Boxing is a sport rising in popularity. With the increase in white collar boxing events, charity boxing events and greater coverage on the television and internet, boxing is a very visible and very accessible sport. As a result, it is being utilised more and more by personal trainers, fitness instructors and gyms in general as a means of attracting new clients and members. Boxing is taking over the world of fitness. Celebrities, sports people and business people are all dabbling in the “new craze” sweeping the nation and the world. Whether it be in the form of pad work, bag work, “BoxFit” classes, “Boxercise” classes or fully fledged boxing clubs and 8 week events, people are immersing themselves wholeheartedly – the revolution begins!
Boxing, A Fitness Revolution – The Positives
For me, as a fully qualified personal trainer and former pro boxer with experience in coaching, that’s a great thing. It means people are ready and willing to try my training methods in order to learn a new skill and improve their fitness alongside it. Here are a few key reasons why boxing is a great hobby to take up:
- Fitness – very few activities target so many different aspects of your physical fitness and so many different muscle groups simultaneously. The act of punching utilises multiple muscle groups and, unlike many other forms of training, requires muscular endurance and muscular strength. You are also improving both aspects of your cardiovascular fitness, aerobic and anaerobic, with short bursts of high intensity and prolonged movement and activity. If you have a good boxing coach you will be training your upper body, core and lower body all at the same time teaching a more complete sense of self-awareness.
- Mental Aptitude – equally, there are very few activities that so rapidly and effectively improve your co-ordination, reaction time, balance, speed, mental composure and thought speed. Your motor skills are an essential part of your day to day functionality and boxing improves and enforces each and every one of them. Alongside that, boxing teaches you how to cope with pressure, how to work at high intensity, how to push through barriers and how to overcome adversity – it’s a real winner.
- Stress Relief – nothing relieves stress quite as quickly as punching a bag, the pads or an opponent. It’s difficult to stay stressed when you are tired, have worked hard and have pushed your physical and mental boundaries so completely. The incredibly potent endorphin release you feel post-training is also a quick and effective way of improving your mood, feeling happier and relaxing your tired mind.
- Self-Defence & Confidence – it’s always nice to know that if you’re ever in danger, you know how to defend yourself if it’s required of you. Boxing teaches the fundamental techniques required to avoid punches, move the feet, evade attack and counter attacks. It also teaches how to punch correctly, punch efficiently and with power, when needed. There is a huge self-confidence that comes with knowing you are able to box and defend yourself and it can be incredibly empowering – for men, women and children. It’s not all blue skies and sunny afternoons. There are a few very unfortunate negatives to boxing becoming such a popular activity and it’s important that people know them.
Boxing, A Fitness Revolution – The Negatives
- Unskilled & Unqualified Teachers – unfortunately with it’s rise in popularity it was inevitable that people would jump on the bandwagon and try to capitalise on people’s interest to make a quick pound. Boxing is an incredibly dangerous sport – the technique of punching must be correct or you risk serious injury. Evading punches, foot work and defending punches all require correct technique and correct teaching to be safely utilised. Make sure you find a coach with a strong knowledge base in boxing, experience of actual fighting (where possible) and an understanding of the physical and mental requirements of actually competing in boxing before investing your time and money in their coaching.
- Health & Safety – inevitably, an increase in interest in boxing leads to more and more “white collar” boxing events in which the fighters health and safety is completely disregarded. Competition in boxing is dangerous and intense – without proper medical staff present, there is an inherent and unavoidable risk. The people organising many of these events are simply cashing in on the enthusiasm of an audience who aren’t aware of the lack of medical protection the fighters receive and are screaming for blood – unaware of the fact that fighters can suffer life threatening injury; especially those with minimal training and lacking fitness.
Boxing, A Fitness Revolution
If you are looking to lose weight, improve your fitness (in all it’s forms and manifestations), learn self-defence, learn a new skill, challenge yourself physically and mentally and just generally have a good time doing it, then boxing is absolutely the training for you. Whether it be classes, 1-1 sessions or group training, boxing can re-invigorate your weekly training regimen and add that spark of fun to your training that is often missing. Remember the positives, address the negatives and find yourself a trainer that understands your goals and helps you to work towards them – and most of all, enjoy!
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