Punch Up Your Workout

You’ve tried running and spinning. You’ve sampled every aerobics class variation and every possible version of the step machine. What else can you do to get that cardio fix? Suggestion: Put up yer dukes.

“Boxing is a great way to enhance a workout program,” says New York-based personal trainer Navin Nandalall. “I’ve been a boxer since my teen years and I still use boxing techniques and principles in my own workout.”

Training like a fighter, explains Nandalall, is a great way to lose weight while building total body strength. “Hitting the heavy bag or, with a trainer, using punch mitts will sculpt your upper body and mid-section,” he adds. “Incorporating a few boxing drills into your workout program will get the results and make your gym time more efficient.”

To get started, try this simple suggestion from Navin: “Go back and forth from body-weight squats—20 reps per set—to punching the heavy bag for 20 seconds. This will get your heart rate up and allow your body to work at a higher rate, even at rest.

You may then want to step up to a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program. “If it’s tone, slimming, losing weight or even increasing muscularity, boxing drills can boost any program with significant results,” Nandalall declares.

imageThe program:

• 5-minute warm-up with jump rope: “It doesn’t matter if you trip, get to 5 minutes,” he says.

• Next: Left-right (1-2) punching combination on heavy bag for one minute then jumping rope for one minute. Rest for one minute and repeat this cycle 5 times.

• Move on to 4-punch combo punching on bag (left jab/right cross/left straight/right hook) 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Repeat 4 times.

• If you have access to a double-end bag for eye/hand coordination, go with 30 seconds of punching/push-ups to failure/abdominal crunches to failure. Rest for one minute then repeat 4 times.

Whether you choose to box for health or sport, keep in mind that staying fit is a marathon, not a sprint. So, if you find yourself on the canvas with the referee counting, heed the words of a man who knows what it’s like to be an underdog, Rocky Balboa: “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”