Get Hooked On The Benefits Of Boxing
by Barbara Fauconnet
In recent years, boxing has made the leap from neighbourhood shadows to boutique-gym spotlights. Becoming more and more popular with women, the noble art is evolving – as practiced sparring on a ring or as pure cardio, and even in parks. With a raised guard and a bold look, we're putting on gloves to let off steam, tone-up or work on our mental state. Barbara, founder of The Knockout Paris, tells us why she got hooked on Boxing, and why you might too!
Develop the mindset of a champion
I first started boxing in my early twenties, and I wasn’t in a great place in terms of mental health. But in my first boxing class, I instantly knew I’d have to step-up and get outside my comfort zone. It was exactly what I needed at that time: big motivation, mutual support and a crew pushing each other both mentally and physically.
Boxing teaches self-mastery, emotional control, and concentration. After a few sessions, you will notice mindset improvements: you will better exploit your strengths, better understand your weaknesses, and learn to analyse your opponents. In boxing, mindset is just as important as fitness and I simply cannot overstate the power of determination over physical abilities. Showing up fully gives me huge pride every time.
Work your entire body
Boxing is a complete sport that allows you to work all parts of the body in depth. Movement repetitions, high intensity, punching power, stamina... Your heart rate will quickly increase. Before boxing, I played basketball 6 to 8 hours a week at a serious level for about twelve years. But still, the first boxing training sessions felt to me like I had never done any sport in my life. It was super intense, high cardio and the kicks required so much energy! Still today, with boxing training being so varied, from cardio to strength, I can never rest on my laurels.
Learn the basics of self-defence
Boxing taught me the right behaviours to adopt if someone becomes aggressive towards me. I never expected it to turn me into a street fighter. But now I’m stronger on my feet, more agile, and confident in my ability to handle any situation. Above all, you should learn how to move and stay safe. Self-defence is mostly about keeping an opponent at a distance.
After several sessions, you will be stronger on your feet while improving agility in your movements. The style I practice is Thai boxing, which uses fists, but also feet, knees, elbows… Most people expect a punch, but with my Thai boxing training, I find it more comfortable to keep people at bay with kicks. Practicing blocks and dodges will teach you to avoid blows and to identify when to act if possible. Combat sports will help you to decode an opponent's behaviour and anticipate their movements.
Improve your health
Boxing is one of the top 10 sports that are good for your heart, according to Dr. Laurent Uzan, sports cardiologist at the Institut Cœur Effort Santé (ICES). After a few weeks of training, you will notice a marked improvement in your cardio capacity, and in your breathing. But before your first sessions, it’s a good idea to have a snack at least one hour ahead, to take it slow and to rehydrate well after training.
Don’t make my mistake of drinking gallons and eating right before the first training - you won’t like it if you get punched in the abs! In addition to cardio, boxing has many other benefits: improved sleep quality as intense training will help you eliminate toxins and secrete endorphins; alleviating premenstrual syndromes, stress and abdominal cramps; relieving pressure and stress, especially if you've had the chance to throw a few good punches!
Boxing is my number one stress reliever. Punching is a fantastic way to let go of the day… And the one thing you can’t do when sparring is to think about anything but what’s right in front of you. One key point I underestimated was flexibility. Practicing Thai boxing requires good leg flexibility and calls for lots of stretching, which has benefited my overall mobility. Every part of my body has improved.
The best way to test these 4 benefits is to get started. Many clubs offer trial sessions. It's up to you to try several clubs and boxing styles. Each has its own methods, community, and vibe.
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