When I discovered boxing, I knew I’d found something special. Previously I had a love hate relationship with exercise. I’d jump into every new fad then quit when I didn’t see instant results. I was miserable about my weight and my lack of commitment for quite some time!
Boxing was different. From the first punch I was literally hooked. I didn’t get bored, my attention didn’t wander. For the first time ever I really enjoyed exercise. So much so I couldn’t wait for the next session
I’ve been coaching now for over 10 years and it still makes me smile from ear to ear hearing my clients tell me their stories about what boxing has done for them. Not only do they see physical changes but they talk about how their lives have just got better overall. They are calmer and more confident, they prioritise themselves and look after themselves better. As a result relationships improve, work life balance improves and of course health and fitness improves.
I decided this needed some investigating. I mean can your whole life change just from throwing a punch?
I believe it can
In the 10 points below I explain why I believe boxing makes you better at life
1. Its effective. Ok so this is an obvious one. Boxing is renowned for being one of the most effective workouts around. Burning up to 900 calories an hour and working core and legs as well as upper body, you’ll be fitter than you’ve ever been. Changing your physical body is empowering and I believe that its also one of the most effective ways to change your mental state.
2. It will make you more confident
Wanna be more confident? Confidence comes from taking action and doing. As you progress your boxing and fitness levels and see your body change, you automatically become more confident. Working on your body also helps you get to know yourself, understand your strengths and weaknesses. Committing to the process and achieving the goals you set yourself builds self esteem as you’ve kept the promise you made ti yourself. With boxing, the fact that you’ll enjoy the process makes it easier to get into a consistent exercise routine. It’s that consistency that will get you results.
3. It’s fun
Don’t like exercise? No problem. I have rarely met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed boxing. It’s such a fun way to get moving. Learning the technique keeps your mind focused. You’re so busy trying to get it right and hear the satisfying snap on the pads that you’ll forget you’re even exercising. The social element of group sessions also helps create a fun and motivating atmosphere.
4. It encourages connection
Although competitive boxing requires you to face your opponent alone in the ring, boxing training is very much done as a team. That takes me on to my brain science forte. Our mammalian brain is wired for connection. When we feel connected to those around us it tells the brain we are safe and reduces stress, worry and anxiety. Boxing communities are know for being very supportive. Members end up like one big family where they are encouraged to work together and support each other. Most boxing coaches I’ve met or had the pleasure of working with are incredibly passionate about their sport and seeing their members progress. They provide motivation, support and encouragement to keep everyone progressing and pushing themselves to the very best of their ability.
5. It will massively reduce stress
It’s no secret that boxing is an amazing form of stress relief. When we are stressed or anxious we are in our head worrying about what ‘could’ happen. Boxing brings you back to the present. Learning technique makes you focus on the here and now. You can’t possibly be worrying about your bills or tomorrows business meeting while you’re trying to learn a complex punch and defence combination. It gives you some temporary relief from whatever’s going on in your head and provides an opportunity to reset your brain. I call it ‘getting human again’ because it quite literally takes you out of the reactive animal brain back to the rational human one.
6. It will improve your relationships
When you are feeling less stressed, fit and healthy, confident and good about your body, there’s no doubt your going to be a nicer person. Imagine managing your moods through exercise and NOT taking out your stress on your partner or family?
Leave your stress on the bag and your loved ones will get the best version of you – not the grumpy one!
7. Mental clarity and focus
Again this goes back to brain training and changing your brain set. When I get stressed my brain goes into overwhelm and I have difficulty focusing on tasks. Boxing helps train your brain to focus. With so many distractions in today’s world many of us have trouble focusing for more than a few minutes. Every single thing we do in life is a skill. To get good at any skill you have to practice. Training your brain to focus is no different. Learning focus as part of boxing helps you develop the pathway in the brain that helps you to stay present and focus on tasks.This will also therefore make you you better at focusing on tasks in other areas of your life.
8. Unlock your creativity In order to be creative you must be in your human brain. Another brain science fact that most people don’t know about! When we’re stressed, worried and reactive we are walking around in our animal brain. This part of the brain is only concerned about survival and reacts in fight, flight or freeze. It doesn’t care about your goals, hopes and dreams and it certainly doesn’t care about helping you be creative. Movement, particularly complex movement where you have to focus, literally shakes up the brain and allows you to reset and get human again. Ever noticed how after a workout you suddenly feel inspired and have lots of ideas and things seem easy again? Yep, that’s your pre-frontal cortex at work. Meet your human!
9. Meditation for those who can’t meditate
Learning boxing technique is like a form of meditation. It brings you back to the here and now. Repeating movement patterns helps bring the brain into a meditative state; having a calming effect and helping you focus. For anyone who struggles with slowing down and is terrified of traditional meditation, I believe this is a great alternative.
10. Increased energy
When you feel lethargic and tired, the best thing for it is to get up and move. Boxing training involves high intensity exercise. This will switch on your sympathetic nervous system causing your body to release your get up and go hormones which will give you a boost of energy. I see this every night in the gym. Members come in tired but because they love it, they push themselves to turn up. After the session they are literally buzzing with energy. It is however also important get out of this ‘wired’ state and also allow yourself to unwind too. We need to access both branches of the nervous system to stay balanced or you will literally burn yourself out! Something I encourage is the right ‘mix’ of exercise to balance the nervous system, but that’s another blog post!
I hope this has given you food for thought. If you live in the Clapham area and fancy giving boxing a go, please do come along and join us for a taster session or check out our monthly workshops and events such as punch and brunch and self love and boxing gloves (see eventbrite or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Join our boxing family and let boxing make you better!