By Brad Jones
Sometimes the holiday season can have you feeling low, and sometimes it can have you motivated to start a new year. But sometimes the stress makes you want to punch something.
If you’re feeling the latter and one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get back in the gym, the boxing gym might be a good option for you.
“We have a lot of people come in just for the cardio,” says trainer and boxing coach Darius Lewis at the UFC Gym in Baton Rouge. Lewis, who has been a trainer since he was 13-years-old, says that along with swimming and running, boxing and mixed martial arts training is some of the best cardio training you can do.
When you think of a boxing gym, you think sweaty, stinky and filled with people who like to punch other people. In other words, not so nice. With the popularization of MMA as a professional sport, this has changed. More gyms are opening all over the country that offer clean, well-equipped facilities and knowledgeable trainers. Baton Rouge is no exception.
Boxing and MMA aren’t just for people who want to box and get in the ring and hit people. Many are coming into classes to get in shape or to learn self-defense.
“With Spring Break and pageant season coming up, we have a lot of people that come in to get the cardio and strength training,” Lewis said.
Lewis trains all ages and types at the UFC Gym, including younger athletes, some as young as 7-years-old.
“I train one athlete in boxing, and we learn math too,” Lewis said.
He said trainers also try to help athletes with their education.
“Boxing helps build character, and it makes you humble,” Lewis said.
Major Benefits to Boxing and MMA Training:
- Excellent Endurance- Boxing and MMA can lead to excellent cardiovascular health. With constant movement avoiding punches and takedowns, as well as throwing a few punches of your own, you can burn 800 calories in an hour of training.
- Strength and Muscle- Because you are using a variety of muscles from all the major muscle groups, you will be getting a full body workout. Boxing also works your core muscles, which can give you that Spring Break ready six-pack.
- Character and Discipline- Like trainer Darius Lewis states, boxing helps build your character and discipline. Coming into the gym at 6 a.m. everyday isn’t easy, but it is rewarding.
- Self Defense- Many techniques you learn in boxing and MMA training can be useful in defending yourself in a dangerous situation. With that, you learn how to control your body more efficiently and elegantly.
Boxing and the martial arts have been around in our culture since the birth of civilization. In today’s modern boxing gym, it is not the stereotypical macho punching factory. Most gyms in Baton Rouge offer something for everyone, whether you are looking to get in the ring or get in shape.
“Boxing is more than what you think,” Lewis said.
The UFC Gym in Baton Rouge has two locations, one on Perkins and Acadian, and the other off Sherwood Forest Boulevard. Both offer classes in boxing, kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, and general MMA training. Both locations offer one free class with no commitment. Boxing is also offered through BREC at several locations in town.