- On January 2, 2014 I googled boxing London Ontario and dialled the first number on the list. When the first number didn’t answer I tried the second and a voice answered the phone from 4 Cs Life & Boxing Academy.
I introduced myself to the voice and he told me his name was Irving. I told Irving I thought I wanted to learn to box. He asked me three questions:
- What was my fitness level?
- Why did I choose his club?
- Why boxing?
I was a non-sporty creative type who enjoyed physical activity but wouldn’t categorize myself as athletic.
My reason for choosing boxing was: “I want to feel strong.”
I met Irving the next day (a trait I would later learn to be unique to Irving — he’s always ready to train when you are) and we began our 3 year long journey from boxing noob to trainee to official club member (and eventually longest running female member of the club after his daughter Deedre Chestnut).
Since then I have officially been wooed by boxing. To me it’s more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle and a kick-ass way to change your brain, and gain strength in more ways than one.
to the women reading this: take yourself outside of your comfort zone and realize the bliss you can unlock by beating the hell out of a heavy bag.
Here are 6 reasons why (and 1 reason why not) to start boxing:
1. It’s hard. And hard things are rewarding.
You are not a mushy wimp afraid of hard work.
Oh my god, being human is extremely hard work, and double that if you’re polite.
To feel the rewards of boxing, you have to be willing to move when your muscles are screaming at you, push when your arms are burning, lift, duck, hook, jab, and spear when you don’t think you can possibly lift, duck, hook, jab or spear again.
Boxing will help you discover your own personal limits of movement, exercise, and control.
In boxing you access more muscles than a typical cardio or resistance work out. The point is to keep those muscles alert in order to out-maneuver your sparring partner. The goal is to keep your body guessing so that you don’t get into too much of a routine and become bored.
Note: it is very hard to become bored when boxing.
In the case of people who want to use the training for muscle toning and coordination (and not sparring) you are exciting your core, working your arms, your legs, your shoulders, your butt (#beachbooty) and all the while training your reflexes to be quicker and more precise.
3. Feeling like a total badass
I swear to Gucci nothing feels more badass than wrapping your hands before stepping in between two ropes and into a boxing ring.
*I’ll make it clear that you don’t ever HAVE to spar in order to use boxing training as a high intensity/cardio and strength workout, however, if you do… badassery ensues.
4. It is a head game.
It may sound like a cliche but your toughest opponent is yourself telling you you’re too tired, or you’ve worked hard enough, or you have Netflix to watch. If you can overcome that part of your brain that wants to coddle your excuses — you are already winning.
Self-control is a goal you can set for yourself by conquering your less-than-desirable habits that become “the norm”.
Are you used to going home, watching TV for a few hours and making a late dinner to eat in front of the TV?
By pushing yourself to get out of a given undesired pattern and mentally pumping yourself up to keep punching the bag even though your arms are BURNING — you are flexing that muscle and developing a new comfort zone with being exhausted. And that self control bleeds into so many more areas of your life.
5. It’s teaching you to breathe
You are working on breathing every second you are working on anything else. Boxing taught me how to breathe, not when to breathe.
Breathe through everything. Fast punching, footwork, ducking and weaving, combinations — it’s natural to hold your breath. But boxing will teach you to breathe through it and focus your efforts on your breath, not your exercise.
Not only does working out become much easier because you are bringing more oxygen into your lungs and bloodstream, you’re also meditating. Knowing how to breathe allows you to soothe your self and work through the pain.
I feel smarter for it. Quicker and more confident. Lithe, strong, muscular, and proud.
I learned to listen to others but trust myself. I found that I unlocked more confidence by listening to my coach and pushing myself. My body felt more capable to jump and push and lift things in my everyday life.
I had the confidence to try other sports I was afraid of such as mountain biking and skateboarding! Even busting up my ankle while boarding or cutting up my arms from falling off my bike just felt like the price you pay for pushing yourself.
I felt more confident in my decision-making at work and in my life.
I was taking my lessons from the gym to try harder and push for what I want and implementing it into my real life.
7. Why not?
The reason why NOT to try boxing, is if you have suffered a brain injury or was recently concussed. Obviously do not start jumping into the boxing ring, but you can join a club and never fight or spar!
Be clear with your boxing trainer of why you chose the sport and be upfront about previous injuries and also your intentions to fight or not to fight. If you tell the person on the other line this from the get-go, you’ll find the perfect fit for your needs.
So there you have it. My shortest list of reasons I could tell you why boxing rules and how it changed my life for the better.
If you want to get involved in boxing, and reside in London, Ontario, here are the places I recommend you call:
Boomerz Boxing Club – older dudes running the club but open 6 days a week and they offer training.
Adrenaline MMA – more than a boxing gym, Adrenaline also offers jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts and other classes.
Warrior’s Boxing & Fitness – Boxing only, with a large facility on Adelaide Street offers training as well as classes for just working out.
Feature photo via nytimes.com