You may be wondering what a boxing-related article is doing on a pilates-based website, but gains seen in each activity can actually cross over and benefit each other. In other words, the two compliment each other. I will describe some of the basic rationale behind this notion, and will also provide some of my own personal experiences of dipping my toes into each activity.
I originally heard of pilates via word-of-mouth, but then began digging deeper after learning more about it in a stretching and relaxation class. I was intrigued by the benefits of pilates, such as increased core strength and endurance, strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles, and increased flexibility. I also enjoyed the body-weight aspect of it (e.g. not using heavy dumbells, but instead learning how to move efficiently). When I finally joined a pilates class I immediately fell in love with the exercise. It was tough, probably one of the most challenging exercises I ever participated in, but I could see myself improve and the benefits were noticeable, so I kept coming back.
Eventually, as I began to incorporate physical activity more into my “free” time, I found myself desiring a higher-tempo exercise, but didn’t want to stop going to my pilates classes, and I didn’t want something that would negatively impact my pilates. A close girlfriend of mine introduced me to boxing a couple years ago, and ever since then, the combination is everything I could have asked for.
Boxing is an intense workout that will leave you panting after every round. Although it’s a very different style from pilates, I’d say it’s just as challenging, and maybe even more fun! I have to admit, I was intimidated going into the boxing gym for the first time, but the atmosphere was fun and supportive, the monthly membership was cheap, and the gear was also inexpensive when compared to other sports. Since I was new to the sport, shopping around for the right equipment was a little overwhelming, but talking to your trainers is the best place to start.
After about a month or so, I started noticing that I was trimming down even more than I had from just pilates. This was due to the high-intensity cardio-heavy exercises we would do for 3 minutes at a time with 1 minute rest in between. Switching the exercises up every few rounds kept the workout interesting and target virtually every muscle group in my body. I even tried my skill in the ring by sparring with a couple other people. This is really when I realized how safe and controlled boxing is, but more so how exhausting it can be to go toe-to-toe with someone for even just one round!
One of the primary benefits of boxing that I saw was the decrease in fat and simultaneous increase in muscular strength and endurance. Core strength is very important in boxing, and this helped me improve during my pilates classes as well (and vice versa)! Boxing doesn’t usually require lifting heavy weights, and most exercises are done with your own body weight. Stretching is also a key aspect of boxing training, and all of these together really helped me embrace the combination of pilates and boxing. I’ve never been in better shape!
In summary, don’t be fooled by stereotypes of each activity. They both have incredible benefits to your health and fitness, many of which cross-over! I highly recommend boxing gyms instead of home equipment, but you can find various pieces of equipment for your own home that can help you get the workouts in if you’re really short on time (e.g. a heavy bag stand with other workout features).
Whatever activity you choose, the main thing is that you enjoy yourself and it’s good for your health. Each activity I talked about is great for you, but if you’re looking to double-up, this is definitely my recommendation! Enjoy!