Call Me Million Dollar Baby

When the folks at LA Boxing invited me try one of their classes, I was more than happy to get my box on. I went to the nearest location in San Bruno, Calif., early one Saturday morning to test out my punches, and boy did they show me the ropes.

I was always the type who would get nervous on the first day of school, so it was totally normal for me to feel butterflies as I headed in. Not only was it a new class, it was not my typical Zumba or Jenn-taught class. This was boxing: heavyweight men, heavy gloves, and heavy bags. But I soon found out that I had no need to feel nervous. The front-desk staff was super friendly and showed me where I could get gloves, and explained how the class would play out. I was also warned that the first 15 minutes were some of the toughest.

The room was filled with rows of boxing bags, and I was excited to uppercut the stuffing out of one of them. The class was just the right size at about 10 participants: enough people to not feel alone, but not so many that we were bumping into each other. The instructor, Mike, put me at ease immediately, mostly because he didn’t look like Rocky or have black eyes. I’m not sure if it was obvious I was a newbie, but he introduced himself and gave me an overview of the class and let me know that I could pause or get a drink whenever I needed.

The class was very much boot camp meets boxing. The warm-up was no joke, with jogging, high knees, jumping jacks, burpees (squat thrusts) and mountain climbers. After 15 or so minutes of this, I was definitely “warm,” and glad I had been pre-warned. Mike, with his handy timer, would tell us we had a minute of a move, and then kindly update us on how much time was left. That was a refreshing change from counting reps, but the downside was that when you have 30 seconds left and you’re already dying, half a minute feels like an hour.

After the warm-up, we slipped our gloves on to get “fighting.” Mike demonstrated various combinations of punches, hooks, jabs and uppercuts, and we then punched the bag for the combo while moving constantly around it between punches. He came around to give tips on proper form, which was welcome because I’m sure at times I looked like a weakling flailing at the bag. At times I thought my arms were going to fall off, but I was able to pull through.

After the cardio and punching portion, we moved into strength moves. I’m pretty sure there were more lunges, squats and jumps to the ceiling, but I was in a boxing haze by that point. I definitely remember some killer push-up sequences, and then several minutes of abs that were intense, but I was proud that I only paused once, when it was my neck muscles that decided to wimp out on me, not my abs. While I expected my arms to be aching the next day, it was actually my calves that were the most sore from bouncing around like Rocky. My back muscles were pretty sore too—the perfect excuse to solicit a good massage.

If you’re interested in some workout toughness—in more ways than one—check out LA Boxing’s website to see if there’s a class near you. They also have kickboxing and martial arts classes. Maybe I’ll do kickboxing next. I’d love to kick that bag. Hilary Swank, watch out. There’s a new million dollar baby in town. —Erin

Can’t get to a boxing gym? Give Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo a shot!

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  1. Catherine says:

    Wow that sounds really intense!! My sister boxes twice a week with her trainer and she swears it’s the best workout ever though! Hey, if you haven’t already, enter my ZAP peanut butter giveaway. All you have to do is post a comment telling me “What motivates you to be healthy”


  2. Erica says:

    This sounds like so much fun! I use to take kick boxing at a martial arts studio and I took bags classes. It was the most fabulous workout! I miss it!

  3. Marcy says:

    We have an LA Boxing studio just up the street (next to the Dunkin Donuts. So you know I’m always there :P) Anyway, I see those peeps in there bustin their moves while I’m doing drive thru and it looks scary hard. On all their radio ads claim a 1,000 cal burn for each session. You know that’s not going to come easy LOL

  4. 45 and Aspiring says:

    Good for you! Sounds other worldly to me. . . But I like the idea of seeing if my from the shoulder punches would leave any kind of impression on the bag.

    I love the idea of Fit Bottomed girls!!

  5. Sagan says:

    Am packing my bags and moving to a location that offers this:)

    Sounds like so much fun! I love all the fighting exercises (jeez, that makes me sound like such an aggressive person). Need to take a real boxing class sometime.

  6. tfh says:

    That sounds HARD! It also sounds like it might be almost welcome after a stressful day.

  7. Danica says:

    I do this at the 24, but not at this level! It sounds great, and if I was closer to the area, I would for sure be going!

  8. GroundedFitness says:

    I watched extreme home makeover last night, and they made over a guys house and his boxing ring for underprivledged kids. It made me want to try boxing really bad. I need to look into some classes.

    Kelly Turner

  9. MizFit says:

    LOVED YOUR POST TITLE (though I avoided the movie out of fear it would be too much of a downer—was it?)

    and it all looks SO FUN.
    I need to give it a shot as well.

    thanks for the post!

  10. Erin says:

    MizFit: Yeah, a “bit” of a downer. But the title “Call Me Million Dollar Baby (minus the sadness)” didn’t have the same ring to it!

  11. Tim Rosanelli says:

    Sound fun! Nothing better to relieve stress then beat up on a heavy bag.

    Tim Rosanelli
    View my blog at
    Sensei Talks
    Join our sit-up challenge at
    60 Situps in a Minute Challenge

  12. Deb S., JerseyBites.com says:

    I’ve been boxing for about 5 years now and I LOVE it. I’ve found people either love it or hate it. It’s definitely the hardest work out I’ve ever experienced. It’s done amazing things to my shoulders and back. I highly recommend trying it at least a few times. The first time I did it I felt very uncoordinated, but pretty soon you get the hang of it and it becomes a lot of fun. One thing though, it never gets easier. The better you get, the harder you punch and the harder the work out.