Fitness / Beginner Fitness

8 Things to Know Before Your First Boxing Workout

From what to expect and what to wear, these are your need-to-knows.

Boxing is the latest workout to cement its cult status, alongside barre, indoor cycling, and marathon running. While it may seem like no more than a fitness trend, boxing workouts are no joke.

When done correctly, boxing is a dynamic and agile exercise that engages every muscle in the body.

If you’re into full body and other types of HIIT workouts, download the Aaptiv app today!

For those wanting to jump into the ring, we spoke with Chris DaVeiga, boxing trainer at EverybodyFights, and boxing expert Mark Sayer.

Here are the things to know before your first boxing workout.

Come early and keep a positive mindset.

“Boxing can be intimidating, so more than anything, show up with an open mind and the goal of having fun and getting a great workout,” DaVeiga says.

“If you’re taking a class in person, come early so [that] we can wrap your hands and show you where to go. Listen to the instructor, but don’t overthink it. You will get a great workout, regardless of your skill level, and you’ll learn the technique over time.”

You won’t be perfect on day one.

“Whether you got in shape to box or you’re boxing to get in shape, you need to leave your ego at the door. This is difficult for a lot of people to hear, but you are not going to be good on day one,” says Sayer.

That’s not to say that you won’t do a good job and get a great workout in from the start. You just won’t have every move, combination, and drill down perfectly right away—and that’s okay!

With practice, consistency, and hard work you can get there. “You must realize not every punch is a home run. Get the most out of your first workout by nailing the speed down and not even trying to hit hard. Have some focus and enough humility to realize [that] things won’t be perfect. Trust that with focused practice the improvements will come,” Sayer adds.

You don’t need tons of equipment.

Whether or not you use standard boxing equipment is entirely up to you. In fact, for your first boxing workout, all you need is yourself and your determination.

“Boxing can be gear intensive or not. Everyone who learns starts with shadowboxing (no bag necessary). Boxing is egalitarian in that, primarily, you just need two fists and motivation,” Sayer informs. No gloves or punching bag? No problem.

On the other hand, if you want to involve more equipment, it’s easy to do so. DaVeiga explains, “Wear your favorite athletic gear and bring a water bottle. If you have 12- to 16-ounce gloves, hand wraps, and a punching bag, that’s great! If not, you can use hand weights or no weights for the workout. If you’re attending a class, you will likely need boxing gloves and hand wraps, but we will size you appropriately and show you how to wrap your hands on your first visit.”

Wear clothing that allows you to move.

Speaking of athletic gear, dress accordingly. “We recommend tank tops or something that will give your arms free range of motion. Boxing has a lot of upper body movement, especially with the arms,” says DaVeiga.

“For bottoms, we suggest shorts or leggings, whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. For shoes, nothing beats boxing or wrestling shoes, but a good pair of training shoes will get you through your first couple workouts.”

Sayer agrees, adding, “I would suggest shoes with little to no tread and a thin sole. Reason being, supportive shoes that stick to the ground—like a trail runner’s, for example—will make pivoting properly difficult and can even cause knee pain from torque. Until you’re ready to invest in boxing shoes, I feel like barefoot is a great way to train.”

Don’t be afraid.

While boxing may be intimidating from the outside, it’s not nearly as nerve-wracking as you might think. “We have a saying in boxing: The bag doesn’t hit back. Boxing is a contact sport, but when used solely for fitness and conditioning, it’s the most fun you will ever have working out. Heard of a runner’s high? Same concept after a great boxing workout. It becomes [addictive],” notes DaVeiga.

Even if you can’t shake the nerves, Sayer advises you to just start. “No one cares if you suck, as long as you work hard and, more importantly, listen,” he says.

Mentally prepare to give it your all.

Going into your first boxing workout might have you anxious or timid, but try to leave that behind and go all in. “You should be focused, full of energy, and ready to give it your all. Going through the motions is not an option,” DaVeiga says.

If you’re having trouble doubling down, try focusing any stress or negative emotions you might have outside of the gym into your workout. “If you had a bad day, it will be erased after a great boxing workout. You should also give your punches purpose by having a target in mind when throwing them. This will help you focus and leave all of your worries behind,” DaVeiga adds.

Be focused and have fun.

Despite what you might assume, getting the most out of your first boxing workout isn’t terribly difficult. “Focus on consistent movement and fun. Choose a go-to combination in case anything feels too advanced or you feel lost at any time. Don’t waste time trying to figure out a combo if you’re unsure how to execute. Make a mental note of what was confusing and drill it on your own time so [that] you can come back ready to crush that combo the next time. Be patient. You will get better each time. Repetition and consistency equal results,” DaVeiga says.

You’ll feel sore—but also empowered.

Boxing isn’t just a physical workout—it’s a mental one, and the benefits abound. “You should feel a sense of euphoria after you throw that last punch. There’s nothing like finishing your first boxing workout covered in sweat from head to toe. Soreness is inevitable with something new, but the more you practice and master your craft, the less sore you will be, as you will learn how to move properly and efficiently,” DaVeiga affirms.

“[After boxing], you’ll feel like you had a great workout that also engaged your mind in a way that gives you a mental and emotional vacation from the stress in your life,” adds Sayer.

For more great workouts, be sure to download Aaptiv. We’re releasing new workout classes every week!

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