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Bitch at Us: Isiah Munoz of SweatBox

Washington, DC
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SweatBox is an addictive workout experience that you simply can’t quit once you begin. It is by far the most efficient and effective way to workout, which is perfect for busy Bitches on the run. The instructors combine aerobic and anaerobic intervals that keep you distracted and constantly guessing what’s coming next. This combination results in accelerated weight loss, fat burning, muscle growth, and improved cardiovascular endurance.

But who are among the geniuses behind this novel concept? Meet Isiah Muñoz–one of the SweatBox founders and lead instructors. Isiah has been an athlete since he could walk. This former pro soccer player has a strong performance training background from training professional athletes to developing programs for individual clients. Don’t expect any easy workouts from him as his focus is on form, movement patterns, and making sure exercises are being performed 100 percent correctly, 100 percent of the time. No twisted ankles or pulled muscles in his classes!

Read what Isiah has to say about SweatBox, workouts, Washington, D.C., and how champagne isn’t a food group.

SweatBox is a data-driven concept, with heart rate monitors and bicycles programmed to the individual rider’s weight, height and fitness levels. Can you tell us more about the data you use to get riders fit?

We use a heart rate monitor, MYZONE, which allows our clients to see how hard are they are working relative to how hard they “should” be working. This allows us to coach our clients to push a little harder when needed and rest more when needed. There is a science to getting fit and we use that proven data to train smart (not just hard), so we can provide our clients with the results they’re looking for.

We use the IC7 bikes, which have two amazing pieces of data that allow us to challenge our clients at their respective fitness levels: one is finding each client’s “power number” and the other is the Coach by Color feature of these bikes.

The power  number is how much power they can produce aerobically. We offer a free orientation class on Sundays at 12:45pm. During this class our clients can take a brief fitness assessment so they can learn their power number. Once they have their power number we can then use the “coach by color” feature on the IC7 bikes. This feature allows the instructor to challenge our clients to a certain exertion level then monitor the colors on their bikes to make sure they are hitting these levels. This takes the guesswork (and cheating) out of the bike interval portions which allows us to really drive our clients and push through old plateaus and create new fitness levels; exciting stuff!

What is the philosophy behind the brand?

Our motto is “quantifiable effort, quantifiable results.” We pride ourselves in a better program that is scientifically proven and we use tools which allow us to track our clients efforts as well as progress during and after class. We help our clients achieve/exceed their results and have fun doing it. We’re all about having fun and engaging people, at the end of the day we work in fitness, our goal is to make our client’s lives better in any and every way that we can. We aim to hold monthly community events so we can get to know our clients outside of the studio and continue to grow our community.

Why was it started?

Once the four of us (four founders) got into the space, we spent a long time figuring out what we were going to do with it–once we decided to open a high intensity interval training studio, we spent a year working on the concept. We did market research in the D.C. area and in New York City. We had to decide what we wanted the actual workout to be. We spent a lot of time with music and sound. We worked on the programs for months. It was all about figuring out what would be the best fit for us. We designed the space and classes how we wanted it to be–unique and beautiful. And then we unleashed it.

Your classes are like going to a nightclub: dark with neon lights and loud music. Tell us more about the energy and tunes in a typical class.

We chose a really great sound and light system that really drives people. The lights change depending on what you’re doing. We always have upbeat music. All the instructors are high energy which is contagious. We make it fun and engaging.

What’s ahead for the brand?

Growth! We’re off to a great start this year. We’re looking for growth in D.C. and will have another studio at some point.

What’s the most rewarding part of being an instructor?

The clients. I enjoy what I do. My background is in personal training and small group training. Seeing people get up at 5:30 a.m. and have them come up to me a few weeks into class to tell me they’ve met this goal or lost this much weight or are stronger makes me so happy. It makes getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning worth it. I set out to create a studio program that gets results and makes me and the client happy.

What goes into a curating the perfect playlist for a class?

People like all different types of music and have all different tastes. Understanding the types of and necessity of a tempo is important. You also need a great first solid couple of songs to set the tone. It keeps the energy in the room. You need songs that are familiar and keep people motivated.

What makes SweatBox resonate with clients?

MYZONE and the bikes and music. A lot of people don’t like treadmills. Our classes aren’t heavy on cardio. You’re only on the bike for 3-5 minutes at a time and the rest is strength training. Our studio is different from other boutique fitness classes in general as well as aesthetically. There’s no sharing in ours –everyone gets their own equipment each time. Everyone is friendly. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we have fun.

How does your coaching style differ from other SweatBox instructors?

I’ve always been a team athlete–I played soccer forever. So, I have more of a coach’s mentality. I want to helping people and motivate people. I don’t yell or am overly dramatic. I have a dry sense of humor and sarcasm at 6 a.m. is always entertaining. I am a stickler for form. I go around to each person and make sure they’re doing the moves correctly. I’m kind of a dork for the science aspect. My whole thing is to challenge yourself safely.

What would you tell someone who is new to SweatBox and feeling intimidated?

It is challenging and intimidating in the beginning. Especially if you’re next to someone who has been working out and training with us for a while. I try to avoid the group fitness flaw of not moving well or doing an exercise incorrectly. That’s how you get hurt. My personal training background makes it important to me that you’re doing the moves correctly.

Can you modify each workout to accommodate a client with limitations, or desire to work a specific muscle group?

110% yes. That’s a huge reason why we love our program. I’ve had classes with 65 and 24-year olds and everyone is happy. Anyone can walk into the studio and feel comfortable in a class. You can go at your own pace. If you need a break, take it. If you have injury or haven’t been working out, you can use more or less resistance. Don’t be intimidated.

Come to SweatBox 101 on Sundays at 12:45 and get your power number and classes from then on will be much easier. I definitely recommend this.

What do you counsel your members to eat for brunch?

So I teach Sundays and I know after those classes people are going to brunch.  I always say, “Remember champagne is not a food group.” No, I’m serious. Eat some fruit, eggs, avocados before you go to brunch and then have champagne.

Bloody Marys or Mimosas?

Mimosas, but I’d take a beer too.

Brunch in or out?

Out. Brunch is a social event. I’ll have breakfast at home, but brunch is social gathering.

What’s your favorite brunch item?

A really good hearty wrap. Or, a lot of pancakes, fruit, sausage. Something that’s hearty and calorie heavy.

If you could five people to brunch, who would they be?

Phil Knight- (Co-Founder of Nike)- I live in Nike gear.

Cristiano Ronaldo- I’ve played soccer since I was five, he is an amazing athlete and I’d be curious to see what his personality is like.

Drake- He’s a solid artist and seems like a chill guy.

Salma Hayek-  I’ve had a crush on her since the 90s!

Sofia Vergara- I mean, she is gorgeous and her accent is so sexy!

Bitch Biz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with SweatBox. While this article was written independently by us, we do receive compensation from the company.

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