It’s early Wednesday morning and I’m about to exercise.
I’m at Gym for the Brain in Malibu, preparing for a group fitness class. It features targeted aerobic exercise set to music. Build focus, resilience, and adaptability while burning calories.
The class is called drum boxinga new technique called “Brain Fitness” developed by percussionist John Wakefield. Los Angeles Opera. He composed music that incorporated Latin and Afro-Cuban influences. He combined that rhythm with physical boxing movements and complex patterns similar to Simon Sez.Workouts are meant to challenge your brain By switching rhythm, tempo, meter, and movement in a constantly fluid environment.
Drum boxers wear thin mixed martial arts gloves for practice. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)
John Wakefield, co-founder of Drumboxing, is a percussionist with the Los Angeles Opera. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)
Wakefield has been privately teaching this technique to boxers and other athletes for more than a decade. He and his business partner, former pro beach volleyball player Christina Hines, opened a drum boxing studio earlier this year, and it’s become popular among locals, including several celebrities. Cindy Crawford and LeAnn Rimes are regulars. Gabby Reese also took this class. So do mothers, executives at technology and entertainment companies, students at nearby Pepperdine University, and many others.
Wakefield says of drum boxing, “We talk about increased heart rate in class, and some people wear Apple Watches, so it checks that box.” “But most of the time, the first comment is: ‘Oh, I wasn’t thinking about anything else while I was taking this class. I didn’t have any emails to answer or attend. I was able to concentrate and attend meetings that I had to attend.” People like to engage their brains. ”
The drumboxing studio is a nondescript location, the former Pure Barre space in the sunny Malibu Country Mart this morning. However, the setup is novel. In the center of the room, a grid of custom freestanding conga drums sits on a height-adjustable steel frame, and heavy bags, like those used by boxers, line up against a wall of mirrors. About a dozen of us wear lightweight mixed martial arts gloves to protect our hands and wrists.
We each claim a space between the four standing drumheads and rotate while making shallow jumps. Add a rhythmic twist by hitting different drums. Wakefield provides us with a short tutorial. “Focus on the rhythm. It’s the rhythm that matters,” he says. And when the music starts, he begins to beat the drum, slowly at first, creating a pattern of numbers that we will follow with our hands and feet.
“1-2-1-1!” he shouts, playing conga heads. With a wide stance, step left and right and hit in sync.
It’s easy at first, and a sense of camaraderie is created when everyone passes it around and stamps it. But when Wakefield mixes the patterns together, it screams “Alt!” When we are supposed to pair opposite hands and feet, or later ask him to follow the cues we give with our hands rather than the contradictory cues he sends us verbally, we are inevitably in sync. You won’t be able to. The scene looks like a giant, three-dimensional Rubik’s Cube of his, with people at the center of each quadrant spinning wildly in different directions, interspersed with a healthy dose of laughs.
But our mistakes are exactly the point of this exercise.Drum boxing is designed to provoke Wakefield says failure “puts you on the edge of success and failure, and you go back and forth.” “And it’s about moving past those mistakes and learning to move forward, not to be perfect.”
Wakefield says the adaptive skills honed in drum boxing can be applied to the real world.
“We work in a fun, risk-free, game-like environment,” he says. “But you can also develop that skill: how to read and react to your environment, even when it’s not in your full control or under your control. In a chaotic, varied environment.”
Drum boxer Vajra Kingsley, 33, was dyslexic as a child and said training that involved left-right coordination was difficult for her. “But drumboxing isn’t about doing it right,” she says. “The important thing is to understand how your mind reacts when something goes wrong. By the end of the class, you will feel more confident both physically and mentally.”
All exercise stimulates the brain because it gets the blood flowing and releases endorphins, which improve mood and focus, among other things. Drumboxing is different, Wakefield said. That’s because “drumboxing, by its sole purpose and design, is an exercise intended to target the brain first and foremost.” Aerobics and dance are similar to drum boxing in that they incorporate movements coordinated to music. But movements are learned, refined, and repeated over time. Drumboxing, by comparison, is “always changing, and that’s the whole point,” Wakefield says.
Wakefield and Hines are not scientists.But they have done so To better understand how music and exercise affect the brain, we interviewed USC neuroscientists over a period of about five years.
Neuroscientist and University of Southern California professor Glenn Fox serves as one of their advisors, but he has no qualifications. Equity or financial investment in a company. He says drumboxing is so new that it hasn’t been studied yet. But he says the technique “offers great promise for attention, mindfulness, and presence.”
“My hypothesis,” says Fox, “is that drumboxing is more taxing on working memory than any other form of exercise.Simon Says meets improvised music meets dance meets drums meets boxing. It’s like meeting someone, and that’s where you get that extra brain stimulation.” There’s also a lot of research being done on the importance of having fun for brain development. ”
Wakefield, 56, says she didn’t try to invent the exercises, it just happened naturally.he is a trained person He grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and studied music in graduate school at the University of Maryland and the University of Southern California. Basketball, not boxing, was a sport he played for fun.
in 2010 He took his son Calvin, then 11, to a boxing gym in Canoga Park in the Valley to try something new. Given his musical background, the gym owner asked Wakefield to work with one of his fighters who was talented but “needed to relax and find his rhythm.” Wakefield had fighter planes, Anatoly Dudchenko imitated him on a conga and noticed that changing the rhythm made Dudchenko concentrate more and for a longer period of time. Soon, he was training multiple fighters in his gym, placing conga heads in stacked Home Depot plastic buckets to adjust the height. He mixed boxing moves into music.
Wakefield noticed that the fighters he worked with were experiencing similar effects. “They were more focused, especially under pressure,” he says. Make sure you don’t disrupt their concentration or game plan. ”
His sister-in-law, Pam Claytor, was an elementary school teacher at the time. Howard County, Maryland, asked him to create a video for students as a “brain teaser” in class, and it was so successful that other elementary schools in the area began using it. . The students did not have drums to use or a percussionist to perform live in class, so Wakefield instead wrote music combined with boxing-like movements, and that’s how drum boxing was born.
Meanwhile, Hines, 40, who grew up between Beverly Hills and Malibu, was at the intersection of sports and science. She studied psychology at Pepperdine University and played professional beach volleyball for the Greek national team. 2007-2012 (father is Greek).As part of subsequent wellness and personal training business – At the time, she was interviewing neuroscientists at the University of Southern California, including Foxx, who were studying the influence of purpose on performance, in parallel with a documentary she was making about the “second act” of life.
“I was interested in flow states,” Hines says. “Flow state is when you’re completely present and nothing else matters. That’s when you perform at your best. Drumboxing absolutely puts you in flow state.”
It was Fox who introduced Wakefield and Hines in 2019 for mutual benefit.
Wakefield demonstrated drum boxing in Hines’ Point Dume driveway, and his then-18-year-old daughter Morgan demonstrated the technique.
“I was shocked,” Hines said.
They decided to take drum boxing to the masses and initially held pop-up classes in people’s homes. “I thought, ‘This isn’t just for athletes. It’s for entrepreneurs, it’s for creatives, it’s for busy moms, it’s for seniors. Anyone can do this,'” Hines said, adding that drumboxing is a It added that it can be performed as an impact or high-impact exercise.
“My goal is to be able to pick up my granddaughter for as long as she wants,” says Maria Moyer, a 58-year-old artist who takes regular drumboxing classes. “I keep track of my heart rate so I know I’m getting adequate aerobic exercise. But as someone who has spent most of my life feeling like I’m the most coordinated person, are often completely retreating from others, which makes me laugh. It’s like a game.”
Hines said Drumboxing’s long-term plan is to make it a “brain hub” and a place where visitors can take an EEG of their brain. Before and after class, students will participate in workshops hosted by neuroscientists and others.
There are concerns about the exclusivity of drum boxing. Malibu classes cost $45 for a 55-minute session (or $200 for a package) 5).
Wakefield and Hines acknowledge that prices are high, but say that’s because they’re just getting started. At Malibu Studio, Funded by lead investors Peter and Sandra Loewy, the facility is intended to be a flagship space. They are developing a series of nomadic pop-ups around Los Angeles where you can take classes at a fraction of the cost. We are also developing an online platform where students can purchase a drum set and live stream classes or take archived classes. There will also be drumless online classes that incorporate synchronized and alternative hand and foot patterns, as well as low-impact seated versions.
“We want people to be able to do this outside of Malibu,” Hines says. “We are also starting teacher training courses. Having more instructors means we can go to more places at once, which will significantly reduce costs.”
After class, Wakefield focuses on the brain, but despite being a type of “meditation in motion,” drumboxing should not be discounted as an aerobic exercise that is also suitable for agility training. He added that there was no.
He says a low-intensity workout burns 200 to 400 calories, and a high-intensity workout burns about 600 to 800 calories.
This is where Mr. Hines intervenes. “But more than we count calories, we count brainwaves!”