Why I love boxing

 

Over the years, boxing has earned itself a pretty damning reputation as one of the world’s most brutal and dangerous sports. But according to MIKE BATTAGLIA, Personal Training Manager at Dee Why Fitness First, boxing has helped him live a life that’s healthier, happier and more community-minded than he could ever have imagined.

I was a pretty angry kid and boxing gave me a way out. It taught me how to respect myself and others and to not judge a book by its cover. I didn’t grow up in the nicest of families, so when I found boxing, I found a new way to form relationships with people and build my self-esteem. It felt like becoming part of a community.

It’s the mental benefits that surprise people most. A lot of my clients box to boost their fitness, which is great, but there’s so much more on offer. I didn’t realise this when I started boxing, but how I handle myself in the ring is a very good reflection of how I handle myself in life. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. The same is true at work, in our relationships and with our families. When things are on the up, we feel good. But when life’s got us on the ropes, we tend to lose our grip. Boxing teaches me how to stay calm and collected under pressure.

Boxing’s not the rough-and-tumble sport everyone thinks it is. It’s actually a game of chess. It requires strategy, patience and humility. When I walked into my first lesson, I thought I could take on anyone. But I soon realised that it takes more than just speed and strength to beat your opponent.

There are lots of ways to keep yourself safe. Everyone thinks that boxing is this aggressive and dangerous sport. And to be fair, the more competitive you get, the more that’s true. There’s something very primal and powerful about it. But starting off, it doesn’t have to be dangerous at all. As long as you develop a strong technique and know your limits, you’ll be fine. It’s a bit like driving a car. Most of us commute to work, but how many of us race around a track? If you stick to the speed limit and follow the road signs, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Skipping the gym is the easiest thing in the world. After all, who’s going to know – or care – if you don’t get on the treadmill from one day to the next? But missing a boxing class usually means letting at least two people down – you and your sparring partner. And in my experience, nothing feels worse than that.

I’ve met some of my best mates in the ring. It’s a genuinely social environment and I love the sense of community that’s created by a bunch of people working out, channelling their frustrations and having fun together. The same goes for my classes. If you don’t have a partner, I’ll find you one, and from that moment on, that person will become a part of your life.

It’s so easy to get started. All you have to do is find a class you like and rock up. The thing to remember is that it’s supposed to be fun, as well as good for you. So, make sure you do a bit of research to find the right type of boxing for you. Some people love boxercise, others love kick boxing. It really doesn’t matter how you box, as long as you’re getting something positive out of it.

 

Want to stay on top of your health? All members of myOwn health insurance have access to AIA Vitality, our health and wellbeing program that rewards you for looking after your health. You can also get access to partner services at a discount rate. Check out our gym and fitness partners here.