Tuesday, February 26, 2013

24-Minute Boxing Workout

Here's a boxing workout that I do at home that I love.

Round 1: Warm up (6 minutes)

Alternate one minute of step touches with 30 seconds of jumping jacks for a total of 4 times each.
How-to tips:
  • Step touches: Tap your right toe lightly in front of your left, then your left toe in front of your right. Swing your arms as you continue alternating left and right taps. Move at a comfortable pace that elevates your heart rate and quickens your breathing.
  • Jumping jacks: Start with your feet together, arms at your sides. Jump with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart as you lift your arms up to shoulder level. 
Round 2: Punch (6 minutes)
Move continuously from drill to drill without any break in between.
Drill 1: Alternate left and right punches 4 times, then alternate lefts and rights as fast as you can 8 times. (2 minutes)
Drill 2: Alternate right and left punches 4 times, then alternate rights and lefts as fast as you can 8 times. (2 minutes)
Drill 3: Alternate left and right punches in sets of 8 with a slight hesitation between sets. (2 minutes)
How-to tips:
  • Start by making a semitight fist by curling your fingers into your palms and placing your thumbs on top of your index fingers '- not inside your fists. Be sure to keep your fists aligned with your wrists as you punch rather than slightly turned in or out.
  • Stand tall with abs tightened and your feet shoulder-width apart, left foot forward, right foot back. Keep your weight evenly distributed between your feet, and lift your right heel up.
  • Raise your fists in front of your face, lower your chin and keep your elbows in tight to your middle.
  • To throw a punch, thrust your right hip forward and pivot quickly on the left heel. Extend your arm from the shoulder '- imagine it's an extension of your back '- and take care not to lock out your elbow.
  • As you strike out, keep your other hand up in front of your face and your chin tucked. Return to the start and punch with the left.
  • When your arm returns from the punch, it should travel back along the same path with equal speed.
  • Fire punches out as hard and fast as you're able. Aim to elevate your heart rate and breathing and to work up a sweat. Exhale forcefully through your mouth each time you throw a punch, and remember to use your core to help power your movement.
Round 3: Jump rope (3 minutes)

Jump rope

How-to tips:

  • Hold an end of the rope in each hand and stand with your feet together in front of the rope line.
  • Bend your elbows and hold your arms out to your sides at about hip level. Spin the rope quickly and, as it approaches your toes, skip over it.
  • Stay low '- only jump an inch or so off the floor '- and when you land allow knees to bend slightly to help absorb impact.
  • The rope is powered by the turn of the wrist ??'- not the entire arm. The wrists are the motor, so to speak. Think of your legs as shock absorbers and springs that push you up and off the ground.
  • When you get into a comfortable rhythm, move into a "boxer's shuffle": Continue spinning the rope and, as it approaches your toes, shift your weight slightly to the left, move your left foot a small distance forward and jump, again staying low and slightly bending knees on touchdown. On the next spin, shift your weight right. 
Round 4: Pump (6 minutes)
Do these five strength moves with a 15-second break between exercises.
Boxer Twist: Place a broomstick across your shoulders. Stand tall with your arms draped over the stick. Keeping your abs tight, do tight, small twists left and right. Exhale each time you twist to the side and inhale as you move back toward the middle. Twist for 30 seconds, then rest briefly and repeat.
Last-Round Squats: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, hands on hips. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then stand back up, taking care not to lock your knees. Do 32 reps and hold the last rep in the squat position for 20 seconds.
Championship Push-Ups: Get into a push-up position: Kneel on the floor with your legs together and your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight forward so that you're balanced on your palms with your thighs just above your knees. Bend your elbows to lower your body. When your elbows are parallel to the floor, press back up to the start without locking elbows. Do 8 reps, and on the last one, lower slowly, taking 20 seconds to complete the rep.
Heavyweight Dips: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out, arms at your sides, palms pressing into the floor and fingertips either pointing out to the side or behind you, whichever is more comfortable. Lift your butt and legs up so you're balanced on your palms and heels and your weight is supported by your arms. Bend your elbows a few inches, and then straighten back up. Do 8 reps, and on the last one, lower slowly, taking 20 seconds to complete the rep.
Contender Crunches: Lie face-up with your hands under your butt and your abs pulled in tight. Lift your legs 1 to 3 inches off the floor without allowing your lower back to arch up. Holding this position, curl your head, neck and shoulders up and in, hold a moment and lower back down. Repeat 8 times.
Round 5: Cool Down (3 minutes)

Stretch out and cool down with these three flexibility enhancers.
Million-Dollar Babies: Stand tall and straighten your right arm across the center of your body, placing your left palm behind your right elbow to create a stretch through your right arm and shoulder. Hold 30 seconds and repeat with the left arm.
Rocky Thigh Stretch: Stand tall, holding on to a chair with one hand for balance. Lift your right leg up and bend your knee to move your heel up toward your buttocks. Gently grasp your right toe in your free hand to create a stretch through your right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg.
Olajide Back Extender: Lie face-down with your elbows bent and your palms a few inches in front of your shoulders and shoulder-width apart. Gently press up through your palms to straighten your arms and arch your back as far as you comfortably can. Hold for 60 seconds as the stretch spreads through your abs and into the tops of your thighs.

The Quest: Part 1 - Abs

I have to be dramatic.

I'm on a quest for defined abs.
P.S. It was very difficult finding the perfect representation
for what I'm going for. I want abs, but I want to maintain my curves.
This woman's body shape here is closest to mine, except she is toned
and I sadly, am not (for now).

It's nearing the end of February. I turn 38 near the end of May. I've stayed within 10 pounds my weight and form since high school, but some things have shifted... like my abdomen.

I've always been an active person. I played as a kid - let me clarify since today's kids consider sitting around playing videos games as playing. I really played as a kid: double dutch, hand ball, tag, bike riding, climbing (shit I wasn't supposed to be climbing, if my mother only knew!). There was also running, volleyball, aerobics... and then I discovered dance (jazz, tap, ballet, African, Salsa). And then I got a gym membership, and trained with a kickboxing black belt. I have been a busy woman - no wonder I'm always tired.

Well, this 37.85 year old body is acting the fool. Things are trying to hang out, go South - I don't even like the South, I'm a Northern Yankee thank-you-very-much! I've always had a nice shape, but there must be something about this age that I'm at where I am determined to get that 4-pack (not trying to be greedy) that has always alluded me, even when my belly was flat.

So, I did something that I never do. I took photos of my body in my workout gear. It was not flattering. I was possibly (maybe not) going to post them in this entry... I think not. I'm going to save them for my big reveal, BUT I am printing them out and posting them in my work area (which is where I almost always am), as motivation to not just keep active - which is no problem for me - but to meet this physical goal.

Off tangent for a moment: I stopped running over a month ago after my back went out and I couldn't walk for days. Those were some dark days, but I'm walking now. I haven't made it back to the track, and with my new work / school schedule, I'm going to have to do like I did when I first started running - do it on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday, 3 miles each day). One of the great things about my new schedule, though, is that I work 2 and from my daytime activity - 2 miles one way, so I'm getting in 4 miles of walking 4 days a week.

In the meantime, I've taken up boxing again, as well as military interval training, and while that may make me strong, the goal is to tone, so I am taking part in the HangTight with MarC Feel Tight Diet Challenge for the month of March. It's involves a 7 day detox, and diet plan for the month of March. With the crazy schedule that I now have for myself with my various endeavors, I've decided to approach this as I would work - I've created a calendar that will tell me what I am to eat each day (if I don't do this, I fear with all the running around that I won't be successful - and I really think the key to getting that 4-pack is the food that I eat, which brings me to the one thing that I am going to miss the most... and no, it is not the peanut butter ice cream in the freezer.

I actually want to cry. I have one last glass of wine left in the bottle, and then no more. I used to just reserve the wine for the weekends, but it's replaced the mild affection I was receiving after a hard day's work - still can't replace a hug or a kiss, but I did what I had to do. Anyway, tonight I will enjoy my last glass of wine for the month. And then I'll go back to once a week (Saturdays), or investigate alternatives that I will share on this blog.

I'm also giving up the salt (chips, cashews). I already rarely eat red meat, so as an extra push, I'm going to become reacquainted with the egg plant and pursue vegetarian recipes, which I am very excited about since I love to cook.

I'm going to be learning about vegetables beyond my limited scope, and increase my smoothie intake.

When I have gotten to the point where I have comfortably transitioned into an even more healthy lifestyle, not only will I share the photos that I took today, I will take new ones of me in a bikini (and I haven't been in a bikini since I was 4).

I just want to get rid of fat that I don't need, and I think a 15 pound decrease from my 153 lb frame would be beneficial for my physical goals, including taking significant pressure off my back. I could go on and on, but let me just list some initial goals so I can get this started.

  • Get into a bikini (and look good in it) by May 23 - my birthday
  • Lose 10 lbs by May 23
  • Lose a total of 15 lbs, by July 4
  • 4-pack abs by May 23 (doesn't have to be chiseled, but if I flex, I want to see some indentation
  • Eat a 75% vegetarian diet - which would become the norm - by May 23
  • Be able to run 5 miles in 30 minutes by May 23
  • Be able to do a yoga head stand by May 23

 That's it for the first part of this lifestyle journey. I'm working on so many wonderful things in my life - my emotions, business, and more, and I feel like it is time to get everything in sync so that I can be successful across the board. It's going to be hard especially because I already don't eat a lot of things that I already don't eat, BUT there is always room to do better.