As 2017 kicks off, many of us are using the blank slate of a new year to take pen to paper and craft goals for the coming days and months. Fitness remains a top New Year's resolution among Americans, but before you resign yourself to a daily 45-minute elliptical slog, consider taking up boxing.
Although boxing is an ancient art and has always been a much-loved spectator sport, in the past few years, laypeople—including celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss—have started boxing as a way to sweat, relieve stress, and get a full-body workout.
Three new boxing studios opened (or announced their openings) in New York at the end of 2016: Box + Flow (which combines yoga and boxing), a new Shadowbox location, and a studio called Rumble, confirming our hunch that boxing is indeed the workout of 2017.
Why boxing is having a moment
Yes, boxing has been around for years. But as Shadowbox instructor Jaws Nelson notes, boxing is unique in that it seamlessly merges cardio and strength-training. "While boxing tones the body from head to toe, what keeps people coming back week after week to boxing sessions is not just the physical changes but also the mental benefits clients are reaping from it," she says."Our clients love that Shadowbox revs up their metabolism and improves cardiovascular fitness," adds Jaws. "It also improves hand-eye coordination, strengthens the lower and upper body, enhances posture, and acts as an overall stress reliever. Moreover, while many workouts out there (like spinning and running) focus on the lower body, boxing works areas that people often miss, like their arms, back, shoulders, and core."
Josh Martinez, founder of New York City's Martinez Method, adds that people are intrigued by boxing because it's not just a workout—it's also a sport. "There are so many different aspects to it," says Josh. "Most importantly, boxing/boxing fitness does not require combat, and it's such a dynamic workout. Not only does it push you physically but mentally as well—especially when done correctly and when you've found a class or trainer that makes it fun."
What new boxers should know
From getting the most of your workout to avoiding injury, Jaws suggests approaching your first boxing class with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
"Know your boxing stance and basic terms, like jab, cross, and hook. Boxing has a universal language, but it can sound foreign if you've never heard it. Check out some online videos or ask a friend to show you the basics. Fortunately, most boxing gyms or studios cater to beginners and advanced boxers," says Jaws. "Don't be afraid to ask your instructor for help, either. Learning this craft takes time. And, like most sports, it never gets easier; you just get stronger."
How to throw the perfect punch
If the basic terms Jaws mentioned sound foreign and confusing, take a look at the video below, in which Josh demonstrates how to throw a right jab.
What are you waiting for? Get out those boxing gloves and start punching.