Box your way to good health and a sharp mind



Boxing can be a deeply satisfying way to work out and get fit. It’s something I got into a few years ago and I love it for many reasons, and it’s a key part of what I do with my clients.

Boxing training is a mixture of cardiovascular fitness and strength, primarily using your triceps, the large latissimus dorsi muscles in the back, and the muscles of the chest. It can easily be incorporated into an all-body workout, and you can usually purchase a pair of hand wraps, gloves and pads online for less than £20. Getting fit for boxing, or training as a boxer would, does not mean you have to get involved in sparring – only if you want to!

As well being very good for developing cardiovascular fitness, boxing will help sharpen your reactions; mental as well as physical agility will be improved. A few rounds on the bag or the pads is a fantastic way to alleviate feelings of stress, and release some happy chemicals into the brain. It elevates heart rate, and I’ve known clients use boxing training as a way of helping them manage their asthma too.

To be fit to box, you have to have strong core musculature, strong legs, strong back and a straight punch. If you’re thinking of taking up boxing training, then there are a few exercises you can start doing now to get your body ready. Sit ups, oblique twists, the plank and side planks will help strengthen your core muscles; squats and lunges will strengthen the legs, and hip extensions will get the big gluteus maximus muscles firing. Press ups will work on the chest and triceps, and you could use a medicine ball or similar weight for shoulder press exercises. All of these can be done using your own bodyweight, and if you need to add some weight, I can recommend kettle bells, hand weights and medicine balls that can be bought quite reasonably online. You should also work on your cardiovascular fitness by putting together a circuit comprised of exercises such as running squats, squat thrusts, star jumps, burpees, tuck jumps, shuttle runs, and so on. Depending on your current fitness levels, one suggestion is 30 seconds on each exercise with 30 seconds rest. Use your phone as a timer.

A lot of gyms now have a punch bag hanging in a section of the gym, and if you have an exercise buddy you could hold the pads for each other whilst the other punches. Alternatively find a boxing gym, or a personal trainer who specialises in boxing techniques.

After a good workout, I feel every muscle tingling, and my mind feels sharp, alert and clear. There’s no feeling quite like it. You can box your way out of being overweight, unhappy, low in confidence or self-esteem or depressed. Put on the gloves and see what it does for you.

Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork: the highly personalised approach to health, fitness and nutrition that puts you first, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that uses innovative techniques such as DNA testing, wearable tech, biohacks and bespoke coaching to transform the lives of our clients. Visit or send an email to for more information or to register your interest in our services. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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