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HIIT Training: Boxing with Freedom2Train and Daza Usher at Bicester Boxing Club
Do not ask me how I got in this state. I have bruised knuckles (you can see blood under the skin of some of them), a wrist that feels like it’s been stamped on by a gorilla, every nail on virtually every finger is broken (some a third of the way down) and I am now the proud owner of two sets of hand wraps. Yep, my HIIT training for the next few weeks is in a boxing ring, and to put it bluntly, it is freakin’ hardcore.
I’m not exactly a HIIT novice, in fact I have been doing HIIT training with Steve Mellor from Freedom2Train for almost two years. That’s two years, 2-3 times a week of squats, sprints, push-ups, lunges, weighted-ball-throwing, mud, sweat, tears and can’t-get-up-the-stairs muscle pain in ice, wind, snow and rain (plus training on my own). And you know what? I really love it, I’m hooked. It makes me feel so strong both mentally and physically and if Dean the physio at Pure Sports Medicine’s calculations are anything to go by it really works.
I had my body fat measured about two years ago, just as I embarked on this fitness journey and since then, along with a low carbohydrate diet, I have lost about 9 per cent of my body fat. When Dean told me I have the body fat of an athlete my jaw nearly hit the floor. I asked him to check it three times.
So why am I doing this challenge? Well, over the last few years I have learnt to love fitness and it is now a big part of my life. I have also signed up for a triathlon with a load of friends this year and I need to be ready for that, but most of all I have a very special holiday starting on the 23rd February of the bikini and beach kind and I want to be in the best shape I possibly can, and I will reward myself with a fancy new bikini before I go.
Anyway, back to the boxing. I have done quite a bit of boxing in my sessions with Steve and absolutely love it - there is something about smacking the living daylights out of a man wearing two punch bags that is deeply satisfying, plus it’s an amazing workout and is meant to be awesome for toning the arms and stomach because it’s all about twisting. I learn recently that it’s also the way all the Victoria Secret models get in shape pre their catwalk shows, so if it’s good enough for them…
So, in search of my Gisele body, as well as training with Steve over the next few weeks I have also been thrown into the pit with Daza Usher, Head Coach at Bicester Boxing club (I live in Oxfordshire). Now this is not ‘Boxercise’; we’re talking a proper spit and sawdust club here. Based on an industrial estate in the middle of a field - there are no fancy showers with rose REN products, no green juices in fridges, not even a reception. It’s bare brick walls, posters of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali grimacing down at me, a boxing ring, some weights, a tractor tyre and a load of punch bags. Oh, and a load of guys that grunt. The first time I went, I sat outside in my car for ten minutes, absolutely terrified and wondering if I should drive home again. The second time I went in, two guys were properly boxing in the ring, sweat pouring off them, tops off.
Daza, a Championship level boxer himself, is the real deal - broken nose and an arm full of tattoos, sometimes he arrives post a sparring session with bruises all over his face. Daza also knows a thing or two about getting people fit, and his diary is so booked up he’s turning men and women away. Daza’s cooI, I like him (I wouldn’t want to be in a fight with him, mind), but he pushes me HARD.
A session goes a bit like this: a warm up which involves me shadow boxing with weights on my wrists (it’s enough to have me out of breath and sweating already), and then yesterday I did 10 x 2 minute rounds of boxing with him and a punch bag, each with a 30 second break in between. I HATE the punch bag with a passion - it feels like I’m a small child trying to punch a heavy weight fighter who’s just standing there, arms crossed laughing at me. Then, just as I feel I’m going to die, Daza makes me do things like lie on the edge of the boxing ring, holding onto the rope and do rounds of leg raises for core exercises, and last week he even had me smacking a tyre with a baseball bat (‘You’re doing squats without realising it,’ he says). Many times throughout a session I find myself thinking ‘What the hell am I FREAKIN’ DOING!?”
How do I feel? I really enjoy the sessions and feel great afterwards but I hadn’t banked on how much it’s taking out of me. Last week I was SHATTERED, and having to go to bed at about 10pm. I am also STARVING all the time and am slightly confused as to how much I should now be eating - I don’t want to put on weight but I actually don’t want to lose it either, I just want to get really toned. The other morning I was so hungry I had three eggs and three pieces of bacon for breakfast, which is not a very ‘me’ thing to do at all. The next few weeks could be interesting to say the least… I think I’ll either end up ripped or a write-off. Lets hope it’s the former.
Fitness test preliminary results:
Estimated V02 max test - Good
Body fat - Good score
Body measurements - Good