Amateur Hour: Engine Room

City Editor Morgan Phillips learns the fundamentals of boxing at Engine Room.

Amateur Hour is a web series in which TulsaPeople’s staff tries and reviews a local workout. Ratings are based on a scale from 1-5. Have a workout we should try? Email

The workout: The Engine Room’s lunch-hour boxing class offered every weekday at noon. We started with a jump rope warm-up, followed by boxing drills, floorwork and circuits.


Newbie factor: 4, because there’s a lot to remember if you’ve never swung a real punch before. For example, don’t hold your breath when you’re hitting; exhale on the punches. I found that left, right, right, left is somehow a difficult concept for me.

Intensity: 5, though you choose how hard to push. Full disclosure: I got extremely light-headed about 20 minutes in due to the fact I’m out of shape, was inadvertently holding my breath and hadn’t eaten enough protein. After a break, it was onto the speedbag, which is so maddening it will definitely make you want to hit something.

Vibes: 3. This place is a no-frills boxing gym, yet it has everything you need for an excellent, full-body workout. The atmosphere, which is centered with an actual boxing ring, was honestly a bit intimidating until I met owner Aaron Sloan and instructor David Perez — a real fighter who signed to turn pro earlier this year — who were extremely patient and friendly in showing me how to use the equipment.

Sweat factor: 5. I was shocked how sweaty I got from this workout. Fortunately the gym has a shower, which I would definitely recommend.

Next-day soreness: 2, in my back/sides

Price: $95/month for unlimited classes; price decreases for multi-month commitments

Overall experience: 5/5

Here’s the deal: The Engine Room is an actual boxing gym. They’re not teaching you weight-loss. They’re training you to fight. And I dig it. Sloan says a decent number of the gym’s fitness boxers actually decide to become fighters.

Keep in mind you’ll be wearing real boxing gloves, which are available for use during class (or you can bring your own). You’ll need some help wrapping your fingers for the first time — bring your own wraps or purchase at the Engine Room for $10 — which protects your hands before they go into the gloves.

The other class members seemed to really know what they were doing, and most were down-to-business. My partner for some of the drills — I didn’t catch her name because again, I was about to pass out — was friendly and encouraging.

It’s clear the Engine Room has built a boxing community, and July 8 that community will have a lot more room. The gym will move to Gunboat Park, allowing it to offer boxing, yoga, kids’ programs and more in about 15,000 square feet of space at 316 E. 11th St. An open house at the new gym is from 4-7 p.m., July 6.

I can’t wait to check it out.

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