December 2005
Andy and Jamie Welcome to this issue of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. This month Andy gets us in step with the essential boxing skill of footwork. In Fitness Tips, Jamie and Andy offer a few suggestions on creating healthy eating habits. Finally, in "Ask the Trainer", they caution a young boxer to be patient before stepping in the ring.

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #25: Practicing Footwork
Good footwork is essential in boxing. It's what keeps you balanced, allows you to move with and, more importantly, away from your opponent and allows you to get spring in your punches. Great boxers are known for their effortless footwork.

Starting from the basic boxer's stance, always lead with the foot closest to the direction you want to head. If you are moving left, lead with your left foot and slide the right foot over. If you are moving right, lead with your right foot and slide the left foot over. If you want to move backwards, lead with your back foot and slide your front one back. Keep your knees flexible. Stay in the basic boxer's stance. Shadow boxing in front of a mirror is a great way to practice and improve footwork. REMEMBER, NEVER CROSS YOUR FEET!

Partner Footwork Drill: This drill works best with three people or more and lots of room to move. (You can modify it to make it work with two people)

Equipment: One medicine ball, 6-8 pounds.

With everyone standing in a circle, start moving in one direction. Imagine you are in the ring; keep your hands up and stay in the basic boxer stance. As you circle, toss the medicine ball back and forth to your partners using a chest pass. Keep the circle tight and pass the ball with enough momentum to reach your partner, but not too hard. Focus on moving your feet smoothly across the floor surface. Have one partner call out "Switch" every 10 to 15 seconds. At that time, everyone changes direction. Continue to pass the ball as you move in a circle. Make sure your footwork stays smooth, that you lead with the proper foot and don't cross your feet. Maintain your balance as you catch and throw the medicine ball. Try this for a 2 minute round, eventually working up to a full 3 minute round. You can add other calls such as "Back" - to have everyone practice moving back and "Front" to work on stepping forward.

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Developing Healthy Eating Habits
Eat Less Later in the Day
Everyone knows reducing calories will help you to lose weight. However, just as you should reduce the calorie intake, you need to know when to eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the one meal that should not be missed. It provides energy for the long day ahead and will help reduce cravings for that unhealthy midmorning snack we are all tempted by. Lunch should be healthy, with proteins and whole grains, and typically less than what you ate for breakfast. At dinner, eat healthy but light. Avoid after dinner snacks or eating before bed.

Drink more Water
Water is excellent for the body and good health. Water helps flush out toxins lingering in the body. Water also replenishes fluids that help lubricate the internal organs and tissues of the body. While it keeps you hydrated, it fills your stomach, and reduces hunger, which helps with weight loss. Good consistent hydration helps to make skin look smooth and young. If you are not used to drinking water, it may seem hard at first, but very quickly, you will enjoy the clean, refreshed way it makes you feel. At a minimum, you should drink 64-ounces (8 glasses) a day and more if you can. Keep a water bottle or big glass around to remind you.

Reduce Sodium
As a way of reducing blood pressure, which is bad on the heart, reduce the amount of sodium (salt) you intake. You may be thinking of table salt but you should know that many canned vegetables, soups, even soda, are very high in sodium. Look at your labels and try to cut back on processed foods. If you have a craving for salt, switch to natural seasoning and just a little salt.

Increase Protein
Many of today's diets pull you back and forth, one telling you to eat more protein, and one less. The fact is that if you are not exercising as much as you used to or if you are exercising heavily, your body could in fact need more protein than the recommended daily allowance. The good balance for either scenario is 50% to 60% carbohydrates, 20% to 25% protein and 20% or less of fat. If you stick with this equation, you will benefit.

Good Foods for Quick Energy
Listen to your body. If you find that you are dragging, eat foods that will give your body the energy needed and are healthy. Examples of these foods include carrots, rice cakes, breakfast cereals, bananas, and potatoes. Other foods such as all roasted nuts, 100% natural peanut butter, honey and whole grain breads also help provide quick but lasting energy

Throw out the Scales
If you have bathroom scales, you should either get rid of them or put them away for a while. Weight does not accurately reflect the level of your fitness. If you should be measuring anything, it should be body fat, not weight.

Ask the Trainer:
"I'm 17 years old I'm dying to get into the ring and spar. I've been going to a boxing club twice a week for two months but the coach won't let me spar yet. What kind of things can I work on to improve, so I can get into the ring?"

I'm sure there is a good reason your boxing coach is not rushing you into the ring. You have to develop good conditioning, and have some basic defensive skills. Learning how to throw and take punches in the ring takes some getting used to. Your initial sparring sessions should be highly controlled learning sessions. You should be focused on "working your stuff" not trying to beat someone up. You should work on one or two defensive things and one or two offensive moves. Shadow box and work the heavy bag like you're in the ring. Get comfortable with idea of getting hit. Be patient, get in good shape and you'll get your chance to spar.

- Andy Dumas

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Endorsed by the World Boxing Council
Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.