If You're Nervous to Try a Boxing Class, Here's What an Instructor Wants You to Know
As boutique fitness classes have exploded in popularity, there's one type of group fitness that's really taken off: boxing. And while some classes are more hardcore and designed to make you feel like you're starring in a Rocky sequel, others include elements of boxing that are perfect for beginners.
One of the most popular boutique boxing classes is Rumble, a boxing-inspired group fitness class in Los Angeles and New York with new locations opening up around the country. I'm a big fan of Rumble and take a class about once a week. But when I first started a few months ago, I had no idea what I was doing and was afraid I would make an ass out of myself or, worse, get hurt.
If you're looking to incorporate boxing into your routine but are too intimidated to get started, we tapped certified personal trainer Kendall Toole, founding trainer at Rumble in LA. She breaks down what to expect at your first class, what you should wear, and how to get the most out of your workout. Read on for her helpful tips.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
"Leave your ego at the door and just focus on having fun!" Kendall told POPSUGAR. "The first time you try boxing, it can feel a little silly and awkward standing and punching for the first time, and it's foreign to how you usually move." If a boxing class is the first time you've ever "fought," you may be uncomfortable with how your body is supposed to move for the punches. But Kendall said to embrace that feeling.
"There's nothing more empowering than when you focus in on the bag and start to release all that energy," she said.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you're new to boxing and see people around you throwing punches with perfect form, you may get intimidated. But Kendall said boxing-focused classes like Rumble are great, even for beginners.
"Everyone has to start somewhere, and it's important to remember boxing is a sport and a skill, which means you can always keep growing and improving," she said. Many boutique classes, including Rumble, are good for all levels. At your first class, you'll learn the basics such as how to stand, how to throw punches, and form. Once you start to master these skills, Kendall said you can move on to more one-on-one training with a mitt or even get into a ring.
Wear Something Flexible
Since you'll be moving your whole body, it's important to wear something that is breathable and flexible. It's also a good idea to wear something moisture-wicking or that can handle sweat. "Boxing is a full-body workout, so expect to be drenched in ways you haven't been before, especially if your boxing class includes weight training or conditioning portions like we do at Rumble," Kendall said.
For shoes, she recommends a versatile training shoe that is lightweight with a flexible sole and some ankle support since you stay on the balls of your feet often and pivot to throw punches.
You Don’t Need to Wrap Your Hands Professionally
When you think of boxing, you probably think of badass women sitting ringside, wrapping up their hands strategically. Although you can wrap your hands for your first class, it might be easier to opt for quick wraps, Kendall said. Quick wraps, like the ones they have at Rumble, are essentially fingerless gloves that have knuckle padding and a wrap to secure your wrists.
"The more advanced you get with your boxing training, the more likely you are to want to customize the way you wrap your hands based on your needs," she said.
Expect to Do Some Strength Training and Conditioning
Although each boxing gym and studio is different, many incorporate strength training and/or conditioning into the class. Some may have you jump rope for a while and others could include weight training. At Rumble, half the class incorporates dumbbells, bodyweight moves, and little hand weights they call brass knuckles for a full-body strength-training workout.
"Like any professional fighter, strength training is essential to making those punches faster and build more power for a bout," she said. "For someone focused on fitness, it makes you look just as great as you feel and provides results and transformation even faster."
It’s a Good Cardio Workout
Sure, some classes incorporate strength work. But boxing itself is an excellent cardio workout that gets your heart rate up and works your whole body. "While I admit I'm biased, I believe it is probably the best cardio-driven training you can do," Kendall said. "You're challenging the body with short bursts of powerful strength while punching, combined with the consistent need to stay moving and light on your feet and pushing your body's endurance to new levels."
You Should Definitely Incorporate It Into Your Routine
Whether you are new to boxing or new to working out in general, Kendall recommends doing a boxing-inspired class to build up your fitness level and skills. "Be warned, though, boxing becomes addicting for the physical and mental release, and you may just find yourself gloving up and throwing down as often as you can!" Kendall said.