I first entered a boxing gym in october 2012, one day after my birthday. Never had I thought I’d actually become a boxer.
I had just turned 26 and was in my last year at university. Finding out that a few gyms were offering some interesting discounts for students, I was keen to try something new. The options included mostly the latest fitness trends such as Zumba, Spinning, Pilates. But there, inbetween a list of music-supported glute strengthening classes, I saw it, a boxing class. And I knew I had to try it. It wasn’t even about the fighting. I’ve never been an exceptional strong or aggressive person. It was mostly the workout itself that kind of attracted me. So, I started out with kickboxing, sure, I’d never get into the ring. Because…come on, who wants to get kicked and punched in the face? Well, guess what, me. And, apparently, so do a bunch of other people, too.
After a couple of month and a little amateur fight, I decided (for some reason I don’t really remember) to leave my feet on the ground and continue fighting just with my hands, switching to the classical boxing class.
And here I am, more than 4 years later, still throwing punches.
To be honest, sometimes I hate it. And I don’t mean sometimes like once a year. More like once a week. But then there is this one workout that leaves you completely satisfied, it just feels so great that you forget about the pain. It’s kind of like when parents complain about 80% of the stuff their exasperating children are doing, but they still love them more than anything.
So, what can I tell you about (female) boxing?
Here are a few things that I didn’t really expect, when entering the world of hand wraps and mouth guards.
- Boxing is definitely a sport for everyone. Not only is there a large range of activities, workouts and events for both men and women, and even for kids, for competitive boxers as well as for those who just like the type of training. But the fact that competitors are divided up into different weight classes, makes it way more accessible to various body types than, let’s say, basketball or volleyball.
- You can punch a person and still be friends with them.
Of course, one of the things that make you decide to go to a gym is also the possibility to socialise. So usually, what happens is that the people you work out and train with are becoming your friends. Not always and not everybody…but at least some of them. And chances are you sooner or later are going to have a sparring session, confronting one another.
What I actually noticed is that the more two sparring partners know each other, the harder their punches are going to fly probably. And in the end? A hug, a laugh, and a lot of respect for one another.
- Your legs are as important as your arms. The secret to a good punch starts all down at your feet. But more importantly, trained legs are necessary to avoid punches. So be prepared to do a lot of leg workouts.
- You need to think. A lot! Stupid is who stupid does, and man, you are doing a lot of stupid stuff, once you’re in the ring. Boxing really requires quite a bit of mental preparation. Watch your opponent, watch yourself, watch the time, listen to your trainer in the corner, but block out anything else, think about your next move, try to predict your opponents next move, try to make him or her predict something else. So, yep, your brain is going to work out, too.
- Your body will change. Well, of course, that’s what usually happens when one starts to work out. Yet, it’s something I’d like to mention. For a girl it should be clear that boxing on a competitive level or, at least, on a regular basis, will most likely bring your body into an athletic shape. This means especially larger back, shoulders and biceps. I was kind of suprised by that.
Sometimes I wish I’d discoverd this sport a lot earlier. Although I still try to p
ractice boxing on a competitive level, it isn’t the same as doing sports at the age of 20. Who knows where I could have aimed? Unfortunately, I left competitive sports together with school and just stuck around with some workout here and there, and it took me more than six years to join a club again. But hey, like we say in Italy, Meglio tardi, che mai!*
So…see you in the gym!
*(Better late than never)