Punching

Week One: Are you insane?


Days until fight night: 55

Two months ago, I signed up to compete in a charity boxing match. I have no prior training (apart from a few self-defence classes), and I've never been in a fight. Am I insane? Yeah, probably.

I first heard about Industry Boxing a year ago when my flatmate sent me a link to the sign up page. I'd always wanted to box, but the timing wasn't right and I didn't sign up. A year passed with little thought of it. Over that year—my second year of university in London—I ended up putting on a delayed freshman-fifteen pounds, and felt pretty crap about myself and my body. I wasn't feeling great mentally, and it was reflected in the way I was treating my body. Early this year I started trying to change this, going to the gym more regularly and making an effort to be a little more conscious of what I eat. Shockingly, after a few weeks I actually started to enjoy it!

And so, I signed up for a boxing match. Ten weeks of training. Three rounds, two minutes each.

The first session was interesting (painful). All the other women there seemed to have the same nervous energy as I did, and it did feel like everyone was sizing each other up a little, but it was still a fun and chatty environment. We got weighed and had photos taken for our boxer profiles (which will also require a nickname—something I'm still working on), as well as collecting our packs of tickets to sell to family and friends. And then we went downstairs to the gym.

The first thing our trainer said to us was to try and sit down on the floor 'Where there aren't any sweat patches.' The floor was soaking, and the class trailing out before us looked exhausted. The nerves started to build.

The trainer walked us through the next few week's of training and hammered home the reality of the situation: in ten weeks, we would be fighting one of the other women in the room. Cue some glances around the room. Some of the women had clearly been to through the process before, but the vast majority seemed to be in the same position as I was. The trainer continued that 'If this doesn't take over your life for the next two weeks, you shouldn't be doing it.'

One week later, and it already has. I'd done some workouts and boxing training over the summer, but I've definitely had to up my gamer to keep up with this training. I have a session every Wednesday and Friday, and I'm trying to also go to the gym another two or three times a week (whenever I can fit it in alongside university and work). I'm eating more carefully, using protein shakes after every workout, and icing my achey muscles every day. I've also joined a new gym so that I have more access to boxing equipment (and a sauna!).

The first couple of sessions have focused on techniques, with lots of repetition to help us build up the stamina required for boxing. There are also HIIT-type elements, including a horrendous amount of burpies and push-ups. I'm feeling fairly confident about my technique, but I need to work on keeping my guard up when throwing combinations of punches. We start sparring in Week Three, so I definitely need to nail that unless I want to get walloped in a fortnight.

This is definitely going to be a tough two months, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't loving it. Week One, done. Nine weeks to go.

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