In today’s fast-growing fitness industry, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest craze. For many of us, however, the goals are pretty simple: Feel good, look great and build strength. Boxing checks all the boxes. Indeed, toned arms and enviable washboard abs are the hallmarks of most diehards in the glove game.
Aside from the physical conditioning you’ll get, hitting the bag is an excellent stress reliever, making it a terrific outlet for Black women. I paired up with ESSENCE Relationships & Wellness Director Charli Penn for a session with Reese Scott, founder of Women’s World of Boxing (WWB). This all-female boxing gym in New York City is owned and operated by a Black woman.
I should confess that I’m notoriously undisciplined when it comes to exercising—so to say that I entered the building feeling a little anxious would be a major understatement. But thanks to WWB’s no-frills regimen of choreographed combos and bag work, you don’t need props to get a killer workout. We warmed up with two three-minute rounds of jumping rope. Then our hands were taped and slipped into boxing gloves, and it was off to the ring!
We worked every inch of our bodies yet had more energy than when we started.”
First, we covered some fundamentals: the classic boxing stance, how to step into and throw a jab properly, and cross punching. Then we moved on to sidestepping punches, pivoting and counterpunching. Once we mastered the basics, we took turns going head-to-head with Scott, jabbing and crossing fists in a series of combos. Finally it was time to apply what we had learned to the heavy bags. We completed four three-minute rounds before wrapping with two rounds on the speed bag.
It felt exhilarating to punch the heavy bag; and Scott says I’m a natural. The two-hour session worked every inch of our bodies, yet we left with more energy than we’d had when we started. Best of all, I completely tuned out random thoughts during my workout—that almost never happens when I hit the gym. I think I’ve finally found my fitness happy place. Throwing some blows to beat the stress and get in shape is definitely Black girl approved!
Know Before You Go
Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water during your workout to avoid getting winded.
Do your research: There are boxing gyms and boxing fitness studios. The latter are more cardio focused, with little technical training.
Keep your head in the game: Don’t worry. You got this.