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Fitness Boxing

Posted on November 21, 2011 | No Comments on Fitness Boxing

Ask a random person, “Do you want to try out boxing?”. Nine out of ten times, you’ll get shudders and nays from both genders. That was 20 years ago. Flash forward to the year 2005— the Manny Pacquiao generation — and you get people of all ages and social strata clamouring to try out a sport some people call “the sweet science.” It is argued that Mr. Pacquiao himself has inspired many to try out this intriguing sport. The man himself has legendary workout regimens that in more ways than one will enthuse you into the best mental and physical shape of your life. Others might think it’s silly and violent but one trial workout may be just enough to get you “hooked” (pardon the pun).

So what is fitness boxing?
Well, it’s everything the sport has to offer minus the aggression and violence. In professional prize fighting, the main objective of the sport is to knock out an opponent or to dominate enough rounds to get the win. Amateur boxing on the other hand makes use of protective equipment with an objective of scoring more points than the opponent. Fitness boxing can actually be neither of the above. In its purest sense, one is after a personal or individualized workout that may or may not even involve an opponent. Most of the time, you are working out against your physical self or with the supervision of a trainer.

Fitness boxing can provide a safe, effective, and fun workout for all fitness levels. You can have varying workout intensities but in the end you will definitely get that feeling that you’ve just had a great full body work out! Fitness boxing helps to tone, stretch, and develop muscles. There are also various aspects in a fitness boxing regimen. Terms such as aerobic exercise, speed and agility training, strength and stamina routines are all covered. You also get that opportunity to de-stress and release that pent up energy by channelling it into a heavy bag thus giving you a mental pitstop from the daily grind. For both males and females alike, hitting a motionless object just gives them that mental equilibrium that gives one satisfaction much like shooting a free throw in basketball.

What’s in store for me?
Some of the workouts will involve the use of skipping ropes, punch mitts, and punch bags. Some of the techniques will involve shadow boxing, plyometric* exercises, and various other boxing skills. The benefits are speed, upper and lower body strength, footwork, coordination, various punching techniques, cardiovascular endurance, and stamina. The basics of self-defense, thus becomes an indirect benefit of the program itself. Going into the details, you will be taught how to stand properly (the stance) while maintaining balance and coordination. Such skills are invaluable in enhancing your “proprioception” wherein your body is capable of positioning itself in space properly. This skill can make you react appropriately to certain situations such as bracing yourself for a fall or shifting your feet to avoid last minute obstacles on the ground. Some gyms employ a circuit training technique which emphasizes a variety of changing activities to keep the workout active and the energy level high.

All of these are carried out either as one-on-one individual training or as part of a bigger group. It is not uncommon to start out by communicating and getting individual instructions from a boxing trainer then graduating to working out by yourself once you have learned and mastered the routines or skill sets. One of course has to learn the nuances between a jab and a straight in order to execute the motion effectively. Some of you who do not prefer this approach can participate in a fitness boxing class wherein all skills are taught en masse. This has the theoretical advantage of allowing you to see how other people do it while giving you that added discipline that a group can provide.

Getting the gear
You’d probably be surprised to find out that one can just show up for his/her fitness boxing class with just a cotton shirt, a pair of shorts and comfortable rubber shoes. Shadowboxing and executing skill sets such as jabs, crosses, hooks, and leads don’t need much equipment to begin with. One however may invest in hand wraps and gloves if you plan on engaging the heavy or speed bags and pounding out your trainer’s mitts. As far as hand wrapping is concerned, getting the proper fit is essential, as one can get scuff—or abrasion-related conditions if worn improperly or if taught wrongly.

As with any new sport, the more you get into it you, the more your perceived needs get upgraded. It is not uncommon to get the urge to get equipment for your own personal use. I’ve met quite a few people who have their own heavy bags at home just to squeeze in that extra fulll body workout.

About ready…but wait I’m diabetic
Before you hook up with a gym or fitness facility, a few basic things need to be covered. As with any exercise regimen, there are certain recommended guidelines that provide you a reasonable chance to enjoy and maximize your workout to get its full health benefits. Establishing constant relations with your diabetes doctor, a fitness professional, and a sports physician is recommended. Your personal doctor knows your health history and what medicines you are taking. Even if your blood glucose levels are usually normal, medications you may be taking for other conditions can affect your health and ability to exercise. In some cases your doctor may recommend a stress test before starting exercise, especially if you plan vigorous exercise like aerobics classes or endurance events.

Before you get too worried, exercise is still desired in the overall management of a person with diabetes. First things first, it is imperative that you know what type of diabetes you have. Getting maintenance in the form of insulin or oral medication is as equally important as knowing if your blood sugar levels are controlled for a significant amount of time prior to engaging in any form of exercise. Some of the benefits of exercise for a person with diabetes includes increased strength, flexibility, and endurance, and improved cardiovascular health.

Many people find that regular exercise also helps reduce stress and provides a feeling of well-being. Exercise helps speed up weight loss and maintain weight. All of these goals are reasonably achievable in fitness boxing. Recent studies have shown that structured exercise programs have a beneficial effect on blood sugar control. This study also found that those with type 2 diabetes who are already exercising should increase the intensity of their exercise to get even more blood sugar control. Now if you have poor control of your blood sugar, you should avoid vigorous physical activity as recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

If you are a type 1 diabetic or take insulin and other blood-sugar lowering medications then you have to be wary of low blood sugar levels, as physical activity can cause hypoglycemia if your medication dose or carbohydrate intake is not changed or adjusted accordingly. Your blood sugar level should be closely monitored before and after exercise and insulin adjusted as needed to maintain normal blood sugars. The key here is to maintain close communication with your diabetes doctor, as he/ she can recommend a snack or other food with a mix of protein and carbohydrate before or after exercise. It might be wise also to consult a dietitian with regards to your nutritional requirements for both diabetes and exercise.

As far as recommended exercise regimens, the ADA suggests aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the type of exercise that gets your heart pumping enough so that you are mildly out of breath while performing the exercise. To improve your blood sugar control and reduce your risk of heart disease, you should plan for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobics and/or at least 90 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity. To get the most benefits, exercise at least three days every week and try not to go more than two days in a row without exercise.

The important thing that needs to be emphasized again is to probably consult with a team of fitness professionals, diabetes doctor, and a sports physician as they constantly keep themselves abreast with the latest exercise guidelines and recommended physical activities for persons with diabetes. Getting key info and pearls as to how to manage wounds as well as protect the tips of fingers and toes are very important for the diabetic athlete.

So where do I sign up?
This is not a difficult question to answer as boxing gyms have sprouted all across the metro. Some fitness facilities have even acquired boxing rings. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see the women actually outnumber the men. Eileen Narciso, CEO of Summitt Sports and Wellness Center (Tektite,Ortigas) cites that they get a fair share of working professionals engaging in fitness boxing as a cross activity. Regardless of where you eventually end up, the important thing is to scout the gym or facility properly as fitness boxing is a technique-based workout. In order to get the most benefits, proper execution of technique and supervision is essential. Boxing trainers must also be effective communicators and motivators to get you to enjoy the routine and make you yearn for more.

Taking it to the next level
Maintaining sound overall health and remaining injury-free while improving total body fitness is one of the major benefits of a fitness boxing program. In addition, mental toughness is developed and comes from learning to cope with the demands of a challenging workout.

Exercise and diabetes can definitely co-exist. All one needs is the proper guidance and monitoring. Fitness boxing is designed to work both upper and lower extremities while giving you that added mental toughness. Again, effective communication from relevant personnel who can effectively guide you through the rigors of sport and exercise is suggested.

So go ahead and release the inner pugilist in you. Hey, no one can blame you if you sometimes fancy yourself getting paid 15 million dollars whenever you (fitness) box, right?

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