“You hit like a girl!” It’s no longer the insult it was once intended to be. A sport that has long been associated with men has become more readily available and acceptable for women today: boxing.
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And it’s not just for the athlete competing in the ring. Boxing classes at gyms throughout the county (and country) are now a draw for women looking to get into shape. But many women are still hesitant to take the plunge.
Why? Maybe intimidation — some lack of self-confidence — or simply being unaware of what it really is and the benefits it offers.
Doug Goldstein has been instructing women’s boxing classes for the last four years. He currently instructs at Mueller’s Elite Fitness at 2570 Greenwood Lane in Cameron Park. Goldstein said despite any misconceptions women have about boxing, it could be the best workout available.
“Boxing is a full-body workout and a full mental workout,” Goldstein said. “Being able to tone your body and your core and build your body athletically, it’s great for women.”
Most boxing workouts punch out hundreds of calories in just one hour. Workouts, including those taught by Goldstein, generally start with the jump rope for footwork, cardio and loosening the shoulders; three to four rounds of lighter combos with gloves and mitts; cardio such as running or jump squats — anything to keep busy; segment focus on legs, shoulders or core; a heavy bag routine, requiring more effort because of the weight behind the bags; and always end with a good core segment.
“It’s like no other sport; it really gets the heart cranking,” Goldstein said.
Many consider a woman’s mind a mysterious thing. And a woman’s characteristic to overanalyze has a tendency to be her downfall. However, not when it comes to boxing.
“As women, we are very analytical. Boxing requires a lot of thought in order to throw one simple punch. Women tend to “perfect the punch” quicker than their male counterparts because of their analytical skills. So analyze away,” said the Health and Wellness Website sheknows.com.
Goldstein agreed whole-heartedly with the statement.
“Guys want to go faster and harder, whereas women will listen and do what you tell them in the beginning, so they get the technique down quicker,” he said.
With all of those hooks, jabs, uppercuts, combinations, footwork, handwork … it’s almost necessary to pull out those analytical skills. Don’t let all of that intimidate you though; there is a lot of repetition involved in order for everything to sink in and become natural.
“Once it becomes natural and you don’t have to think as much you can begin to relax and control your heart rate … that’s the mental gain,” Goldstein said. “If you are committed, it’s amazing how quick you can learn it.”
More than meets the eye
There is no doubt a large benefit to boxing is physical fitness. Women who take Goldstein’s class attest to this, as well as to the many other benefits it offers.
“After taking the class I feel good that I worked out every inch of my body,” Ruby Ghishan, 45, of Cameron Park, said. “And god forbid I get into a situation where I have to defend myself, but if I did, I think I could!”
After a start with kickboxing, Ghishan switched over to boxing and hasn’t looked back since.
“It’s so masculine, but then you see all these women doing it,” she said. “It’s just so much fun!”
“Fun” she has without fear of ruining her perfectly manicured nails protected by her pink boxing gloves.
Goldstein added, “Any time you are able to hit something, punch, let it all out, that’s a great feeling.”
Carol Oliver of Folsom serves as proof that boxing has no barrier to sex or age. Oliver is 72 years old and participates in Goldstein’s boxing class three times a week. Like Ghishan, she started with kickboxing eight years ago and was turned on to boxing by a friend.
“I had been trying and trying to lose weight and did circuit training first and wasn’t losing,” Oliver said. “[Boxing] helped me lose weight … that’s why I give it the credit.”
Oliver said boxing also helped with her depression, gave her more self-confidence and made her a stronger person in general.
“I just love it. I love boxing. I think women should try it … they just don’t know what it can do for them,” she said.
As Nike says…
“You just have to do it!” Goldstein said.
Any woman can be outfitted to take on the boxing world for a minimal price. Hand wraps and gloves together cost between $40 and $50 and once you have those, there may be no stopping you.
“Come in, try it and just give it a chance. You’ll be hooked, it’s very addicting,” Goldstein said. “And I think it absolutely empowers women. [Boxing] makes them stronger and more comfortable in their own bodies.”
Like anything else, boxing is a learned sport. It will take time and persistence to “perfect the punch” but for any woman with the passion and drive to become the best version of herself, boxing can be an excellent stepping stone.