Boxing or Ballet… pick your side

Posted by: Anna Oxborough
Boxing or Ballet… pick your side supporting image

Wherever your interests lies… the new gym on Ecclesall Road is right for you.

Box Barre is the latest new development to pop up on Ecclesall Road. The stunning space is a class based gym that focuses on boxing classes like boxercise and ballet/barre classes. 


Barre workouts are a blend of Ballet, Pilates, and Yoga. It is named that because the main piece of equipment used is the ballet bar. The Barre classes at Box Barre are based around traditional ballet discipline and it is aimed on toning, sculpting, lengthening, and strengthening the muscles. The boxing classes are all based on power, short sharp contractions of the muscles. 

Sophie Whittam, 32, is the owner of Box Barre and it was originally planned to be a boxing gym as her other business and her interests are in that area. She said: “The Barre came about because even though I love boxing, I thought not everyone would and would be nervous to do it so I thought if we could add another form of exercising that will complement the boxing.

“Obviously boxing is deemed as a masculine sport and barre is deemed as quite feminine with it being ballet and I thought the juxtaposition of those two things go so well.”

Over the last year, the pandemic has made is difficult for business however, the numerous lockdowns gave people a lot of opportunity to start new things. Box Barre was one of them. 

Sophie said: “I know if my normal business was at full capacity that I would’ve been too busy to build this. This wouldn’t have happened. I feel like I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.

"I thought right I’m here, not travelling because of lockdown, it's time. I look for venues all around Sheffield, like Kelham Island, towards to city centre and then I thought Ecclesall Road is my home, I spend so much time round here.”

Opening up a gym has always been something Sophie wanted to do, and she is very passionate about the gym opening. She said: “I did all the plans and designs. Literally, I built it in my head before I stated building it and then started to look for the right teams to bring it together. If I could build it myself, I would have. I was here every day, driving them all mad.”

The classes will be run by trained professionals so you are able to understand what you will be doing. Sophie said: “It’s not just a trainer telling you 'press a button on the treadmill', this is like a professional athlete teaching you the way that they would train. When I see my boxing trainers and my barre trainers, you can tell that they have trained in these disciplines for so long by the way they hold themselves. I just think that people can, not just exercise, but learn a new skill.”

Box Barre isn’t just a new idea. Ever since Sophie got into the boxing industry seven years ago, it had always been something she wanted to do. Sophie is a fashion designer by trade and in 2014, she created her first business, Fight Label. 

Fight Label makes luxury training apparel for the boxing industry. Some of her clients include Anthony Joshua, Floyd Mayweather, Mikey Garcia, and Sheffield’s own Kell Brook. This list goes on. She said: “I’ve got a real eye for detail for everything. The attention to detail is inherent. I can’t leave it. I think the fighters love that I almost create their identity with these outfits, like putting on a uniform and going into battle.

"We work with the top one per cent of boxing. I am very lucky for that and with that pedigree of boxing athletes, that’s transferred into the gym. If I’m going to do something, I want it to be the best. I don’t want to do a careless attempt. I am an all or nothing type of person.”

Even though gyms are allowed to open up on 12 April, Box Barre can’t fully open with classes until 17 May. In the meantime, Box Barre is going to be offering what they call an ‘open gym’. This means you can book online for a spot on the bag or a spot on the barre and do your own exercises. 

Sophie said: “We are going to do a workout of the day for each section. Just to give people who might not have an idea of what they want to do that day so they can do a little plan or follow something, and it changes every day. It will be down to you as the individual to motivate yourself for the next five weeks.”

Along with gym classes, Box Barre offers a range of refreshments and clothing. They sell protein shakes, smoothie bowls, or a juice drink. They also offer a range of gymwear and boxing gloves, if you need some for your boxing class. 


If you are interested in booking a class or to find out more information click the link here.


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