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By Phil Johnson
Fit For Life
Many people think that boxing is a sport for brutal individuals who just want to pummel each other for money. Many think that they don’t have the skills to practice such an art and sport. Many think that it is just for experts who have many years of experience and knowledge in the sport. Wrong! Boxing and the training and practice of boxing are used now by many fitness trainers. I started training my clients in boxing exercises and practices for years, and now I see many people doing it. It is indeed a great way to get in shape and actually fun while doing it. I had boxing classes in the past and still have plans for boxing classes in the next few weeks or months.
In my boxing classes I start with a few minutes of warm ups. I then go over punches. I will introduce the basic jab, right cross, left hook, right hook, and left and right uppercut punches. I go over combination of punches like a jab, right cross, and left hook combinations that I call my #3 count. One is just a jab, two is a jab and a right cross, and three is a jab, right cross, and a hook. Other trainers use others methods and combination counts, all of which are effective. The drills and punching drills keep one very active and busy, thus giving them one heck of a workout. The work is not easy and it requires one to move around, duck, weave, block, squatting, and work the abdomen. It will keep you moving.
Boxing is now one of the most popular fitness regimes out there. It will help you to lose weight, tone up your body, and create a lean looking physique. If you look at the physiques of some of the movie stars like Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby”, and Mark Wahlberg in “The Fighter”, you will see they reaped the benefits of boxing with fit looking bodies. This might be the sport for you. Many of my beginner boxing clients want to further their skills in boxing and some want to actually compete. Boxing is just not beating a punching bag. It is more of a social sport. In my personal training sessions I incorporate boxing focus mitt drills, heavy bag punching drills, light safe sparring, agility ladder drills, and other types of plyometric, speed, and agility drills. All of these drills help burn fat which is good for cardio and stamina, thus helping you to lose weight and stay fit.
In my focus mitt drills, I have my students and clients follow me around as they try to punch the mitts that are fitted to my hands. I teach them all the drills which include combinations of punches. If you have watched people training or watch “Rocky” movies, I’m sure you have seen it before. It is a great drill that involves moving your entire body in repetitive motions. It works the upper body, lower body, and the core area as well as stamina and endurance. In my boxing classes and training sessions I make sure my students wear protective wrapping on their hands and wrist to protect them from injuries. I also have my students wear boxing gloves for safety too. They actually feel like real boxers. The fun involved with practicing boxing is almost unmatched. The sparring with other students are fun too because you get to pretend like you are fighting with an opponent. Of course I only have students go at about 25 to 50 percent of their strength to prevent injuries depending on their level. I have from beginner to advance levels in my classes.
If not my classes, there are many gyms that offer boxing classes. In the boxing classes you will reap many fitness benefits. One of which, is burning body fat and losing weight. Other benefits include getting rid of the “grandma arms” where the back arms sag, toning the upper body, toning and losing weight around the buttocks and quadriceps muscles of the legs, toning the hamstring areas of the legs and getting rid of the so-called “cottage cheese thighs”, and getting more coordinated in the process. It will also teach you how to defend yourself for self defense purposes. When looking for a class in your area weather in boxing, self defense, and or martial arts, make sure the instructor is certified and experienced in the area to prevent any legal actions. They must have some type of certificate, license, or martial arts degree and belt. Many martial artist teach mixed martial arts along with boxing.
In conclusion, please check with your physician to see if a strenuous fitness activity in boxing is alright for you if you have any type of condition that can prevent you from participating. Be careful in choosing a class; always remember to be patient because it does take time to learn the art of boxing and be proficient at it. You will see results almost immediately depending on how hard you work. Stay consistent and you will reap all the fitness and physical benefits from boxing. You may have to purchase some boxing gloves, wraps, and other safety items, depending on what the classes provide for you. Enjoy your boxing classes, stay motivated, and be fit for life.
Phillip Johnson is a Madison Weekly columnist and Certified Personal Trainer working at Empire Fitness on Hwy 72 in Madison. He works with clients of every age and fitness level. Call Phillip at (951) 970-7635.