Sam Taylor's SofaDODGER Olympic Challenge
Number 2 - Boxing
Yesterday, I was at Bodmin Boxing Club, run by Denis. Immediately, the list of sports on my back was scrutinised and boxercise was roundly scoffed at…I sensed a certain sneering at its gym counterpart and I can’t wait to see what boxercise say about boxing.
And so to the warm-up, where I was sent to run after a young, fit guy: maybe this boxing malarkey wouldn’t be so bad! The young, fit guy had lapped me within a few minutes and I went my usual, attractive, beetroot colour.
Next was skipping. So far, so Rocky. The guys faced the floor-to-ceiling mirror on one of the walls. I generally have a policy of avoiding full-length mirrors and went to one side, facing the non-judgemental wall. These boys could skip! They were like galloping steeds, changing speed and putting in bursts of effort, while I looked like a My Little Pony….a chubby little My Little Pony, cantering along as though I was looking for a 4-leaf clover in a field of rainbows! Skipping went on for three bursts over 10 minutes and was an absolute killer on the bingo wings.
Then it was sprints, or for me, jogging and then walking fast. I must say, I was really admiring the effort those guys were putting in. Once warmed up and dripping with sweat, it was on to shadow boxing. Denis told me I had to learn in front of the damned mirror. Left foot forward, right leg back, left for jabbing, right for something else. The lads next to me were making swooshing noises with their fists and dancing backwards and forwards – I looked like I was fencing and when I threw a punch, I resembled a beetroot, which wouldn’t pose a threat in a salad bowl!
Then, it was onto the serious stuff and on with the gloves and onto the bags. Denis’s daughter Rachel gave me some tips on technique. To counteract my bouncing, she told me to imagine there was a piece of paper under my feet and I had to slide the paper. That helped. Then work on my left jab, punch high and control the bag. The interval bell rang and Denis beckoned me into the ring for some “light sparring.” Light sparring for me is not doing a full shop at the local convenience store; I was unprepared to actually go in the ring.
Denis bounced about with gloves on, whilst giving punch instructions – left jab, right hook, left upper cut, etc. It was absolutely knackering. I have a new respect for the boxers who stand up for 12 rounds. At my current fitness level, I’d struggle with one. Denis told me that the club supports all levels – they could accommodate unfit novices like me, to juniors, right through to national contenders. I am definitely going to suggest to the hockey team that we come for a pre-season fitness session!
We were then instructed to get into the ring to “ab crunch” and got given a medicine ball and some more exercises to do. The guys were putting it in: I sat back in awe and used my medicine ball as a back rest. After some warm down stretches (which I was really good at) it was time to go.
I didn’t expect to like boxing but it was really exhilarating, not just to push my body but to try something I’d never done before. It wasn’t in any way elitist and I was welcomed and encouraged. Certainly, if I kept this up after my challenge, I wouldn’t ever become a champion boxer, nor would I want to, but I would be really fit.
With Nordic Walking, I was told I would “gently ache” the next day. With boxing, I was told I would “ache like hell” the day after tomorrow. And as for getting my 6 pack, I think I’ll just stop and pick some up at the local Spar.
Sofa Dodger; One Woman's Quest to Try 100 Different Sports and Fitness Classes in a Year is available on Amazon, please click here