Tuesday, May 4th - Day One:
In workout clothes I entered the boxing gym. Perhaps that was a subtle subconscious message to myself that I was indeed ready to workout. After grabbing my towel and water out of the car I stowed my keys and bag in a locker. My heart was beating so loud. I'll admit it, I was scared.
What would my body do? Could I even do this? Will I look stupid? All these questions and more flooded me and almost sent me back to my car. But then I remembered the anger I felt over the unfair online conversation I had with a stranger professing to be a fitness expert. His telling me that I was in denial and delusional made me so angry. I was pissed and felt backed into a corner. And no one puts Baby in a corner! Then he had the audacity to block me so I couldn't even reply to his holier than thou final diatribe about how I could live with my disease (here he was referring to me being fat) and he was done with me. I wanted to punch him. In lieu of him, I wanted to punch something.
So I straightened up, pushed back all the "You can't do it" words that were running around in my head like spastic children, and stepped into the ring.
Entering a boxing ring can be a bit tricky. There's balance and you have to squeeze yourself between two sets of ropes, bent over. My balance wasn't the best, but I made it into the ring without mishap. Stepping into the ring though, it's like your whole demeanor changes. This is where people fight, where they triumph, where they bleed, where they fall. The blue of the floor couldn't disguise the drops of blood, almost black with age, that speckled the surface. This wasn't a Tae Bo class at your local gym (though there is nothing wrong with Tae Bo, it can be quite fun with friends). No, this was real. I could get really hurt. I could hurt someone else. I know it was at that point that I started smiling.
My smiles didn't last long.
First off, my trainer taught me the proper defensive stance for a Southpaw (I'm left-handed), then he taught me the jab and the straight punch. And I started shadowboxing. I learned that footwork is important and that there are times that I confuse my right and left foot when facing an opponent. I did that with my punches too. I grew more frustrated each time I screwed up, throwing a right when it should have been a left. But Oscar was patient. He led me through a shadowboxing workout that lasted about 15 minutes or so. I circled him, jabbing here, throwing a punch there. He was never close enough for me to actually hit but it was good to have someone to focus on. He'd call out "jab" and I'd jab. He call out "one, two" and I'd jab and throw a straight punch. He'd yell "out!" and I'd know that I had to back up, keeping my defensive stance and proper footwork. It was exhausting. I haven't had so much fun working out in a long time.
By the time he led me over to the heavy bags, I was dripping with sweat and I do mean dripping. None of my previous workouts have ever involved such copious amounts of sweat. It was gross and really cool, all at the same time. I had already polished off my bottle of water so I refilled it as Oscar got me a pair of gloves and had me actually hit the heavy bag!
Above is a basic video on heavy bag work. Needless to say, I didn't look anything like this my first day. I still don't. But the feeling of glove hitting bag is something I really needed that day so I put forth my best effort. I worked the bag for about 15 minutes before Oscar came over, told me I did a good job, and that I was done for the day. I was in the gym for about 45 minutes and my workout lasted about 30 minutes.
I barely made it to the car. I was so tired. But being able to hit the bag, having Oscar tell me I did good work and being able to banish the "you can't" in my head and replace it with "you can and you did" were priceless. I would definitely return.