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THIS INNOVATIVE KICKBOXING CLASS IS ABOUT TO TAKE OVER NYC’S FITNESS SCENE

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RYAN DEER

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA JABS BY GINA

Even for the city that never sleeps, it’s rare to find exercisers willing to stay up until 11pm to take their favorite class. But that’s exactly the case with kickboxing concept JABS by Gina and its rise through Equinox’s fitness ecosystem to become one of NYC’s hottest classes.

MATCH MADE IN GRAMERCY

Before Gina DiNapoli brought a whole new meaning to the word “JABBING”, and before she was leading 50-person classes hosted around New York City, Gina was a general member at Equinox’s Gramercy gym. Attending Equinox was actually a resurgence for her; after figure skating competitively for years, exercise and health fell out of focus. She experienced her first group fitness class when she moved to NYC, an atmosphere hard to define for those that have never experienced it.

The seed was planted, the roots took, and that infectious group fitness vibe inspired Gina to not only adopt the lifestyle but evoke initiative to share it with others. So, she approached Equinox with a request to teach but was denied. After some persistence, however, they agreed to allow her to audition to become an instructor. No stranger to choreography or athleticism, she passed and was given a cardio boxing class, called THE CUT, to teach.

Though, it was a trip to France that sparked the concept for JABS. There, she took a kickboxing class, one where hooks and punches met burpees and HIIT moves. It kicked her ass and, more importantly, gave her some ideas.

WHEN “TOXIC” COMES ON, IT’S REAL

It started with packed classes, women clamoring to attend the kickboxing class that Gina was in the process of tweaking (she added some of her favorite calisthenics and dance moves as intervals). That popularity soon took her to a new place — with a new name, too. JABS by Gina was unveiled at PROJECT by Equinox, a co-working space for trainers and instructors and a class incubators of sorts.

JABS is high-energy, to say the least. It’s dance. It’s kickboxing. It’s HIIT. And it’s hard to put a label on, but for the tight-knit group of regulars that identify as “Jabbers”, it has become a near religion. Set to music curated by Gina herself—the beats lean heavily into early 2000s hip-hop and rap, plus some “girl jams”—there’s a collective spike in energy whenever those familiar with the choreography hear the first couple bars of “Panda” by Desiigner or Gina’s ace-in-the-hole, “Toxic” by Britney Spears.

But even though the workouts are choreographed, Gina insists that this class is far from exclusive and the support you’ll feel from her and the Jabbers is tangible. If it’s your first JABS class, Gina will know, often asking by a show of hands. “It’s kind of funny — the regulars in the front row clap for first-timers,” Gina told us. JABS keeps the same choreography for eight weeks, too, so after a few classes, you’ll be seamlessly moving and grooving with the crew.

GET HOOKED

If PROJECT was an institution, JABS would be the valedictorian. As of March 1, JABS graduated and has now been installed in three Equinox gyms in NYC — Flatiron, Bryant Park, and E. 63rd St. To account for scale—Equinox classes can have up to 50 people compared to about 25 at PROJECT—Gina is training two of her original Jabbers to co-lead classes. For now, Gina will continue to teach five classes per week at PROJECT by Equinox, as well as five classes at the three clubs.

As for what’s next, it’s all about making sure the JABS experience doesn’t change. She’s capping the total instructors at three and said streaming workouts and a rollout to more clubs aren’t on the table yet. Instead, she’ll build on what got her here: an ever-expanding community that can’t get enough of her crazy effective and wickedly fun signature class. When asked how she felt about her concept taking off, she thought of her regulars: “We’re not just growing Gina’s thing. JABS is their thing.”

You can experience a JABS class in two forms—JABS X TONE and JABS X CARDIO—by signing up for a class on PROJECT’s site, or on Equinox’s. But fair warning: there may be a waitlist.

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