At this point the word “cardio” has been imprinted into my brain as boring, long and not that effective. Think long runs, cycling and just hours and hours of work for little results. That’s what I thought cardio was. For as long as I can remember, I have dreaded cardio — until I tried cardio boxing. What most people don’t know is that cardio boxing is a full-body workout. Not only I am able to burn up to 1,000 calories in a day because of a 45-minute workout, but I can actually have fun doing it. And the best benefit? I feel like a badass!  I know you might not believe me, so let me prove it to you. Listed below are a few reasons why you should give cardio boxing a try…

HIIT Something

The best way to burn more calories and to fuel your body the right way is to condition your body with high intensity interval training, otherwise known as “HIIT” for short. Interval training combines aerobic exercises (think Jane Fonda) with anaerobic exercises (think Olympic Gymnast, Simone Biles doing her floor routine) that will give you a lasting calorie burn even AFTER your workout! Cardio boxing puts you in an aerobic state for about one-third of the workout, and the other two-thirds in an anaerobic state allowing you to increase your speed, burn extra calories and strengthen those muscles.

Get Tone and Lean Out

Do me a favor. I want you to imagine a boxer. Do you have that image in your head? Good. Now erase it because I bet your perception of what a boxer “should” look like is wrong. I’d bet some of you pictured, Muhammad Ali, The Rock, or maybe Michael B. Jordan. But guess what? You don’t need to be tall or have big arms the size of The Rock. And you sure as hell DO NOT need to be a man! Now, you certainly can have all of these features. I’m not knocking those who do. I’m just pointing out that the stereotype is just that, a stereotype. I am 5’3”, built like a gymnast, blonde and freckled, and I am a boxer.

Every hard-hitting punch your throw comes from your lower body and core, not just your arms then add cardio into the mix. Cardio boxing uses a combination of shadowboxing and/or hitting the bag with continuous cardio movements such as high knees, burpees, push-ups, etc. that will increase your strength and teach you to control your heart rate. Pushing your muscles to grow in an anaerobic state conditions them to build endurance while releasing lactic acid which tones the shape of the muscle instead of bulking up.

BoxUnion’s Master Coach Tara noticed a difference in her body after just two months of training. “My body felt lighter and more toned than ever before. I was used to doing so much consistent cardio on a spin bike before that my body was trying to hold on to as much as it could because I was depleting my body in an aerobic fashion. Cardio boxing not only helped change my body by getting rid of the bulk and recover faster, but it increased my endurance and speed at the same time.”

It’s Just as Mental as it is Physical

Perhaps the most important feature of cardio boxing isn’t actually the physical benefits, but it’s the mental clarity and the stress relief gained. Stress and anxiety build up and have a massive impact on productivity, irritability, blood pressure, depression and so on and so forth. Cardio boxing helps the brain release endorphins that can elevate your mood, clear your mind of stress and act as a natural form of anti-anxiety medicine.

Recently BoxUnion conducted a survey to better understand what our boxers think of our workout. We found out that over 34% said the number one reason they continue boxing is the stress relief and mental clarity from our workout. While body transformation came in at around 13.8% the reality is, feeling better psychologically has a direct contribution to better physical outcomes.

One of our regular boxers commented, “Getting my aggression out before 8am has been great. I am a lot happier, I worry, and stress way less than I used to, and I am more confident. I speak up more, say “no” to things I don’t want to do, and have a better sense of who I am.”

Stick with It!

While cardio boxing can help you increase speed and endurance, burn more calories, help your body lean out and get you into a position where you feel more physically and mentally fit, be mindful that everything takes time. While you will notice the physical results pretty quickly, it takes a lifetime to perfect the skill of boxing. I know I always expect immediate gratification or reaction when trying something new.

Maybe it’s the millennial mindset or my athletic background, but remember you are learning a new sport all while reshaping your body! Just like Michael Jordan spent the summer of 1995 changing his body from a baseball player back to a basketball player, you have to keep focused, stay strong even when you’re sore and take it one punch at a time. The journey is just as much fun as the destination.

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