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Boxing training at 46 and how it has changed me

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I’m 46, and boxing is never going to be my career, it’s more of a life hack. I am the ‘Maureen of Driving School’ when it comes to my footwork and hooks. But this sport is helping me change my life for the better.

Boxing at 46 is like wearing braids in your hair at this age – it makes you look like a weirdo. But the thing about getting older is that I care less about what other people think about me – so it’s OK.

Only weirdos like me are prepared to put in six days of training a week in the gym and all the energy they have to stay fit and healthy.

Boxing is a bit like Marmite

In my experience, there are two reactions to my boxing. It’s a bit like Marmite, people either love it or hate it. There is no in between.

I don’t know how many times people have told me I’m brave to even consider doing it. But I’ve always been a fighter in life. Whenever I’ve been knocked down, I’ve just got back up, dusted myself off and got on with things. I have learned the hard way many times, but life is about learning after all.

My first boxing sessions at TKO Boxing

When I stumbled into boxing for fitness, then began to learn from my trainer, Beau Pape, and watch others at TKO Boxing in Kenton, Newcastle, I got my first jolt of juice!

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I headed into TKO on my first day. All I knew was that this was going to take me out of my comfort zone. However, I was met at the door by a trainer who said “Don’t worry, we’re just all like one big family here.” And he was right.

Watching the youngsters hard at work with ABA Boxing Coach Gavin Rickelton, it was clear that these young lads and lasses wanted something more out of life than just playing video games. It has been so inspiring to watch them working towards their goals and developing their self-esteem and confidence. I wish someone had helped me like this when I was young.

Boxing unlocks part of your brain that’s been blocked

Now skipping as a warm-up exercise is not my cup of tea. It reminds me of working from home during lockdown, but it is strangely empowering.

During my first session with Beau, it was as if I’d unlocked a part of my brain that had been blocked up for years. I am now flooded with energy and just wish I’d got into boxing earlier because I know it could have helped me through some tough times.

Beau’s support has meant a lot to me in recent months. I’m now not just a new mum over 40 or full-time marketing person. I’ve got something that takes the pressures and pain out of life.

I owe my life to exercise

I am no longer willing to give up who I am for other people because this is something big, something powerful, something just for me. To get to this stage, I’ve had to quit giving everyone else all my time and energy. But if I hadn’t done it, I would have crumbled. I definitely wouldn’t be the mum I am today.

Right now, I think I owe my life to exercise and boxing. This is not a small change to go through at 46.

A sizeable learning curve

Part of the reason boxing has such immense power to change your life is because it takes commitment – even at a very low level. You can’t stroll into a boxing gym one day, hop in the ring, spar with someone and expect to come out on top. That’s just reserved for the movies.

It’s a fairly sizeable learning curve as I’m coming to realise. The moves only come after months of practice. I’m still trying to get to grips with pivots, punch well and get some power into my hooks. The tiniest moves – advancing on jabs and footwork – only come with practice. And when you’re training, it’s hard to keep focused on everything at the same time. I don’t know how many times I have jabbed with the wrong hand when I’ve lost my concentration. It’s tough!

1-2-1 boxing sessions

Even after six months and six days a week at David Lloyd, my fitness shape is nowhere near boxing shape. Being 46, I want to be in top shape. Hitting the local gym for 1-2-1 boxing sessions is awesome for me, combined with some serious interval training.

I don’t think I’ll be sparring any time soon, although I wouldn’t rule it out completely – never say never.

Train hard and eat healthy food

The main things for me at the moment are to keep eating healthy and training hard to increase my strengths and minimise my weaknesses.

I work on cardio, speed, accuracy and power whether it’s shadow boxing, hitting the bags or pad-work. At 46, I need to stay mentally focused, and be extremely careful not to get injured along the way.

Training regime that works for me

Even just hitting the heavy bag causes me some aches and pains, but it is also teaching me boundaries. I’ve learned how to create a training regime that works for me. Time goes so fast when you’re having fun and my sessions are over before I know it.

While I’d get beat easily in any ring, I do consider myself a winner for never giving up. That’s what matters to me.

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Saffron and Cyrus is a Newcastle-based family lifestyle blog, covering diversity, self-care, days out, travel, reviews, recipes and more from our family life.
The blog is written by new mum over 40, Aranda, with input from hubby H and four-year-old Cyrus.

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