Mama Said Knock You Out
May 10, 2011 8:44 PM   Subscribe

I think I want to box. Where do I start?

I'm an almost-thirty-year-old female. Not an athlete by any stretch. I have a pretty strong competitive streak and am looking for an activity that will give me a work out while promoting an overall sense of strength and well being.

Boxing looks pretty cool and fulfills several items on my wish list: can be competitive (or not); can include other people (or not); appears fun, yet challenging.

So, what do I need to know before getting started? I am a complete beginner and have never done any sort of boxing/competitive physical stuff before. I live in the Twin Cities area and budget isn't a primary factor. Ideally, I'm looking at the possibility of boxing (or something like it) as a long-term hobby that will also help me reach my fitness goals.

posted by WaspEnterprises to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Go nuts. Start calling around, see who's got open classes or one-on-one training and change your user name to Rocky.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:46 PM on May 10, 2011

Yup! Like Ideefixe says, make some calls and web site visits, then go through a round of free trial classes before you pick your gym.

Once you find a place you're comfortable with and start working out, I'd keep in mind:

- Don't skip the handwraps. They actually do keep your hands from hurting. (You're probably smart enough to figure this out, but I wasn't.)

- As boil-and-bite mouthguards (the cheap kind) go, this is a pretty good one.

- Don't worry at all about looking bad. If these techniques were all completely natural, no one would have to teach them, right?
posted by ignignokt at 9:08 PM on May 10, 2011

It's harder than you think, but it's also a lot of fun. Definitely don't skip the handwraps.
posted by mogget at 10:14 PM on May 10, 2011

A good trainer will start with lots of boxing-related exercises and technique work. It should be a good while before you're trying to hit someone who's trying to hit you.
posted by ambient2 at 10:20 PM on May 10, 2011

I'd start by trying some nearby places, and finding one that suits you. Look for a place that has an atmosphere you like (students and teachers treat each other with respect, though it doesn't have to be formal), that moves people forward (you need to be pushed to some degree to make progress), but at a pace they can handle.

An easy way to get information about a place is to do a class, and then chat to another student or two when they started, what they've learned, whether they've done boxing before, etc. People are generally happy to talk about that kind of stuff, and the answers can be fairly revealing of how a gym works, as well as what you can expect as you get further into the sport.

Once you've picked a place, get ready to work hard.
posted by nml at 11:37 PM on May 10, 2011

Before you take classes do what I did: I went somewhere with an equally untrained friend and we strapped on some borrowed gloves and helmets and had a very low energy sparring match. It was fun, but I realized I could never actually box because getting hit in the face just is fundamentally unnaceptable to me.

That said, a female friend of mine takes boxing classes at her gym and loves it, but has no plans ever to step into a ring. Just the training is fun and empowering for her.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:04 AM on May 11, 2011

Best answer: If you can, find a boxing gym that offers both co-ed and women's-only classes. I go to my gym's women's class and love it: it's a little less intimidating than a mixed-gender class, but it's still serious and doesn't feel at all like some fluffy cardio class, and crossing over to the mixed-gender sessions is actively encouraged. Some of the advanced students spar, some of them are working up to it, and some just want a good workout and have no intention of getting in the ring, and all of those are okay.

As soon as you get a set of handwraps, practice wrapping your hands at home. It's not hard once you learn, but it can get confusing the first couple times and you don't want to spend the first ten minutes of class chasing down someone who can show you for the third time. Get in the habit of washing your wraps immediately after class, because they get really sweaty and you don't want to head to class with nasty still-damp wraps.

I'd also recommend testing whatever outfit you'll be wearing to class by jumping rope in it for five minutes or so. Boxing doesn't require special clothes, but some work better than others. Some of the pants I do yoga and lift weights in will fall down on me in boxing class.

It's a really hard workout (I'm relatively active and I still had to sit down in the middle of my first class) but if you're the kind of person who enjoys physical challenge, you are going to love it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:07 AM on May 11, 2011

Best answer: 1) Gyms often have high expectations. Boxing is a sport. In my experience, a lot of gyms push you to come 3+ days a week, and really do want to get you at least into the amateur circuit. With that said, if you're paying your dues they never seem to mind if you want to show up and dabble.

2) Boxing websites seem to suck where I am. My recommendation: skip the website, and drop into the nearest club and give it a shot.

3) Don't worry about gear until you've stopped by the club. They can tell you what you need. The clubs I went to all supplied hand guards and other gear, and you don't need a mouth guard until you've learned the basics.

4) Go for group training if you can, not personal trainers. Yet. Group training has less individual pressure, and tends to be more affordable. It'll be a good temperature gauge to see if you enjoy it.

5) Depending on what you like from a work out, consider some other options. I did Krav Maga for a while, and it's great for fitness/self defense. For amateur sports fighting, don't rule out kickboxing either, and you might even find that some of the more traditional martial arts are more suited to what you enjoy. (But boxing is fun, I'm not trying to discourage you.)

6) I found that a lot of the regulars at boxing clubs were kids. They have the time and energy to actually compete. Don't let that discourage you, you're there to have fun and stay fit, not win world titles.

7) Lastly, I'd say JUST GO. Have fun, stay relaxed about it, and talk to the trainers. They train, it's what they do, so they'll have your safety and learning in mind, and are the best people to answer your questions.

And hey, if you can, let us know how it goes!
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:51 AM on May 11, 2011

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