Surely you’ve seen her around the studio. Andrea (@contessabessa) and her mom Helena both pack a punch on a daily basis. We needed to know – “Andrea – what fuels your workout and why did you choose Champs?”. Her answer… below:

When I heard that Champs was opening, I was mega excited. I had done a little bit of boxing and had always wanted to do more. Through my career as a filmmaker, I had seen the Jelena documentary and thought she was hella inspiring. And perhaps most of all, I really missed moving to music. I had taught dance fitness for 5 years, and had been forced to give it up due to chronic injuries, and damn, I missed working out to loud music, but I hadn’t found anything low impact enough that I loved. So when I read the words, “boxing to the beat,” I had a feeling I was going to be obsessed. And wouldn’t you know it, I was right.
Every day that I’m at Champs (and I’m at Champs almost every day – they should just let me move in), I get to move to music. I get to punch my stress out. I get to take an hour off from being an entrepreneur (which rarely happens otherwise). And I get to prove to myself just how strong I am, how much I have overcome, and how much more I am capable of overcoming.
I had a severe joint disease as a child, and I also have scoliosis. As a result, I have lived with severe chronic pain since I was 9 years old. Some days I feel decent. Some days I can barely walk. On those days, I still try to drag my ass to the bag, and I still try to punch it as hard as I can, because even if I totally suck, I took time for myself, I survived, and I got a little bit stronger – and a lot more sweaty. Even on my good days, I have to modify all high impact HIIT movements – and that’s not only okay, but encouraged. I love the inclusive environment the amazing instructors have created and continue to foster.
And since I mentioned inclusivity, I also just have to say, as a queer, body positive intersectional feminist, I f**king love the “everyone is welcome” attitude at Champs. One of the first things I tell all my nervous friends who want to try a class is that when you walk in, you’ll see all ages, shapes, ethnicities, and sizes. You won’t be shamed. And you’ll get a fist bump from a stranger at the end of it. That’s super important to me when I’m choosing where to spend my time, energy, and dollars.
The impact that Champs has had on my mental health has been one of the greatest gifts it’s given me. Taking an hour to think about nothing but my form, technique, and hitting the bag as hard as I can has helped me keep so much of my stress, anxiety, and depression at manageable levels. Since starting at Champs, I’ve gotten through things I know would have set me back much further in the past. The strength I’ve gained at the bag hasn’t been only physical, but also mental and emotional. (But I mean, it’s pretty cool to be able to do lots of push-ups off my toes now, too.)
I just want to end with a huge thank you to all of the instructors at Champs. You’re all the reason Champs is what it is. Good people create good spaces. I’m grateful to know all of you. And if you haven’t caught on yet, you’re stuck with me.

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