The once grungy, fight club sport is now arguably the hottest workout for fitness lovers who never plan to set foot between the ropes. Alberto Ortiz, owner of boxing gym Work Train Fight, has seen this evolution since opening his studio’s doors in 2009. We sat down with him to get the scoop on what makes boxing such an incredible workout.
Ketanga: What really goes down in a boxing class?
Alberto: Class is all about high energy and non-stop action. Expect to learn some technical skills, like your jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, slips, and weaves, as well as how to put them together into basic combinations. At the same time you’ll be getting your ass kicked with calisthenics!
Depending on the class, there may be some partner work as an introduction to contact, and all classes include hitting the bag, strength training circuits, and pad work with the coach to put your punches into practice. There is a lot of rhythm involved and you’re always moving (even when you’re not boxing).
Why is boxing such a great workout?
It’s coming to light that boxing is not as brutal of a sport as it was once believed to be. Before, there was a stigma that if you train in boxing, you’re going to fight and get punched in the nose. Over the years it has become more mainstream, and you can train in it without being a fighter.
One of the reasons it is a great workout is that the movements of boxing are natural, unlike many other sports or types of fitness. You’re just moving your arms in and out. It’s very primitive, simple, and a low chance of getting hurt (fighting is a different story). So it is okay to learn on the go with low risk of injury. Also, boxing is a total body workout. You are constantly squatting, bouncing, and hitting every muscle group in one workout.
Additionally, it is high energy and intense, and eventually you forget it’s exercise because you are so focused on the task at hand. Bottom line: it’s fun to hit somebody (in a safe environment) while learning to defend yourself and getting a total body workout at the same time. If you’re going to work out, you may as well enjoy it!
What are some tips for my first class?
The number one tip I always tell people is that we all had a first time, even the instructors. It may seem intimidating when you walk in, but realize we’re just humans! Your technique won’t be as good as other members in class, but that’s okay as long as you realize you’ve got to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run.
Also, get to class early to get the jitters of being in a new place out of your system. Plus, you will easily find someone to help you wrap your hands. But to help you out a bit, you can watch this video from a shoot with Men's Fitness to learn how to punch like a boxer.
And finally, after class you can always ask the instructors about certain things like technique, form, etc. So the important thing to remember is to enjoy the process!
Visit Work Train Fight in Manhattan to train with Alberto and his team and see that the boxing craze is here to stay.
Join Alberto as he leads a Boxing & Salsa Boot Camp retreat in Puerto Rico!
Trip highlights include:
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