Want a change from the usual aerobics/balance ball/step routines offered at the health clubs? Consider boxing. It is a great, vigorous overall workout. I’ve trained in a traditional boxing gym for several years now. For a long time, I was the only woman in the gym. I was glad when other women started coming in, but unfortunately, few stuck with the program long enough. Much of this was due to unrealistic expectations as well as having not done their research before they signed up.
Boxing involves hitting an opponent and being hit back. A couple of women had joined the gym and spent good money on equipment. When the coach suggested it was time for them to try out their skills in a sparring session, they gasped. “Do you mean we have to get hit?” one of them asked in surprise. It made me wonder: for what did they think they were signing up? They dropped out a week later. Please make sure that boxing is something you really want to do before you lay your money down.
Stick to your training schedule and be ready to work while you’re in the gym. There was a woman who the coach asked me to help train because the coach had his hands full preparing other boxers for tournaments they were competing in. The woman’s attendance was extremely sporadic. She’s show up one day, then disappear for two. As time went on, her absences stretched to include whole weeks. The last time she came in, she expected me to catch her up on a month’s worth of training that she could have had if she had been consistent. Regardless of whether you plan to compete or just want a solid workout, it pays to have regular, steady attendance at the gym. Coaches aren’t apt to want to deal with someone who appears to not be motivated to train.
A diva attitude is not appreciated in a boxing gym, so please leave it at home. I have been inside a traditional gym that operated via the city’s park district organization. Some of the women who came in expected the coach to spend all of his time with them, regardless of the fact that he had to divide his time among everybody. They whined and pouted when all attention was not on them. Want special treatment? Then pay the extra money for individual coaching sessions.
Blood, sweat and saliva are elements of boxing. These days, being concerned about contact with bodily fluids is understandable. If you are very squeamish about being close to these elements, you may want to consider another form of exercise. Otherwise, take the usual precautions, including covering open cuts and scrapes with bandages, and keeping plenty of hand wipes and sanitizing gel handy.
Even though more females are involved in the sport, realize that many are still surprised to find women in boxing gyms. Don’t assume that everyone will be welcoming of you. I’ve rarely come across men who openly expressed their intolerance of women in the ring, but keep in mind they exist. Enlist the help of the coach if you find yourself being harassed. It is in the best interest of the gym to recruit new members and keep the ones they have. No gym wants a reputation of being inhospitable.
Every guy in the gym has his own opinion about techniques and equipments. If you need pointers, and the coach is otherwise occupied, ask for help from the other guys. You can learn a lot, especially if they’ve been training there for a long time. If there are other women in the gym, bond with them. Get their perspectives on the sport.
Most of all, relax. Have fun with it, and you’ll get in the best shape of your life.