Real men wear neon: Dallas’ hottest new import — the Spanish trainer-boxer Carlos Checa — pulls some style punches


The head versus the heart? The oldest war known to mankind. We send the boxer and Trainer Carlos Checa — new to Dallas, but not new to love — into the ring, suited up in activewear that transcends the gym. (Just add coat or sweater and go.) Love is a battlefield.

Etro paisley trunks, Kane jeans and Prada floral oxfords, all Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; Nike jacket and hat, both Nike NorthPark Center


Daniel Hanson embroidered robe, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; Nike shorts, Nike NorthPark Center; Prada rubber-sole shoes, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center.


Loro Piana coat (tied around waist), Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; Givenchy T-shirt, Forty Five Ten


Prada nylon camouflage quilted coat and Ralph Lauren cable-knit sweater, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; leather hat, stylist's own


Burberry trench coat, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; Nike hooded sweatshirt, windbreaker (tied around waist), shorts and socks, all Nike NorthPark Center; Gucci loafers, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center


Herno coat, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; Nike jacket, Nike NorthPark Center; H&M shorts, H&M NorthPark Center; Michael Kors jacket, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center; Maison Martin Margiela sneakers, Forty Five Ten.


Maison Martin Margiela x H&M leather jacket and H&M cropped T-shirt, both H&M NorthPark Center; Armani pants, Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center


If you can dish it out, Carlos Checa can take it. Go ahead. Give him all you’ve got. The amateur boxer — now in Dallas from Spain, by way of a stint in Pittsburgh — is explaining the one-two workout that he offers to private clients. He will strap pads onto his hands. You, in boxing gloves, will jab at the pads. Repeat. Repeat harder. The training can blast 400 calories out of you in an hour. Even better? “It releases the stress,” Checa says, in his heavy accent. (He’s working on his English. Not bad for just 10 months.) “And you don’t have to hit anyone — just the pads or a punching bag.” Now, it’s not all wham-wham if you engage Checa’s services. You’ll do squats, work your arms, your chest, “everything,” he says. You’ll jumpstart your cardiovascular system and, indeed, start to drop some weight. Mostly what you’ll do is fixate on Checa’s cheekbones. As architectural faces go, this one is by Rem Koolhaas.

Checa and his cheeks star here in their first photo shoot, about modern activewear that can be elevated by pulling on a great coat or a great sweater— no need to change out of your workout gear for a run to Starbucks or to Sunday brunch. Or, in Checa’s case, Si Tapas in Uptown, where he likes the tortillas Española and the paellas. The Barcelona-born 27-year-old has lived in Dallas less than a year, moving here from Pittsburgh with his wife, Laura Vila, who is from Spain, too, and is an area manager for the Spanish clothing chain Mango. While she is racking up frequent-flyer miles from D/FW covering her territories in the United States and Central America, Checa is developing the client base for his boxing workouts, born from a seven-year amateur career in Spain. (His mom still has all his medals.) As a child, he was fascinated by the pro boxers he would watch on television; as an adult, he knows that all that jabbing and sparring makes for some seriously effective toning. “The people here like to do more exercise,” he says, compared with Pittsburgh, and he relishes Dallas’ sunny clime compared with the rainy, sleety City of Bridges. He has already found a favorite Texas food, too: Sonny Bryan’s barbecue. “I like to go out, to eat the ribs. So good!” Funny, about the only thing Checa did know about his adopted state before he moved here is what he saw on TV, also back home. “The people riding the bulls.” He doesn’t mean the kind that run through Pamplona. He means the bucking kind, at a good ol’ Texas rodeo. “For me, that was impressive.” For training information:

—Rob Brinkley

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