By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
Photos: Arni Aclao | Ruel Rosello
Locale: ALA Boxing & Fitness Gym | Citigym | Holiday Gym & Spa
Get into a workout that packs a wallop
BOXING is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a lot of movement and quick thinking, and some guts to throw a meaningful punch.
Many who easily get glued to their TV screens during professional boxing matches also seem to forget that boxing is an effective fitness routine even for amateurs. As a fitness program, it ranks as one of the most underrated, since it does not enjoy the same level of popularity of other regimens like running and yoga do.
One misconception about boxing is that it’s all about throwing punches. It’s more than: getting into boxing means going through drills that pros perform to keep themselves in shape. This includes a series of circuit drills that boosts endurance and strength, and everyone’s favorite excuse for any physical activity: weight loss.
“If you stick to only one kind of workout, then improvement will be slower compared to having a variation,” says Veronica Enriquez, manager of Holiday Gym & Spa.
So why not add boxing into the mix? It’s good cardio workout, it strengthens the body and improves overall well-being. Plus, with all the punching and footwork going on, one thing’s for certain, boxing is never boring.
Where to start
There are several gyms in Cebu where you can do boxing. If you want to focus on boxing alone, you might want to first check out Cebu City Sports Center and ALA Boxing & Fitness. While others like Citigym, Holiday and Metro Sports already integrate boxing as part of their overall fitness programs.
Why you should
“Boxing is a very dynamic form of exercise, which allows you to use your entire body. It recruits your core muscles. And it works everything from your abdominal muscles, shapes your bum and arms, and strengthens your legs—all in one explosive exercise. It’s never boring and you’ll have a really good time.” — Anne Manubag, fitness director
“I box because it’s fun. The benefit of the exercise is just a bonus for me. Then because of the time-outs in between rounds, I don’t get exhausted as much as hitting the treadmill 30 minutes straight.” — Mia Ali Faridoon, PR officer
“I want to promote fitness boxing because it’s a form of cardiovascular exercise, and so it helps in losing weight and fat. Plus, it’s never boring.” — Paul Gabatan, exercise training manager
“I like boxing because it makes me feel good when I sweat a lot. It relieves my stress from homework and exams.” — Czachary Abellana, high school student
How to do it
Nobody is born with fists of stone. Boxing can be taught. And just like any skill, it can be learned and mastered as long as you pay attention to your trainer, and practice, practice, practice. It’s all about stepping up your endurance that will last you throughout the session –from the circuit drills to the punch mitt rounds.
Beginners need not fret, as trainers will guide you step by step, starting with the hand wraps. Although different trainers have different styles, the boxing workout is generally more or less the same. It starts off with pulse-raising exercises like jogging and skipping rope, followed by a series of plyometric activities.
Once you start sparring sessions though, here’s a word of caution: since it is a combat sport, be prepared to get hit. One of the first things that your trainer will tell you is how to position yourself properly for cover — keep it in mind and don’t let your guard down even when you’re just shadow boxing or dealing with punching bags. Make it a habit.
It’s a wrap
Hand wraps are there to protect your knuckles and wrists. In most gyms, trainers will assist you in putting the wraps on, but it’s something you can also learn and do by yourself.
First, put your hands in an open position and put the hook over your thumb.
Second, secure your wrists by wrapping it several times, followed by wrapping it over your thumb, your knuckles, then going by through each of your fingers.
Lastly, go back to the wrists to fasten it with the Velcro.
Complicated and tricky to do at first, but really easy once you get the hang of it.
Apart from hand wraps, you’ll be needing other essential gear and stuff as well. Check out the next page.
What you need
Invest in a good pair of gloves and hand wraps. You don’t have to go straight to buying the high-end ones fit for pros but don’t scrimp either. Poor-quality hand wraps tend to get harsh and rough after a few washes, eventually causing gashes on your knuckles, and a mean punch can easily rip some types of gloves open.
Expect to shell out some dough for a good pair of training gloves. Or if you just want to give a boxing a try, you can contact your gym of choice and ask if they have a pair to lend. Most gyms do, actually. Then once you get the hang of it, you’ll know what kind suits you best and eventually, to purchase.
Get your own pair of hand wraps for hygienic purposes. At the ALA Shop in Banilad, it only costs P295 while in other sports shops, the prices range from P135 to P570 depending on the brand and material. When choosing hand wraps, always remember that it has to protect your knuckles and wrists, so go for wraps that are at least 180 inches long, enough to cover your hands fully.