When I mention the word boxing, what image comes to mind? I would guess it is an image of two sweaty guys trying to pound each other in an attempt to earn the right to call themselves “the best.” You may imagine broken noses, cut eyes, foreheads not unlike that of a Neanderthal. In fact, I would bet that what you imagine would so turn you off, that you would almost NEVER consider boxing as an alternative to riding the elliptical for an hour, but… If you will give me a couple minutes, I will make you see that boxing may be not only one of the most effective ways of getting in shape, but may also improve your over all health.
People who try boxing are always surprised to find how their body changes. First they notice their arms becoming stronger. Then they start to see the waist line get smaller. Their legs become toned and stronger. They notice a chiseling effect on their body that they had never seen before. While these reasons may be enough for most people to try boxing, the best benefits don’t occur in the body, they occur in the mind. Peoples self confidence grows and becomes stronger. They find themselves becoming more balanced, and they gain an inner strength. Boxing does more than just get people in shape; it helps them release aggression. It gives people an outlet that no other form of exercise does.
Did you know that your favorite star likely uses some part of boxing to look good enough to be in the movies? Matthew McConaughey, Gwen Stefani, Marisa Miller, and Nick Cannon use boxing to stay in shape. It isn’t just Hollywood stars using it to get into shape, but many professional Athletes use it to cross train for their event. In the June 23 2010 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Charles Woodson; a star cornerback for the Green Bay Packers, cites boxing as a reason for him coming into the season in such fantastic shape.
“…It’s some of the toughest work I have done…” “ Just an hour a day and you’d be dying.”
So why do these celebrities choose boxing when there are so many different forms of fitness out there? Boxing can burn from five hundred to one thousand calories an hour! (depending on the weight of the individual doing the exercise, and the type of boxing i.e. sparring, bagwork, shadow boxing…) Not only that, but it utilizes a form of exercise known as interval training. Interval training is a type of training where you exercise at the absolute maximum that you can for a short period of time, and then you recover for a smaller period of time, and then repeat. In boxing you go hard for three full minutes with a one-minute rest in between. Some studies have shown that this type of exercise actually burns about twenty percent more fat than straight cardio.
Generally speaking, if a club has a heavy bag, they will have gloves or something for you to protect your hands while you work out on it. However, if you really want to enjoy this amazing form of exercise, I recommend you treat boxing gloves the same way you would your training shoes. Training gloves come in many different forms, but the biggest thing to remember is the weight; the heavier the glove, the harder the workout. Gloves generally range from eight ounces to as much as sixteen ounces. You can even buy gloves with weights in the wrist for shadow boxing. NOW… imagine throwing punch after punch for two to three minutes at a time with only a short rest in between each round, and do it all with an extra pound on each hand. That is quite a workout. Other tools you could use include hand wraps, jump ropes, floor-ladders, bob and weave ropes, medicine balls, etc… There are several types of hanging heavy bags as well, but generally speaking, you will only find the more specific bags in Punch It Up Boxing, or boxing specific gyms.
Most peoples first, and strongest reaction to boxing is; “I don’t want to get punched/hurt.” Boxing, like any other form of strenuous exercise, is safe as long as you have an experienced instructor teaching. Boxing is very “form” sensitive, and for that reason people want a teacher who has some boxing time under his/her belt. Most of the time, sparring is an elective, and will be left up to the individuals. The only time it is not a choice is when you are in a boxing specific gym. The most common injury in boxing is wrist injury, BUT… wrist injuries occur for two very specific reasons, both of which can be avoided. First; learn to wrap your hands well. The wraps should be tight, but not cutting off circulation. Second; you have to learn the proper form for striking something with force i.e… palm down, or palm in, straight punch, or elbow up. These are some of the things that we at Punch It Up Boxing can watch for and help you with.
People who exercise by using boxing will become stronger, faster, more confident, not to mention that they will be practicing some real world self defense. They will experience the health benefits that come from regular exercise as well as experiencing the strength gains that are usually only associated with resistance training. Tennis, baseball, and golf are just some of the cross over sports that will improve with boxing. Lastly, and probably most importantly, boxing is a blast!
LIVE FIT, AND SMILE STRONG!
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Founder of Fitness by Rob. Father, husband, and personal trainer.