I'm a Boxer Now, I Guess?

Friday, May 27, 2022

On a whim one day in March, I joined my friend Erin at a free boxing class. I thought it was just a class, but it was actually a demo day leading up to the start of a 10-week session. I had absolutely no intention of starting 10 weeks of anything, much less boxing... but I left that hour-long class ready to try. I registered the next day.

Let me be clear: I am not particularly good at boxing, even now, seven weeks into the session. But I feel a lot like I did when I first discovered cycling classes (the first time I decided that I loved it, not the actual first time, when when I almost vomited & then cried). I feel like my body is doing something, & it's exciting, especially at a time when I am struggling so much with weight gain & body image.

At Pink Gloves Boxing CLE, the meat of each class is a six-part circuit that includes three boxing stations (shadow boxing, prizefighting, & bags), one footwork station (jump-roping or a hopscotch-style floor ladder) & two total-body stations (weights, planks, TRX straps, burpees, etc.) We spend two minutes at each station & complete the entire circuit twice. 

The classes start with a group warmup & an icebreaker question to get everyone talking & comfortable. And then each class ends with a question, too, sometimes fun & sometimes serious. The group is all women, & the classes focus on personal success & growth as much as physicality. Because of the questions & because we partner up to work our way through the circuits, we get to know one another. I like that I'm not working out alone, stuck in my own head. 

Oh, & it's a progressive tier system, sort of like karate belts: You start in Tier 1, & at the end of the 10 weeks, you "tier up" into the next session, if you chose to continue. 

It's hard. I'm not great at it. I hate when I see myself in photos & videos that our instructors share on social media. Oh, & I'm one of the oldest people in the class, primarily boxing alongside (& learning from) women who are in their 20s.  

But also? It's fucking fun. I feel good doing it. I'm sore afterward, but it's invigorating, not agonizing. And being in the gym with this group feels like a safe space. The women are really smart & kind & interesting & fun. And there's something compelling, to me, about signing up for something I have to do, something I committed to showing up for every week, twice a week, even when I don't feel like it.

My class tiers up in mid-June, when we each have to do one-two punches for two minutes straight, solo, in front of the rest of the class. It's not difficult in a technical sense — one-two punches are pretty straight-forward, literally — but it's grueling, & the idea of doing it in front of all the other women makes me suuuuper nervous. 

But I like having goals to work toward. I like gamifying my workouts. I like being a part of a group. I like holding myself accountable. And, as it turns out, I really do like moving my body, whether I'm "good" at it or not.

There's a demo class coming up soon. Let me know if you wanna join me. Maybe you'll be the next one to discover something you never expected to love.

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