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Hit Like a Girl: Our Beauty Editor Takes Up Boxing

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One Tough Cookie

Within a month, that hurts-so-good feeling became my greatest motivator. I discovered that pushing myself is a high. My aha moment came on a day I couldn't make it to boxing and instead went to my regular gym. After only five minutes on the treadmill, I grabbed a set of hand weights and did biceps curls to make my jog more challenging. I practically ran to boxing the next night in search of sweat and ruthlessness.

Today, six months into what's become my boxing addiction, this girly girl gets a charge out of being one of the boys. Working out next to a muscle-bound guy who could punch nonstop once made me question my abilities. But as my strength increased and I, too, could do it, my self-doubt faded. Plus, having an instructor who barks "Don't you dare quit on me" if you fall to your knees during a plank is the ultimate incentive: I simply refuse to wuss out.

In fact, all the right moves have earned me cred with the guys. One day after class, Mike, an instructor, asked if I'd ever been in a fight (um, no!). Danny, another instructor, has often said my form is "better than the men's." And once -- just once -- Hans said, "Those are some good hooks." It meant the world.

And then there are the street smarts I've gained. While the class isn't about self-defense, I walk alone at night with a lot more confidence -- even in four-inch heels. I credit the instructors, who instill the tactics they use in the ring: Block your face, never drop your hands, throw a hook tightly from your chest. These moves are instinctive, thanks to the constant correction -- a learning curve that's maybe quicker for women. "Because they're not encouraged to fight, women pick up proper form easily," says Rich Van Houten, owner of the gym. "Men, however, are often taught to throw punches incorrectly, which can be a hard habit to break."

The Results

Six months of boxing has changed my body more than 10 years of my old gym routine. I achieved my initial goal, losing seven pounds, and officially retired those now too-big True Religions. And for the first time ever, I have sculpted arms and shoulders, killer definition in my back, etched abs, and toned legs. To me, that's more attractive than the beanpole look many women strive for.

Most of all, throwing punches has taught me that my body has capabilities I never dreamed of and that I can do anything if I just step out of my comfort zone and train to make my goal happen. Sitting in a room of my beauty-editor colleagues, I delight in being the only girl with a mean left hook -- and the red knuckles to prove it.

Next:  Get in the Ring!

 

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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 invaded...now 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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