Boxing is Your BFF

Imagine a workout routine that taxes virtually every muscle group, pushes your cardiovascular system to its limits, and ultimately tests your every physical and mental condition. No, it’s not CrossFit. There may be no other workout as complete as boxing. New to boxing? Get ready to meet some unfamiliar muscles and discover the limits of your body and mind. You’ll first be saying “never again,” but it won’t take long before you can’t wait to be at it again!

It was maybe late in the last century when boxing started to become a legitimate workout option for ordinary folks who wanted the intense training, yet weren’t necessarily interested in “being a boxer.” The boxer’s workout gained in popularity as more conventional gyms began adding stylized cardio boxing and kickboxing classes. Of course, due to its addictive nature, boxing began to catch fire as more and more participants became passionate for the sweet science and yearned to learn advanced aspects and techniques. There are endless anecdotes from women who either felt adventurous or simply stumbled into boxing training only to become completely possessed by its charm.

The sport itself is ancient and the action of punching (and kicking) to defend yourself and conquer a foe is strictly primal. Perhaps the reason boxing is so enjoyable and addictive has something to do with tapping into built-in, but often long-dormant natural urges. 

Amy Reid taking a break. Photography by David Jaewon Oh

Amy Reid taking a break. Photography by David Jaewon Oh

The boxing workout covers all areas, starting at your toes and going all the way to your head. Calories will burn, as will your muscles. You’ll build strength. You’ll develop stamina. You’ll be spitting fire and belching smoke as you push your machine to its limits, both aerobically and anaerobically.

There is virtually nothing equal to the benefits you get from training for combat. ESPN ranked boxing number one among the toughest sports to compete in, just ahead of ice hockey and football. And the reason for its difficulty to master is also the reason it’s a superior workout - boxing’s the complete package. Perhaps fighters aren’t the fastest sprinters or highest jumpers among athletes, but overall fighters kick serious ass, and let’s face it, “ass kicking” is the ultimate objective in any sport.

Professional and amateur athletes alike, from a variety of sports, look to fight techniques to add some superior cross training in their respective off-seasons. The reason being, that so many of the skills that you can develop through boxing training are highly translatable to other sports disciplines and the physical demands of fighting are also a great conditioning tune up.

Heck, even supermodels, needing to enhance their god-given skinny physiques have taken to boxing and fight training as a means to remain “super.” 

And the benefits go beyond the merely physical. If you’re simply going through the motions for fitness then you’re missing out on some of the best byproducts of real boxing training.

For any person, perhaps especially a young person struggling with life’s hard knocks, boxing training is a great way to alleviate stress and release pent up aggression. The simple act of making a fist has been shown to help cope with stress. You might say punching makes you happy.

And with the tenacity and discipline required to develop as a fighter, boxing is kinda like military school. It breaks you down so you can build yourself up. This is exactly why boxing is often turned to as a way to help keep at-risk kids off the street and give them reason to feel good about themselves.

When you workout regularly playing soccer or basketball you begin to build confidence in your ability to compete in those sports. Oh sure, participation in any intense sport will help you to become a faster, stronger, better version of yourself, but when you train for fighting you build confidence in life. It’s in the facing up to danger and the persevering when any normal person would give up. 

Once your boxing skills advance and you step into the ring for some sparring or competing, you really get to see how far your skills, physical capabilities, and mental fortitude have developed. Our friend, Tricia Arcaro Turton, owner of Arcaro Boxing, said it best: “Boxing puts our brains and body to the ultimate tests. We have to relax under the threat of attack. We have to be present to each thought, each feeling that moves through our consciousness. We have to override our doubts and find belief…”

So be prepared to learn some less than appealing things about yourself. You may discover weaknesses you hadn’t noticed before. But that’s okay. Boxing is all about overcoming adversity and turning weakness into strength. 

Boxing is beautiful in the way that it is both a killer workout and an extremely satisfying activity. Yes, in the beginning learning boxing technique while attempting to not look awkward can be frustrating and, at times, humiliating. Especially if you’re being taught by someone who’s been there and seen it all. The toughest trainers are often very patient with newbies, but they will expect dedication and perseverance. And in the end, like a lifelong friend, the longer you stay with it and the more dedication you can muster, the greater the impact and the more you will ultimately love it.

Posted on December 3, 2015 .