November 2005
Andy and Jamie Welcome to this issue of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. In this issue Andy reviews typical errors committed while learning fitness boxing. These are some great tips to help avoid problems. Jamie and Andy offer 10 tips for working out in the cold of winter. Lastly, in "Ask the Trainer", they tell one reader how to take his workouts to the next level.

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #24: Tips on Common Errors for Fitness Boxers
If you're new to fitness boxing training, these tips will help you recognize and correct common errors.

Error 1: Hitting too Hard
The biggest mistake many people make during a bag workout is trying to hit too hard. This over exerts the muscles and isn't beneficial to developing punching skills. Hitting too hard results in slow, sloppy punches, instead of technically correct punches. It is also dangerous for your body and may cause injury. Take your time, focus on proper technique. Let the speed and power come naturally.
Tip 1: Take your time, focus on proper technique.

Error 2: Don't Hold Your Breath
Boxers often find themselves holding their breath during training and depriving their bodies of the necessary oxygen to work hard. The best way to breathe during a bag workout is to exhale when you throw a punch. This allows your torso muscles to increase punching power and prevents you from holding your breath.
Tip 2: Exhale when you throw a punch.

Error 3: Pushing vs. Hitting
What's the difference between pushing and hitting? When you try to punch through the bag (push), you don't generate as much punching power. When you make contact with the bag as your arm approaches full extension (hit), you achieve maximum punching power. Attempt to pierce the bag no more than a few inches beyond the surface and generate a clean "popping" sound upon impact. Snap your punches!
Tip 3: Envision hitting only a few inches "into" the bag. Snap your punches.

Error 4: Using Improper Training Gear
Use high quality bag gloves or training gloves. You want to protect your hands! The protective padding in a boxing glove is like a car's shock absorber. The extra cushion reduces stress on the hands, especially the knuckles and wrists. It also lowers the strain on elbows and shoulder joints. A well padded (10 oz. to 16 oz.) pair of gloves and hand wraps are essential. Remember the padding will wear out over time, sweat and heat will break down the foam and it will no longer be effective.
Tip 4: Use quality protective gear and replace it on a regular basis.

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: 10 Tips to Keep You Active this Winter
1 - Moderate exercise five days a week can cut in half your chances of getting sick. A brisk walk speeds up the circulation of immune cells through your body, increasing the chances that they will meet up with, and combat, the cold virus.

2 - You can lose up to 70% of heat from your head, so wear a hat, toque or balaclava to reduce heat loss and stay warmer. It is true that if your toes are cold, PUT ON A HAT!

3 - Dress warmly in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. The three-layer principle: wear an inner layer of synthetic material to wick away sweat; an insulating layer to keep the body warm; and an outer layer to provide protection from wind and rain. Once you start to heat up, you can peel off a layer or two.

4 - Drinking enough water is always important. You lose a lot of your body's water through your breath and you may not always get the obvious signs of perspiring, but you are. An average person exercising in dry cold needs at least one quart of water per hour to avoid dehydrating.

5 - Pay attention to your body. Shivering, dizziness, or weakness can indicate a drop in body temperature, and that it's time to go inside. Prevent frostbite by wearing heavy socks and gloves. Come inside immediately if you cannot feel your fingers, toes, cheeks, ears, or nose.

6 - Remaining active can actually improve your recovery time from illness, but you need to listen to your body! The best approach to being physically active when you have a cold is to avoid intense workouts. Let your body recover. A moderate walk is a good way to stay active, without overdoing it.

7 - Take a little longer to warm up. Begin slowly by walking for a few minutes or marching in place to warm up your muscles. Stretch the muscles in your arms and legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less likely to be injured.

8 - Shoveling snow: Stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back) and tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements. If you need to move the snow to one side reposition your feet to face the direction the snow will be going. Don't hold your breath when pushing or lifting.

9 - Use sun protection. The cool weather will try to fool you but be sure to use sunscreen and a hat. UV-rays can still cause skin damage in the winter. Sunglasses are a good idea as well.

10 - Exercise during the day. The light will help you see icy or hazardous areas and the sun will keep you warmer. If you must exercise when it's dark, avoid high-volume traffic areas and wear bright reflective clothing.

Do your best to maintain a regular activity schedule through the winter months. This will not only help you beat the winter blues, but will keep you healthy as well!

Ask the Trainer:
"I'm 48 years and have not been involved in a regular exercise program for years. I have been walking 3-4 times a week, at a good pace for the last 8 months. I feel a lot better, and have lost 12 lbs. I'm ready to take it to the next level by increasing the intensity of my workouts and perhaps joining a fitness club. Any advice?"

Getting fit takes time and with commitment, you will reach your goals. A check up by your doctor is always a good idea. If you decide to join a fitness club, take a fitness appraisal, this will show you what your current level of fitness is.
Working out at home is a good option and for some people, if they're committed enough to actually make it work. However, for many people wanting to get into shape, the inspiration and encouragement received from working out in a gym is the way to go. Find a gym that offers state-of-the-art equipment, qualified staff, and fun classes where you can enjoy working out.

Set a goal for yourself, perhaps four to six weeks. Instead of looking at an entire year, you will have a much easier time meeting your goals and staying on track.

Track your Progress: Often when trying to get in shape, it seems like you are working hard but getting nowhere. In actuality, things are happening, just not yet seen. Keep track of your measurements. You will probably be surprised within only a few weeks at the progress made. Second, track your routines so you can determine what is working for you and what is not as successful.

- Andy Dumas

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