Several months ago, I went through serious exercise burnout. I was so tired of the same fitness routine, that it was all I could do to get up and go through the motions of working out.
I knew I wasn’t being productive and I also knew that I wasn’t challenging myself physically. I was spinning my wheels to barely maintain my level of fitness. I happened to mention my disgruntled state to a friend at the gym who suggested I look into the boxing gym he frequented in the past. I had taken Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu years before from an instructor in Los Angeles who consistently blurred the line between sweating and suffering. I am in awe of the level of discipline and dedication martial arts demands, and while I knew boxing would be different in many fundamental ways, I couldn’t wait to get started just for the sake of doing something different. Never did I dream a workout would be as inspiring as boxing became.
Choosing a Boxing Facility:
If you are interested in trying something new and exciting, and you want a quick fitness fix, boxing may fit you like a glove. As a general rule, boxing gyms are not neat and tidy facilities. Ours boasted blood spatter on the ring floor and smelled like a men’s locker room with poor circulation on a hot summer afternoon. While I realize this may not sell you on the sport, I can only share from my own germ-phobic perspective. I was able to look past the steaming pile of dirty towels in the corner because our boxing facility accomplished what it set out to do: it provided an arena for high intensity circuit training with all of the right equipment, as well as a ring for hands-on learning.
Choosing a Boxing Instructor:
Most boxing gyms will allow you at least one free pass to “try before you buy”. The instructor is the foundation of your success, so chemistry between you is important. Look for someone who has some history with the sport. Even if he or she is not a former professional boxer, choose an instructor who has several years of experience working in the ring. In fact, just because an instructor may have boxed professionally does not make him a great instructor. He has to be able to convey the technique in addition to executing it. Someone who is communicative, motivational, and knowledgeable is of top priority.
Costs Associated with Boxing Gyms:
It is customary for most instructors to charge anywhere from $20 to $150 hourly, depending on location and number of clients. Typically you can reduce your costs if you share the hour with a friend or two. This increases the work load for the instructor, thereby often decreasing the intensity of your workout.
Intensity and Boxing for Fitness:
Lower intensity may be preferred if you are just testing the waters and want a gentle introduction to boxing for fitness. The highly aerobic nature of the workout may need to be adjusted for your first few sessions as a beginner. I know I was humbled walking out of the boxing gym for the first time!
Boxing requires minimal equipment and all you need to get started is a pair of hand wraps and gloves, although depending on your goals, you'll probably want to invest in a mouthpiece to protect your teeth if you begin sparring in the in ring. Generally, sixteen ounce gloves are recommended for women or for beginners, as lighter weight gloves reduce the load of work on your arms.
Boxing is an amazing cardiovascular workout that equally enlists strength and endurance. It can be accomplished one-on-one with a trainer, or conducted in small groups. While an instructor is recommended for a safe introduction to the sport, once you learn the basics, you can implement your own workouts. I started with a group of four other women, but when our instructor’s costs became a burden, we moved the workout into our own garages. We have taken what we learned in the last nine months and now rotate “gym garages”, modifying the workout for our “facilities”.