The University of Miami is a great place to be for those who are interested in various workout regimes, including the growing practice of boxing. From boutique gyms to UM’s own boxing club, the sport is readily available to anyone that is willing to give it a try, and its physical and mental benefits keep its practitioners coming back week after week.
Self care, the practice of loving one’s mind, body and soul, has become especially trendy in recent years thanks to social media. Some people accomplish this by practicing restorative yoga or listening to guided meditations. And yet, however helpful these refined practices may be, there is something to be said for releasing one’s emotions through punching.
The sport of boxing was first recorded around 3000 BC in Egypt and has ties to the ancient Olympics in Greece, according to the official Olympic Games website. It was introduced to the modern Olympic games in 1904, and since then America has produced world-renowned fighters like Muhammed Ali, George Foreman and Joe Frazier. A fixture in American pop-culture, boxing has inspired movies like the iconic “Rocky” series and made superstars like Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Ray Leonard into household names.
For many University of Miami students, boxing is an integral part of a weekly regimet. During times of intense schoolwork and endless GroupMe messages, it can be a necessary escape. In the ring (or the gym) there’s no room for thoughts about an upcoming due date, and this can be blissful.
Talia Mereles, a UM graduate student, who practices at Body & Soul Boxing gym, says the sport makes her feel “powerful, strong and driven.” Boxing, she said, “takes you out of anything you were thinking about before” as you focus on combinations of punches and slips. Much like a dancer, she said, boxers can get lost in the rhythm of their workout.
Boxing doesn’t just provide significant mental and emotional benefits, it also trains the body in a unique way. Many describe boxing as efficient because it is a full-body workout that provides results quickly.
“You are constantly using your shoulder and back muscles when you are doing your jabs, crosses and hooks. As you are doing those movements you are also using your core and when you bring in the kicks, then you’re using your legs,” said Emily Lezcano, a trainer at Tapout Fitness in Coral Gables. Many clients, Lezcano said, see transformations in their abs and waist size.
One of the cheapest and most fun ways to get involved in boxing is through the UM Boxing Club. The best way to get started, said their vice president Brianna Dessa, is to try a workout with some friends.. According to her, learning technique is the toughest part. But once you get the basics down, the fun can really begin.
Richard Aurrecoechea, president of UM Boxing, said that anyone who wants to practice on their own can go to the Herbert Wellness Center on campus, where punching bags are available for students to use. “You could watch a video or two online,” he suggested, “that explains how to stand while boxing, where to put your hands, how to throw punches. There are plenty of online resources that can teach the very bare bones.”
Boxing gyms around campus are always open to new members as well. Some, like Tapout in Coral Gables, hold boxing-inspired classes for all levels a few times a week which include combinations, strength training and conditioning. Body & Soul, near Merrick Park, also holds weekly boxing classes with various coaches and offers personal training and sparring opportunities.
No matter your fitness level, boxing can level up your lifestyle and change the way you think and look. After the year we had, who doesn’t want to punch something?
words_cat mcgrath. photo_tiana torkan. design_marielle zuber.
This article was published in Distraction’s spring 2021 print issue.