April 2008
Andy and JamieIt's April and spring is in full swing; take advantage of the warming weather and get out and start getting in shape. In this issue, Andy and Jamie address proper warm up and cool down to prevent injury and optimize performance. They detail the benefits of a good nutritional breakfast and finally they address a reader's concern about taking a day off after some strength training.

"Knock Yourself Out!" The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #48: Warm Up and Cool Down Techniques 
Boxing workouts can be extremely physically demanding. All the effort expended through your muscles can result in "over doing it" and to muscle soreness after the workout. This soreness is a definite deterrent to working out the next day and is often the reason most people stop fitness routines; they do not like the pain associated with muscle soreness. There are a few ways to reduce soreness following a workout.

First, start any fitness regimen slowly; do not try to do too much at one time, work into it over a few weeks. Second, with every workout follow a simple three-step program every time to reduce the possibility of muscle soreness. The program is as follows:

1 - The Warm-Up - A good warm-up prevents injury and can prevent muscle soreness. The warm up gets your blood flowing, raises your body temperature and warms the muscles. You want to warm up whatever primary muscle group you will be working out. If you will be doing a heavy bag routine, take 5-10 minutes to shadow box throwing light fast punches, loosening your shoulders, elbows and back. If you will be getting in the ring, hit a treadmill or elliptical to get the legs moving and then take 5 minutes to shadow box. The purpose of the warm up is to get your body in the perfect mood to work out; it is a great way to ease into the day's routine- especially if you do not feel like it. Most times by the end of the warm up, that feeling is gone and you are ready to go.

2 - The Stretch (Before Working Out) - After doing the warm up, take 5 minutes to stretch the muscles you are going to work out. For a punching bag routine, stretch your triceps, biceps, shoulders and back. Stretches should be done is brief series of three stretches, each stretch hold for a count of 10. Be careful not to bounce or overextend. Good flexibility can improve your performance and will help prevent injury.

3 - The Cool Down Period - After a tough workout, one can get chills after the session is done. The blood leaving your muscles too rapidly causes this. Take 5 minutes to slow down, slow your heart rate and help flush your muscles with blood. This may mean slowing your pace from a run to a jog or brisk walk. Alternatively, it might mean doing some shadow boxing after a heavy bag workout. Carry a light jacket and sweat pants. Make sure you bundle up or change into dry clothes after your workout. This will eliminate the chills and improve recovery time.

If I want to push your training to the next high level, try adding these tips to your workout routine.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Healthy Eating - Breakfast
A healthy breakfast refuels your body and jump-starts your day.

The benefits of a healthy breakfast

A good breakfast not only starts your day off right, but also lays the foundation for lifelong health benefits. People who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol
  • Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning
  • Control their weight
  • Have lower cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease

Best bets for a healthy breakfast

A healthy breakfast should consist of a variety of foods, such as, whole grains, low-fat protein or dairy sources, and fruit. This provides complex carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat - a combination that delays hunger symptoms for hours.

To make a healthy breakfast each day, choose one item from at least three of the following four food groups:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice without added sugar
  • Grains. Whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, or melba toast
  • Dairy. Skim milk, low-fat yogurt cups or low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses
  • Protein. Hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, lean slices of meat and poultry, or fish, such as water-packed tuna or slices of salmon.
Ask the Trainer:
"After a really tough weight lifting workout, do I really need to take a day off? I don't like sitting around doing nothing."

During a weight lifting workout the inner structures of your muscles breaks down and there are microscopic tears in the fibers and leaks in the muscle cells. This is the natural process of muscle growth. This process requires time to repair and heal. Typically about 24-48 hours is required to allow new muscle growth to take place. This rest period is optimum after every weight-training workout. However, the rest does not mean you do not have to take a day off.

Create a training schedule that alternates areas of the body so that you can train daily yet not over work any particular muscle group. For example:

Monday: Weight train back, biceps and legs
Tuesday: Weight train chest, triceps and shoulders
Wednesday: Weight train core, legs.

In addition, you can use cardio workouts to break up your weight training and allow for suitable recovery. The day after a hard leg strength workout, try a boxing routine- working out the upper body, getting solid cardio without undue stress on the legs. The day after a solid upper body workout, go for a run or a bicycle ride. Get the cardio you need without undue stress on the upper body.

Besides the recovery benefits, alternating workouts will keep your regimen interesting and will stave off boredom and stagnation. You will workout more and be happier doing it!

Keep up the good work!

- Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to

Product Recommendations:
BH0250  Balazs Heavy Bags
GB0010K  Balazs Heavy Bag Gloves
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Endorsed by the World Boxing Council
Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.