Depending on where you live, it may not be up to full speed in your neck of the woods just yet, but boxing—as a more mainstream method of exercising—is definitely gaining momentum in the workout world.
By mainstream, we mean it’s popping up in the form of boutique workout studios and group exercise classes; we’re not necessarily talking about jumping into a ring for a full-on fight, here.
“It’s strange to refer to boxing in any way as ‘trendy’ considering it’s been around for ages,” said Machina Boxing co-founders Courtney Kammerer and Austin Saylor. “It’s more like there’s been a recent broad discovery of this highly engaging and effective workout.”
Engaging and effective it certainly is, otherwise, why would so many supermodels choose it as their workout of choice? According to New York City wellness website, Well + Good, “fashion models just can’t get enough of boxing,” and even Beyoncé and First Lady Michelle Obama have demonstrated a love for the sport.
But aside from its growing popularity among models and celebrities, this intense form of exercise is trickling down into the more average consumer’s fitness scene.
If the trend takes off in the same way as say, SoulCycle or CrossFit, we could see many more gym-goers carrying gloves and booking appointments with boxing bags instead of bikes.
The Fitness Benefits of Boxing
“Boxing is a great full-body workout, and is one of the more enjoyable forms of cardio,” says Lee Pickering, a trainer with DW Fitness Clubs. “It involves quick footwork and releases a lot of pent-up stress. Bouncing on the balls of your feet challenges your balance while working all the muscles in your legs. The power you put behind the punches works your torso, back and shoulders.”
Essentially, it’s a total-body strength workout and cardio combo, which means you can get a pretty killer workout in a short amount of time.
“In my opinion, time is one of the main reasons boxing has caught on as a fitness trend, you can rock up to the gym at 6 p.m. and roll out in a puddle of sweat at 6:30 p.m.,” says fitness expert and sports nutritionist Tom Irving. “Boxing can also be extremely sociable. There is a kind of comradery that stems from a boxing class which has 15 to 20 people going balls to the wall to high tempo music. You come out of the class feeling like Rocky Balboa.”
Then there’s the stress relief aspect of it, too. While other workouts will certainly induce an endorphin high, there’s just something about punching a bag that offers a much higher level of release .
“Boxing is an emotional release, that hard day at the office pales into insignificance after a good 15 minutes on a punch bag,” Irving said. “The anger release and subsequent surge in feel-good hormones is a great form of therapy and keeps you coming back for more.”
And perhaps the best part about boxing is that it’s beneficial for all types of exercisers, not just celebrities, models and people aiming to get in tip, top shape.
“Boxing benefits everyone because it’s such a well-rounded workout," Kammerer and Saylor add. “Typical boxing classes and training sessions will get your entire core fully engaged, your upper body completely exhausted and will require every last drop of stamina you can muster. Punching really sculpts your arms and shoulders, but there is virtually no muscle group that goes unused.”
The duo says the benefits are all-encompassing, really.
“[It’s] the ultimate in overall physical conditioning, but you’ll learn new skills, relieve stress and build confidence through enduring boxing’s grueling lessons,” they said.
Here to stay, or fleeting fad?
No matter what celebrities, models and trend-setters are saying, though, Kammerer and Saylor are sure that boxing as a form of fitness will be around for a long time to come.
“We’d compare boxing’s pedigree and potential to that of yoga, in that it will likely survive and continue being a staple of fitness, while more modern ‘invented’ fitness fads will ultimately fade,” they explained.
“Additionally, we believe boxing, again like yoga, is more of a fitness lifestyle, as it ultimately becomes a focal point of our lives. Boxing has certainly evolved, but ultimately remains largely the same as it ever was. Fickle celebs may be instagramming something different next year, but boxing will remain.”