At Action Fight League, you'll find a room full of addicts.
Boxing is their drug of choice, and in this North Miami Beach gym are all the ways they get their fix: punching bags, a boxing ring, a mixed martial arts cage, and a few machines. It's not fancy, and there isn't anything glamorous about it. The smell is usually that of sweat, and the music is blasting.
You'd think a place like this would attract mostly men, but in reality, half of this gym's membership consists of women. Women who are not there to impress anyone, just women who want to push their bodies to the limit with no frills and no drama.
Mostly, they come here to take an hour-long cardio boxing class.
"My goal," said instructor Ervin Steel, "is that when people leave my class they leave saying, 'Man I feel good'." The class is split into three sections: warm up and calesthenics, boxing and ab work at the end. The instructors are fierce and they don't baby anyone. It's hard and it's got a huge base of fans across South Florida.
Boxing gyms like Action Fight League are popping up all over South Florida, from Pembroke Pines to South Beach. And if you blink, you might miss them. Most are tucked away and don't have big, flashy signs hanging out front. Steel says women are taking to the sport because it's the best way to get your body in shape, and you don't have to worry about looking good, or embarrassing yourself.
Aside from being a great workout, boxing is good for a woman's self esteem. Instructors teach techniques, including the right way to throw a mean left hook, that can help in real life situations.
"Women should not feel intimidated," he said. "There are people of all fitness levels who take the class."
Action Fight League, 2148 Northeast 164th Street, 305-454-0691.