June 16, 2020

Q&A with BoxUnion Co-Founder Felicia Alexander

LA locals know, BoxUnion is one of the best places for fitness fanatics to break a sweat. Their high intensity workouts put a twist on traditional boxing classes, focusing on both body and mind in a fun, upbeat setting. We were excited to participate in a live-streaming class of our own, and Team L*Space can attest - we were SWEATING. The studio, with two SoCal locations and a third opening soon, isn't letting COVID get in the way of offering classes for their students. Through their streaming platform BoxUnion Digital, even newbies like us can get the same amazing experience at home. Needless to say, we're hooked.

We caught up with the studio's co-founder Felicia Alexander to pick her brain on career advice, cultivating a community, and her fitness faves. Learn more about her story and how she built the business below!

Can you tell us a little about your background and career journey?

I’ve been passionate about fitness my entire life. I grew up doing Jane Fonda workouts on Betamax with my mom and sisters in our living room. I played competitive soccer throughout my youth and longed for the day when I would be old enough to have my own gym membership. To me fitness was always about bringing people together and creating community and connection.

In college, I told my friends that one day I was I would turn my passion for fitness into a business, but it took me over 20 years to figure out what and how. Following college, I worked in sales and marketing for a variety of large companies. I traveled a lot during my career and was always prioritizing where I stayed based on the fitness options available. In my early twenties I was in Munich on business and made my way into a spin class at a gym. It was hilarious as I didn’t understand a thing the instructor was saying (the class was in German) but fitness and sweating together is a universal language. To tell you my whole journey would be a long story. I’ll fast forward and let you know that my business partner, Todd Wadler, and I have been friends for over 13 years. His wife is one of my closest friends. Todd is a former investment banker and like me a fitness enthusiast. We both wanted to leave our stable careers and do something that fueled our passion. We thought there was an opportunity to do something in boxing. As an aside, I put on gloves for the first time when I was 16. It was only three months after my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. Putting on gloves and hitting the heavy bag was a transformative experience. I felt like a bad ass. As Todd and I started developing what would be BoxUnion we realized there was a hole in the market, and we felt we could reimagine the fitness boxing experience and make it accessible and welcoming. We addressed this lack of accessibility in everything we did – from our environment and what it looks like, to who we hired, and most importantly the programming. Our programming is where we did the biggest re-invention. We created what we call “Box to the Beat” which means everything we do we do to the rhythm of the music.  Our methodology creates non-stop movement in a way that is fun and delivers a great workout. We also lean heavily into mindfulness. Our workouts are designed to leave you feeling sweaty, de-stressed, and ready to take on anything that live throws at you. We’ve created an environment where people can show up for themselves and for each other and find their inner fighter.   

 How long has BoxUnion been around?

We opened our Santa Monica, CA location in April of 2017. In January of 2019 we opened our second location in West Hollywood, CA. We have a third location under construction in Sherman Oaks, CA. In April we launched BoxUnion Digital. Spanning boxing, cardio, strength and recovery + mindset, the workouts and classes are tailored so you can do them anywhere and at anytime. BoxUnion Digital’s offering includes streaming live classes multiple times a day straight to your computer or phone as well as a growing library of on-demand content for all experience and skill levels.

What’s your favorite part about the community you’ve built?

The energy, compassion, and generosity of spirit within the community is by far my favorite part. I love watching regulars welcome first timers into our community. The DMs and messages from our boxers about the role we’ve played in their lives is beyond powerful. People have shared intimate details about their lives and how BoxUnion has changed their life for the better helping them find self-confidence, get over the loss of a relationship, a loved one, and a job. One of our core values is We Not Me and the idea that we are better together. Watching this come to life and creating a community that embodies these values is amazing. It truly is a place where we build each other up and where everyone is welcome, appreciated, and celebrated.

 What’s your personal favorite class to take? 

This is like asking a parent if they have a favorite child. I am beyond impressed by all of our coaches. They each bring their unique personality to class and all of them seem to know what to say to keep me motivated at the point where I might be starting to tire out. With BoxUnion Digital we’ve introduced a HIIT class along with a Legs, Butt, Core. In addition to our signature class I’m really enjoying the Legs, Butt, Core class. I’ve experienced soreness in muscles I didn’t know I had!

Any tips for incorporating health & wellness into a busy schedule? 

Make yourself a priority. I think the expression is you can’t pour from an empty cup. Schedule your workouts just like you would a meeting or an appointment. Reach out to a friend and ask them to join you. We’ve been using House Party to do workouts together and although there is nothing that can replace being together in real life if is a close second and a way to stay connected.

What’s one piece of advice that has stuck with you over the years?

The advice that has stuck with me would be a quote by Maya Angelou that says “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Given everything going on in the world today, how are you staying positive? 

In all truthfulness I have days where I find it hard to be positive. I’ve talked publicly about my own struggles with depression. Living with an invisible enemy (Covid-19) is scaring and anxiety provoking. Daily exercise and eating well are important to my mental health. I think having a gratitude practice is also very important. I make it a point to take time to reflect on all that is good in my world. I have a family that I love deeply. We are all healthy and we are being given an opportunity to spend a lot of time together. Whereas somedays this can feel like a punishment, more often than not I’m appreciative of the memories we are creating. This time has given me the ability to slow down in that I’m not rushing to from place to place. There is something nice about slowing down. I also find it incredibly important to schedule calls with my family and friends.

 

You can follow BoxUnion on IG here, and check out their site here

Images via boxunion.com