The most highly conditioned athletes in the world are professional boxers because their sport demands that they be in supreme physical condition. When a boxer is in the ring with their opponent, they have no place to hide and any conditioning weakness they have will be exposed for all the world to see during the bout.
Very few of us aspire to become a professional boxer, or for that matter, an amateur boxer. However, that does not mean you cannot utilizing the fundamentals of boxing. Boxing training is high-intensity interval training (HITT), providing you with the exercise of sustained intensity, followed by easier “rest” periods. During your boxing session, you will improve your hand-eye coordination as you learn how to defend yourself. Most people do not stick with an exercise program because they find forms of exercise such as running or lifting weights boring and feel as if they are going to a job. This is not true of a boxing workout. You are learning a skill!
Along with learning a useful skill, you are getting a calorie – burning, complete body workout of all your muscle groups. The workout is aerobic and anaerobic, benefiting your cardiovascular system, while toning and building your muscles. You will also find that hitting a bag is a great way to relieve stress. Another great thing about a boxing workout… anyone can do it!!
The advantages of having a workout partner are many. However, when choosing your partner you want to most importantly make sure he/she is someone you like; someone you want to spend time with.
Having a workout buddy will increase your commitment to working out, making you much less likely to “blow off” your trip to the gym, knowing that your partner will be waiting for you. You and your buddy planned a time and place to workout in advance and you will hold yourself accountable to show up, knowing someone is depending on you.
Your workouts will be more enjoyable with a partner and you will find yourself more motivated, working out harder and longer. With longer and more intense workouts you will reach your workout goals faster, which will motivate you further.
With two heads you are more apt to change up your workout routine, staving off boredom, while shocking your body for further gain. You are less likely to hurt yourself when you workout with a partner, as you check each other for correct form. If your workout involves lifting weights, you will always have a spotter.
So, if you find yourself “blowing off” workouts, find a workout partner. If you are taking classes and you are not able to find a partner outside of the gym, find a friend inside the gym. Make a commitment to someone in the class and plan to meet them at the next class! Now you will have a time and a place to be at a certain time. A commitment!
In today’s busy world, it often is a struggle to find the time, several times a week, to perform separate strength training workouts and separate cardio workouts. So, why not engage in a total body, high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, that combines both strength training and cardio in the same one hour session? Not only is a boxing/kickboxing workout fun; you will get in great shape as you look better and feel better.
Better Body Composition – Combining muscle-building strength training with calorie torching cardio will change your body, as you add lean muscle mass and lose fat, all while building your self-confidence.
Cardiovascular Health – You will burn anywhere from 700-1,200 calories in your one hour workout, as you help protect yourself against heart disease. If you are looking to lose weight or maintain your weight, there is no better workout!
Increase Total Body Strength – During your boxing workout you will be hitting or kicking a heavy bag hundreds of times. With each strike you engage your core and you will also be performing other strength training exercises such as push-ups, planks, squats, etc. With an instructor pushing you, you will push yourself harder than if you were working out alone.
Improved Hand-Eye Coordination – Striking a bag or focus pads will improve your fine motor skills and lead to better overall coordination and balance. It is important as you age, that you maintain your coordination and balance to help prevent falling.
Lower Stress – A boxing workout engages your brain and takes your thoughts away from your everyday problems, unlike lifting weights or running on a treadmill. When you engage in moderate or intense exercise, your brain releases endorphins, boosting your mood as you punch away your stress.
Member Spotlight: Allan Lowe
He was shocked when he found out. Allan Lowe was walking into the office of his wife’s doctor, to support her during a consultation, when the doctor asked Allan, “How long have you had Parkinson’s?” It made him stop dead in his tracks. “I don’t have Parkinson’s,” Allan replied.
The doctor noticed Allan was walking in a shuffle pattern – an early sign of the disease. After being tested, Allan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 77.
Approximately 1 million Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, with 60,000 new cases emerging each year. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Symptoms include tremors, slowed movement, impaired posture/balance and slurred speech. Although there is no cure yet, there are treatment options that range from medication and surgery to exercise. In fact, there is growing consensus that exercise is not just ‘healthy’ for those with Parkinson’s Disease; it is a “vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities,” per the National Parkinson’s Foundation.
Initially, to combat the progression that Parkinson’s takes, Allan was doing exercises prescribed by his doctors daily, in addition to medication. But after reading an article about the benefits of boxing for people with Parkinson’s, he immediately began researching places that offered boxing classes near his home and discovered Champion Boxing & Fitness.
Allan Lowe was never a boxer and certainly wouldn’t have imagined picking up boxing skills at the age of 81 but he signed up and participated in the first ever Rock Steady Boxing class at Champion in 2016, one of only two people in the class. Now the class has six boxers and not only is he the oldest in his class, at the age of 83, he is taking the more difficult of the two classes offered.
Rock Steady involves intense exercise that improves speed, strength, balance and flexibility. It’s a non-contact boxing-inspired fitness routine specifically intended to improve the ability of Parkinson’s patients to live independent lives. Boxing works by moving the body in all planes of motion while continuously changing the routine as the workout progresses. Providing encouragement through a ‘tough love’ approach, the classes focuses on flexibility, strengthening of arms, legs, neck and shoulders, mobility and coordination. It wouldn’t seem like a fitness program that someone in their 80s would be interested it, but Allan embraces it with passion and his efforts have paid off.
In the two years since Allan discovered Champion Boxing & Fitness and started the Rock Steady program, he has noticed a positive change in his symptoms. For one thing, his balance and posture have improved significantly.
“I know this,” he says, “because my doctors point it out, saying how good my posture has stayed. Rock Steady has drastically slowed down the advancement of my disease.”
Even on a social level, Rock Steady has been enormously helpful. By being around others at the gym who are struggling with the same disease, Allan knows he is not alone in his fight. He has the support of his instructors and the camaraderie of his classmates.
Allan admits that Rocky Steady isn’t the “end all be all” treatment for Parkinson’s. He still takes medication and does his daily routine of exercises, but he strongly suggests other patients also combine daily exercises with the Rock Steady classes as he has done.
Rock Steady’s unique focus on attacking Parkinson’s at its vulnerable neurological points, focusing on overall fitness, strength training, reaction time and balance makes it an invaluable addition to any treatment plan for the disease. And as Allan has proven, you’re never too old to start the fight.
The Muscle Building Rules For Naturally Skinny Guys
Genetically skinny guys can sometimes have a really hard time when trying to gain weight and muscle. However, success in boxing is also directly correlated to muscle mass. More muscle mass equals more force behind your punch. Even though building muscle mass shouldn’t be the sole objective of a training program, as many elements are necessary to be a successful boxer, there are some tips you can follow to build muscle and make working out a habit.
The Importance of Weight Training
In order to build muscle, it’s necessary to weight train three days per week, with a 48-hour rest and recovery period in between sessions. In this case, it is counterproductive to train every day; rather, less is more. Weight training will stimulate muscle growth but, in order to grow, your muscles also need time to repair. Giving your muscles time to repair will also allow them to add new muscle mass, and this only happens when you are resting. Naturally thin individuals tend to require more rest and less training than others who gain muscle more easily.
Up Your Calorie Intake
Muscle gain is also achieved by consuming more calories every day. However, it is necessary to consume healthy calories, packed with nutrients which come from protein, vitamins, minerals and whole grain carbohydrates. Aim to eat roughly once every three hours which translates to about 6 meals every day; your meals should ideally contain one source of protein and be quite substantial, in order to get you through your training program and to meet your energy needs. After workouts, it is best to consume carbohydrates as they create a raise in isnulin levels, effectively slowing down the rate at which protein is broken down. This, in turn, will help you rebuild muscle faster.
Use Protein Supplements
Protein shakes can be a good way to consume more calories needed for muscle building. They give you a quick way to consume muscle-building compounds and are easy to take with you and consume. Take the protein shakes 30 to 60 minutes before working out, as they are easily absorbed and maximise your weight training.
Embrace the Advantage of Being Naturally Thin
Although a thin boxer may not be particularly intimidating upon entering the ring, there are certain advantages to this body type. Thin boxers are usually faster and much agiler, and therefore manage to avoid damaging punches. This can create a frustrating and tiring situation for the opponent, which will allow you to take control of the fight and dictate the rules.
When Juan Manuel Marquez was training for his fight against Manny Pacquiao in 2011, he enlisted the help of a ballet instructor to help him strengthen his legs and improve his footwork. Timing, balance, and footwork are all essential facets of boxing and could mean the difference between winning or losing a fight. Boxers tend to spend hours skipping rope and running through a variety of drills to improve their footwork, which is one of the hardest boxing skills to develop as there are no real shortcuts to it.
While traditional footwork exercises may feel cumbersome after a while, dancing could very well be holding the key to the exact training boxers are desperately seeking. Many forms of martial arts have been compared to dancing in some form with Capoeira even having some dance moves included in it.
How can dancing benefit boxers?
Dance styles such as ballet and ballroom dancing can boost the value of any exercise program by teaching boxers technical dance steps, balance, and rhythm. These newly acquired skills will not only help improve footwork but hip movement as well. Dancing is also invaluable as a cardio workout, especially when engaging in styles such as tap and hip-hop. Coupled with a fat shedding diet, dancing can have a significant impact on a boxer’s physique. Ballet, on the other hand, can teach boxers improved self-control, flexibility and improved balance.
Dancing not only benefits your body, it benefits your mind as well. By increasing serotonin levels your mood will be enhanced, making you feel happier and more confident, both of which will improve your performance in the ring.
Some types of dances require fast decision making as you change positions which will be beneficial to both a boxer’s mind and feet while fighting. This can be especially of benefit to boxers who take a lot of hits to the head.
Why aren’t more boxers dancing?
The answer to this question is more than likely two-fold. A lot of men steer clear from dancing because they do not think it befits their masculinity. Boxing is the epitome of manliness and somehow sweating it out in a ballet studio simply does not carry the same appeal as doing shadow-punching in a gym. The second reason dancing has not become inclusive in the training programs may be due to the fact that most boxers have simply never given it any thought. The fact that renowned boxers such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Laila Ali and Floyd Mayweather have all participated on the hit TV show ‘Dancing With The Stars’ should have hinted that boxing and dancing do complement each other, whether you consciously acknowledge it or not.
Apart from the physical benefits dancing can hold for boxers, it can also benefit them psychologically as it is a great stress and anxiety reliever. Taking all the benefits of dancing into consideration it is surprising that not more boxers have taken to the sport to help swing their odds in the ring in their favor.
Congrats to one of our members, Felicia, on her amazing weight loss story!
Felicia came into our gym back in 2013 and began working hard with one of our personal trainers. Throughout her journey she had ups and downs but the highs have definitely won out because she recently weighed in at 147.8 lbs. After attending personal training 92 times, Felicia has lost a total of 115.8 lbs!!
Help us in congratulating Felicia on her amazing progress to a happy and healthy body.
Check out Felicia’s before and after photos of her amazing transformation!
Dr. H. James Harrington said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t understand it, you can’t improve it. if you can’t control it, you can’t improve it”.
Think of your heart as a muscle and the harder you work it, the stronger it gets and aerobic exercise is the best way to work it. The more you exercise your heart, the more you lower your resting heart rate (RHR). A stronger heart pumps more blood per beat, so the same work is performed with less beats. A healthy heart will help prevent cardio disease/heart attacks.
For the maximum benefit from your cardio workout it is recommended you work out at 50% – 85% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). To calculate your MHR, deduct your age from 220. Keep in mind, that your MHR can be off up to 10% using this method, as heart rate levels vary depending on your fitness level, nutrition, medications, genetics, and environment. After you have calculated your MHR with the above method, check your heart rate monitor to determine if you need to lower or increase your intensity level.
We cannot underemphasize the importance of heart rate monitors. We recommend a heart rate monitor for everybody that works out and encourage you to inquire at the front desk about our MyZone heart monitors (we have made them very affordable for our members). In addition to measuring your heart rate, MyZone measures calories burned and your effort level, which allows you to set goals and evaluate your progress while enjoying a safe workout.
Learn more about our MyZone program.
There is always an excuse to be sedentary. However, for the estimated 46 million elderly people in the US who are aged 65 years and above, physical activity is very important for healthy aging and to increase mobility & functioning. The benefits of exercise or physical movement are enormous, including improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance. It also helps increases cognitive function, reduces obesity, lowers risk of diseases and medical conditions including cancers, coronary problems & hip fractures and promotes better mental health by reducing depression and anxiety. Some exercise tips for seniors include finding a partner who you can go on walks with, hiring a personal trainer who can create a personalized plan for you, and making sure you set aside time every day for physical activity.
Elderly people can choose different types of exercise that are suitable to their physical condition. Seniors vary in their abilities to perform physical functions whether due to a chronic illness or the effects of aging. Going to the gym, performing floor exercises, vigorous walking or aerobics are possible options for seniors. What is important is to engage in physical activity, however small.
The most common sports injuries are injuries to your muscles, tendons and/or ligaments. These soft tissue injuries can be either an acute injury or a chronic injury. An acute injury is an injury that occurs at a specific and identifiable time, and if not treated properly, can become a chronic injury. A chronic injury is the result of overuse and repetitive movements.
Pulled muscles are caused by:
- Lack of proper warm-up;
- Lack of flexibility;
- Lack of conditioning;
A pulled muscle is painful and can cause swelling, bruising and loss of function. The severity of the injury is determined by whether you have strained the muscle or torn the muscle. A severe strain or tear may require medical attention.
How To Treat a Pulled Muscle
The recommended protocol for treating a pulled muscle is the P.R.I.C.E. principle. P.R.I.C.E. is an acronym for the following:
P- Protect the injury by stopping the activity;
R- Rest the injured muscle by avoiding any painful movements;
I- Ice the injured area ASAP, every 20 minutes of every hour you are awake. Ice will reduce the pain and the swelling;
C- Compress the injury with elastic wrap to provide support and reduce swelling;
E-Elevate the injured area to further reduce swelling.
Our other recommendation on how to treat a pulled muscle is to take an anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Aleve.
Keep the above in mind the next time you strain or pull a muscle during an activity. Immediately stop your activity and follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle to lessen the severity of the injury and shorten the healing time.
Ready to get back in the game? Sign up for a class today!