Out of the box


January 19, 2012 by agooddaytoyou

Tonight, I did a boxing class, and I truly believed I was going to die…

Oh, I’ve exercised before, a very long time ago. And I had thought I was pretty good at it, a very long time ago. I even took a boxing class once before, a 45-minute jump around (no gloves required thanks, they make your hands so sweaty) in a sleek ladies-only gym that involved lots of funky music and inspirational sayings shouted by a Lycra-clad instructor.

Today was different.

It was at a real boxing gym for one thing. The kind that sits above a bakery. The kind that you have to reach by climbing a set of narrow, rickety stairs covered in threadbare carpet; carpet worn down by the sneakers of a thousand wiry guys who have climbed it before you even dared shuffle upon it with your sports bra and your little sports socks and your handbag stuffed full of the day’s work clothes.

And there was no need for funky music. The only sounds as I ascended these stairs was the pounding of shoes against a hardwood floor, the soft pfft as gloves hit bags and the heavy breathing of people not just exercising, but rather SURVIVING.

Needless to say, I was absolutely terrified.

I remained terrified for the next hour of the class. As my hands were strapped up properly (four times around the wrist, four times across the hand and over the thumb, between each precious finger and then again around the hand), as we warmed up by jumping rope for 20 minutes (something I do not even think I could have done at the height of my rope-jumping career between the ages of eight and 11).

And I was still terrified as we strapped on the gloves and each took up a spot behind our own bag and got to the “burn” portion of the class. Yes, it’s really called that. It involved intervals of boxing, squats, more boxing, split jumps, faster boxing, boopies (a hideous maneuver that involved a push-up and then a fast leap up and then a jump into the air and then just repeat and repeat and repeat) and then more boxing. Then more boopies. I hate you boopies.

At some points I thought I would vomit. At others, I was sure I would faint. Either way, death would surely come to me soon.

My terror of dying, publicly vomiting or passing out only started subsiding as we warmed down (a warm-down that involved CRUNCHES WITH A MEDICINE BALL WHAT???) and it was then that I started feeling absolutely, blissfully, powerfully wonderful!

Boxing is so good you guys! It is a cleansing, sweat-filled revelation and I cannot wait to do it again. That hour of pain and breathlessness truly made me appreciate the relatively healthy body I live in and it made me feel excited that I could be brave and dedicated enough to make my relatively healthy body what I would like it to be: a body that powers and empowers me rather than holds me back.

I’m writing this so that the next time I am sweating and gasping my way through a class (which, if I am as dedicated as I seem to be in this post, should be Monday), I can remember these words and realise that it’s all worth it.

And that I probably won’t die.



One thought on “Out of the box

  1. Calista says:

    Where does all this wonderful boxing breathlessness take place? The first step (attending) is always the hardest. If you can still walk two days after all the frenzied ‘This is the year I’m going to get fit’ exercise, then you’ve done incredibly well…

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