The truth is, though, there is always time – it just needs to be managed. And getting fit is hard, but achievable. This was exactly why I decided to embark on the Smiths Boxercise Gym Challenge, and I dragged my colleague Nadia Godridge along for the ride.
After considering many forms of exercise, I decided that non-contact boxing (boxercise) would be the best choice for this challenge because of its use in conditioning the entire body in one workout. It improves both cardiovascular and endurance fitness, is a great stress reliever, and builds confidence and self-esteem. There is hardly any threat of injury and there is no age or gender discrimination.
The four week challenge began (and will end) at the Smiths Boxing Gym in Cedar Square in Fourways. If the family name sounds familiar it should: it is synonymous with boxing because of former three-time SA light heavyweight champion and World Boxing Association contender Kosie “KO” Smith. His sons, Peter, George and Sean Smith (who have also enjoyed successful boxing careers) opened the Smiths Boxing Gyms, focusing on developing a new generation of boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) champions and sharing their passion for this sport to all.
Our trainer was Sean Smith, youngest of the brothers, former amateur boxer and owner of the Fourways gym. Smith has now turned his passion into a business, not only passing down his knowledge to future champions but also using it to disprove the negative stereotypes about boxing. His aim is to educate the public about the tactical and psychological elements that there are to the sport.
Round one – ding!
For our first session, Smith promised to take it easy on us. When our session ended that day we felt certain he had lied – until we experienced day two, day three and day four. For week one Smith, along with Ace (another trainer at Smiths) focused on teaching us on the basics with a bit of pad and bag work. I suffer from left-right confusion, so when Smith decided to throw in some footwork, I felt like the kid the dance teacher usually puts in the corner to operate the CD player. I was not floating like a butterfly…
He also tested our fitness levels on the treadmill and set benchmarks to monitor our progress using the dreaded circuit. The circuit involves running up and down a flight of stairs 10 times, jogging 400m, doing more stair work, jogging a further 60 meters, and then going back up the first flight of stairs a further 10 times. The circuit ends with a graceful, light – hardly – 800m jog.
It was a week in which our bodies went through a metamorphosis – this was in itself an experience. Imagine zoning out while staring at your ominously shaking hand as you stir your coffee; or watching your little
finger going into a mini-fit when trying to hit the “P”, “backspace” and “enter” buttons on the keyboard.
But by day five our bodies rebooted almost as if they had finally submitted and accepted the challenge, something our minds took a while longer to do. It was a very surreal feeling. Smith noticed it too. I didn’t like that, as it just means next week is going to be even worse.
Oh well, I’ll just keep repeating what Smith kept telling us during our sessions: “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone”.