Ever since I was a young tomboy who routinely wore oversized soccer shorts, I’ve always felt an urge to punch things during frustrating situations or periods of anger. Yes, I am well aware that this makes me sound aggressive, but I’ve never punched a human being and am generally well mannered. My only victims have been bedroom walls, pillows, and couch cushions, occasionally resulting in hand pain that I instantly regret as embarrassment from my rage and tantruming washes over me. After my boyfriend witnessed one of my recent pillow-punching sprees, he suggested that I try a boxing class (or 20) as a new venue for releasing my negative energy. If I enjoyed throwing punches so much, I might as well be hitting a bag with gloves on and optimizing my workout, he reasoned. This seemed like a natural fit for me, so I enrolled in my first TITLE boxing class, which was my favorite price: free. Since I’m not the cardio queen I once was, I opted for the 30-minute evening class on a Friday after work. After a day filled with meetings and a gnarly commute, I was more than ready to let my fists fly. The moment I pulled into the parking lot, however, I couldn’t help but feel slightly intimidated. Would there be real boxers here? Would I look like a total weakling? Could I even move the bag with one of my punches? After a couple minutes of worrying, I called my ultimate ride-or-die chick, my momma, to ask her if I should even walk inside. “You’ll feel so much better after you take this class. You know you will,” she assured me confidently. As the saying goes, momma knows best. Her words fueled my fire as I entered the boxing gym for the first time. Since this was my first boxing class, I needed to learn how to properly wrap my hands to support my wrists and prevent any broken bones. I had purchased wraps on Amazon prior to class, but most boxing gyms, including TITLE, provide wraps for purchase. After meeting my instructor, she showed me how to properly wrap my hands and wrists, taught me the basic punches that would be used during class (jab, cross, hook, and uppercut) and gave me a pair of boxing gloves still wet with sweat from another human being. I cannot lie…the sweaty gloves grossed me out. I immediately grabbed some disinfectant wipes that were hanging on the wall and began wiping down the inside of each glove. I know a badass boxer probably wouldn’t be fazed by this, but I’m a newbie and I couldn’t ignore it. The class began with 10 minutes of cardio to warm up and after about five minutes of non-stop action, my face was as red as a cherry tomato. This warm-up was definitely not for the faint of heart since it involved continuous movement. One moment we were sprinting, then doing jumping jacks, bear crawls, burpees, and beyond. I could tell my instructor was going to push me, and I enjoyed the challenge. Following the cardio portion of class, we did four consecutive three-minute boxing rounds—throwing different combinations of punches and doing footwork around the bag. After the first two rounds, I realized what a full-body workout boxing can be and gained a new respect for those who pursue this sport on a competitive level. I can assure you, boxing is way harder than it looks on television! I finished all four rounds and loved being able to punch the bag as hard as I possibly could without experiencing pain in my hands, or the embarrassment of punching inanimate objects in my home. The ass kicking—I mean, workout—ended with seven minutes of ab exercises using medicine balls and a healthy amount of glute bridges, which got my buns burning. I love doing ab exercises and my yoga practice definitely came into play here, making this the easiest portion of the class for me by a landslide. I was extremely glad that I chose to start with the 30-minute class because I truthfully don’t believe that I could have worked out at this level for 60 to 75 minutes. Drenched in sweat with my baby biceps popping for the world to see, I headed home to shower off. It was when I first raised my arms to lather my shampoo that reality struck: I’m gonna be sore tomorrow. My body was not deceiving me, and my arms (mainly the outside of my biceps and forearms) were sore in places that I didn’t know existed. I don’t want to sound dramatic—I was still able to raise my arms to get dressed and style my hair—but I could definitely feel the impact of the workout on my upper body for the next two days. Overall, my first boxing experience was a great stress-reliever and a fantastic full-body workout. My personal recommendations for anyone who is considering trying boxing for the first time are to hydrate properly before and after class, focus on your breath during your punches, and ask someone knowledgeable at the gym or studio you choose to teach you how to wrap your hands and wrists properly to avoid injury. Don’t be afraid to start with a shorter class and work your way up. Happy hitting!
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