Have you ever reached your physical plateau? Strength training is a great way to push past it and give your inner athlete a jolt.Read more
Jab jab! Hook! Uppercut! The last time I threw a punch was in the ‘90s. Thanks to Billy Blanks, I threw down my teen angst in Tae Bo cardio kickboxing classes. In 2004, a braided and buff Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby reminded me how exhilarating the workout is, and how fiercely it strengthens and tones. Then boxing seemed to fall off the fitness radar with the invention of barre class, the resurgence of yoga and spin, and every kind of imaginable hybrid workout.
But notice, models like Adriana Lima and Karlie Kloss are sharing their sweat-drenched boxing sessions on Instagram. And how badass, yet girl-next-door approachable is UFC champ Ronda Rousey? It’s time to get in the ring ladies, because boxing is back!
Whether you’ve wrapped before or never put on a pair of gloves, there are several reasons boxing is a killer workout. At its core, it’s high-intensity interval training that burns fat, building muscle and bone density at the same time. While sculpted arms (and Mike Tyson) are what comes to mind when you envision boxers, this is a total body workout; you throw punches and kicks while shuffling, lunging, and jumping, and expanding your lung capacity and pumping your heart. The combinations require hand-eye coordination, which can sharpen motor skills and thus brain function. And when you finish an intense knock-around your endorphins rejoice with the added perk of boosted confidence.
Are you motivated yet? Or maybe intimidated? No fear. Bevin Kaye Franco, the owner of Studio U in Marina del Rey, has some tips to help get you going. In addition to running her studio, Bevin is a mom and stunt woman, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about maintaining a strong mind-body connection.
1. Start Small
Avoid a large group class where you can get lost in the crowd. Even though a smaller boutique class (6-8 people) may seem more intimidating, you’re more likely to get some personal attention. You want to learn correct form and good fight technique from the get go.
2. Dress The Part
Wear light, flexible sneakers instead of heavy running shoes. As for clothing, choose something that makes you feel strong! The only exception for boxing is no wide yoga pants. If you like longer workout pants for kicking the bags, opt for a tight like lucy’s Endurance Tight.
3. Good Feed
Try out a few different snacks and monitor pre-workout digestion to find out what your body needs. Bevin likes fruit for an energy boost; a banana is more filling while an apple provides a little pep. If you’re doing a longer workout, have a huge spoonful of protein—peanut or almond butter—with some honey. The best energy boost: a spoonful of honey and bee pollen. A protein smoothie thirty minutes after working out is gold. Bevin blends Vega Sport protein with a half cup almond milk, half cup water, banana, a tablespoon chia seeds, and a heaping tablespoon of raw cacao nibs.
4. Become a Stronger Version of You
One thing Bevin loves about teaching boxing is seeing the change in how someone walks into the room. Whether it's on the bag or one-on-one Mitt work, you push past the physical and mental limitations you put on yourself. Kickboxing can also translate into learning basic self-defense. On the street, predators look for the easy target with shoulders hunched over with a low or distracted gaze—they aren't as likely to attack a confident and aware woman.