Who else has promised themselves that January 2017 really is the beginning of their 'New Year, New Me' detox?
Well, we are taking on left hooks here and right upper cuts there to get fit for 2017. Our kick-ass West London boxing instructor, Natasha, takes us through why boxing has become so mainstream and what we should focus on to get the most out of our exercise.
Everyone says they're going to get into fitness in January. What are the best ways to motivate yourself to keep it up in the long term?
What makes boxing better than other classes?
Boxing training is an intense, tough all-body workout which requires strength, endurance and flexibility, i.e. pure fitness. If you want to be impressed, just get onto YouTube and watch clips of professional boxers training and you will see what supermen and women really are. Anyone who watched the 2012 Olympic Superstars will have seen what incredible overall athletes the likes of Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams are.
What areas of the body do you work out throughout a session?
My classes are an all-over body workout. Obviously there is a load of upper body stuff, given that you are using your arms and shoulders to punch, but there are also lots of lower body exercises thrown in such as squat jumps, squat thrusts, burpees and jump lunges. Plus there are lots of shuttle runs and running on the spot. We finish the class with ten minutes of abs as well, followed by some stretching.
What's a realistic healthy eating regime if you're a newbie to regular fitness? Do we really need to give up chocolate and wine altogether?
I would say you need to be realistic and do not set goals which you know are not achievable. Start by making your overall diet more healthy, i.e. by cutting out processed foods, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking more water and never skipping meals. If you are embarking on a training regime then it is also a good idea to up your protein intake but try and avoid frying your fish or meat. Grill, bake or steam instead. Cutting out sugar is never a bad thing, as you probably will have read in countless articles. However, if you are a chocaholic then perhaps a more achievable goal would be to limit the amount you allow yourself. Bottom line: the first step to improving your diet begins with modifying your eating habits, and doing it gradually.
"You are far more likely to continue on the path to a healthy lifestyle by placing realistic expectations on yourself."
If you go or out-and-out denial and cold turkey, you will be more inclined to abandon the path altogether if you fall off the wagon. And let's face it, we all do!
Why do you think boxing is so popular at the moment?
Boxing seems to have had a huge surge in popularity lately. I am pretty sure it is due to a steady flow of ex-boxers becoming Personal Trainers and bringing pads and bags into mainstream gyms where anyone can have a go. People can be put off by traditional boxing gyms as they are quite intense, sweaty places which many find intimidating - even the alphas among us! I am also sure that the likes of champions such as Anthony Joshua or Nicola Adams have done immeasurable amounts to raise the profile of the sport.
More women are taking up boxing due to media coverage of celebrities doing it, like Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima. Do you think these people are good role models?
If they are doing boxing training in the public eye then great - it will mean more young girls will become interested and realise that it is a fantastic workout for the body and mind that is not just for boys! Victoria's Secret models aside, I would encourage any female to look up Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams as they are true boxing role models.
What other type of exercise compliments boxing in a weekly plan?
One can become quite tight in the upper body area, therefore a complimentary exercise would be some sort of yoga or Pilates (preferably reformer Pilates). I always recommend weight training too. You cannot deny the health benefits of doing weights. Staving off osteoporosis can never be a bad thing, right?!
What do you love most about London?
I love the diversity and vibe of London. The culture is incomparable to any other major city, mainly due to the fact that it really is a huge melting pot of weird and wonderful cultures. There is something for everyone. Personally, I adore London's theatre - the big shows and the fringe. Having seen plays in many corners of the globe, nothing comes close to what we offer here in the big smoke. We definitely fly the global flag for live theatre.
To contact Natasha for more information about her boxing classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07971 224726.
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