What if we told you there was a way to increase your cardio fitness and burn fat without wearing a you-shaped hole into your treadmill?
As anyone who has ever watched a boxing movie will tell you, there is, and it involves a pair of gloves and a ring. Okay, so you don’t really need a ring (unless you really want to go all out, in which case who are we to stop you?), but adding boxing workouts into your training regimen—like Centr’s, put together by boxing legend Michael Olajide—can help lift you out of plateaus that grind your progress to a halt.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to fat loss and falling back into same-old-same-old cardio sessions, otherwise known as “running until you can’t bear it.” Punishing yourself on the treadmill certainly gets you sweating, but it can also lead to cranky knees and hips, and the last thing you want is to end up sitting on a bag of frozen peas when you’d rather be training.
Boxing, on the other hand, can be a great way to burn calories while keeping your mind agile and your body engaged. Boxing is one of the best exercises to choose if you’re looking for a fat burning workout, with a recent University of Western Sydney pilot study finding that high-intensity boxing training was a significant way to improve body fat percentage in those looking to lose weight.
If you’re going full tilt (that is, not swatting at the bag like there’s a mosquito on it), boxing can be considered a high-intensity workout. You’re using your core, upper and lower body in order to create the power to throw punches, which means that you’re building strength while burning calories.
An added bonus of boxing-based workouts is their mental health benefits. Centr trainer and certified martial arts legend Tiffiny Hall knows all about this. “You can only roll with the punches for so long,” she says. Instead, step up to the bag and let your frustrations fly. Try a 90-second set of jab cross punches. “Punch with purpose,” Tiff says, “snapping the arm out and pulling it back to your chin as fast as you can. Go for power and speed.”
Boxing is also a great choice if you’ve been feeling down about your training progress. Even the guy at your gym who looks like He-Man has his off days, and whether you’re trying to break through a weight-loss plateau or just trying to change up your fitness routine, the mental agility and, yes, fun of boxing can be just what you need to break through to a new level.
If all of this hasn’t quite convinced you, there’s also the simple fact that pounding the pads makes you feel like a superhero. Try it, and maybe you’ll hear the Rocky music playing in your ears after a workout, too.
Get Chris Hemsworth's team of the world's best trainers, chefs and well-being experts in your corner.