Signing up and going to a boxing class or taking boxing lessons can be intimidating. Whatever your reason be it a cardio workout, weight loss, self-defense, or maybe you want to be a future world champion that first day is intimidating. Boxing is a violent sport where people get knocked out. If you don’t know what to expect you might think you’ll be the next person in the ring. Let me assure you that is not the case.
You won’t step in the ring against a person that will hit you for at least a few months. Sparring is something intermediate and advanced boxers do. Some people who do boxing for fitness never spar, and that’s okay. There is often very little pressure to spar in a respectable boxing gym. In fact, this is something to look out for in assessing a gym’s culture. Boxing is dangerous and a gym that doesn’t take it seriously is not a gym that’s worth going to.
I have trained at several boxing gyms and I can say that almost everyone is friendly. Yes, you will find old school meat-heads and some psychos. But the vast majority of people are there to get in shape and get better at the sport. You should not feel intimidated. Most of the people there are obsessed with boxing. They’re really just boxing dorks who happen to be in shape, and they’re more than happy to find someone new to talk boxing with.
Why You Should Take Boxing Lessons
I am an advocate for all martial arts. I personally train at an MMA(Mixed Martial Arts) gym that offers boxing, kickboxing(Muay Thai), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and self-defense classes. This is very common most gyms offer many different types of martial arts classes. But boxing is far and away my favorite. It was also the first martial art I learned. Jiu-Jitsu being the second that I am just now getting into. Boxing is great because no matter what your fitness level you feel like you’re accomplishing something. There’s catharsis in hitting the heavy bag. The boxers in great shape hit the bag very hard and often. The boxers who are working on getting in shape hit less hard and are slower. Nonetheless, both are making contact.
Fundamentally, boxing is a cardio workout. That’s part of what makes it great for losing weight. A boxing class shreds through calories. It’s a full-body workout that will increase your overall wellness. I hate working out for the sake of working. Having fitness goals for no reason drives me crazy. The thing I like about boxing is that it gives me fitness goals that make sense. I usually hate running, but I know running will make me a better boxer. The other fitness skills will lead to an improvement in boxing which is incredibly motivating.
The other reason to learn a martial art is a confidence that comes with it. You’ll walk around with a puffed-out chest. Knowing self-defense gives you the confidence you cannot fake. To know if a worst-case scenario happened you’d know something to do is a huge confidence booster. The average person has no fighting skills whatsoever. A novice boxer would easily win in a fight against someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Knowing that you can kick 90% of the people’s ass is awesome.
What To Look For In A Boxing Gym
There are several things to look for when looking for boxing lessons and gyms.
First, do they prioritize a sanitary workout environment? Martial Arts gyms are notorious for having staph infections. Staph is a nasty bug you don’t want to deal with. Do they prioritize cleaning the mats? Cleaning the boxing gloves? Making sure people are wearing clean clothes. This is a fundamental thing to look for in a boxing gym or boxing club. With Covid, there’s really no excuse for a gym to not be sanitizing their equipment.
Second, do they prioritize safety? If on the first day they want you to spar, say no and get out of that gym. I’ve never witnessed this. But you hear horror stories on the internet of people just getting thrown in the ring with a killer to get beat up. You don’t need to put up with that. Do people wear headgear? Do they make sure people are wrapping their hands before putting on boxing gloves?
Third, are there any professional boxer that works out at that gym? You want to make sure you’re actually going to learn how to box. A lot of places off group fitness boxing aerobic classes. You don’t want that. Those classes emphasize burning calories and getting pumped up. A good gym will emphasize boxing technique and not reps. There’s no shame in going slow at an actual boxing gym.
What To Expect from a Training Session
Your average boxing gym will have a warehouse feel. It’s usually a large open area with several heavy bags and other accessories around. In my experience, there are two types of boxing gyms the self-paced and group classes. Most boxing lessons are group classes. You’ll go in with a group of people for your boxing lesson. Together you’ll work with the boxing coach on a boxing skill for the day.
Some of the skills you’ll work on are your footwork. A lot of boxing is knowing where to stand and where not to stand. Bag work is also very common. Bag work is when you punch the heavy bags. you’ll practice combinations. Working mitts is something you’ll see but likely not do often. That’s when someone holds up their hands and you punch them. They wear mitts on their hands that’s where the name comes from. It’s very time consuming and only one person can do it at a time. That’s why I say you’ll not do it too often.
If it’s your first day, they won’t have you doing too much other than footwork and shadowboxing while practicing your jab. Shadowboxing is when you punch in the air. You go through the motions and get the muscle memory down. It doesn’t look like much but I can turn into a tough workout. Boxing lessons are centered around boxing technique because of this the fitness classes very repetitive and you’ll advance slowly. This is also the reason why it will take several months before you ever enter a ring against another person.
Most group classes usually last an hour and you’ll be exhausted afterward.
A few Tips
1. Get some hand wraps. You won’t need to invest in boxing gloves right away, but you will need hand wraps. You can buy some hand wraps cheaply off Amazon and learn how to wrap your hands on Youtube. Hand wraps keep the bones in your hands safe. By wrapping your hands you tighten all the bones in your hand they’re less likely to break.
2. Get to your boxing lessons 10-15 minutes early. This is good for two reasons. One, you’ll be able to wrap your hands, but also you’ll get the chance to chat with people. Boxers are chatty and it’s a good way to get to know people.
3. Be quiet and respectful. A lot of immature people go to boxing gyms to try and get tough. They never stick around, but they are obnoxious. Show the boxing coaches you’re serious and they’ll respect you back.
In the end, boxing is a great sport. You’ll increase your fitness level while learning self-defense skills. To me, boxing is the best workout you can get. It’s a personal training and a fitness class all in one. As you practice with other people to learn safe boxing technique and get in better shape. So while it can be intimidating on your first day. It won’t be by your third. No one is going to punch you