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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Boxing offers surprisingly sweaty workout

    Meredith Lisse, a pre-public health junior,  and Thomas Ireson, a mechanical engineering junior, practice boxing to get a workout at Boxing, Inc at 2524 N. Campbell Ave. Boxing Inc  offers classes,  sparring and  individual work out sessions with a trainer.
    Meredith Lisse, a pre-public health junior, and Thomas Ireson, a mechanical engineering junior, practice boxing to get a workout at Boxing, Inc at 2524 N. Campbell Ave. Boxing Inc offers classes, sparring and individual work out sessions with a trainer.

    Boxing Inc. has been getting Tucsonans in shape for several years at its Broadway Boulevard and Ina Road locations. The Campbell Avenue location (just north of Grant Road), which opened in March of last year, is conveniently situated only a few blocks north of the UA campus. With a variety of offerings, ranging from boxing and kickboxing to jiu jitsu and Mauy Thai, these structured classes get your heart pumping without the dullness of a lonely gym session.

    I visited Boxing Inc. to see for myself if they could really provide “”the best work out of my life,”” as the company advertises. Since I was a newcomer to the world of boxing, I took advantage of the $15 trial offering, which includes a half hour one-on-one instruction followed by the opportunity to participate in a group class.

    The vibe

    Beyond the building’s glass front doors, a thick, palpable film of sweat hung in the air, and the thumping bass booming from the surrounding stereo speakers filled the room with energetic, fast-paced tunes. A large, elevated boxing ring sat to the left of the entrance, and farther back in the left hand corner of the studio, several men were throwing punches and jabs in what looked like an enclosed sparring cage. To the right, another boxing class was already well underway, with the participants whaling on a dozen or more hanging punching bags surrounding the floor space as an instructor yelled instructions over the music.

    The workout: one-on-one

    The instructors immediately set me to work. I was shown how to wrap my hands for optimum protection and punching capability, and I was introduced to my personal instructor for the next half hour, Roman Gallegos.

    As we walked into the ring, Gallegos explained that he had been boxing since the second grade. “”I got into boxing because there was a bully down the street from my brother and me when we were younger,”” he said. “”My dad made me take karate, but I hated it. So I tried boxing instead, and it just kind of stuck.””

    We jumped right into the fundamentals of the sport, breaking down the correct stance, punches and movements into understandable terms. Five minutes into the session, I already had several glimmering beads of sweat trickling from my temples.

    In trying to learn the specific footwork and punching patterns, it was clear that reaching the level of an experienced instructor would take years of practice and dedication. It was definitely not as simple as trying to get in the hardest hit. As I shuffled around the ring, gloves raised to my chin, I found boxing to be almost like an athletic art form, requiring balance, skill, precision, coordination and, of course, strength. And by the end of the half hour, those sweat beads had turned into streams.

    The workout: group lesson

    Never have I experienced such an intense and stimulating total body workout as I did in the one-hour boxing class at Boxing Inc.

    The class was composed of men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes. The instructor barking at us like a drill sergeant to “”keep it up”” and “”move faster”” was Chris Gonzales, who has been teaching boxing for almost a year and a half. He fell in love with the sport when he was only 13.

    “”Just about everything about the sport appeals to me,”” Gonzales said. “”You have to be coordinated with your hands, as well as your feet and eyes. It all works together. Overall, it is the most difficult sport I have done. Out of football, track, soccer and basketball, boxing is definitely the hardest.””

    After beginning our workout with five minutes of non-stop jump roping that left my heart thumping against my ribcage, Gonzales led us in a brief stretch routine before breaking the class into pairs for some warm-up boxing patterns.

    My partner, high school sophomore Hailey Erickson, had started coming to Boxing Inc. six months ago after a knee injury prevented her from returning to the soccer field. “”I’ve always been an active person,”” she said. “”And I wanted to try something different. So, I thought I would try (boxing) out. I’m glad I did, too, because it’s definitely a better workout than soccer.””  

    And what a workout it was. Suicide runs and lunges, coupled with punching bag combinations, followed the warm-up patterns, leaving the muscles in my arms and legs burning. Next, Gonzales showed off his strength as he demonstrated how to accomplish one-handed push-ups while balancing on a medicine ball.

    By the time we got to exercises that targeted our abdominals, my muscles felt like jelly — shaking with exhaustion as I lay there, holding a medicine ball above my head and struggling to keep my feet suspended just a few inches off the floor. However, as soon as the buzzer sounded, announcing the end of the session, I felt nothing but the satisfaction of pure accomplishment. And as Gonzales went around to each member of the class, offering a congratulatory fist punch, I could not help but smile through a veil of sweat. It was a demanding physical workout, but it had been a blast.

    While I might not have been as talented as Hollywood boxers Micky Ward or Rocky Balboa, I left Boxing Inc. high on endorphins and in a state of giddy fatigue, and I could already feel the lactic acid beginning to crawl into my muscles. It truly is a workout that punches back.

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