity for kickboxing, I fell in love with the aqua bag. Not only did it have a trendier look (because that’s apparently a factor in my fitness routine) but it allowed for swifter movement around the bag and cleaner upper cuts.
The terra core was a full body exercise including jumps, lunges, squats, crunches, and push-ups. Aside from using individual body weight, the class incorporated two-pound light weights (this is for all, despite strength), medicine balls, elastic bands, and even lifting the terra core itself (also for all, despite strength). For additional cardio at the end of the class, we practiced high intensity interval training with a quick, powerful punches.
What made this class particularly enjoyable, besides the bag, the terra core, and the instructor, was the playlist. I didn’t want to stop moving. Men and women alike will mutually agree that the beats fuel the body. This is suiting, since the space at Spar has the look and vibe of an actual nightclub. Replace the stilettos with sneakers!
Mancilla noted, “As our building gives off a nightclub vibe with the dark room and different color lights, and top-of-the-line PA sound system, we will be having a few local DJs come in and spin some tracks as the class jams out to the music while burning a high calorie count. We hope to do it a few times this month.”
In addition to the boxing BPMs, every Tuesday Spar donates to Project Most by having kids from the camp come take a boxing class free of charge; a perfect combination of fitness and philanthropy.
By the end of the class I was revived and ready to take on my day. Fist in the air, sipping iced coffee from the other, I felt like a Total Knock Out!