Build Confidence and Fitness with Boxing
When people who kind of know me find out I box, their eyes open wide in surprise. I’m a quiet, busy mom of two and I’m also an author, not quite the stereotypical boxing type of person. I’ve got a soft, easy going demeanor, until it is time for boxing! Then I am Fierce! (Well, I pretend anyways.)
I first fell in love with martial arts a long time ago, with Taekwondo. But it wasn’t enough for me. Fast forward several years later, a big move to a new location, a change to being a full time SAHM for the first time to toddlers, I needed something for me. A lifelong athlete I needed something different, something to alleviate the stress of the changes in my life, in myself and something that would give me a total body workout and boost my confidence. Enter Boxing.
I loved throwing punches and kicks in Taekwondo and really wanted to get back into it. As I looked up martial arts schools in my new area I saw a boxing/kickboxing gym and realized this was my ticket to a challenging and FUN way to achieve my goals. I actually intended to try out the kickboxing classes but to my dismay they weren’t offered at times I could go (I drive an hour to get there) so boxing it was.
I remember when I first signed up. My youngest had just gotten over being sick, I was exhausted and dealing with the serious battle of tears/frustrations many Moms face. My life felt like it was in a constant state of chaos. It took every ounce of my courage to show up. I didn’t know a single person there. Not one.
I happened to sign up at a cool time, this gym had only been open for about a year, and they had great enrollment deals! I got my wraps, first pair of gloves (that lasted 2 years) and gym bag for free with a low monthly membership fee locked in (even years later).
Being fairly athletic the first few classes were still tough, but after a couple of months I was actually asking (ok I begged and I mean begged) for longer classes because I absolutely loved the intensity at which I could work out (I prefer all out in boxing and save my easy/moderate intensities for other kinds of workouts). Within a year of me joining, not only did the gym start offering a long class on weekends, but they started adding a lot of cool features that veteran members were asking for.
I fell in love the with sports of boxing/kickboxing to such a degree that I’ve since taken up turning it into a second career of teaching classes. (Still have some time and work to do yet but I’m on my way!) After I get going I intend specialize into niches that aren’t quite offered yet where I live.
One reason I love my gym is our trainers are just awesome. And the trainers not only know what they are doing (they believe in proper form, technique, knowledge and experience) but are incredibly supportive and motivating. We have all types of people in classes, young to old (yes a few members are well into their sixties or older), fit and on their way to getting fit, we have college students, professionals, parents, people just visiting for holidays, = a wonderful variety of members!
A lot of people would never consider giving boxing a try. For fear of many reasons. I’m writing this article to encourage people to give boxing a chance – to experience the wonderful benefits that boxing (martial arts) does for the mind, body and spirit. Boxing is a total body workout – one of the best fitness regimes out there.
You can be a total newbie with health and fitness or a life long athlete – boxing will provide wonderful challenges and results.
Let’s start knocking out the common reasons people are afraid to trying a boxing class. (Humor infused excuse busters….)
Hesitation #1 It’s Violent
Insert many chuckles. When it comes to fitness, boxing classes are pretty mild. Playing soccer, basketball, football is much more dangerous and haphazard.
Regular fitness centers that offer boxing/kickboxing classes actually just shadow box. Most don’t even have heavy bags to hit.
Some gyms are solely geared for boxing/kickboxing for fitness. They have plenty of bags to hit, plus mitts, pads, and various cross training equipment. In most of these kinds of boxing classes, the only thing you hit is the heavy bag and maybe some mitt work with a trainer. There is no sparring.
Now if you already do other forms of martial arts or attend one of the above and really love it and want to expand your technique and get more serious about your boxing training – there are actual legit boxing gyms where athletes train for sheer love of the sport or to be competitive. Here – there is sparring. Yes, actually I hit you, you hit me, we both maybe get slightly bruised sometimes.
Basically, if you are reading this you don’t have to worry about accidently joining the third type of boxing gym. It is fairly easy to find a fun and fitness oriented boxing class at your local fitness rec center – and these classes are not violent.
Hesitation #2 I’ve never done anything like this before!
I’m terrified. I might get hurt. I’m going to look silly. I’m out of shape. I’m in shape but never boxed and I told the trainer I’m athletic but what if my training doesn’t cross over into boxing? Um. Uh. I don’t like being new. What if it’s too hard? What if I don’t like it?
And so on and so on.
Guess what? Whatever silly irrational thoughts you are using to hold you back – I’m going to cut right through them.
Everyone is a beginner at some point! Everyone starts out new.
Regardless of your current fitness level – you will have a lot of new skills and physical feats to learn and work on. Just like everyone did on their first day and are likely still working on improving months later.
Hesitation #3 Are you SURE, and I mean are you SURE nobody is going to hit me?
Unless you lied through your teeth when you intentionally called that tiny gym who specifically trains amateur and professional fighters and their nicknames would give an ex-convict chills. Well…then you might get hit if you told them you’re a pro and they shove headgear on you as soon as you walk in and suddenly you are sparring with their ten-year veteran.
I’m going to assume you’ve done some research and the boxing class you are considering is in a big fitness gym that teaches all sorts of classes like aerobics, yoga, indoor cycling and has rec league teams. You will be fine. No one is going to hit you. Unless you and the person next to you are very uncoordinated and one of you goes left when the trainer yelled move the right and you both knock each over. Which yes, sadly happens. But no – you will not be sparring.
Hesitation #4 Are you sure?
Stop making excuses for not trying something fun and different!
Unless you are specifically training to be an amateur or professional boxer you will not spar with anyone.
Unless…. You are extremely serious about boxing, have been going to class for a long time and ask the trainer if you can spend a few minutes doing a light sparring round. In which you will both be padded up and your trainer knows what they are doing and still won’t jab you hard enough to cause an ounce of damage. And you asked them for it. Because you were curious.
Hesitation #5 I think it looks like fun! What do I need for equipment?
Most gyms/classes will provide you with hand wraps and gloves for your first class or two. After that you will have to buy some. Most gyms provide a nice selection of gloves to choose from. If you are totally new, go with a cheaper pair – they actually last a decent length of time. Go read my 15 tips for boxing beginners for more info on equipment, what to bring to class etc.
Hesitation #6 How can I find a good boxing class/gym?
Actually and this is a great thing to do – call up that real boxing gym, the one they spar at. Tell them what you are looking for, what your fitness level is and where they recommend you check out for classes. The real boxing trainers (the ones who teach actual fighting) usually know all the martial arts trainers in the area and can give you a solid recommendation for a general boxing fitness class or if you maybe did karate or Tk back in the day and are familiar with martial arts, they can direct you to general fitness instructors they know who also have martial arts backgrounds, in which you can get intermediate non sparring level of training from.
Always call first. Call a few gyms! Find out just what they offer and when. Let them know who you are, your fitness level, what your goals are. Ask if you can try a class or two out for free! Most of the time you can.
Hesitation #7 I have no idea what to expect in a boxing class.
In general fitness boxing classes (and most martial arts classes) everything is done in timed blocks. In between these blocks is a combined rest if you need it/here’s some cross training exercises to do. Most classes are an hour long, with about 10 minutes of warming up (jump roping, pushups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, shadow boxing), a 40-minute workout and a 10-minute cool down/ab workout.
The 40-minute workout might be 3-5 minutes of boxing skills/combinations, a 1-2 minutes’ breather/cross training exercise, repeat.
Hesitation #8 I’m glad I won’t be getting hit. Are you sure this isn’t going to hurt?
I will honest. You will hurt after boxing class. You will use muscles you never knew you had. And you won’t feel it until the next day. And the next day. Day 2 is usually when you feel the soreness the most.
But – after the first few classes your body will adjust and actually kind of enjoy the feel good pain of working out and strengthening your body.
Boxing targets your arms, shoulders, back and especially your core! Actually it is a full body workout. Most people are just not used to working their upper body the way you do in boxing.
Hesitation #9 Am I going to look like the she-hulk?
I suppose if you want to you could. I’ve done many sports over the years and honestly, I can say that my upper body has never been this strong or lean compared to when I did other sports. And I don’t lift weights. Boxing will give you real arm muscles and definition. You can have intimidating guns without too much effort.
The only gals (and guys) I’ve seen whose arms are hulk like – I know they also seriously lift weights – like a lot of weight.
Hesitation #10 Um. I’m out of shape. Like really.
Well…boxing will change that. As someone whose played many sports, including endurance ones, I can say that boxing/kickboxing classes (the ones with heavy bags to hit and real cross training involved) are a total body workout!
I’ve done classes that literally kicked my arse and I’ve had several months in a row where I wanted and did back to back classes because I’d gotten in such great shape.
Read my 15 tips for boxing beginners post. There will always be modifications for every skill you train to help you gradually improve your overall fitness.
Hesitation #11 Can I wear makeup to class?
That is not a hesitation. Are you serious? I’ve seen gals wear makeup. And did my best to not roll on the floor in laughter. They weren’t there on their lunch break and returning work.
You are supposed to show up to a fitness class to work out and get in better shape and burn off stress. Not to look pretty. In fact, if you get to the end of a boxing class and you are not soaked in sweat from head to toe with messy hair and looking like you need a margarita … you didn’t do something right.
Hesitation #12 What if it’s too hard?
Okay, this is a serious concern that most people have. Truth – if your instructor is a good instructor (most are) they will provide modifications for every skill and exercise done in class. There will be other beginners, along with people who’ve been there a while and a long time in the class. There will always be new skills to learn and improve on. For your first few classes, do what you can, go slow and ask questions. If you are in the front of the class (scary I know) you will be right there for the instructor to help you out and encourage you.
It will feel very challenging! You will likely be quite tired, okay exhausted, and sore and wondering why you showed up. Until you walk out the door feeling like a badd@ss for rocking out a boxing class. Then the next day you will wake up sore and questioning if you want to go back. Then the next day you will really hurt and will officially have quit. Then the next day you won’t be sore and you will be thinking it was kind of fun, it was different at least and the instructor was nice and hey…I feel I little more confident today. Then the next day you are still wondering and thinking about boxing class. And your friend is rolling their eyes because you were in a tizzy for two weeks working up the courage to go try boxing, then you complained for two days because you were so sore, then you realized it wasn’t so bad and finally they tell you shush up and go try it again and not be such a quitter.
And then you find yourself back at boxing class and someone who saw you last time says Hi. And this time you aren’t so nervous, okay maybe a little. But the skills are kind of familiar and shoot class is still fricking exhausting and crud you are still fricking sore the day after. But you are kind of well…hooked. Because it’s fun and challenging and giving you a total body workout and before long you have big biceps and definition in your abs and you feel pretty good. Plus feeling like a real bad@ss is fun!
Hesitation #13 I don’t want to go by myself!
Please let there be a 1-800 bring a friend along number.
Sorry. There isn’t one. One of the biggest benefits of doing boxing/kickboxing is a serious up leveling in confidence. And truthfully, most people you know probably have zero interest in doing boxing. Guess who likes boxing? The people in the boxing class. If you want to make friends with people who also like boxing, you need to go to boxing class.
Everyone there knows it’s scary to try something new and different. Most of them will be nice. The ones who aren’t nice are just having a rough week and need to burn off their stress. Boxing seriously blasts away stress.
Blast away your stress and fears by going to boxing class.
Hesitation #14 Well, I have too many to count.
If trying a boxing/kickboxing class sounds kind of fun and it’s captured your curiosity the only answer is pursue it. Otherwise it will sit on your shoulder pestering you with heaps of what if scenarios and silly irrational thoughts that are only holding you back from trying a class/sport that is fun, is a great way to alleviate stress, and gives you a total body workout.
If you are too scared to actually participate – just go watch a class! I bet you if watch a class you will be wishing you had actually tried the class.
I hope these entertaining musings on why you’re avoiding trying a boxing class have helped you shuffle through some very common questions, doubts and fears that most people have when trying something new for the first time.
The 2 things people get the most out of boxing, even for just few months, is a huge boost in confidence and increase in physical fitness!
If you haven’t read my 15 tips for Boxing Beginners go do so now – as it will really soothe your nerves and help you start boxing successfully.
|Image © Dollar Photo Club|