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Box Your Way To A Better Body

Lee Ashford

Have you ever dreamed of lacing-up your gloves and stepping inside the ring, amid rapturous applause, to battle it out over twelve gruelling rounds against an opponent eager to pummel you to the canvas? Good news! You can be a step closer to fulfilling your dream, thankfully, without the blood, sweat and tears (well, maybe without the blood and tears).

Boxing style training is a great way of achieving an all-over-body workout, whilst shedding those excess pounds that you still haven’t managed to shift since last Christmas. “Boxercise”, (a nationally recognised form of boxing training without any physical contact between opponents), teaches you to throw punches safely and correctly, mastering combinations, footwork and defensive blocks, with the added bonus of not being thumped by your opponent in return.

Where can you go for a boxing workout? Check out your local leisure club or fitness centre. Most good clubs will run various forms of boxing workout classes. These classes can be taught in many shapes and forms, from a low impact aerobics class to circuit training and one-to-one tuition from a qualified instructor.

The aerobics form of workout is a great calorie burner, but, if you require a more in-depth routine by throwing real punches at punch balls, floor-to-ceiling balls or focus pads (foam filled pads held by an instructor), then hire yourself a Personal Trainer. A Personal Trainer will ensure that you follow the correct procedures, allowing a safe and rewarding training session. Make sure he or she is qualified as a Boxercise instructor as well as a fitness trainer. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of qualifications and, very importantly, proof of public liability insurance. For those of you that don’t enjoy gym environments, and there are many of you out there, “home based” Personal Trainers will put you through your paces in your own living room or garden.

The idea of teaching the art of throwing a powerful left hook, a crisp right uppercut and a sharp double jab has been misconceived previously by those who thought boxing involved too much mindless skull cracking. Training for fitness using boxing techniques doesn’t promote violence but can increase  self esteem and help build confidence, benefiting men and women alike.

Personal trainers are becoming inundated by requests from clients eager to include boxing in their programme. More beginners as well as hardcore fitness fanatics are attending Boxercise classes, so is encouraging for the rest of the adult population in the quest for a fitter and healthier lifestyle. For the fashion conscious there is a wide range of clothing and accessories on the market, including various colours of boxing gloves, focus pads and hand wraps!

So, what are the real benefits of boxing training? First of all, there is calorie burning. Skipping, throwing punches and ducking and moving are all excellent ways of raising your heart rate. With any cardiovascular workout, your heart rate needs to rise and maintain over a period of time, ideally, at least thirty minutes per workout. This should be from around 70% of your MHR (maximum heart rate) to 85% of your MHR, depending on the participant’s condition.

A deconditioned athlete should work no harder than their aerobic threshold. Technically, aerobic threshold is the training intensity at which lactic acid first starts to build up, or, in simple terms, the intensity at which you can sustain comfortably over a period of time, without feeling that the exercise is too easy. For those individuals with a reasonable level of fitness, working towards your anaerobic threshold is more appropriate. Again, for all the technical anoraks, anaerobic threshold is the highest exercise intensity that can be maintained without lactic acid levels rising uncontrollably. Remember though, this intensity is too high for beginners.

Now, back to the subject of calorie burning; imagine you are driving a car. The faster you drive the more fuel you burn off. So therefore, for optimal fat burning; hard, fast and often is the key. Boxing training also develops hand-eye coordination, works all major muscle groups, improves balance, relieves stress and most of all, it is great fun. There is nothing more satisfying than backing your trainer into a corner and letting your fists fly, connecting with the focus pads with vicious intent.

Whatever your age, ability or fitness level, boxing training has all the ingredients for a healthier, fitter body. You never know, you may even be the next “contender”.

Gain a head start in your quest for fitness and good health!

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