Boxing has had a special place in my heart for many years. I remember the first time my newly gloved fist landed squarely on a training mitt making a loud "SMACK!" (just like in the comic books). I was hooked (pun intended).
Although I never competed, I spent my fair share of time in the ring sparring with the guys (I was the only female - more on that another time). But even if you’re not interested in the competition side of boxing or even sparring, boxing is one of the fastest ways to get physically fit, improve balance and reflexes, as well as overall confidence, making boxing the natural choice for anyone interested in learning self-defense and gain an over-all sense of fitness.
During a standard, hour long boxing class, the students will be guided through proper punching technique, foot movement (foot work), and conditioning/endurance drills that will leave anyone in a puddle of satisfying sweat by the end of the class. Many gyms now have boxing classes if there isn’t a boxing gym near you. Here are just a few reasons to give it try and discover your own "SMACK!" moment. :)
In a future post I will happily share my own boxing work-out that led to Legs O' Steel & one arm push-ups....yeah Baby!
High Intensity Cardio & Calorie Burn
Simply put, boxing makes you bring it. No matter what fitness level you begin with, no other program will give you the incredible cardio and strength conditioning that comes with boxing training, well-except for MMA training. Jumping rope, planks, heavy bag work, battles ropes, speed punching drills, and sparring (when you’re ready), force your body into maximum exertion for long interval bursts with short breaks, resulting in increased muscle and cardio endurance-even after one session. The high intensity adds an inferno-like calorie burn, which could reach 800-1000 calories for a one hour training session, depending on weight. People struggling to lose a lot of weight or those last few pounds will benefit from boxing’s high calorie burn.
Better Focus & Balance
Every boxing drill, punch, or move requires focus and attention to balance. Focus and balance are essential for surviving round after round in a boxing match. The opponent can easily get a jab, hook, or upper-cut right past a fighter who’s lost focus, or send her whirling in circles or tripping if balance is compromised. This is still the case for those who have no intention of competing. Paying attention to every move while constantly maintaining proper balance with core conditioning and foot placement is key to improving skills, which naturally flow in everyday life, making it easier to stay focused on an important project at work or home, and paying better attention to surroundings during a typical shopping trip.
Since boxing utilizes those fast twitch muscles that sit idle during most day to day activities, even in most workouts. Constantly being challenged to quickly change foot position and punches thrown conditions the fast twitch muscles to be on guard even while not training. After just two training sessions you will see a large increase in how much more efficiently your body responds to daily challenges.
Reaching goals, in general, will give the participant a boost in confidence, but consistently getting through a grueling boxing training session is the “slam dunk” of confidence boosters. Learning how to properly throw a punch to fend off an attacker and being able to endure sweat pouring over your face while punching a heavy bag non-stop for 3 minutes is the epitome of self-confidence boosting. You may physically crawl out of the gym, but your inner-confidence will be standing tall with head held high, saying “Yes, I did it!” The confidence gained from boxing training positively impacts every aspect of daily life with a “can do” attitude, because if you can get through an hour of boxing training, you can do anything.
Boxing training is difficult and presents physical and mental endurance challenges most people are not accustomed. Anyone willing to work hard, consistently, can achieve unbelievable results with boxing, but it should be done intelligently. Checking in with your physician is a great way to know the starting point for anyone beginning a new exercise routine and I absolutely do not recommend this type of training to anyone healing from adrenal fatigue issues....get yourself healed first, then start slowly :)
**One more safety note - When starting a strenuous work-out make sure to pay close attention to your body, even if you are physically fit. Conditions like rhabdomyolysis are very serious and easy to recognize if you don't ignore your body. Look at the postures below (from NCAA.org) and learn to recognize when you need to stop your work-out.