Jab. Right cross. Uppercut. Hook.
Look out! Forms of boxing are new and increasingly popular methods of aerobic exercise and great ways to get in shape.
Boxing is known for its high energy level and explosiveness. Boxing workouts are specifically designed to increase strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.
Another form of boxing, cardio kickboxing is a common class among fitness studios and combines elements of martial arts and traditional aerobics into an exercise routine.
Fortunately for students, there are a variety of venues nearby that offer forms of boxing as exercise classes, including local fitness centers and specialized facilities.
Junior Sherwin Tavana tried out the Cardio Box class at Overtime Fitness with his sister. Although he originally went “as a joke,” he especially enjoyed the fast pace of the workout and took several more classes.
“It’s a killer workout,” Sherwin said. “I’m sweating like crazy.”
The Cardio Box class is more or less actual boxing except without sparring, a term for practice fighting. A typical class includes 5 to 10 students and consists of 15 minutes of warm-up exercises, 30 minutes of circuit-style boxing and another 15 minutes of abdominal work. Circuits are stations that focus on different aspects of boxing and fitness, including punching bags and medicine balls.
Instructor Nnamdi Iwuagwu says there is more to be gained from boxing than people might think.
“[You] learn discipline,” Iwuagwu said. “Even when you get tired, you’ve got to have mental toughness. That’s what boxing is. … It goes a long way.”
More women than men take the class at Overtime Fitness. Iwuagwu attributes this to the fact that after a couple workouts, men “want to hit somebody,” whereas women generally do not.
Junior Sarah Loebner has a brother whose girlfriend attended a cardio kickboxing class at the YMCA, and the Sarah ended up going with her.
“[The class] was invigorating and challenging, but really fun at the same time,” Sarah said. “It hurts while you’re doing it but feels so good when you’re finished. You get that sense of accomplishment at the end.”
Another venue, Studio Kicks Palo Alto, is a training center that focuses specifically on cardio kickboxing and the martial arts.
The cardio kickboxing program at Studio Kicks is offered in four difficulty levels, K1 to K4. While K1 and K2 focus on the basics of cardio kickboxing, K3 and K4 incorporate more advanced elements and are geared toward intermediate and advanced students.
Cardio Box at Overtime Fitness is offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Studio Kicks Palo Alto K1 through K4 classes are offered throughout the week, from 8:45 a.m. to as late as 7 p.m.
The El Camino YMCA and 24 Hour Fitness also offer cardio kickboxing classes.