Gym bunny Lucy Miller tries a 6-week boxing course

NFC are challenging fitness writer, Lucy Miller, to swap her regular gym workouts for a 6-week boxing program. The sessions are designed to take Lucy out of her comfort zone and challenge her fitness levels in a whole new way. Track her weekly progress here!

Week one:

Can You Kick It?
In my head I am pretty fit. I can run a marathon in 3 hours 23, can ride my bike for hours and whoop my boyfriends butt in a circuit class but give me some boxing gloves and tell me to jab, punch and uppercut for an hour and I crumble.

What am I doing?
Well I am taking myself out of my normal beloved gym environment and spending six weeks training with Strength & Conditioning Coach and ex-national boxer CJ Swaby. We are training at NKD Ambition, a new and exclusive gym (with hair straighteners in the changing rooms – yippee) in central London.

Why am I doing it?
Well it’s time to take myself out my comfort zone and give my training a shake up; It’s all too easy to go to the gym at the same time, at the same place and do roughly the same thing; I want something different, I want to learn a skill and more importantly­ I want to feel hard!

After a quick warm up and movement assessment, we start the session with the basics. CJ teaches me the boxing stance, which when done properly gives you a solid base for balance and allows you to use your hips to power your punch. Next we learn how to shuffle forward, back and to the side still in the stance. CJ makes it clear from the start that he is not just here to give me a workout, he is here to teach me a skill and already my mind (and body) is working hard. To shuffle you turn slightly to the side, keep your feet close together and stand the balls of your feet and move in the direction you want to go. I am reminded to stay light on my feet (lightness on your feet is a hallmark of great boxers) and I am glad to say I pick up with no problem.

With my lower body sorted we then progress onto the more exciting stuff – pad work. After showing me how to punch, CJ sets his timer and I jab and punch for two minutes before taking a 30-second rest. We do this three times through, moving all around the gym as I do it. This is a type of interval training, where you go all out for two minutes before allowing the body to quickly recover – a very effective form of fat burning. Each interval is focused on speed and quickness of thought, and as CJ calls the shots I have to engage my brain with every move and throw short and accurate punches. I am immediately pulled up on the fact I keep dropping my guard and moving the gloves away from by cheekbones – if this was a really fight I would be all over the deck by now.

With the basics covered we complete a few more rounds of intervals. CJ helps me with my footwork. As we move around the gym I need to concentrate on throwing the shots while still moving my feet. I find this pretty difficult. I am getting tired and there is a lot to think about.

With boxing over we finish the session of with some kettlebell conditioning. It’s tough and once I have finished a minute of alternating one-arm swings, a minute of one-armed clean and presses (when you pull the bell from the floor, flip it over the wrist and press over head) on each arm, followed by a minute of front squats I am absolutely shattered.

Not only have my arms taken a pasting with all the boxing, but now my whole body and cardiovascular system is in bits from the ten minutes worth of kettlebell training. At the rate we are going – I am going to be a lean, mean fight machine in no time. My first impressions of boxing: it’s hard but already I love it!

What have I learned this week?
Good balance is essential for boxing. Your feet need to be in the right position, in a split stance at about ‘twenty past twelve’. Your left foot should point towards your target if you’re right handed – and you throw your jab straight.

Check in with Lucy every week to see how she is improving!