Part of the purpose behind my #ChasingStrong advent calendar is to get as many of you as possible feeling inspired, motivated and feeling brave enough to take on a new challenge or to try something new in the new year (if not sooner!) I’ve already covered my nemesis hockey and now on day 12 (sorry it’s late) I bring you boxing.
I have always had a soft spot boxing, having 4 brothers who enjoyed punching me in the arm and kindly teaching me in return how to give a good dead arm back probably played its part, but on a more serious note, it’s such a skilful, energetic and powerful sport, I just find it exciting.
It just so happened that Professional Boxer, Craig Kennedy was on the same Personal Training course as me (what a guy!) and he invited myself and fellow student Lowri to train with the ladies at The Llanrumney Phoenix Amateur Boxing Centre. The session was brilliant, super tough with the most supportive people and it was here I got to meet the lovely Nicola Wheten who has kindly shared her story as to why she got involved in boxing and why you should too – enjoy!
I’m going to begin by saying how the world can work in mysterious ways. I was coming up to age 31, I was overweight, I’d been a Slimming World member for several years and genuinely fed up with not shifting the amount of weight I wanted to whilst also feeling sluggish with reduced energy.
During this time, my little nephew was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis and the family had to look at raising thousands to get him the treatment needed at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This was the kick up the behind I needed to assess aspects of my life to support this little man.
It was then I was kindly approached a local boxing club who offered a charity fight night if I could get a number of potential fighters together. I felt I couldn’t ask people to fight unless I was to give it a go myself. This was a frightening concept as now was I not only having to get up in a boxing ring to fight in front of a big crowd but I had to get fit enough to do it! I had not trained for several years and I was in size 24-26 clothes so you can only imagine the weight I was carrying.
However, my mind was set, I had a goal. Not so much a weight loss goal but a fitness goal, to be able to box without passing out for three 2-minute rounds lol.
Goals, however small, are paramount to achieving bigger, positive changes in life and I adopted this concept as part of my training and fitness journey.
All concerns and self-doubt went out the window on the very first training session. You see, what you must remember is that any good trainer is empathetic to your needs, assess your abilities and future possibilities and offers and abundance of encouragement. I was the biggest female there and not once did I feel out of place.
As the weeks progressed and I grew in confidence I began to realise that boxing and the training involved improved my overall wellbeing in a very short space of time. I did lose weight and am currently at a size 18-20 with a loss of over 5.5 stone so far but most importantly I felt strong. I felt strong not only physically but mentally and emotionally. This then reflected into other parts of my life. I felt I could deflect potentially stressful situations more easily, my sleep pattern is superb and my mind has become sharp, making my work life more exciting.
I also felt part of a team for the first time in a long while and have made some lifelong friends.
The females who fought on ‘The Jamie Appeal’ fight night stepped up from Mum, colleague, neighbour and became true fighters. They had never fought before and everyone blew the crowd away with their new-found skills.
Boxing may not be for all but I believe the fitness training involved certainly is. There is an element of discipline involved but this is a positive and can help keep your fitness on track, allowing it to become part of your daily or weekly routine and not a chore.
For all mums out there too, that one hour to yourself is paramount and this particular hour at a local boxing gym will have more benefits all round than you will ever get by taking that hour to watch TV.
There are clubs in most areas and more and more are offering female only sessions. Pick up the phone and have a conversation with them or better still, go have a look, it’s not as scary as you may imagine 💪🏽👊🏽
Here are what some of my fellow boxers said –
“I started boxing to raise money for charity and didn’t think I would enjoy it but I love the quick burst of energy release I get from it, increasing my fitness levels while having fun with friends”
Rachael Brewis Smith
“I love the boxing sessions I always come out of training like a new woman. It helps me keep fit tone up and de stress in a fun environment there is no pressure or competition, everyone supports and encourages each other.”
Thank you so much for sharing your story Nicola, inspiration or what! Boom!
Fancy giving boxing a go? Find a club local to you here: http://www.welshboxing.org/clubs/