I could have been a contender…{my attempt at a boxing class}

I once got a mention in a New York Times dance review from a well-respected critic.  Somewhere in the bowels of my memorabilia, I have that clipping.  In it, I was described as being “short, but strong.”  It is the only thing from a dance review that I can actually claim as a positive, and I will cling on to that with white-knuckled hands to my grave.

Now, I’m not saying I’m a brute.  Heck, I have lost so much strength that there are days I can barely open up my vitamin jar.  Strength is something I definitely need to work on.

So when one of my friends suggested we go try out a boxing class, I was curious.

It wasn’t until I was buckled in to the passenger seat of her moving vehicle did she divulge that the class has been known to bring participants to the brink of vomit.


We walked in to the boxing gym and were immediately confronted with the stench of sweat and body odor.  The over-eager men at the counter got our hands all wrapped up and instructed us to find a punching bag and grab some gloves from the wall.

Used gloves.  Gloves that were hung up a mere few minutes ago from the class before us.

Is that was brings folks to puking?  Because the thought of cramming my hands down a stinky, damp boxing glove made me want to hurl.

I found a black pair that seemed dry and began to put them.  One of the trainers came by to make sure us newbies were set, took a look at my black gloves and informed me they were too big.  I’d need to trade them in for a bright pink pair.

Only, the only pink pair left on the wall?  Surely the rankest, moistest gloves that could be found.  It was horrifying.

However, I didn’t have time to complain or seek out another pair, as the crazy warm up had begun.

The music that started pumping through the speakers?  I kid you not…Eye.  Of.  The.  Freakin’.  Tiger.

While I’m sure the tune was supposed to get you pumped up as you jogged in place, all I could do was stifle giggles and pray that Apollo Creed didn’t strut through the door at any minute.  Where we also going to be towing logs through snow in this class?

Now, my friend and I had staked out the bags at the far back corner of the room to fly under the radar and go undetected.  The only problem with that?  When the boxing began, we couldn’t see the instructor.  Which wouldn’t have been so bad if we’d been able to understand him through his microphone.

Imagine getting instructions from Vitaly the Russian tiger in Madagascar 3, only far less intelligible, and with a thicker accent.

He’d yell things that sounded like “Crap. Crap. Jump. Ho!”  My friend and I would wildly look at each other with “WTF are we supposed to do?” expressions and start blindly punching the shit out of the bags, hoping no one would notice.

Luckily the other trainers walk around and help you out, translating what was the instructions were.  Then the trainers pull you aside one by one and make you hit their pads like something out of a Biggest Loser episode.

For reasons I couldn’t figure out why, I could NOT do this with a straight face.  The trainers were trying to build some fire by saying things like “Hit me harder! Push me back!” and I’m grinning like an idiot and trying not to pee my pants.

I wouldn’t make it one minute in Jillian Michel’s gym.

At some point during the boxing section, I realized that I had a Level 5 Wedgie.  Yet, I couldn’t do anything about it with those stupid gloves on.  You can’t pull at your pants.  There’s no tugging capability.  You’re just stuck with your wedgie/camel toe/butt crack showing.

After 30 minutes of throwing punches (yes, you read that right, 30 MINUTES), we could finally peel off the gloves.  Instantly, I wished I’d just gone bare knuckled and gagged as I put my gloves on the wall.  It was beyond putrid, and as much as I wanted to tough things out, I couldn’t stand the stink of my hands and ran to the bathroom.  I scrubbed those babies so hard it was as if I was about to perform open heart surgery.

I got back just in time to start the ab workout.  As if we hadn’t been tortured enough.  It was a shocking realization that I must have left my core back in Denver.  Perhaps the new homeowner has found it in the closet of my bedroom, and she could mail it back to me?

By the way, nothing’s harder than doing abdominal exercises while laughing.  I don’t think I could have done this class solo, and I was so grateful to have my friend there, eye rolling and smirking along with me.  While we were grateful for the calorie burn, I think this activity might be too filled with testosterone and body odor.

When I got home, I took a look at myself in the mirror.  While I knew I had sweat pretty hard, I had no idea just how ridiculous I looked.  Ever see a poodle after they’ve taken a bath?  Yeah, I looked like that.  Or like this:

Photo by Adrien Greig (Big Sumo) via Flickr

Getting home, I could barely open the front door, couldn’t lift a glass of wine that night, and feared I wouldn’t be able to open the top to the gallon of milk in the morning.   While I need to regain my strength, I’ll leave the punches to the big boys.

Laila Ali, I am not.


  1. HA I cracked up at this…..while I actually enjoy the pleasure of kicking the crap out of a bag on occasion, the idea of doing it with someone else’s sweaty gloves on makes me want to hurl as well! BTW I look like the pic of the wet dog after every workout it would seem. It’s a great look when I got to pick up the kids at school….makes ALL the other Mom’s want to look like me! Incidentally, I too am a former dancer, although not on a professional level. While in college performing in the dance company I once had a choreographer from a nearby University tell me I looked “ten feet tall and fierce” on stage….I’m 5’2″ on a good day, so I’ll never know if she was actually complimenting me or telling me I should never be a part of her work again!

  2. gina says:

    Samantha – I didn’t really mind too much of the punching. It was a good release, actually. How nice to meet another former dancer! That compliment is a GREAT one! And yes, I’m a sweater. I envy those moms that come pick up their kids straight from the gym and look like they have barely done anything.


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