Running, yoga, and swimming may be more classic workout go-to's, but every now and then, a new trendy fitness class enters the scene and punches the competition away. The latest workout trend is going back to basics. Rocky basics, that is. ClassPass, a monthly fitness class subscription service, reports that boxing has been blowing up on the New York City fitness scene, with an 80 percent increase in boxing class reservation requests since January 2015.
So how simple is it to start? A couple of gloves, one punching bag, and you're ready to go with your first boxing class, right? Wrong. Whether it seems intimidating or brush-off-the-shoulders easy, introductory boxing classes require a little bit of preparation and a few heads-up warnings.
We chatted with Raymond Montalvo, partner and master instructor at Shadowbox in New York City, to get the must-know tips before deciding to gear up and punch away. Here are Montalvo's biggest pointers for first-time boxers:
1. Get ready to sweat
"You can burn anywhere from 800 to 1,000 calories in one workout," Montalvo said. "Everyone sweats. A lot." From gloves-on to gloves-off, you'll be shedding major calories, and that means some serious sweat time. Have a towel on-hand during the session.
2. Prepare your body
If you're burning through a good chunk of calories during a single 45-minute class, a water bottle is a must-have. "Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate," Montalvo reminds all first-time boxers. "You want to be hydrated and have some simple carbs so you can have good energy for the workout."
3. You'll pick it up quickly
Think you can't hit or land a solid punch? Nonsense. "People get the hang of it really early on," Montalvo said. "It's easy to pick up and follow." By the time you've wrapped up your initial conditioning drill, you'll go through all the motions, combinations, punches, and defensive moves. That muscle memory will start working and you'll be picking it up ASAP.
4. Just don't drop the hands
Though you may be registering your punches, there's one major fail that most first-timers always seem to make. "The biggest mistake I see people doing is when their hands drop below the chin," Montalvo said. "Your chin should always be protected. Keep those hands up. Stay sexy and don't get hit. That's what I always say."
5. It's not a team sport
Unlike other classes, where you're competing against or with other participants, boxing is totally solo. You're in it for you, and you alone, so make it all about yourself, your body and your state of mind.
"When you step through the ropes, you're on your own," Montalvo said. "You're in complete control of what you're doing and you have to make your own decisions."
6. You'll never be a master boxer
Pause. That's actually a good thing. "You never master it," Montalvo said. "You just work better and faster, and you never get bored of it. You just won't plateau."
The dreaded workout slump seems to hit most trainees, but when you're anticipating hits from all sides, never knowing which move you'll have to use to defend, you'll always be on your toes. Literally.