Being in the fitness industry for many years, Bonnie Lefrak realized the need and the want for a more integrated fitness and lifestyle experience in the area. Two years ago, she met that need, opening the Fitness Asylum in Shrewsbury.
"Rather than just a workout, we are about creating lasting changes and transformations in body mind and spirit," said Lefrak.
The Fitness Asylum offers classes in kickboxing, boxing and kettlebells, as well as specialty classes (with some catchy names) such as Total Body Melt, Total Booty Melt, Shock Therapy and Fat Blast Bootcamp. Lefrak said the most popular program is the Body Challenge Bootcamp, which combines a nutrition component designed to create "real results instead of typical yo-yo diets. We are always bringing new and innovative formats to our clients."
Lefrak got into boxing, kickboxing in particular, in 1998, and taught the sport for several years. When she had knee surgery, she quickly found the heavy bag to be a great workout while recuperating. She revisited boxing in the spring of 2010, when she worked in Boston, and later trained with pro boxer Mike Culbert the following year.
"I loved the experience so much I recruited Mike to come work at The Fitness Asylum and now his classes are packed," she said. "I think boxing is not just a great workout but truly does help with relieving stress and anxiety."
Most women, in particular, have never even put on a pair of boxing gloves, let alone hit anyone or anything. The appeal for women, she said, is the feeling of empowerment and the idea that you don't have to be a great boxer to have fun.
"I also think the appeal is a workout where time literally flies by and you are not watching the clock waiting to be finished," she said. "The workout is of course very physical, but you are completely engaged with all the punch combinations and drills, that you are able to let go and let your hands fly."
Boxing, with its punching power generated through the hips and core, gives a total body workout.
"We are on our feet the entire time (except with some ab work) and so your whole body is involved in an integrated way," said Lefrak. "Boxing will get your heart beating fast and your arms and shoulders super toned. What I really think is appealing is that you can get such a great workout without jumping or running."