It's a sauna. No, to say it's a sauna is an understatement because along with the wall of heat that hits you as you walk down the stairs there is the smell. The smell of sweat and work slick bodies working harder than they've probably ever worked before twists and combines with the humid air of the basement.
I enter and feel the breeze of fans touch my already warm skin. This is a basement filled with six other people all working together, whether consciously or unconsciously toward the same moment. That point in the running, stair climbing, punching, crunching, jumping, squatting... where you don't think you can go anymore. When the burn in your muscles doesn't subside and the burn in your lungs makes each breath hard even though they are screaming for it.
But, still, I punch.I punch the bag and wait for it to swing back at me to punch it again. My arms, brown, are slick with sweat. They look oiled and I feel the drops of sweat ribbon themselves down my head, my face, my chest, as I run up the stairs. Going down, there is a relief in the burn of my quads. My calves take the brunt, but they're a smaller muscle. Strong stubborn muscles. Back to the bag I punch, left, right, left, left, right. Take that bag, take that cop that gave me a ticket today, take that lady that makes my life difficult at work, take that and that....
Until I can't breathe and my lungs scream in defeat. I gasp trying to keep the sharp pain on my side at bay, when the bell dings, the light is red. I can rest, rest for thirty seconds until the next round.