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Boxing: why it's the full body workout that actually works

October 25th 2015 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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Ready to rumble? Boxing has fast become the calorie-blitzing sport the A-list loves. Hitting fitness levels, weight loss goals, shape and definition in one hard-working regime, here’s why GTG HQ is hooked

Looking for a new workout that packs a punch in more ways than one? Boxing could be the fitness class upgrade you’re looking for.

Putting the hit into HIIT, you’d be mistaken to think it’s all bloody noses, black eyes and broken knuckles; instead think lean limbs, toned abs and sky high fitness levels. It really is a workout like no other. Here’s why more and more women are getting ready to rumble…

It’s a full body and mental workout…

Tackling speed, footwork, strength, technique and cardio in one fell swoop, be prepared to push yourself to the brink but trust us, it’ll definitely be worth it. “It’s a serious workout, pushing you to your max, teaching you a new sport, testing not only your physical capabilities but mental toughness, pushing you to your limits and testing your grit and determination in a heart pumping, endorphin explosion,” says Peter Liggins, Professional Boxing Trainer at London’s Box Clever. “What’s more, it’s great fun and conditions and tones the entire body not to mention the stress relief, leaving you itching for your next session.

“Box Clever training sessions involve aerobic and anaerobic exercises as well as functional training. It’s vital we ensure our cardiovascular system is strong and working as effectively as possible - while looking good on the outside is great, it’s the heart and lungs that keep us going,” he adds.

Following my first session at Box Clever, I was sold. Feeling like I’d fallen into a bit of a fitness rut as of late, this was the first time in ages that I felt excited about going to the gym. Don’t get me wrong, it was HARD, but once I’d started to remember the techniques and routines, the satisfaction I felt afterwards had me already looking forward to my next class; it’s as complete a workout as you can possibly get.

More than just a way to de-stress after a long day, boxing's benefits are multi-faceted. Our Editor-in-Chief Susannah Taylor is hooked. “What do I love about it? Many people say to me 'Ooh that's great for getting aggression out!' but it's not about that (unless you are Mike Tyson). Boxing training for me is no more about being aggressive or trying to hurt someone than hitting a tennis ball! It's about technique and balance and cardio, moving quickly and hitting a moving target with precision and speed. You never stop perfecting your technique. It is also a mind-blowingly tough workout and great for the core as you are constantly twisting. I've had my toughest but most euphoric workouts in the boxing ring!”

MORE GLOSS: What it’s like to do…Barry’s Bootcamp

It’s no longer a male-dominated sport…

After the 2012 Olympics saw Nicola Adams win a historic gold medal and more recently, the sport's surge in popularity among the A-list, boxing has seen a huge rise in demand both in and out of the ring - especially where women are concerned. “We have seen a large increase in the past eight months in both personal training and group classes - classes are in the region of 75% female attendance,” says Peter. “The reason for this we believe is due to the increased awareness of the benefits of boxing: it’s a full body workout, focusing as much if not more on the lower body/core than the upper body. It’s also had a fashion revival with the likes of Myleene Klass, Ellie Golding, David Beckham, Charlotte Olympia and Get The Gloss’ Susannah Taylor to name a few taking up the sport and punching their way into shape.” He adds, “Women are taking to the sport like never before and what’s more they tend to pick the skills up faster than their male counterparts, releasing their inner Rocky.”

It suits beginners and pros alike…

Suiting all abilities, there’s now something for everyone in terms of classes. One thing we would definitely recommend though is seeking the help of an expert to set you on the right track if you are a beginner. “To get the most out of your classes and hit the ground running, book in for one or two PT sessions,” recommends Peter. “This will give you both confidence and knowledge of the basics not only in terms of boxing skills but also to ensure the correct technique during conditioning exercises.” Personally, I couldn’t agree more. Booking in for a 1-on-1 to begin with was invaluable for teaching me proper form and reducing the risk of injury.

Are there any words of caution that are important to bear in mind before you begin? “Be ready to train like you’ve never trained before. It’s a serious workout, which produces serious results; be prepared to sweat and push yourself,” says Peter. And don’t be daunted. “Understandably, it can be intimidating walking into a boxing gym but rest assured everyone remembers the first time they put on a pair of gloves and picked up a skipping rope.”

Worried you’ll put on muscle and ‘bulk up’? Don't stress, you won't. “Boxing sculpts and tones your body,” says Peter.

MORE GLOSS: Should men and women exercise differently?

It’s now more widely available than ever…

Ready to get booking? Here are the best boxing classes in town that deliver most bang for your buck and carry the GTG seal of approval.

Bicester Boxing Club

“I learnt to box a few years ago when we did a story on Get The Gloss about high intensity training. I googled 'Boxing in Oxfordshire' and ended up finding Bicester Boxing Club, training with a pro boxer called Daza Usher,” says our Editor-in-Chief Susannah Taylor. “It was on an industrial estate and was a proper spit 'n' sawdust club (the first time I went, I sat in my car for ages too scared to go in!). Once I went in and started boxing with Daza, I realised how much I loved it and I came out of those 6 weeks of training with the highest increase in fitness and greatest drop in body fat of all of us who took part in the HIIT experiment.”

If that’s not an incentive to get your gloves on, we don’t know what is!

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The club also boasts great value for money offering pay-as-you-go packages (£5 a session) to monthly memberships (£40 per month) which allow you the flexibility to work out on your own or take part in classes incorporating punching bags, pad work and circuit training. 1-on-1 personal training is also available for £30 a session. Gloves and wraps are included.

www.bicesterboxing.com

Box Clever

We’re huge fans of Box Clever at GTG HQ. Not only do the team have an incredible wealth of experience to draw from in helping you achieve your goals, trainers Peter Liggins and Jamie Wilson are also two of the most motivating teachers around. Based in a disused car park in Notting Hill (which gives the club an especially inspirational atmosphere), they specialise in personal training and high intensity group boxing classes, providing each person the attention they need to ensure they get the most out of their sessions. The 1-on-1s they have on offer create the most solid of foundations from which to build on and the group classes not only push you to the max, but also somehow make sure you enjoy the ride too! Combining punching bags, cardio, pad work and conditioning in each session, it provides the type of results that will ensure you’re well and truly bitten by the boxing bug after just one class.

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Individual classes cost from £17 a session. 1-on-1 sessions with Peter or Jamie are available for £75 an hour and 10 sessions for £630. Discounts are available for block bookings. Gloves and wraps are provided.

www.boxcleversports.com

GymClass

Bright lights, hardcore circuit training and great music are what make this gym stand out. ‘Fight Club’ is the class of choice offering a range of apparatus and energising routines to blitz calories and tone limbs with boxing coach Ian Streetz providing motivation and expert instruction in equal measure. Incorporating strength training, cardio, weights and pad work in a 55 minute long session, the attention to detail ensures you walk away with not only a new set of skills, but a huge surge in confidence too. You’ll be walking tall all day long afterwards – with a protein shake in hand to help you along the way (try the ‘Cheeky Choc Choc’- yes, it’s as good as it sounds…)

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Book in for your first class at an introductory price of £20 (usually £29) here. Gloves are provided.

www.gym-class.co.uk

1Rebel

You, your bag and banging music: these are the three components that will have you hooked on Rumble. Stylish and hugely energetic, each 45-minute class comprises of a combination of cardio boxing and mixed martial arts - the best way I can think to describe it as is a no holds barred rave, where punching, kicking and hitting refreshingly won’t get you thrown out. Each person has their own bag which allows a great amount of freedom for going at your own pace – no pressure – however, make sure you don’t make the mistake I made and go too far on the other side of the spectrum and go all out just because you can. Fast-paced it is, so make sure to take care; however do that and you’ll be well and truly rumbled in the best way possible.

Book your £10 introductory class here (usually £20). Wraps are £4 to buy and glove rental is £1 per use.

www.1rebel.co.uk

Follow us @getthegloss and Ayesha @Ayesha_Muttu.

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