I added boxing to my “must do this week” list approximately 6 months ago, when I watched Holly Holm fight and thought, I want to be that badass! (No, I don’t actually expect to be as awesome as her.) I do enjoy trying new and challenging activities…but in this case, my motivation is that I want to be tough, which probably stems from the fact that I was never tall enough for the rides at Six Flags, always mistaken for at least 4 grades younger than I actually was in school, and just last weekend when I was in a seat at a Dodgers game and my feet didn’t touch the ground.
There are 3 boxing gyms (rings? studios?) within a mile of my house but I kept putting it off. My barriers:
Gloves. Do I need them? Can I borrow them? Do I need to make sure I have cash? I never have cash. If I show up without gloves will they scoff and send me home like that girl who “doesn’t even go here” in Mean Girls?
Human interaction. It appears that in boxing, unlike a lot of group fitness classes, you actually have to talk to people. Imagine that. The fact that I’d have to be one-on-one and attempting to hit someone staring at me with those big mitts on their hands made me nervous.
Lack of knowledge. I know NOTHING. I’m a complete beginner.
Instead of picking up a phone and calling to ask questions, I made it harder on myself and looked on websites, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and Facebook to do some detective work. Repeatedly over the course of 6 months because I’m very efficient.
So there I was on Tuesday afternoon, realizing I had zero excuses. I nervously booked a class at JFM Boxing in Marina del Rey for that evening, reminding myself that I have to practice what I preach. I was wasting time researching and debating and hovering with my finger over the “reserve” button for hours. So I did it.
I arrived and the staff were immediately welcoming. They walked me through every tiny thing and kept assuring me that I needed zero experience. Before I even spoke, someone asked if I was new. Pretty sure my awkward mannerisms gave it away, AKA I was waiting creepily in the corner, not sure what my first course of action should be. Should I take off my shoes now? Does that guy work here or is he just standing by the desk? Is it too late to leave?
There’s something to be said for walking into a place in a way that’s the opposite of “like you own the place”. When you walk in like a timid little wobbly deer, people take pity and want to help you. That would be a pretty horrible life motto but it totally worked in this situation.
Our workout started with jumping rope. The instructor was probably expecting me to get tangled up in the rope based on the initial impression I made, but thankfully I got through it easily. We then did some stretching and shoulder exercises with light weights (3-ish lbs).
At this point, we stopped to put gloves on. I first wrapped my hands up in this long string of fabric which is, ironically enough, called a “wrap”. When I say “I wrapped” I mean that the guy did the entire thing for me while I stood there blinking.
You put the wraps on in a very specific way, which I memorized because the guy told me to memorize it. 3 times around the wrist, then knuckles, then around each finger (I THINK) and then you shove the gloves on, which he also did for me. I’m already nervous about next time. I can imagine the second glove is hard to put on because you already have one glove-hand so how are you supposed to get the second one on without any available fingers?
UPDATE – I googled it:
Things you can’t do with boxing gloves on:
-Wipe the sweat dripping into your eyeballs (I figured out an upper arm trick, I’ll teach you)
-Pull your shirt down
-Pull your pants up (I think I need different sized workout clothes)
-Scratch an itch
-Easily put your second glove on
-Wave at someone without looking stupid
-Go to the bathroom
-Anything else that requires a non-club-like hand.
Things you CAN do with boxing gloves on:
-Punch things while thinking about something that makes you angry
-Feel like a badass
Okay. So the actual boxing. We had a few different stations.
- Punching one-on-one with a guy with mitts on his hands. He’d tell me what to do and coach me on form and stance.
- A punching bag (hit the bag X amount of times and then do X pushups)
- A combo of wall sits, squats and burpees
- Ducking underneath a rope stretched across the room without hitting it, while moving your feet in a certain way to practice footwork
The class was small so it was easy for the instructor to pay attention to all of us and give us pointers. We finished with some core work and by the end my core was burning so much that I was basically just flailing around on the ground instead of actually doing bicycles.
Here’s what I learned. I’m right-handed, so when I punch with my left hand it’s called a jab, and the right is called a cross. I was standing there with the guy holding up mitts and he’d say whatever combination of moves to do, like jab-jab-cross. I tried to come up with a way to remember that jab is my left hand, cross is my right, but I’d start thinking too much and pause in a weak punch, recoiling my hand before hitting the mitt, thinking I had jabbed when I should have crossed and OMG why is this so hard to remember.
Still…the winner by unanimous decision: BOXING.
That’s my cheesy boxing lingo way of saying I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT and cannot wait to go back.
Why I love it:
It’s mental. I have to focus and think and be mindful.
It’s a great workout.
Running around on that soft mat feels easier on my joints. #old
It’s a challenge.
I left feeling on the tippy top-top of the world.
I will be back. In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on all the Rockys.
Have you tried boxing? Do you like it? Hate it? Did all these in-depth details bore you to tears?