November 2004
Andy and JamieHappy Thanksgiving! Welcome to this installment of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. This month, Andy offers some advice for those of us looking to take boxing to a new level by searching out a club or a trainer. With winter coming on fast, Andy and Jaime also offer tips on how "Winter Walking" can help keep you fit and interested in fitness throughout the cold months ahead. Lastly, in the "Ask the Trainer" section, the team helps debunk a myth that we lose muscle if we stop weight training.

The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #13: Finding a Boxing Club or Trainer
For most people, fitness boxing is enough of a challenge and a thrilling workout. Hitting the heavy bag, working the speed bag, and skipping rope, etc. provide a challenging, creative way to stay fit and release stress. Some of us, however, may want to take boxing training a step further and learn advanced boxing skills such as target mitt training or even partake in some controlled sparring. If you are ready to take this next leap, here are some suggestions to help with the necessary search for a club or trainer.

What to look for in a boxing club and trainer.

Walking into a boxing club is all about seeing, hearing and experiencing raw energy. Every club is different, but here are some basic things to look for.

A Variety of Equipment. There should be a variety of equipment, different size speed bags, double end bags and multiple heavy bags. There should be large mirrors placed around the gym to check your technique- whether shadowboxing or actually hitting the bag. Make sure that locker room facilities are available and that the club opening times are convenient to your workout schedule. Of course the club should ensure that water is available. Look for a conditioning area for both a cardio-vascular workout and a muscle-conditioning workout. Many clubs will allow you opportunity to try out a free workout session; do not be afraid to ask about this or take them up on it! You'll get a good feel for the club and whether you'll enjoy working out there.

Trainer / Coaches Certification.  Find a trainer who is certified by an organization accredited by the NCCA or similar organization such as ACE, ACSM and who has boxing instruction certifications. If you plan on sparring or perhaps competing, finding a trainer with coaching certification with one of the National Boxing Associations (such as USA Boxing This is highly recommended as sparring and competition can be dangerous if not directed professionally. You want a trainer who knows the game inside out and has a love of the sport and one who is going to match your personality and needs. Watch a training session before you decide to join a club or sign up with a trainer. Look for the amount of communication between the trainer and the boxer. The trainer should be willing to share his or her successes and training beliefs freely and have enough time to commit to a training session at least once a week. Your commitment and the trainer's commitment are important so that your goals can be reached.

A good trainer will bring out the best in you and place you on a schedule specific to your skill level and your needs. Good luck!

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Winter Walking for Fitness
Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise. It improves circulation, mobility and balance. It helps you to lose weight, works to prevent osteoporosis and all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. No complicated gear or equipment is required.

However, when winter comes around, you're more likely to hang up your walking shoes, stay inside and reach for the hot chocolate. This is a nice, cozy solution to the cold weather, but not necessarily a healthy one. Keep walking during the winter; you'll feel great and those hot chocolates won't add on the extra pounds!

Here's some advice that will help you stay safe and warm when you're walking in winter:

  • Ease into it. Cold temperatures keep muscles colder at first and cold muscles tend to spasm, so start off slow until you are warmed up then pick up the pace.
  • Walk at a moderate and slower pace. Winter roads and paths can be icy and the longer your strides, the more risk of falling. So keep the pace slower than you might on a dry summer day.
  • Bring along water. Dry winter air is dehydrating, and you do sweat even in the colder weather. It is important to re-hydrate. It might not be August but you'll still lose the water.
  • Walk with the wind, when starting out, not against it.
  • Stay safe. In low-visibility and bad-road conditions, don't walk where there's traffic. It is better to head to cleared park paths, bike paths, high school tracks, or residential streets that draw very few cars. If it gets really cold, try walking at the mall.
  • Layering of clothing is advisable. The first layer should be close to the skin, with a looser fitting second and third layer. It's always better to be able to remove clothing, than to have none to put on.
  • Avoid cotton. Wear clothing that has the capability of wicking moisture away from the surface of your skin. Synthetics like polypropylene or nylon have these properties.
  • Gloves or mitts, a hat, and a neck covering prevent the loss of the body heat. If you get too warm you can easily remove one of these items. Go inside if your ears, hands or head get cold.
  • Sunglasses or goggles with a light-colored lens should be worn to protect your eyes from snow glare and wind.
  • Studded outdoor walking shoes can give you extra traction on slippery surfaces and lighter hiking boots are a good option. Heavy boots that are designed for climbing are not a good substitute.
  • Don't layer your socks. Layering your socks predisposes your feet to blisters. It is best to wear thin socks, specifically made for winter outdoor sports.
  • Reflective gear is always a good idea at any time of the year, especially on busy roads.
Ask the Trainer:
"From April until November, I spend very little time in the gym. I prefer activities that get me outdoors. During this time I do very little strength training. I'm worried that my muscles will turn to fat because I'm not lifting weights. Will this happen?"

It's a myth that when you stop strength training (weightlifting) regularly that your muscles will turn to fat. Muscle and fat are two separate and distinct tissues, which do not have the capacity to change from one type to another. Hitting the Heavy Bag is one of the best ways to improve your muscular strength.

 - Andy Dumas

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Product Recommendations:
BH0250B70 Balazs 70 lb. Heavy Bag
GB0130 Balazs Multi Gloves
PK0112 Balazs Hand Wraps
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