Moreno Boxing – Be Who You Want To Be

I absolutely love boxing.  It’s fast, furious, intense and sweaty.  I used to be a regular at a gritty boxing gym in Old Street until I changed jobs and, sadly, it wasn’t local anymore.  Boxing is a phenomenal form of fitness that combines strength and co-ordination with a full body workout that is great for de-stressing and focusing the mind.  Despite popular belief, it is also a sport that is open to all.

Last week I headed down to Moreno Boxing, Clapham’s newest Boxing Gym, and it’s pretty swish.  Complete with a crossfit rig, Olympic weights, full-size boxing ring and water-filled punch bags, it offers you a ‘real’ boxing experience.  What it is not is a boxercise class.

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When I met Carlos, the founding director of Moreno Boxing, the thing that struck me was how passionate he was about his sport, and in that moment I knew I was going to love this place.

After having his first fight at 18, Carlos went on to compete in over 30 amateur boxing fights, he has several international championship medals under his belt, and even took the National Championship Title in Portugal in 2014.  It’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about boxing and he’s keen to share that knowledge, and those skills, with ordinary people.

Why should the best training methods be reserved for professional athletes only? At
Moreno Boxing we give everyone the opportunity to learn proper boxing from experienced athletes. It’s about giving everyone the opportunity to be the greatest boxer they can be; it’s about helping others be who they want to be!

Carlos Moreno

Carlos also talked about how important it was to be ‘present’ in his sessions and it’s this focus and attention that’s one of the things I love about boxing.  It’s all too easy when you’re out on a run or on the bike to mentally switch off.  But you can’t do that in boxing, and if you do you will only make that mistake once, trust me!

Carlos

Keeping it simple, Moreno Boxing offer just two signature classes, both designed to develop different skills and afford different fitness benefits.

TIB – Technical Intensive Boxing

This class is your traditional glove and pad boxing class and it’s my favourite one.  After a warm up and a re-cap on how to throw jabs, crosses, hooks and upper cuts, were partnered up and straight into the routine.

TIB is about developing the specific skills you need to be able to box, and not just to attack, but also to defend.  This class breaks down each move into drills to give you an intense, lung busting workout that works both the arms and the legs (and in fact everything else!)

Combining power, speed, balance and co-ordination, as well as mental strength, it will push you to your limits and leave you completely knackered!

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ITXT – Intensive Boxing Cross Training

The second class is dedicated to cross-training, but don’t think that that makes it any easier!  The session is made up of a circuit which includes short, sharp bursts of exercises such as:

  • Medicine Balls
  • Push Ups
  • Punch Bags
  • Dead Lifts
  • Kettle Bells
  • Tricep Dips
  • Battle Ropes
  • Froggy Jump Squats (ahem, may not be the proper name…)
  • Sit ups

Again, it’s a full body workout and, if you’re not knackered by the end, you weren’t doing it right!

With a cheeky glint in his eye, Carlos said we would end the class with the ‘squat song’.  This turns out to be over 3 minutes of continually squatting to Moby’s Flower…errr, the perfect end to a 2 hour workout.

This is how happy we were…

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Photo credit: Sophie from Fitology UK

Boxing is pretty trendy right now, I’ll give you that.  But don’t do it because it’s trendy.  Do it because it’s one of the most intense and rewarding workouts you will find.  Do it because you want to get fitter and stronger.  Do it because you love to sweat.  Do it because you like to be challenged.  Don’t do it if you’re scared of hard work…

Moreno Boxing has two gyms in London, the original is in Dalston, and the new one is in Clapham Junction.  If you’re keen to test yourself you can find out more here and discover why Professor Green and Millie Mackintosh can’t get enough.

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Photo credit:  Simon Zhao

Massive thanks to both Carlos and and Healthy Living London for having me, I genuinely loved it and have booked in for my nest session!  I was invited to come down to Clapham and try out Moreno Boxing, all opinions, as always, are my own.

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Tai Chi – Good health, longevity & a swift jab to the ribs

Before I started obsessively(?!) running marathons I trained at a Boxing Gym in Shoreditch twice a week and worked my way through 3 levels before being awarded my red belt in kickboxing.  However, when I increased my mileage for the London Marathon in 2011 I sadly realised I just didn’t have the time or energy to do both, it broke me.  I miss kickboxing.

When I was invited to try another martial art, Tai Chi, on Primrose Hill with some other fitness and lifestyle bloggers, I jumped at the chance!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, or what to wear, so I went for my planned 4 mile run round Regents Park and turned up in my sweaty running gear.  Everyone else looked very clean and un-sweaty. Oops, sorry!

The class was sponsored by Legal & General, who are backing a #fitnessisfree campaign to encourage more people to get outside and exercise, and was run by experienced Tai Chi instructor, Shifu Liu Quanjun (no, I don’t know how to pronounce that).

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Our instructor, in his baggy gold satin trousers, went about explaining that Tai Chi promotes health and longevity, rebalances the body, increases energy and decreases stress.  It’s an art that uses natural, circular, movements where you draw strength from the ground, the air, and from within.

He likened it to impersonating a tree…which we were conveniently gathered around for inspiration.

After a demonstration, which started with being very still for a few minutes, followed by some slow left to right style movements, and finished with some quicker jumping & kicking movements, it was time for us to get involved.

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We started with getting our posture right with bent knees and arms raised, before swaying back and forth with our arms moving around in circles (very much like a tree swaying in the wind in fact, I get it now!).  I was struck by how much my arms ached from this continual movement, I really must work on that…

We progressed through the sequence and started moving forwards whilst swaying and stamping our feet and then did some sideways kicking – my favourite part!

The group broke off into pairs and we tried some Tai Chi movements on each other with one person throwing a punch whilst the other cracks your ribs or breaks your wrist.  Don’t worry, we were gentle, no ambulances involved today!

Shifu Liu showing my partner how to break my wrist in one quick movement.  Scared? Me?!

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I would love to master a martial art but I’m really not sure I have the patience.  I very much enjoyed the more explosive movements and partner work, but I struggle to channel my inner energy which takes a lot of practice and concentration.

Would I give Tai Chi another go?  Yes, but I think you would need more than one session a week to get the most out of it which I couldn’t do without giving up (more) sleep!