How boxing helped me to get my life back on track

I’d never been one for the gym. I’d once belonged to one for a little while, but the wall-to-wall beautiful people and equipment I didn’t understand intimated me so eventually I stopped going.

So never did I think I’d turn into ‘that’ woman - the one that loves exercise and seeks out some form of fitness every day. What happened?

After my life caved in rather spectacularly in July 2018 (lost my job, my partner, my home and my family within a fortnight), I took myself away on a retreat in an attempt to put myself back together. I expected to work on fixing my mind.  I didn’t expect that it would be the start of an amazing transformation of my body. We did some fitness every day and I discovered boxing.

Now I’ve always been skinny. Those are just my genetics.  But I’d never been ‘fit’. Boxing changed all of that.

What I discovered about boxing was that it’s a sport for everyone. Unlike many sports where you need to have a particular physique, boxing has a category for everyone and so it’s accessible to pretty much everyone.

I also learnt that its a lot like dancing. I’d been learning Latin and Ballroom for several years, but the parallels with boxing had never occurred to me: the focus on posture, distribution of weight for balance, footwork technique and coordination with the arms.  It was no wonder that it got me hooked. For all those reasons and again, just like dancing, I also found that it challenged my brain as much as my body. I liked that. In my stressful life it provided an escape - I couldn’t think of anything else but the boxing whilst I was doing it and that down time from my busy-brain was so beneficial.

What boxing did was give me confidence. You can learn the basics very quickly. You see progress straight away. I’ve long said that the key to confidence is competence and boxing delivered that feeling immediately.  At a time when I’d felt like an abject failure in my life, suddenly I felt like I was making progress again.

I learnt that boxing isn’t about physical strength. It is about technique. Just like in life, having numerous smaller skills rather than a single heavy hammer was the way to succeed. The more I built those many skills, the stronger I felt and the more I believed in myself.

What boxing did too, was reminded me that what you see as the end result is in fact the culmination not only of consistent hard work, but also of a variety of well-thought-through plans coming together. I could only box well if I ate right (when I get stressed I don’t fuel my body well), so I began to pay attention to my nutrition. To last the rounds and not tire, I needed to improve my cardiovascular fitness, so I took up running and learnt (with some effort) I could do that too. I needed my mind to be right to have the belief required to spar, so I started paying attention to my ‘self-talk’ and took up daily meditation.

From one chance encounter with boxing, my mind and body have transformed.

Guest blog from Carolyn Hobdey - Author and Life Coach