When I arrived at my first boxing class, I expected to be in the ring, throwing right hooks by the end of class. This was completely wrong. I learned this is a common misconception for many first-time boxing enthusiasts.
We’ve seen the movies; Rocky hitting the speed bag and sparring with his coach and being told to protect his face. That’s for the professionals. You’ll be lucky if you even see a speedbag in your first months of boxing. That’s because boxing is a full-body sport. To be a good boxer, you need incredible endurance and strength. Punching a large boxing bag is just a part of it, as it takes a considerable amount of energy to strike an object continuously. Something the pros make easy can have us newbies winded within 30 seconds. To lessen the blow of the reality of your first boxing class, here are a few tips to get you prepared.
Wear appropriate attire
You will be doing different bodyweight exercises along with learning correct boxing techniques. Wearing secured shoes and tight clothing to ensure you aren’t weighed down or can get snagged on something, is an important step in preparation. Keep it simple and light. Think dry fit over cotton tees. You don’t want to be running laps and feeling like you have a wet blanket on top of you because your shirt has retained all of your sweat.
Be prepared for a full-body workout
As stated above, boxing is a full-body sport. Most boxing classes, including specifically for beginners, start out with conditioning to improve your overall endurance. Think about how much endurance and physical conditioning goes into being able to box for multiple rounds, on your feet, sparring back and forth with another person ̶ it’s a lot. It’s common to start out on a treadmill or do a lap or two around the gym. This can also be substituted for jumping rope which is a great cardio and conditioning exercise. Push-ups, sit-ups and squats all can be included in your workout. The goal of this it to prolong the amount of time it takes for your body to get fatigued so you can properly defend yourself in the ring. Again, for your first class, it’s unlikely that you will make it in the ring, but that’s the great thing about boxing — It’s a cumulative sport and workout. You start out by conditioning and learning the basics, building on that before you even enter the ring or spar with another person. Boxing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Get the right gear
Depending on the class you take, boxing gloves may be provided, available for rent or purchase, or not be provided at all. Make sure to do your research so you can come to class prepared. If you’re just trying out a boxing class to see how you like it but aren’t ready to make the commitment of buying gloves, then finding a class where gloves are included or available to rent would be the best bet. Sometimes this isn’t readily available information so make sure to y reach out to the gym and inquire about their policy. The worst thing you can do is show up without gloves and there not be any available for you. If you’re looking to make boxing a regular part of your life, investing in a good pair of gloves is a smart move. Depending on renting or those provided by a gym aren’t always reliable with varying sizing, etc. It’s also a great motivator when you may be feeling defeated. Knowing you have your own gloves can be that extra push you need to get out of the door.
Expect the first class to be hard
You may be a hard-core athlete or someone who barely works out, but a first boxing class is sure to be hard for everyone. Many boxing classes are done in circuits, with different full-body workouts and boxing staples weaved together. You may go from doing dumbbell squats to punching a heavyweight bag nonstop for one minute. That might not sound like a long time but boxing entails throwing your entire body weight into punches, one after the other. Even the most in-shape athletes have found themselves incredibly winded after an initial boxing class. It’s all about setting the foundation and building blocks to grow and improve your skills. Boxers never stop training. They’re always working on their form or footwork or speed. There are always improvements to be made. As a beginner, know that you’re not alone and that the more you come back, the more you’ll grow.
With these points in mind, you’re ready for your first boxing class. And always the most important thing to keep in mind is to have fun.