February/March 2008
Andy and JamieSpring is just around the corner. Put the winter blues behind you and get your heart rate cranking. A heavy bag work out is just what you need to get your fitness in gear. In this issue, Andy and Jamie provide a few tips on improving your heavy bag punching technique and a great work out to practice. In the Fitness Tip, Andy and Jamie advise on precautions and nutrition for training in these last few weeks of cold weather. In Ask the Trainer, Andy helps one reader with a plan to remove her belly fat.

"Knock Yourself Out!" The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #47: Heavy Bag Technique Tips 
One of the most important boxing tips beginners should learn regarding the heavy bag is to snap their punches. Beginners usually "push" the bag with their fist as they punch, as opposed to just hitting the surface of the bag. How can you tell if you are pushing your punches?

You can tell if after you strike the heavy bag it swings a lot, chances are good you are pushing and not snapping your punches. What most often causes it to swing, is continuing to carry your fist and weight forward, or "pushing the bag" after the impact.

Avoid the push by keeping your punches crisp! After extending four first throwing a punch, retract it as fast as you threw it. Throw sharp punches quickly and return to the 'on guard' position. (Hands-up)

Warm up by shadow boxing for a few rounds. Watch yourself in front of a mirror, and make sure your punches are thrown quickly and straight to your target.

Muhammad Ali, would 'snap' his punches, as if he was trying to throw his gloves off.

Remember: Speed is more important than power.

Here is a drill to practice getting that snap just right:

Heavy bag sprints, an advanced punching workout on the heavy bag, are a succession of very fast punches over specified periods. The purpose is to increase your punch speed, work your arm and back muscles for power and endurance, and challenge your cardio-respiratory system. This workout imitates the demands placed on the body in a fight situation, when near the end of a round you feel too tired to lift your arms.

Equipment Required:
-Boxing Gloves or Bag Gloves
-Heavy Punching Bag (at least 70lbs)
-Timer (optional)

  1. Start by addressing the bag straight on, with the hips square to the bag and the arms having equal reach distance and contact on the bag.
    1. Note: Do not stand in the classic boxing stance. The feet stay stationary and the body core is held tight. The body weight is slightly forward, standing on the balls of the feet and the knees are relaxed.
    2. Contact with the bag is in a one-two rhythm maintaining your reach distance.
    3. Sprint times are short, so put effort into each of your punches.
    4. Snap your punches. The bag should barely move.
    5. Speed is more important than power in this drill.
    6. Remember to keep breathing throughout the sprints and move around during the rest period in between the sprints.
    7. Make sure you warm-up before heavy bag sprints.
  2. Start with 15 second sprints,
  3. Resting 15 seconds,
  4. Repeat 3 to 5 times. Work up to 25 second sprints.
    1. It is best to have a timer.
    2. This is a great drill to finish your heavy bag workout.

For more information on punching technique, please visit

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Focus on Winter Sports Nutrition
Tips for improving your sports performance:

People who participate in cold weather activities require special nutritional needs to performing at an optimal level while staying comfortable and safe as the temperatures drop.

Keeping your body temperature regulated can be difficult in the winter. In the summer, sweating regulates your temperature and takes away excess heat. In cold weather, you require this heat to stay warm. The body temperature will naturally drop in the cold and when you breathe in cold air, the body is forced to warm and humidify the cold air.

Each time you exhale, a significant amount of water is lost. Keeping hydrated in the winter is often difficult and it is necessary to be conscious to drink more fluids to replace the water that gets lost during respiration/breathing. Dehydration is one of the main reasons for reduced performance in the cold. The thirst mechanism is reduced in cold weather and the desire to drink is decreased. Being mindful of drinking a lot of fluid while working out is critical to preventing dehydration. The most important nutritional need during the winter months is replacing the loss fluids and proper re-hydration.

Eating during cold weather, warm foods are preferred over cold food and fluids to maintain the core body temperature. The best foods are complex carbohydrates, such as pasta, soup, peanut butter, whole wheat breads and bagels, lean meat, and low fat cheeses. These foods provide energy over the long term as opposed to sugars that will provide immediate energy boost followed by a letdown. It is suggested to eat 2 hours before exercising; this allows the body to begin digestion and get vital energy to the muscles. In addition, once you start working out in the cold the body will have other things to focus on, such as staying warm, and will take resources away from digestion.

The proper food you fuel your body with in the cold weather can help you perform at your best, as well as keep you stay comfortable and safe.

Ask the Trainer:
""I gave birth 3 months ago and I'm trying to lose the baby weight. My body looks ok except the belly. I've been working out 3 days a week at a gym. 30 min cardio and some weight training. But it doesn't seem to work. I'd really like to lose the belly so I can fit into my old jeans! What is the best way to lose this weight and the belly? Please help!"

It's great that you are on a regular workout schedule and you definitely sound motivated to reach your goal. Your post-pregnancy exercise routine should focus on both reducing body fat as well as and strengthening key areas that became weak during pregnancy. To achieve more fat loss, rearrange your workout routine to do more cardio. You should gradually increase your cardio activity level. It took you nine months to gain the weight; take a sensible, slower approach to losing it. Try adding an extra 30 minutes a week doing different types of cardio workouts- treadmill, stationary bike, a heavy bag workout, etc. Then increase intensity of each work out as the weeks progress.

A comprehensive, yet simple weight-training program will help strengthen the area weakened during pregnancy. In addition to your 30 minutes of cardio, take each workout day and focus on a specific area of the body- the upper body, the legs and the core. Your metabolic rate- the rate at which your body burns calories- is directly related to the amount of muscle tissue you have on your body. Weight training and muscle building will help you shed additional weight and provide a slimmer toned look. Lifting weights two to three days per week, 2 - 3 sets of 10 - 15 repetitions at lower weights will increase your muscle tissue and also increase your metabolic rate, (the rate at which you burn and use calories).

As your training continues, the extra fatty tissue will come off the mid section. Everyone has an area where they carry more fatty tissue and it will be the last place you notice a difference. Just focus on your progress; you'll get there!

- 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.