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MatBox is part kickboxing, part mat pilates and part yoga. You'll start with a round of high-intensity kickboxing with gloves and a punching bag. But then the gloves come off, and you hit the mat for a core workout of mat pilates. Finally, you finish up with a brief round of yoga to align and balance the body. (Image: Courtesy Pilates ProWorks)

Matbox, the knock-out workout that will have you begging for a nap

You know how annoying it is when celebrities are asked what they do to keep their phenomenal figures and they nonchalantly answer "Oh you know, just yoga and pilates a few times a week" and we never really believe them? Or maybe that's just me? Well, it certainly was the case until I was introduced to Pilates ProWorks.

I first heard about the 3,000-square-foot studio in Alexandria when my colleague Tina tested out the Pilates Pro class on a FitFormer and called it one of the hardest workouts she'd ever done. I was a little jealous that she'd stumbled upon one of these mythical Pilates classes that seemingly had the power to change your life. And then came my invite to their newest class offering: Matbox.

A Pilates ProWorks original, matBox is a full-body workout that brings together Kickboxing, Pilates and Yoga into one powerful 55-minute session. The result is a balanced mix of high-energy and focused intensity that tones, aligns and blasts calories.

Matbox is most definitely a full-body workout (trust us -- you'll feel it the next day) from the chest and lower body muscles in the hips, legs, hamstrings, quads and calves all worked during boxing to the core, flexibility and balance that is strengthened from the mat pilates/yoga movements.

While the class description sounds as if the class is segmented into three distinct sections -- kickboxing, pilates and yoga -- our experience found that you alternated between kickboxing and mat pilates for the duration of the class (which we loved!) and ended with a brief series of yoga stretches as a cooldown; think jumping jacks straight into a timed series of jabs, straight punches and hooks to burpees and dynamic planks (with boxing gloves still on) and back to knee kicks, leg kicks and round kicks on the bag, all before you get to enjoy a little downward facing dog. You'll find that throughout the class you are reminded to engage your abs and maintain proper stance and footwork while you are on the bag to get the most from the workout.

The great news is that it truly is a customizable workout, not only to your level (thanks to hands-on, detailed instruction) but also to the effort you are able to give that day. On those days when you feel like bringing it, you can, but vice versa on the days when you don't think you have one more jab or hook in you, you can modify to suit your energy levels.

What you'll need to bring (or borrow):

  • boxing gloves
  • hand wraps
  • socks