When I think back to a few years ago, I never ever would have thought that my favorite exercise would come in the form of boxing. It seemed like a heavily male driven sport that was violent and had little to no appeal. But now, I absolutely love it, and I’ve found that the benefits of boxing for girls and women are incredible. I’m not just talking about weight loss, although it will get your body in shape. I’m talking about the internal transformation that happens when you learn to box.
I’ve been known to coerce my friends and family to join boxing with me, and they’ve all loved it too. From my mom and sister to my sister-in-law and young nieces to my friends, it seems most women and girls love to box when given the chance. Here’s what I’ve learned from boxing…
Boxing is a great way to teach girls how to properly deal with and let go of negative emotions.
This may be one of the more obvious internal changes, but boxing gives you a place to take out all your emotions. Whether you’re battling depression or angry as hell, hitting a punching bag until you can’t lift your arms is therapeutic.
When I first started, I had some anger that I had locked up inside of me and boxing allowed me to recognize and deal with it until the anger wasn’t there anymore. On the other hand, if you take boxing past fitness and onto a fighting level, it’s easy to find the anger again once someone punches you in the face.
Boxing for girls is a fantastic way to teach them to be in the present moment.
Now this one may sound rather odd, but I use boxing as a form of meditation. It’s one of the few things that I do where I can’t let myself get distracted. If you do boxing fitness and are training with mitts, thinking too much makes you immediately fumble and mess up. If you’re fighting and lose focus, it’s likely you’ll get punched in the face.
Boxing forces you to be in the moment and to stay focused. How many times in a day are you truly doing just one thing and not thinking about another. This is the number one reason I do boxing. I can’t meditate sitting still, but I can meditate when I box.
There’s something really empowering about knowing how to throw a good punch. I’m sure every girl or woman has found herself in a situation where she was nervous. Whether that was walking in a poorly lit area alone at night or finding yourself alone with a guy who was a creep. Imagine knowing that you could kick some ass if you had to. Feeling strong is powerful and it translates beyond safety to your everyday life and choices.
Imagine a girl who doesn’t feel self-doubt. Who feels confident enough to say what she’s thinking and to be a leader.
Sharpening your mind and instincts
Boxing is a bit like chess on speed. You have to analyze the other person; see how they are moving and react with lightning speed. I always saw boxing as a little barbaric, but truth be told you have to be able to think fast. Speed and reaction times are something I constantly struggle with. I feel like my mind has become a bit dull. Being able to think, make a decision and react in a second takes a whole new level of skills and boxing keeps you on your toes (literally).
While you might think that boxing is about letting go of control, I find it’s the opposite. When you are practicing, you need to know exactly how hard or soft to punch. Obviously, you don’t want to knock out your friend. This is something I find interesting because first time boxers tend to try to punch as hard as they can without any control or technique. But as you practice, you realize how to control a punch and how a controlled punch can hit a lot harder than a wild unruly one.
Learning to control a punch takes a lot of practice and muscle memory. You throw the same punch over and over hundreds of times until it starts to feel natural. Once you get the hang of it, you start to put more power behind it and then more speed. While this might seem like a basic concept, it instills a work ethic and shows girls what hard work, dedication, and repetition can achieve. When you hit the bag or mitts and hear that perfect snap, it’s so satisfying, and you know that hard work paid off.
Learning to Work as a Team & Trust Each Other
Boxing and teamwork… wait what? Boxing is absolutely a team sport. The people you train with are your team and you need to work together to improve. When you learn a combination, you often take turns running it with a partner and doing both the defense and offense. Working together so closely creates a lot of trust. You are literally throwing punches at each other, so if you can’t work as a team, it’s likely one of you will miss and it will hurt.
If you enjoyed my post about boxing for girls and women and are interested to know more about my experience as a boxer, then check out my post on what it was like to learn Muay Thai in Nepal. I started out learning Muay Thai before switching to boxing.
If you are starting out and want to try boxing fitness, I highly recommend Title Boxing Club which offers classes for kids and adults in a fun, judgement free, no contact environment. My family and I all took classes at one of their locations in the US for several months and loved it. If you’re in Nepal, I recommend Boxmandu where I currently train.
This post was written by Michelle Della Giovanna and originally appeared on www.fulltimeexplorer.com