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Park Slope Couples Celebrate Valentine's Day by Boxing

By Leslie Albrecht | February 12, 2013 7:15am

PARK SLOPE — Forget flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates — some romantic Park Slope couples will celebrate Valentine's Day by punching each other.

Personal trainer Joanna Paterson is offering a special couples boxing workout where partners will hurl upper cuts and left hooks at their beloved.

"We don't often in polite Park Slope society get the chance to whack ...each other," Paterson said. "It's about letting yourself go."

Paterson, who runs the Park Slope-based fitness business Bodiesynergy, leads boxing workouts regularly, along with kettlebell classes and group workouts in Prospect Park.

Strapping on boxing gloves to mark a day oozing with romance and flowery feelings makes perfect sense to her. Elevating heart rates leads to a spike in endorphins that puts all the senses on high alert, which can be highly arousing, she said.

She'll have chocolates at Thursday's couples boxing class to help heighten the aphrodisiac vibe.

"Couples want to get excited about each other, and this is a great way to do it," Paterson said. "To me, as a professional athlete, watching my partner get sweaty is exciting."

Paterson's boxing sessions generally start with a full-body warm-up consisting of plyometric exercises like jumping jacks and lunges. Then Paterson will pair up sparring partners based on body size so clients can get the feel of landing jabs. Next she'll have couples face off.

"Generally the men take the lead," Paterson said. "But if I, as a trainer, give the women permission and say 'Hit him,' then the women just let it rip."

The workout is great exercise — receiving punches works your entire upper body — but boxing can also recharge your relationship, Paterson said. Clients have told Paterson that pummeling their partners is therapeutic.

She may be on the cusp of a rising trend. A recent article on the fitness website Well & Good identified couples workouts as the next fitness trend, citing a Manhattan training business that specializes in getting couples in shape.

One of the first people to sign up for the Cupid-themed boxing match was Nancy Dodd, a Park Slope mom in her 40s with 3-year-old twins and a 4-year-old. Dodd, who works full-time doing market research, said she and her husband loved exercising together before having children, but they rarely get the chance now.

On Thursday night, instead of going out for a long dinner at a softly lit restaurant, they'll rekindle their flame with some sweet sparring.

"When you're raising three little kids, are you at the height of romance in your relationship? Probably not," Dodd said.

"This feels like a more fun way to express our togetherness rather than just chocolates...The irony of the situation is that punching your husband makes you feel really close."

The one-hour boxing workouts costs $35 per couple. Reservations are required. Sign up at the Bodiesynergy website.