Smell the glove
Two things: one, all sports bras are not created equal. Spend money. Two, do not go anywhere near a Chocolate Orange within six hours of any fitness class that will involve burpees.
This week, a trip to the marvellously named Left Hook in Shadwell for a Friday night boxing session. It was hard. Within the first fifteen minutes I was wet through with sweat, hair soaked, bright pink, and very interested in the clock.
First of all though, I was given the warmest of welcomes, shown how to do my bandages, and given a demonstration of the key moves. Then the music was cranked up to ‘pumping’ and we got started.
The class itself covered a good amount of general fitness (burpees, star jumps, ‘spider mans’, press ups etc) to music, followed by lots of partner work and technique training. I had a very generous and patient partner who helped me to remember when to roll, when to hook, when to cross etc.
A few times I wanted to give up. When I kept forgetting the sequence of punches, when my arms felt like lead, when I nearly shared second hand Chocolate Orange with my classmates.
I did not give up. I kept going. Through jab, cross, upper cut, roll and hook. Through poke and swing. Those last two aren’t official moves, they’re mine. I can show you of you like.
The only thing I didn’t do was any sparring. I was surprised it was even on offer – I’d already punched myself in the chin and nose a couple of times and was not proving good at keeping my face protected.
It was offered though and I’m ashamed (but also really, really glad) to say that I didn’t do it. Partly because I’m a wimp, and partly because I’m a bit too socially awkward to actually hit someone. I kept apologising and laughing nervously every time I placed a warm up punch wrong or forgot to roll out of the way. Also, I have to wear this face every day and I didn’t want to get it all bloody.
I did give a bag something to think about though. Probably something along the lines of: “oo stop it, that tickles.”
Afterwards I cycled a few miles home, still slick with sweat, and nearly stopped to steal and eat a chicken from Hackney City Farm on my way past I was so hungry.
It’s a great gym with a proper ring, excellent instructors and a lovely atmosphere. Not ‘lovely atmosphere’ in the way that tea shops have a lovely atmosphere. Lovely in a sort of sweaty, testosteroney, physical, grrrrr but friendly kind of way.
My one final tip: keep your face protected. If you can’t smell the reassuring cheesiness of your glove, someone could probably punch you in the face. That wasn’t the specific advice I was given but it’s my helpful interpretation. You’re welcome.