I hear a lot of my gym buddies talking about how they love the gym, but get often get bored of it. One could argue they aren’t true gym rats, but I totally get what they mean. It’s not so much about the gym atmosphere in general, but rather, the fact that their particular workout programs become monotonous and routine after some time.
Of course, switching up the exercises to provide a new challenge while still targeting the same muscle group is one strategy to counteract the gym lethargy, but eventually this will become just as routine, and chances are you picked the exercises you are already doing for a reason. For example, many experienced weightlifters will schedule or organize their workout based primarily on what they require for their goals, but then a secondary factor can be what equipment is commonly available at certain times. Therefore, many weightlifters and other gym-goers are restricted to how much variety they can add to their workout at the gym.
I was recently convinced to try out a new boxing gym with a friend of mine who I frequently hit the gym with. I myself focus a little more on gym-specific exercises and power lifting, and I wasn’t looking for anything new at the time, but I figured what do I have to lose?
The real question should have been “What do I have to gain?”! First of all, if you think boxing is a sport only for tough guys who like to get punched in the face, it’s not. I was shocked at the variety of people I saw in this boxing gym, from total newbies like me, to experienced fighters training for an upcoming fight. It was unreal to watch, and one of the best parts was everyone was welcoming, supportive, encouraging, and overall friendly.
That being said, what I was most interested in was the workout (of course). For someone who is used to heavy-lifting, I was extra curious about the workout when I noticed there were hardly any weights in the gym at all. I quickly learned that boxers often avoid weights, or at lease powerlifting, as they need to maximize their strength AND speed, all while keeping their overall weight as low as possible. So how do they get so ripped, but yet weigh in like a feather?
The answer lies in their workout structure. Boxing workouts work on a round-to-round schedule, whereby everyone is on the same “stop-and-start” schedule, for lack of a better way to put it. A speaker will make a buzzing sound at the start of the round, and then everyone begins working. My workout consisted of a good solid warmup, three rounds of shadow boxing, three rounds on the heavy bag, three rounds on the speed bag, three rounds on the reflex bag, individual work with a trainer mixed in there depending on the day, and then some skipping, core exercises, and cool down exercises. Rounds last for three minutes and you get a one minute break in between. At no point did I ever lift a weight, but WOW was I ever sore the next few days! The speed bag was definitely the hardest for me, but as I learned it I could feel my reflexes and coordination improving, and shortly it become one of the most fun exercises for me. Plus, it set my shoulders on fire!
I quickly realized how focused boxing is on training for cardiovascular fitness, but the constant exercise involving punching, as well as more standard exercises under your own body weight, really allowed for every muscle group to be worked hard. This style of exercise is perfect for dropping weight in terms of fat, while at the same time putting on a bit of muscle and getting absolutely ripped.
Last, but not least, it was an extremely fun challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed! It’s a great way to mix up your workout routine, and even boxing alone would be way more than enough to get in shape and stay in shape. It’s affordable, and all I really need was a good pair of boxing gloves, and once I became a little more experienced, I also benefited from investing in a nice pair of boxing shoes, but the latter isn’t necessary if you’re participating on a recreational basis.
At the end of the day, I simply encourage you to keep an open mind for different types of exercise that could benefit you. For me, I found boxing to be an incredibly exhausting workout that hit various aspects of fitness that I didn’t even realize were weaknesses for me! Looking back, I could have figured this out on my own, but having been stuck in the gym mentality forever led me to believe I didn’t need anything else. You never know how much fun you might have trying out some different exercise programs, and no matter what you try, your body will thank you!