Walking into any gym for the first time can be a daunting experience. Walking into a boxing gym can be an intimidating if not terrifying experience. For experienced members using a gym, it can be easy to forget those first experiences, but these fears are very real for first-timers, and sadly, prevent a lot of would be participants from getting valuable self-defence experience and top fitness training.
It is hard enough to think about being the new person in class. For the inexperienced, there are also sometimes false perceptions that boxing gyms are places of violence. In reality, there are several different types of boxing gyms. There are the gyms that exist mostly to identify and train professional fighters. The vast majority of boxing gyms are for using boxing training as a method for promoting fitness. It makes sense – boxers are amongst the fittest people in the world. Some clubs will over the whole spectrum of services. They mostly exist to train people looking for improvements in their fitness and they will train professional fighters as well.
The best thing any newcomer can do when walking in to a boxing gym for the first time is to come with the right attitude. Everyone was a beginner at some stage. Don’t try to pretend you have experience if you have none. Don’t go at all unless you are willing to put the effort in. It is a waste of time and money. Be willing to ask questions if you have them and listen to the answers and the instructions the trainers give you. It is tedious enough for trainers to have to answer the same questions when they are asked by different people. It is truly annoying to have to repeat them to the same person because they aren’t respectful enough to pay attention.
After you sign up, you can expect any of the following activities, depending on the gym you go to:
- Skipping / jumping rope
- Applying hand wraps and gloves
- Heavy bag work
- Working with coaches on mitts or focus pads
- Cardio exercises / callisthenics / strength training
- Speed training / Shadowboxing drills
- Punch combinations
- Technique development
- Stretching injury prevention
If you are going to start taking classes at a boxing gym it might be a good idea to at least do a little reading and practice some basic skills like skipping and push ups. It also would hurt to do a little fitness training before you go so you don’t feel completely humiliated from a fitness perspective. Having some fitness gives newcomers a little more confidence which can be useful.
Remember that boxing gyms are made up of a lot of different personalities and that (depending on the type of gym you are going to) people are there for different reasons. You may actually train with people who are going to step into the ring to fight, so don’t be surprised if they seem to ignore you or aren’t friendly. They will probably just be focused.
You will find that the trainers attitude varies too. The more effort you put in and the more consistent you are with your training the more attention they will probably give you. Boxing gyms have a very large turnaround of people who turn up a few times and then disappear. The trainers probably won’t even bother to get to know you until you have been there for at least a couple of months. Like most things in life, the more you put into it – the more you will get out of it. Go and give boxing training a shot, but more importantly give it enough effort and time to see if it really is for you.