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Monday, September 6, 2010

Knock That Stress Out!


Thesaurus defines stress as a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense. We all experience it in different ways. We have different ways to combat it. Some people simply listen to soft or hard music, some play golf, some play musical instruments, some drink coffee or beer, some do yoga etc. However, very few people do boxing. Yes, one cannot experience the fantastic stress- relieving benefits of the sport until they try it!

Clients come to me for different reasons. Most of them have different fitness- related goals, and some just want to learn some new technique. As the sessions go by, that's the time they experience Boxing's stress- relieving benefits.

Most of my morning clients are "The" moms. The moms do have a full- time job, that of a mother. Motherhood, as I understand is a full time job, with lots of overtime, without benefits, so physical, mental and emotional. Man! When they throw punches, you'll be surprised to feel the power in their hands. Every punch they throw can blast somebody's face. You can also see it in their facial expressions--- you'll see focus, determination and stress coming out (don't ask me how I can gauge this but I can tell).

"As a mother of 2, raising children can be quite stressful. Boxing has

helped make my days move along with more ease and peace."- Stephanie Y.

I feel capable of taking on the world and have all of the daily worries at the back of my mind. My sessions give me the satisfaction of feeling I have really challenged myself in a healthy way. -Pat K.

The night people are usually the working class. After a day's work, they hit the gym and work out for themselves. Work sucks most of the time for these boxers.. You have a boss you don't like or a project that you're working on. So when these individuals hit the pads, I experience the same power that the moms in the morning let me feel.

I travel a good deal and have a very hectic schedule that is not very conducive to a healthy lifestyle. The work is very intense and my stress levels can be high causing me to be very "tightly wound".

Our time together in the gym helps me stay much more focused, balanced, energized and "de-compressed" from the rigors of travel and the pressure of balancing work and home. - Dave R.

Here are some tips incorporating the psych- edge in relieving stress thru boxing:

1. Punch- out drill: Basically, this drill is just throwing a barrage of jabs and straights or uppercuts like there's no tomorrow. By doing so, you get into a mindset of just throwing punches with utmost speed. I am sure that you won't be thinking of anything at this instance. You can do this drill with punch mitts, heavy bag or even shadow boxing.

2. No strategy: Trust in your trainer is important. Let him dictate the pace in mitt work. Allow him to lead you to a state of "no strategy". In this drill, let him lead you to different moves and combinations as you GET INTO THE ZONE! You'll never realize the fatigue that your body experiences at that moment because you have set your mind into "just boxing". It's all mental! You may want to substitute your trainer's face with the person's face you're stressed about.

3. Power at the end: I often end a boxing mitt work round to let my boxers hit the pads with their strongest straights. In this drill, the boxer should VISUALIZE their stressor before throwing each punch. It may be your salon appointment being cancelled, your kids thrashing the house, the cat pooping on your bed or your next door neighbor spreading rumors about you. You may think of a particular situation. Grunting while punching will be a big help in releasing the tension. This helps, based on my personal experience. You'll realize that you can knock stress out focusing on the target.

I had one client who approached me after a disagreement with her better- half. She looked so pissed and I figured that she would not have a good mood for strategy. I decided to let her hit the mitts like crazy--- like there's no tomorrow. It turned out that the mitt work was all she needed. That was her release. She left the building with a more upbeat, positive attitude. I have not heard about her problem again, and of course that's none of my business.

Every punch that you throw should feel like that of a champion. A Champion achieves insurmountable things and I am very confident that each and every one of my clients (both past, present and future) will surpass themselves and their daily stress with it.

Now, if you are getting tired of squeezing that stress ball, try to do boxing and see how it works for you. After each session, you will feel "refreshingly invigorated". You will have a different outlook when you encounter stress---- that of a C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N! Train like one!

Post Script:

As I was in the process of editing my article, I sent a copy to one of my trusted editors, Stephanie. Here's her reaction:

"I like it a lot! I have to say though as I read the article (trying to relate it to me) I don't think its the punching that creates a stress relief but, rather these [sessions] are just for me and its something I do to empower myself by learning something new and seeing strength in me that I have never seen before. That alone is delightful and thus a sincerely happy, non-stressful feeling. I leave feeling good about myself. Not to mention the natural "happy" chemicals released just by exercising."

Lawrence Ragos is a Certified Boxing Trainer and the director of the Train Like a Boxer Program--- a boxing training system focusing on intense strength and conditioning workouts. His DVD Series and FREE ebook are available in his official website,
Occupation: Boxing Trainer
Lawrence Ragos is a Certified Boxing Trainer and the director of the Train Like a Boxer Program--- a boxing training system focusing on intense strength and conditioning workouts. His DVD Series and FREE ebook are available in his official website,

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