Staying fit and healthy can be a daily challenge, made more difficult when we get a little bored of our routines. Do you feel you’re struggling to stay motivated with the same old exercises and want to shift your focus? Why not try boxing?
Results from a recent SportEngland survey show that participation in boxing fitness classes and traditional boxing for females rose by 16% with strong growth in the 16-25-year-old age group in the 12 months to March 2016. So don’t pass it up as just a male sport.
Even with this positive change, it can be daunting to try something new; for inspiration follow #togetherwebox on social media where female boxers share their experiences and encourage each other to excel. Combine this with these top tips to get started and you’ll have a new routine to boost your fitness – in fact, changing your exercise can also improve your metabolism as your body adjusts to the new activity.
Make it social
Achieving fitness can feel like a lonely pursuit sometimes, but not if you take a friend and share the experience of learning new things. In boxing classes this is particularly useful as you can be each other’s sparring partners, getting rid of some of the nerves you may have about making those first punches. It will also help if you go to a club that’s male orientated as you won’t feel as self-conscious with someone you know well.
Probably the best way to make it social is by putting a status online about starting a new class and seeing if anyone wants to join. You might get some tips as well if you happen to have another enthusiast on your friend list.
Talk to your local club
You’ll want to go somewhere close by and most areas have boxing clubs and fitness classes based on boxing skills, like boxercise, for example. Do some online research and get in touch to arrange a taster session and ask any questions you might have. As there are a few forms of boxing, talk about what you want to achieve and see what they suggest.
Luckily, you’ll see boxing is pretty inexpensive and you can jump right in. You might work different muscles and ache to start with but as long as you go in expecting a challenge, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re in the Midlands, definitely talk to Women’s Boxing Club in Birmingham. They’re really friendly and like to take any enthusiasts under their wing. In London, approach Women’s Boxing Classes – they have some really inspiring group workouts.
Teach yourself online
YouTube can become your new personal trainer if you let it (and have a good internet connection)! There are many sports professionals on the site posting tutorial videos of basic moves for you to gain knowledge before you head to a class. Take these tasters and practise some jabs in the mirror – this is called shadow boxing and lets you see how naturally you take to the movements. This is perfect to know before you see a coach in real life as you immediately start to improve.
Stacey Copeland who is a #togetherwebox ambassador highlights how the boxing community is really inviting and rewarding, so don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there in person and online: “You will meet some great people in boxing gyms, go out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself and ultimately feel great”.
Focus on muscle mass
As you begin, make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet to help build the upper body mass and strength needed to be quick on your feet. Good sources are lean meats like chicken and turkey and at the same time, make sure you get enough calories so you’re energetic enough for active sessions. Small changes can have a big impact but speak with your instructor if you feel you want to make a greater change to your diet and lifestyle.
Keep your goals in mind
Like all sports, there are various options in boxing. You can go down a competitive route where you learn how to hit other people, or you can train to get fit and learn proper basic techniques, such as jabs, hooks, uppercuts, dodging and ducking. If you prefer the idea of boxing for general fitness, try out a boxercise class where boxing techniques are combined with squats and skipping, etc.
After a taster session, you’ll have a better idea of which sort of boxing workouts are right for you and of course, you can always do both and change your mind as your goals get reached and change over time. When you check in with your local gym or club, ask for a schedule of boxing classes and a list of coaches to be better informed about what’s on offer in your area. For women, boxercise is a way of building confidence and making fun with friends. If your goal is becoming more of a pro, it may be best to go straight to the boxing gym.
Whatever you do, don’t let fitness become bland and get disheartened. Keep it fresh and aim to try new things to achieve a sustainable, exciting and goal-orientated fitness lifestyle.
Want to know more? You can talk to Fran and the #togetherwebox team at Boxfit UK who are enthusiastic about women taking up boxing and getting the support they need; especially as 2017 is the 20th anniversary of legal competitive female boxing in the UK.
What do you think about boxing as an exercise? Have you tried boxercise before?