Sunday, September 18, 2011

"what do you do in boxing class, anyway?"

aside from pounding that bag, some simple stretches, variations on the push up, the sit up and the jump squat -- and of course running around the room and up and down staircases ad nauseum -- exactly what kind of excercise do i do in a circuit boxing class?

i'm glad you asked.

here's a few videos to illustrate some of what usually happens in an hour. i try really hard to do two sessions a day. there are some days when i'll do three, if things flow a certain way. the thing is, there is usually someone calling me out by name if i'm not giving 100% the whole time i'm in that room. and i'm in there for what feels like an eternity. for some reason, i have this bad habit of looking at the clock when i think a fair amount of time has passed -- probably because i'm sweating so hard i can't see -- and wow, its only been 10 frackin' minutes.

the routine i'm in now leaves room for three trainers: gennaro (who may as well be a negro and who yells a lot), negro (who isn't a negro and who mumbles a lot) and jay (who is from long island -- nuff said). sometimes there is george and sometimes there is son of gennaro. no longer do i wander off with anyone i don't know. i don't want any surprises anymore.

i've made a lot of progress physically and i've lost some weight but i still feel as though i've got to get in shape on some basic level so i can get through the whole class without having to stop because i feel as though i'm going to pass out. or die. when i can zip through class comfortably, i will believe that i'm in shape.

until then, here's what i'm up against.

mountain climbers -- this sister gives a great explanation of the right way to do this one. unbelievable, the way it wears my upper body out, in short order.

bear crawl -- we have to do this around the room over and over, and we have to drop and do this over and over and sometimes, he (that is, gennaro) makes us leave the room and do this around the gym over and over. the closer to the ground you get, the more effective it is.

spiderman crawl -- an especially foul move for me because i don't have much upper body strength. and like the bear crawl, the lower you get, the harder it works you.

burpee or squat thrust -- named after dr. royal burpee, this basic movement is the foundation for the burpee test. now there are variations that have found many colorful and interesting ways for me to throw my legs out from under me abrubtly, or repeatedly spring off the ground in short bursts of energy. no small wonder. burpees require agility, speed, coordination and a ton of core strength.

body builders -- he (that is, gennaro) makes me do 100 of these whenever i'm late for class. they are beyond gnarly. this video shows otherwise, but we do a jumping jack that falls into a plank and then a push up and back again. and you know what? i don't walk out. i take it like a man and i do the 100. sometimes he'll stop me before i'm done but lately he's been leaning on me...

focus mitt work -- this is really important because its makeshift boxing against an unknown opponent. the trainer is like a choreographer, putting together combinations on the fly that force me to move with speed and power. in a perfect world, i get used to moving at the torso, blocking shots and letting my movements flow with technique and form.

shadowboxing with weights -- this is what i really feel the next day. throwing my arms out there, even with three pound weights in my hands, is a burning sensation that just won't let up. sometimes he (that is, negro) makes us run around the room and shadowbox with weights.

why do i love boxing so much? i seriously don't know. it's physically way more challenging than anything i've ever done. and maybe that's it, maybe the physical exhaustion and growth is impacting the rest of me so completely, i can't relinquish it. sure, it feels good to hit people -- but it also feels good to get good at it. i can look in the mirror and see wonderful changes coming on. that's a kick in the head.

i love it that boxing is genderless. it's not something that belongs to boys. it's all technique -- and to my way of thinking, that levels the playing field completely. the bottom line is, either you can fight or you can't.

where it takes me is anyone's guess. how long will it take me to get my true body? who knows. what i know for sure is that i'm going to get great at boxing because i can't stop doing it. i can't give it up.

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