One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about taking time away from bodybuilding competition prep is the opportunity to try other types of training.
That was in March. I’ve barely missed a session since.
I didn’t think I’d like it at all. Back when I was a Fitness Class Devotee (sometimes I’d do two, back to back… !) I tried Body Combat and other “punch-along-a-music” type classes and totally hated them. Sorry, Combatters. I just felt like a giant bell-end.
Who doesn’t love a boxing movie? (My dog is named after a character in Million Dollar Baby). So, lured by daydreams of being Hilary Swank, I went along to boxing, secretly assuming I’d feel just as much of a bell-end as I did at Body Combatx100, because this was proper boxing, with real boxing coaches, in an actual boxing club.
I absolutely loved it from the first session. Although I did nearly walk out (and I can count the number of times I’ve nearly walked out/given up on a sport on one hand). The warm up (!) was SO HARD that I genuinely didn’t think I’d be able to get through it. I only stayed because I knew that, if I left, I’d never go back.
I did go back, the next week, and it was much easier. Still hard (it always is), but doable. So I stuck at it.
Here’s a typical format. It’s a ladies-only session at an amateur boxing club.
- warm up: 10-15 minutes of jogging, skipping, plyometric moves, “speed jog”, shadow boxing
- main session: 25 minutes or so of bag-work and pad-work with a partner. We do things like “20/20/20” (20 seconds boxing the bag, 20 seconds boxing whilst jogging on the spot, 20 seconds big power punches… repeated twice), burpee followed by 4 punches (for a minute), 1-15 punches then back down from 15-1, slips, combinations, 10 x star jumps then 10 x punches (for a minute). You get the idea. Very little rest, with intense intervals of work.
- circuit session: imagine an old-school boxing circuit (if you can’t, then just imagine any boxing movie you’ve ever watched) and you’re along the right lines. Sit up variations, press up variations, burpees, squat jumps, tuck jumps, med ball work. Either with a partner (so you get a bit of rest), or without (so, er, you don’t).
- stretching at the end
What I love about boxing
It’s good, honest, proper hard work. I’ve always liked watching boxing as a sport, because (on the face of it, anyway) it seems a very “pure” and honest sport. Two bodies, one ring, that’s it. Our training has the same feel. Work hard, get on with it, nowhere to hide.
It’s the hardest cardio/conditioning work I’ve done in a long time. You get a proper sweat on (which is something I miss from my cardio days). It’s challenging. It’s teaching me new skills and a new way of working with my body (not something that necessarily happens very often once you’re an adult). I’ve been going for nearly a year and I’ve recently started hearing “well done Nic!” and “you’re getting better”. 😀
I also love the social aspect. I’ve made a new bunch of female friends through boxing and this isn’t something I even considered when I started going. They’re women I probably would never have met. We’ve got very athletic people, and people for whom boxing is the first and only exercise they’ve done. We’ve got people who have boxed in competition and won titles, and we’ve got people who can’t yet do a press up on their toes. We’ve got older ladies, Mums, college students and even an under-10 (she comes with her Mum and she is badass!) I really look forward to my twice-weekly boxing sessions and I realised recently it’s for the people as much as it is for the training.
And lastly I love it because this year it’s been a way of getting two guaranteed hardcore conditioning sessions in every single week.
As our coach says when we’re flagging: “come on girls, get your money’s worth!” (to which we reply, “We got our money’s worth within 5 minutes… it’s £2 a session!”) 😛
Tonight is the final session of the year but if you’re interested in joining us in January, we’re at Folkestone Amateur Boxing club, Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-8pm (don’t be late!) and everyone is welcome – age, ability, fitness levels don’t matter. It is a ladies only session, but obviously the club itself caters for men and boys too.
Have you done boxing training? Did you fall in love with it too?
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.