Over the last two years, supermodels Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss have popularized boxing and turned it into the hard-hitting, go-to workout for women. After most fitness junkies jumped on the bandwagon, I warmed up to the idea of rumbling in the ring, too.
When I first started classes at Title Boxing Club last September, I was afraid I'd bulk up like a bodybuilder. To my surprise, I emerged amazed by the benefits of bag-punching. I could barely walk, but felt lean and could feel muscles forming. The classes left me empowered and ready to kick any would-be perpetrator's ass.
Ever since my first boxing experience, I've been hooked on throwing jabs in the gym. Boxing, like many other forms of physical exercise, is great for heart health and doubles as a stress reliever. I'd even go so far as to call it the best workout I've found for both my body and mind, for a few key reasons.
First of all, it keeps my body lean.
I don't want to look like martial artist Ronda Rousey after stepping into the ring. As badass as she is, I prefer to stay less bulky.
To my surprise, the intense calorie-burning workout doesn't transform me into a super-sculpted professional boxer. It actually keeps my body lean. My 90-minute boxing class, which includes both beginner-level bag work and intense ab exercises, burns 1000 calories.
Unless you start pairing punches with consistent bench pressing or eating double the calories for maximum gains, boxing will only torch body fat and define muscles.
It flattens my tummy.
I strive to trim my belly fat, no matter which workout I do.
When boxing, the body's natural reaction is to squeeze the core tightly while throwing punches. Also, the rotational hip movements and proper technique you'll soon learn specifically engage the abdominal muscles.
Don't get me wrong, boxing is a total body workout and one of my favorite stress relievers, but the real reason I keep going back is because it specifically burns my bulge.
Throwing punches helps me develop more grace.
My coordination has gotten significantly sharper since I've started the boxing. I'm striving to reach Kerry Washington's swan-like levels.
According to championship boxer Michael Olajide, Jr., boxing builds a deeper brain-to-body connection by challenging your mind and muscles to recall each focused movement or sparring sequence.
Not going to lie, I still drop my iPhone and can't catch a ball to save my life. But, at least boxing allows me to feel like I'm making progress.
It toughens me up emotionally and mentally.
Boxing pushes me harder than any other exercise. Trust me, I've tried a lot of fitness classes.
Usually, I rely on a major self-motivating pep talk to get me to the gym. When I'm headed to boxing, I get excited, using every drop of my strength within me to throw punches. All the while, my brain's in overdrive trying to remember each hit combo.
It's exhausting, but the physical and mental exertion leaves me feeling empowered. There's no better feeling of clarity than when your body and mind are both taken to task.
When I began boxing, I was still emotionally weak from a breakup, looking to tone the "softer" sections of my body. Through boxing, though, I blossomed into even more of a badass b*tch. You can, too.