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Hit Like a Girl: Our Beauty Editor Takes Up Boxing

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FITNESS Beauty editor (and self-proclaimed girly-girl) Leah Wyar swaps her usual routine for a hardcore boxing class and learns the true meaning of the word knockout.

From Pretty to Gritty

I was born a girly girl, 100 percent tomboy-free, and today I tap this trait as a beauty editor. Lathering up with the latest shampoos, spritzing on new perfumes, and applying the season's prettiest shades of lipstick are my job responsibilities.

Yet as my 30th birthday approached last year, I realized that all was not beautiful in my world: My True Religion jeans, which once made my tush look fab, were too tight in all the wrong places. I'd become sedentary -- likely to blow off my workout in favor of a blow-out. I had to get my butt moving.

So when a new gym called LA Boxing opened in my neighborhood, promising classes that would burn a boatload of calories, I impulsively signed up. I'd never so much as watched boxing on TV, much less thrown a punch, but, hey, how hard could it be?

I got my first clue when I walked into class on day one, past the sparring ring and the caged mixed-martial-arts area, where grapplers go at it. The room was wall-to-wall men, not another woman in sight. Swallowing hard, I sandwiched myself between the guys -- amid a sea of punching bags -- and gloved up. I got a few what's-she-doing-here? glances but shrugged them off. The gym had just opened, after all, so everyone there was a first-timer.

The Workout

Our instructor, Hans, a pro fighter, had that tough-guy look you see on TV. (In fact, he doubles as a stuntman in movies.) He began calling out the warm-up -- a 15-minute series of jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, planks, lunges (repeat!). Surprisingly, I actually kept up. Then came the tricky part: 30 minutes of punching combos -- jab, cross; jab, cross, hook; jab, cross, hook, uppercut -- mixed with more drills.

With sweat dripping down my forehead and back, I continually paused to catch my breath and skipped the jumping jacks to run in place. I wasn't alone, though. Most of the guys had beet-red faces, and I could hear them gasping for air or muttering a few choice words. All the while, Hans worked the room, making the occasional snide remark ("Don't waste this workout -- or my time!") as he corrected our form. An hour later, I had beaten my bag silly and sweated off all my makeup, and I felt as if I were going to keel over. But I was exhilarated. I couldn't wait for the second class. That is, until the next day. My ribs ached when I inhaled, and it hurt to raise my arm to put on mascara. I told myself that a little discomfort now was no match for the good things to come -- sleek arms and hips and a tighter butt.

Three days later, still feeling tender, I returned for another round. I caught the eyes of a few of the guys from the first class and gave them a heck-yeah-I'm-back grin. The music started blaring, and again we launched into a series of punching, push-ups, mountain climbers, and more. The next day, my knuckles were inflamed and my elbows were raw from all the shaking during those two-minute planks. I slathered on lotion and thought, Don't be a wimp.

Next:  One Tough Cookie


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bgiusti1661 wrote:

I loved this story! I joined a kickboxing class, went once because I couldn't keep up. Now I'm going to try again and get out of "my comfort zone!" Thanks for sharing.

2/16/2013 07:41:51 PM Report Abuse
darlarae_drw wrote:

awesome! I have always wanted to try boxing, but wondered if the guys would feel like their territory was being I'm motivated to go for it!

1/26/2010 07:42:37 PM Report Abuse
dwcoffield wrote:

I found this article very inspirational. Fitness should do more stories on ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Please do a follow-up if Leah has a match and tell the readers the outcome.

1/26/2010 03:43:55 PM Report Abuse

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