Thought boxing was just for boys? Think again, because a whole host of top supermodels, from Gigi Hadid to Gisele and Lily Aldridge are ditching the yoga mats and donning gloves to tone up – and for good reason. Boxing is ideal for boosting your fitness levels, building lean muscle and firming up those upper arms if nothing else.
We asked celebrity trainer Helle Hammonds, founder of insider favourite, GymClass in Holland Park, to give us the lowdown on getting into the ring...
What are the main benefits of boxing?
There are so many: it will improve your fitness levels and coordination, it’s great for fat loss and lean muscle building, and it will give you a nipped-in waist and defined abs because of all the rotation involved.
As well as toning, boxing is a great cardio workout: when you take part in drills, your heart rate is raised far more than when you jog. It’s the original HIIT class, as you’re working for short bursts of time at a high intensity (usually in 3-to-5 minute rounds).
Which parts of the body will it work?
It depends on the type of boxing you do, but traditional boxing works the upper body, creating great arms, shoulders, back, waist and abs. If you incorporate kickboxing into the mix or Muay Thai, then your legs will also be worked.
Is there any preparation that will help pre-class?
Make sure you eat something light an hour or so before so you have some fuel in your system. And relax – it takes most people a few sessions to get the basics, but the more relaxed you are, the better you will be.
What is best to wear?
You will need your usual gym kit and some boxing wraps. If you’re concerned about using gloves that have already been used, it might be a good idea to bring your own.
Do you have to go to a class or can you do it at home?
I would definitely recommend going to a class to pick up the skills and technique. There are many different types of boxing class and teaching styles that it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. If you do want to improve your boxing at home, the best thing is to work on your body conditioning by doing exercises such as skipping, burpees and press-ups, as core strength is essential.
How often should you do it?
I would recommend boxing twice a week, mixed in with other training. If it’s going to be your only form of exercise, do it three times a week. It’s a great class for partners or team work, as it helps break down barriers and you’ll enjoy the session without realising quite how hard you’re working.
Are you very sore afterwards?
It really depends on that training you have done and what level of intensity you are used to, but as long as you’re not leaving months between sessions, you’ll never feel as sore as you do after the first class.
Muscle soreness is part of working out, and should be welcomed, as it’s simply your muscles reacting to the trauma of exercise. As you recover, your muscles actually fix themselves to become stronger for the next time, which is ultimately how we improve our performance over time and become more toned. Things that will help include taking a bath with Epsom Salts after your workout, stretching and using a foam roller to relieve tightness.
GymClass' FightClub Class is held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10.30am.