Friday, December 18, 2009

Punching Your Way to Healthy Writing

Note from Trish: I apologize for the late posting today. Anna sent me her post and photos several days ago, but I quite simply forgot to prepare the post last night. So, sorry Anna. Hope you all enjoy Anna's post nonetheless.

By Anna Sugden

With the holiday season upon us, it’s a good time to be thinking about how we’re going to recover from all the indulgences (and overindulgences), as well as what our New Year’s resolutions will be.

I know I will be endeavouring to be a healthier writer. I saw the difference it made to me last year when I took myself in hand and became more disciplined about both my writing and my health and fitness. In particular, I’m going to make the effort to add back an element to the health and fitness part of my routine. It’s something I’ve been missing.


Yes, you read that right. Boxing. Fitness boxing.

You might think it strange that a sport in which grown men, and indeed women, go around beating the heck out of each other is of value to one’s health or one’s writing … but, I can promise you it is.

First, let me clarify. I don’t climb into the ring and go for the knock-out. No one hits me. And, I don’t really hit anyone either. Not like a real boxer. The boxing trainer wears punching mitts and a body shield - that’s what you punch. Oh, and punch bags, of course. (As an aside, did you know it’s really hard to do that thing boxers do when they punch that little bag back and forth?! They make it look so simple, but getting the rhythm right so it works is really difficult!)

Second, fitness boxing isn’t all about the punching. Sure, that’s a fun part - especially, on days when you’ve had a rejection! But, throwing a punch is only part of the story. It’s about body positioning, how you move your feet, how you hold your hands, timing and concentration. And, when you do get to the punching, each punch has to be thrown a certain way. Plus, there’s ducking and dodging. While my trainer would never hit me, he mimics punches so you move to get out of the way! That too is harder than it looks, when you have to remember to keep your fists up and be ready to dodge another way!

Seriously, my brain probably gets as good a workout as my body when I go to a fitness boxing session. So many things to remember! A good boxing trainer will work you as hard mentally as he will physically.

I always do my best writing after a fitness boxing session. Always. Because, my brain is cleared of all the clutter and is energized by the exercise.

Third, I get bored by doing the same thing over and over again. I used to love aerobics, because it was a combination of dancing and exercise. I’ve often thought about doing jazzercise too. Boxing is something different again, because it isn’t just boring reps and routines!

If you only have a short time to give up to exercise, boxing is a great way to burn calories and make your whole body fit. It builds strength, flexibility and endurance. Each punch works so many muscles. Let’s try a little demonstration to show you.

1. Stand with your feet apart (shoulder’s width), one foot slightly in front of the other, knees bent a little. [I’m right-handed, so my left leg is the one in front]

2. Bring up your hands in a classic boxer’s pose, fists clenched, on either side of your jaw.

3. Punch straight out with your right arm, at shoulder height.

4. Bring the arm back in and set up in the starting pose.

5. Punch straight out with the left arm.

6. Repeat, being careful to set your position each time.

Did you feel the muscles working - in your legs, your arms, your back, your core? Did you feel the energy needed just to throw those two sets of punches? Can you imagine repeating that ten times? Can you imagine repeating that ten times and hitting something solid instead of air?

I was lucky enough to find a great boxing trainer - a former golden glove champion, who was also a fitness expert. You can see a cool video which shows the kinds of things we did on his Web
site ( … and if you look closely, you might even spot me! Not only did he teach me to box (and to do that cool skipping that boxers do - which in itself is a great workout!), but he also showed me how to use boxing to make me healthier and fitter.

Sadly, since we moved home (and he wouldn’t move with us!) I haven’t been boxing. But, I do have a big punch-bag and my gloves and I’m determined to start again. Fifteen minutes of skipping and punching is worth at least double that in lifting weights and crunches! And, we all know it’s easier to fit in shorter exercise sessions to our busy lives *g*.

Hopefully, I will make myself fitter and healthier … and make my writing fitter and healthier too!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy 2010, with lots of great writing!

How about you? Do you like strict, repetitive routines or do you find it easier to exercise when things are different and changing? Do you find it hard to fit in exercise routines? Do you find exercise clears your brain? Does boxing interest you?


Michelle Butler on December 18, 2009 at 10:17 AM said...

Anna, thanks for the inspiring post! Your previous one really did inspire me to set a goal to run a 5K in 2010, but I just don't think I'm the type of person to like boxing. I've never liked kick boxing class, and I did not like the hitting and being hit part of self-defense class. I do love reading your prespective of boxing - and Jeanne's on martial arts - but I just don't think those sports call to me.

I definitely like variety in my exercise routine. It can be hard to fit in exercise, but once you make it a habit, it gets easier. Also, I find it extremely helpful to focus on all the positives I get from exercise and not think of it as a chore or something I HAVE to do. Exercise can clear my brain - and really my whole body - in wonderful ways.

Michelle Butler on December 18, 2009 at 10:17 AM said...


I absolutely love the photos of you boxing. I can see how it would feel so empowering. I just can't get over my gut reaction that I would not like it.

Anna Sugden on December 18, 2009 at 10:38 AM said...

Hi Michele - how awesome that you've set a goal to run a 5k in 2010, based on my post! You'll have to keep me updated on how you do! I hope to do the Race again.

I know what you mean - not every exercise is for everyone. Spinning is not for me! And I know lots of people love yoga and Tai Chi, but they're too ... measured ... for me *g*. I think the key is to find something that sparks inside you, so you enjoy the routine of working out.

I also think you need to be realistic about how much exercise you can practically fit into your routine. My hubby's two daughters are now up to training for a half-marathon! I, on the other hand, stick to the 5k because I know that all I can fit in is a run for 30-45 mins 3x a week. I can't fit in an hour or two for running! Lots of people set impossible targets and are then destined to fail because they can't possibly fit that kind of work-out in and it can't become a habit!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on December 18, 2009 at 10:45 AM said...

This was a great post, Anna. I also like a variety in my exercise routines, even if it's just a change in locale for walks. I'm setting a goal for 2010 to go on an actual hike (not just a walk around the neighborhood) at least once a month and hopefully get the hubby to go with me.

The exercise that I really don't like is weights. I can do about 5 minutes and then I'm bored out of my mind.

Cassondra on December 18, 2009 at 10:46 AM said...

Hi Anna! What a great blog!

I think I would like this, actually. Most of the reason I don't do more exercise is that I hate the gym. I hate machines. I hate routines. I like something that is different and in which I get exercise while doing something FUN rather than exercise just for exercise's sake. Boredom is what kills my workouts every time I resolve to do better.

I like martial arts, so I think I would like this too.

jo robertson on December 18, 2009 at 10:46 AM said...

Anna, that is so cool! You look so intense and focused and . . . well, just damn healthy!

I like repetitive exercising, but I know that varying your routine helps you lose weight better. I've been planning to add some flexibility exercising to my daily routine. Right now, I'm just satisfied if I don't gain weight during the holidays!

Great guest, Trish!

Michelle Butler on December 18, 2009 at 10:51 AM said...

I will, Anna! I've already picked my race. I plan to blog about it in early January. I've convinced about 10 other people to do it with me, and I plan to sign up lots more. It should be fun. :)

I like yoga, pilates and tai chi. I've never tried spinning, but I'll give it a shot at least once in 2010.

Trish, weight lifting used to bore me out of my mind too. The only palatable way for me to lift weights regularly is to attend body pump class - a hour weight-lifting class. To my great shock, I really enjoy that class and miss it when I don't go. I've always been a fan of exercise classes though - they make it fun, and I enjoy the social aspects too.

Anna Sugden on December 18, 2009 at 11:01 AM said...

Thanks for having me on the blog today, Trish - it's so great!

That's my problem with weights too.

Hope you get to do some nice hikes - with your love of National Parks, you should find some awesome places to hike.

Anna Sugden on December 18, 2009 at 11:03 AM said...

Hi Cassondra - yes, I can see you enjoying boxing. It's the action and the discipline I can see appealing to you. A shame you don't live in NJ because you'd love Presley! He's the best!

Anna Sugden on December 18, 2009 at 11:07 AM said...

Thanks, Jo. Presley kept me on my toes! You really had to concentrate to get it right.

I know a lot of people are like you and like the repetitive routine. It works for them too. Adding flexibiity is a great thing to do as it works so many muscles while keeping the body more limber.

With all the goodies on offer, gaining weight over the holidays is going to be a given, I think. At least we didn't have Thanksgiving too LOL

Anna Sugden on December 18, 2009 at 11:08 AM said...

I bet you were a good girl in school too, Michelle! LOL. I was the fidgety troublemaker in the back row *g*.

Now, you see, i could do a body pump class - that's similar to what I was doing when I cam across my bosing trainer.

Anna Sugden on December 18, 2009 at 11:14 AM said...

Uh - don't know what happened there. That should read 'when I came across my boxing trainer'

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on December 18, 2009 at 11:46 PM said...

Thanks for being with us today, Anna. Again, fun topic. And I bet it would also be a great way to get out frustrations too. :)

Anna Sugden on December 19, 2009 at 8:14 AM said...

Thanks for having me here, Trish and thanks everyone for making me feel welcome.

Post a Comment


Healthy Writer Copyright © 2009 Girlymagz is Designed by Bie Girl Vector by Ipietoon