Women's boxing - the ultimate fitness workout

The sport of boxing used to bring to mind heavyweight greats like Mohammed Ali, George Foreman and Mike Tyson, but since Nicola Adams brought home gold for Team GB in the first ever women's boxing event at London 2012, the sport has gained increasing numbers of female fans.

Women's boxing

Pic: Getty

Not only could boxing training get you in the shape of your life, it could even do wonders for your confidence and self esteem. So forget about aerobics classes or running on a cold, dark evening, and immerse yourself in the intensity of a boxing workout.

Why boxing?
Aside from the fact that it's a change from the norm, boxing has enormous benefits in terms of all round fitness. A common worry amongst women is that they'll end up looking like bulky and muscular, but that really only comes with weight training.

Instead, what boxing provides is a high-intensity cardio workout, toning and strengthening of the muscles, improved coordination and agility, and the inevitable weight loss of a serious fitness regime.

The benefits don't end with the physical. Many women who take up boxing training feel empowered by their improved strength and self-defence abilities, leading to greater confidence and self-esteem. And what better way to let off steam and get all the stress of the day out of the way?

Sounds scary
Don't worry - you won't be thrown straight into the ring with a mouthguard and a grizzled opponent, neither will you be banished to a corner with a solitary punchbag. These days there are classes for beginners, where a coach will show you the basic techniques and punches, and you'll be paired up either with a fellow newcomer or an experienced pro during pad work.

And don't worry if you're out of shape. While it is an intense workout, a qualified instructor will be able to modify the exercises to suit you. You should, however, be prepared to give it your all if you are to get the best out of it.

Where do I sign up?
As well as the many boxing clubs around the UK, fitness centres and gyms are increasingly offering this type of training for women, many of which are more suitable for those that want to get fit but have no intention of entering the ring. Fitness First, Virgin Active and Gymbox already run classes at their centres, providing the necessary gloves and pads you'll need. Taking a class also makes it a more sociable sport. Alternatively, many personal trainers will be able to devise a suitable workout, or at the very least point you in the right direction.

Have you recently taken up boxing? Would you recommend it? Leave your comments below...