You will burn calories like a buzzsaw.
I am not kidding. You may think you’ve done serious workouts before but you haven’t touched the level of output it takes to go hard for three minutes in a boxing ring. This is anaerobic activity; your muscles literally don’t operate the same way under this kind of test as they do when you’re swimming, running, or cycling. Sprinters have a sense of what this takes, but even they are primarily working lower body only.
You will feel like Superwoman.
Three times I had natural childbirth at home and it doesn’t compare. I am still terrified every single time I step into the ring, and every time I come out I feel like a rock star. Boxing is the most physically and mentally demanding sport I’ve ever taken up, and the high demands also produce a tremendous positive charge: “I survived! I kick ass!”
You won’t have to take care of anyone else.
The ring is the only place I can think of where this is true, and it takes some work for most women — society’s caregivers — to get used to the idea. When I first started landing serious punches on my opponents, my tendency was cringe, inquire after them, or (worst of all) apologize. Everyone knows what they are getting into when they climb between the ropes, and you can rely on your trainer or a ref to stop the match if it gets dangerous for either boxer. And once you can begin to relax into it, it’s a phenomenal rush for a woman to be in a space, even for a very short time, where we aren’t responsible for someone else’s welfare.
You will take better care of yourself.
This follows naturally from the tenet above. In the ring, you are responsible for yourself. You have a support network, but you aren’t looking to pass to a shooter or hand off the baton to the next runner, or get the ball down the court to your team. Not only are you dealing out violence, you’re evading it as well. You look to your own safety, and you start training harder to insure yourself. You eat better. You plan things so that you don’t miss ring time. You ice sore shoulders, and immediately address minor injuries that might get worse with inattention. When I look back at how little or poorly I took care of myself before boxing I am amazed at how culturally ingrained it is for women to continually sacrifice their own benefit for someone else’s.
Your kids will think you are the coolest mom evar.
They won’t be embarrassed to friend you on MySpace. They will look for excuses to tell their friends that their mom is a boxer. They’ll casually show off moves that they’ve learned, or tell how many pull ups you can do. My husband plays in a rock band and as cool as my sons think that is, I still get more props. Forget bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan, mom boxers rate.
The rituals are relaxing.
There are several rituals connected with boxing, but for me there is nothing so soothing as wrapping your hands in preparation for boxing. Wraps are strips of elasticized cotton about 180″ long, and they protect the hands from sprains, strains, and fractures to the metacarpus (the bones connecting your fingers to your wrist). Every boxer wraps their hands differently, and there are as many schools of thought on it as there are trainers and boxers. But once you settle on a method, you tend to stick to it with an almost superstitious ferocity, and you guard your hand-wrapping time jealously. Most boxers don’t like to chit-chat while they’re wrapping up; they find a quiet spot and attend to their hands like priests silently preparing the altar for a high holy day. It gets even more serious if you are wrapping for a competition; in that case you sit quietly while your trainer or corner wraps your hands with yards and yards of delicate gauze as if you were a bride being prepared for her wedding. It beats Calgon all to hell.
More women should be in the spotlight.
Stepping into the ring is like stepping onto a stage. There may only be a handful of people watching, but there’s no denying who’s getting the attention. Sometimes I think we fail to turn the spotlight on women in our society; we just take them for granted so long as the wheels of the universe that women work so hard to turn keep moving. I like the idea of more women being seen in the ring as the tough, proud, hard-working women we are.
Feminine muscle is just damn sexy.
My arms are even more toned and cut than Michelle Obama’s, and that’s saying something. I love the way women’s bodies start to look after they’ve been working out for a while; we lose the soft, squishy look and begin to look sturdier and sharper. Collarbones appear and quads pop out; we have curves, but also angles and energy. And even though we could rip the door off it’s hinges, we still get to enjoy having the guys open it for us instead.