Personal Training in Toronto Archery Lessons in Toronto Boxing Lessons in Toronto Ice Skating Lessons in Toronto Swimming Lessons in Toronto
Sign up for personal training / sports training by emailing
Showing posts with label Boxing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boxing. Show all posts

Boxing Accessories for Training

Whether you're an amateur, semi-pro or professional, there's a lot of equipment out there for boxers to train with, with a wide range of options for various budgets.

And you don't have to necessarily buy them in a store. You could just make your own.

  1. Boxing Gloves: Padded gloves worn on the hands for protection and striking during training and sparring sessions.
  2. Hand Wraps: Elastic or cloth wraps worn around the hands and wrists to provide support, stability, and protection against injuries.
  3. Punching Bag: Heavy bag filled with sand, fabric, or other materials, used for practicing punching, kicking, and striking techniques.
  4. Speed Bag: Small, air-filled bag attached to a rebound platform, used for improving hand-eye coordination, rhythm, and speed.
  5. Double-End Bag: Small, air-filled bag suspended from both the ceiling and the floor, used for developing timing, accuracy, and reflexes.
  6. Focus Mitts/Pad: Padded targets held by a coach or training partner, used for practicing combinations, accuracy, and power punches.
  7. Thai Pads/Kicking Shields: Thick, padded targets held by a coach or training partner, used for practicing kicks, knees, and elbow strikes.
  8. Medicine Ball: Weighted ball used for strength training, core exercises, and dynamic movements to improve power and explosiveness.
  9. Jump Rope: Cardiovascular exercise tool used for improving footwork, agility, coordination, and endurance.
  10. Headgear: Protective gear worn on the head and face to reduce the risk of cuts, bruises, and concussions during sparring sessions.
  11. Mouthguard: Moldable mouthpiece worn over the teeth to protect against dental injuries and absorb impact during training and competition.
  12. Boxing Shoes: Lightweight, high-top shoes with ankle support and a non-slip sole for traction and mobility in the ring.
  13. Boxing Ring Timer: Electronic timer used to track round durations, rest intervals, and workout sessions during boxing training.
  14. Heavy Bag Gloves: Padded gloves with wrist support and extra padding for hitting heavy bags with greater force and impact.
  15. Boxing Hand Pads: Padded mitts worn on the hands for catching and blocking punches during partner drills and pad work.
  16. Boxing Groin Protector: Protective cup worn by male boxers to shield the groin area from impact and reduce the risk of injury.
  17. Boxing Timer App: Smartphone or tablet application with customizable round lengths, rest intervals, and audio cues for timing boxing workouts.
  18. Reflex Ball: Ball attached to an elastic band or headband, used for improving hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and accuracy.
  19. Boxing Tape: Adhesive tape used to secure hand wraps, protect skin, and provide additional support to joints and injuries.
  20. Body Protector: Padded vest worn by coaches or training partners to absorb punches and body shots during sparring sessions.
  21. Boxing Ring/Cage: Enclosed space with ropes or barriers, used for sparring, training, and competitive bouts in boxing gyms and arenas.
  22. Boxing Target Stick: Long, padded stick with targets or pads on each end, used for practicing striking and defensive techniques.
  23. Speed and Agility Ladder: Flat ladder-like device placed on the floor for footwork drills, agility training, and improving coordination.
  24. Boxing Mitts Stabilizer: Adjustable strap or hook-and-loop closure system used to secure focus mitts and prevent them from shifting during pad work.
  25. Boxing Water Bottle: Portable, reusable bottle for staying hydrated during boxing workouts, training sessions, and competitions.

6 Ways to Practice Boxing at Home

Here are six ways to practice boxing at home:

  1. Shadow Boxing: Shadow boxing is a fundamental exercise in boxing that can be easily practiced at home. Stand in front of a mirror or in an open space, and throw punches while focusing on technique, form, and footwork. Visualize an opponent and practice combinations, defensive moves, and footwork drills.

  2. Jump Rope: Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular exercise that boxers use to improve agility, footwork, and coordination. Grab a jump rope and start skipping. Challenge yourself with different skipping techniques, such as double unders or alternating foot jumps, to keep it challenging and fun.

  3. Heavy Bag Work: If you have access to a heavy bag at home, it's an excellent tool for practicing punches, power, and stamina. Put on your gloves, wrap your hands properly, and work on combinations, power punches, and defensive maneuvers. Focus on maintaining good form and control while hitting the bag.

  4. Speed Bag or Double-End Bag: If you have a speed bag or a double-end bag, these tools can help improve hand-eye coordination, speed, and rhythm. Practice hitting the speed bag or the double-end bag with quick and precise punches, focusing on timing and accuracy.

  5. Bodyweight Exercises: Strengthening your body is crucial for boxing. Incorporate bodyweight exercises into your routine to improve overall strength and conditioning. Include exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, burpees, and mountain climbers to target different muscle groups and enhance your boxing performance.

  6. Boxing Drills and Circuit Training: Create a circuit-style workout using a combination of boxing-specific exercises. For example, alternate between shadow boxing, jump rope, burpees, and high knees for a set time or number of repetitions. This type of circuit training helps simulate the intensity of a boxing match and improves endurance, power, and overall fitness.

Remember to warm up properly before engaging in any high-intensity exercises, and always prioritize safety. If you're new to boxing, consider seeking guidance from a boxing trainer or coach to ensure you learn proper techniques and reduce the risk of injury.

And if you're on a budget remember that you can just build your own equipment instead of buying the more expensive equipment.


How Boxing Gloves Changed the Sport

During a 150 year period of bare knuckle boxing there were only ever 2 recorded deaths, thanks to boxers avoiding punching their opponents in the face (because it hurt their hands). After the introduction of boxing gloves the number of deaths in boxing rings skyrocketed.

While the data for that time period is probably incomplete due to a lack of record keeping by newspapers and the media of the day, it is pretty clear that deaths from boxing were pretty rare at the time.

Fast forward to the present.

In the USA alone approximately 4 boxers die per year due to injuries sustained in the ring. Usually the result of head or neck injuries because boxing gloves paradoxically increased the number of deaths in the ring by allowing boxers to focus more on punches to the head without fear of injuring their hands. In other words a device meant to make boxing "safer" by protecting the hands of boxers actually causes far more deaths by causing more head/neck injuries.

Modern boxing gloves also play an important role in many boxers suffering brain injuries and eye injuries.

This makes in my opinion a good argument for why we should go back to bare knuckle boxing... In which case we would have more hand injuries, but less deaths.

The way boxing was conducted during the bare knuckle boxing period was also significantly different from modern professional boxing. There was a lot more punches to the upper torso, but boxers habitually avoided the face. Today it is practically the opposite.

After the introduction of padded boxing gloves when the Marquis of Queensbury Rules were drafted in 1865, and later officially adopted in 1892, they evolved over time. Originally they were nearly skin tight and weighed a mere 2 ounces.

Over time they have become heavier and more padded, with 8 ounce gloves becoming banned by AIBA in 1994, after which only 10 ounce or 12 ounce gloves were allowed (depending upon weight class and gender).

The very first padded boxing gloves were invented in 1743, but were only used for sparring and training, and not allowed in actual boxing matches.

Prior to that period "boxing gloves" technically did exist, but they were often fitted with blades or spikes, making them more like weapons of war than they were for boxing matches. The Ancient Greeks for example used leather wraps called Caestus.

There are also many different types of boxing gloves these days, produced by over 30 makers of professional boxing gloves:

  • Bag Gloves
  • Bag Mitts
  • Sparring Gloves
  • Competition Gloves
  • Lace Up Gloves
  • Weighted Training Gloves
  • Illegally Modified Boxing Gloves (see the Carlos "Panama" Lewis case for an example)
  • MMA Grappling Gloves (technically not boxing gloves, but listed here for reference)

As a boxing instructor I would say that I enjoy boxing as a form of exercise and I appreciate it as a sport, but I would never compete as a boxer because I like my eye balls and my brain in their current condition.

There is nothing wrong in my opinion in learning how to throw a proper punch. It can be very useful for self defense, and hopefully that never happens to the majority of people, but for the people who just want to exercise and learn an useful skill then boxing is certainly an option.

And wearing boxing gloves while you are training is definitely a necessity, even if they are more likely to cause deaths in the ring.

For now the genie is out of the bottle, the cat is out of the bag, and there's no getting boxing gloves out of boxing. It is too much a part of the sport these days. What I could foresee eventually happening is the banning of head punches, for the same reason why neck punches aren't allowed.

Women's Boxing Achieves a New First in Vancouver

The first-ever all-women's boxing fight card in Vancouver has been a success.

Organizers for the event say never before has there been a boxing event that had only women fighters on the program, known in the sport as a fight card.

How many more decades will we have to wait to see live women's boxing events on television, cable, Netflix, etc?

I think it is unfortunate that this is an untapped source of sports entertainment and that nobody (not even the greedy gambling industry) has realized the potential for this as entertainment.

Boxing Training Methods

Boxing training is one of the toughest out there

[Image Credit]

To keep fit and maintain our health and well-being, training and exercising on a regular basis is essential. It’s that simple, really. A healthy body usually results in a healthy mind, as they say.

With a vast array of training techniques out there, with all different kinds of athletes training in different ways depending on what suits them and their body best, we’ve decided to focus on boxing and the typical excises and fitness routines that a boxer might undertake.

Whether you’re looking to become the next Rocky Balboa - a phenomenon that has spawned numerous movies and even online games - or simply keen to keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle, boxing training is arguably the hardest training to do and the most effective way to achieve any fitness goals you might have.

Actor Sylvester Stallone had to train like a boxer and a bodybuilder for the role, which he certainly aced, didn’t he?

Below are a few typical training exercises that a boxer might undertake ahead of a big fight or even just enjoy during a light exercise routine.

The Dragon Flag

We’re starting a bit extreme here, admittedly. First coming into prominence following the Rocky films, ‘The Dragon Flag’ exercise is a highly effective ab exercise which forces the muscles of the stomach to eccentrically contract. They are in tension, but lengthening. This is very similar to the downward phase of a bicep curl.

How to Dragon Flag:
  1. Lay on floor whilst holding onto something stable with your hands by your head
  2. With only your head and shoulders in contact with the floor, raise your entire body from the floor
  3. Keeping as straight as possible, lower yourself to the ground
  4. Pause for one second when at the bottom of the exercise
  5. Then return back in an upright position
  6. All the time ensuring only your head and shoulders are in contact with the floor

[Image Credit]

Strength Training Myth

A theory even Rocky’s trainer in the movie had, that to win fights and be at peak performance, strength training and therefore building muscle tone is vitally important. According to the Strength and Conditioning Journal, despite this theory coming from a classic movie, it’s actually correct.

They say: "Many boxing traditionalists and trainers mistakenly believe that strength training will have a detrimental effect on boxers, making them slow or muscle bound. The boxer can greatly benefit from the proven effects of a proper strength-training program.”

Jump Rope Sans Rope

Jump rope is a boxing exercise most of you are probably familiar with. Either you’ve attempted it yourself as a standard jump rope warm-up or you’ve seen a boxer do it, perhaps. Believe it or not, though, you don’t actually need a rope to carry out this exercise. Simply take a minute to jump in place, moving your arms in small circular motion as though you are actually holding a jump rope. It’s an excellent way to get the heart pumping at the beginning of your workout session and will certainly wake your whole body up before you get into full flow.

Shadow Boxing

Boxing fans will certainly be aware of this one. It really is the pièce de résistance. You don’t necessarily need pads to gain the full effect of this exercise. By simply punching the air, keeping your fists up to your face, keeping your knees soft and your weight forward on your toes, shadow boxing for a few minutes can certainly tire the body out.

How to take a Punch and Stay Calm

By Charles Moffat - April 2018.

Years ago when I was in South Korea I had a Tae Kwon Do instructor who said something profound which I will share you with you. I may not be remembering what he said exactly as he explained the concept in quite a bit of detail so there is going to be paraphrasing here as I don't recall the exact words he said in the full context of the conversation he told to us students.

But basically what he said was something along the lines of "When your emotions run high in a violent situation it is of utmost importance that you take a breath and keep your wits about you, and then act in a clear and decisive manner."

He broke this down in conversation with a number of examples.

Say you get in an altercation with someone and they attack you, and for a brief moment you have a choice. Do you immediately attack back without thinking of consequences? Or do you think of the consequences and then stay calm, while simultaneously acting in a manner that helps to defuse the situation.


Today I was assaulted by the superintendent who lives in my apartment building.

Ah, you say. Now it makes sense why I am talking about staying calm, restraint, and thinking about consequences before acting.

So let me break down the events to you.


My landlord has been wanting the tenants to move our bicycles out of the basement of the building, where my wife and I have stored 5 bicycles. I own 9 bicycles currently and I am a bicycle mechanic hobbyist - I simply enjoy fixing them for fun. Two of the bicycles currently in the basement are really just there for spare parts.


My son fell asleep earlier and I decided now was a good time for me to go move the bicycles while he was sleeping. I found the keys for my bicycle locks, went down to the basement, got the first bicycle and carried it up the stairs and outside to the cement porch that is near the garage and the parking lot. There is a metal railing that goes around the cement porch that many people climb over to the parking lot.


The superintendent followed me out of the building and proceeded to argue with me about where my wife and put our garbage diaper bags. He then pushed me back into the railing so he could climb over the railing. Being pushed back, I reflexively grabbed on to his jacket in order to maintain my balance and during this struggle he punched me in the left side of my face near my ear. Around this time he slid the rest of the way over the porch railing, but I held firmly on to his jacket.


At this point I had a moment of clarity. I had a choice here. I could punch him and beat him up easily. I am a boxing instructor and have studied kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do. He is an old guy in his 50s or 60s. He didn't stand a chance against me. But I had a very clear choice. I didn't have to fight him at all. All I had to do is call 911 and keep holding on to his jacket. (Note - Adrenaline in this situation doesn't help. While it does make you physically stronger and faster, and it helps you ignore pain, it doesn't help you keep your emotions in check. So it becomes ever more important to keep your emotions under control.)


I called 911. This was the clear choice. I have a wife and a son to think about. There are consequences to getting in a fight and beating the **** out of an old guy. I would be in serious trouble if I decided to just beat the **** out of an old guy. So I held on to his jacket while I was calling 911. At this time the superintendent also took out his cellphone and called 911, it was like a race to see who could tell their side of the story first.


I explained to 911 what had happened, with considerable detail. At this point the superintendent punched me in the lower jaw - effectively an uppercut because of the angle, and I did respond by jabbing him in the jaw with the same hand that was holding on to his jacket, so it was a very short jab. This is the one and only time that I punched him in response. I don't remember if he punched me again after that and there might have been an extra time he punched me that I simply ignored and didn't care about. I did tell the 911 lady about him punching be in jaw and that he was still attacking me. The 911 lady advised me that police were on the way and that I should release his jacket, which I did so.


So the police are on their way and I tell the 911 lady that my wife is inside sleeping and I want to check on him. I was not expecting to be gone so long as I had simply wanted to move my bicycles and was not expecting to be attacked by anyone. She said that was a good idea and recommended I do so. So with the police on the way and they have my phone number and location, the 911 call ended and I went back inside. My son had woken up and was crying and I soothed him and fed him.


The police phoned my cellphone, I answered, picked up my son and went to the door. I then held my son in the hallway while I explained to the police all the events. The police listened, asked questions, and two other officers interviewed the superintendent. I admit I was still shaking from adrenaline at the time. The officers then left me, I went back inside our apartment and fed my son some yogurt in the kitchen. I could hear bits of the conversation coming from outside the kitchen window and the superintendent was belligerent with rage. He was not having a very good time keeping his story straight and clearly was not very good at staying calm.


Honestly, everything I did was reactionary. Cause and effect.

He followed me and argued with me, I argued back.

He pushed me, I grabbed his jacket to maintain my balance and a struggle ensued.

He punched me, I called 911.

But it could have gone dramatically different. I had that brief moment where I had to make a decision whether to fight or not to fight. And I chose to simply hang out tight to his jacket (mostly so he could not escape) and called 911.

If I had made the wrong decision, to fight back and beat up an old guy, I would mostly certainly be in handcuffs right now and being charged with assault, because the police would have looked at me with no injuries at all and this old guy who I could have simply beat black and blue.

Restraining myself in such a situation was not easy. I was angry at the time, but I made the conscious effort to not let that emotion rule me. I had to remain calm for my sake, my wife's sake and my son's sake. Love in this case, truly did defeat hate.


The Unfettered Mind is a book by the Japanese Buddhist monk Takuan Soho, which contains letters he wrote hundreds of years ago to various samurai of the age. I have written various past articles on Cardio Trek about The Unfettered Mind and some of the Zen philosophies described within the book, such as the article: Archery Meditation + Zen Focus. I also have a whole section of my site dedicated towards "Zen Exercising", which is an interesting concept.

In part 2 of the book, titled "The Clear Sound of Jewels" Takuan Soho describes how people value life and "rightmindedness" and how people will sometimes throw their life away for the sake of "rightmindedness".

Takuan Soho states:

"Nothing is more precious than life. Yet, at the moment when we must throw away this valued life and stand on rightmindedness, there is nothing more highly esteemed than rightmindedness."

Basically it is the idea that people will often die for their beliefs.

However people can also die (or ruin their lives) by making unwise decisions, which Takuan Soho later points out by pointing out that people can also value Desire more than life. Desires such as lust, greed, vengeance, bloodlust and so forth.

Takuan Soho states:

"Dying because someone is vexed at being insulted resembles rightmindedness, but it is not that at all. This is forgetting oneself in the anger of the moment. It is not rightmindedness in the least. Its proper name is anger and nothing else. Before a person has even been insulted, he has already departed from rightmindedness. And for this reason, he suffers insult. If one's rightmindedness is correct when he is associating with others, he will not be insulted by them. Being insulted by others, he should realize he had lost his own rightmindedness prior to the offense."

In essence, getting angry at being insulted and then fighting as a result might feel like you are fighting for your beliefs, but really you are just fighting because you are angry.

I totally recommend reading The Unfettered Mind if you can find it in a book store or on Amazon. It is a fantastic book which has useful insights for many different activities, including archery, and also how to maintain a strong moral code.

Samurai historically believed in Bushido (which means honour), but it didn't mean that you died for honour. It meant that you behaved honourably and kept your vows. Samurai vowed to protect and avenge their leaders, but they did not believe in throwing their lives away on base emotions such as anger. Anger to them was a tool, which could make them more vicious in combat, but it could also be the double-edged sword that led to their defeat, and so it needed to be kept in check.


Taking a single punch by itself is actually easy in my opinion. Multiple punches, such as taking a beating, that is physical challenge obviously (in boxing terms, boxers who can take lots of punches are said to have good "chin"). The emotions that arise (as you probably figured out from your past experiences) is the true challenge of staying calm.

Once you recognize this, taking a single punch is no big deal. Even 3 or 4 is not that big of a deal, like I took earlier today. My jaw is a little sore, as is the left side of my face where he kept punching me with his right hand. But otherwise I feel pretty good. I only really any noticed any pain until much later when the adrenaline dissipated.

So clearly, with the benefit of adrenaline in this case dulling any pain, a person can choose to remain calm. If it just a single punch, it is really just a minor bruise and not worth worrying about.


Years ago I got attacked by a drug addict in Kensington Market who was angry and decided it was a good idea to punch me in the side of the face and break my glasses. Ha, great idea. In that situation I was more upset about him breaking my glasses that I had purchased in South Korea - where I studied archery, Tae Kwon Do, visited many Buddhist temples, enjoyed good food, and gone mountain climbing many times. I totally recommend going, Korea is awesome. On that occasion I had opted for what I call "Classic Fisticuffs" like what you might see in a period film about the early 1900s. No kicking, just quality footwork, and two fists raised in the classic pose. I then aggressively used my footwork and blocking to dodge/deflect all of his punches and kicks, and get close enough to land solid punches. He then chickened out and ran away like a little coward.

Classic Fisticuffs
On that occasion the drug addict only managed to land his first punch against me when I was sitting down on a bench and not expecting it.

After that, and once he realized I was doing "Classic Fisticuffs" he thought he was being all smart by trying to kick at me, but I just sidestepped his kick and moved closer in order to be able to land solid punches. He tried punching several times and I just deflected them easily. A few jabs to the face later and he suddenly decided that even though I was using "Classic Fisticuffs" as a style, I was clearly good at it. He then ran away.

During the encounter I had two major decisions to make. 1. Do I fight back? Which I chose yes, but had opted for a more gentlemanly style of boxing, which went really well with my girlfriend-at-the-time who was observing this. And 2. Should I chase him after he runs away? I decided not to, stayed with the then-girlfriend, and we later tried to report the attack to police in Chinatown - which they ignored us and just waved us away. Violent drug addict attacking people nearby, and the Toronto police don't even care.


How do people deal with stress after a violent encounter with a crazed person?

In my case I focused on my son - making sure he was fed and entertained, and then I listened to 80s music while writing this post for my website.

I was reminded of what my instructor in Korea had said about staying calm, but I was also reminded of the book "The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho.

I should probably eat something. According to my phone I was attacked and called 911 at 9:54 AM, and it is now 1:24 PM. I had breakfast earlier today and have not eaten since.

Food after a stressful situation is certainly beneficial. So I am going to go eat now.

I hope anyone reading this finds it educational, informative, and useful in the future when they are faced with a violent and/or stressful situation.

Amateur Fighters Vs Trained Boxers

March 17th 2017.

When people find out that I like boxing sometimes the topic gets into the idea that amateurs can somehow compete against a trained boxer.

At which point I have to either stifle a laugh or burst out laughing.

The problem lies with the public misconception / myth that boxers are just brawlers and that boxing doesn't require any skill or training. After all, any idiot can throw a punch right?

Yes, any idiot can throw a punch. But are they actually good at throwing a punch? Do their punches connect? How hard do the punches connect? Do they know how to dodge or take a punch?

People who don't know what they are doing typically:
  • Regularly miss the target.
  • If they do hit, it is often a glancing blow which deals no real damage.
  • Don't know anything about footwork.
  • Don't know anything about how to fade, block, deflect, etc.
  • Don't know how to take a hit.
  • Unable to control their emotions, they leave their defenses down.
Trained boxers however:
  • Consistently hit the target.
  • Rarely deal a glancing blow and hit quite hard in comparison to someone who lacks training.
  • Understand how to use footwork to both execute hits and avoid getting hit.
  • Knows how to fade, block, deflect, etc.
  • Can take their share of hits.
  • Very much in control of their emotions, handles themselves with experience.
In the video below you will see an Irish bouncer (who apparently got his job because he is a trained boxer) vs two idiots who think that they have the advantage because of youth. Two young men with no boxing training vs one middle-aged man who knows what he is doing.

Take note of the following:
  • The footwork of the bouncer.
  • How he avoids confrontation. He plays it safe, and he is also patient.
  • How he only punches when he needs to and only when he knows he will connect.
  • When he hits, he hits hard. The one idiot gets knocked out cold.

Bonus Boxing Myth Busting Tip

Boxing gloves aren't just to protect the hands of the boxer. They also allow the boxer to hit even harder. Similar to wearing brass knuckles. Get hit by someone using their knuckles and get hit by someone wearing a boxing glove, and you will realize the glove actually hurts more. Unfortunately most people think that boxing gloves hit softer, because they think it is fairly soft. This myth is perpetuated due to ignorance.

In other news, Happy St Patrick's Day!

I am going to spend a chunk of today binge watching the new Netflix show "Iron Fist". I am looking forward to it. (Do you think it is a coincidence they released it on St Patrick's Day?)

Saddened to hear Muhammad Ali is dead, boxing legend, age 74

I don't normally talk about obituaries on here, but nevertheless I was saddened to hear that boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died. He was 74. The cause of death was septic shock. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for over 30 years.

Muhammad Ali, sometimes referred to by his birth name of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was three time world heavyweight boxing champion. His moral behaviour represented many of the things I admire about the sport of boxing - in the context that it is a gentleman's sport because it follows rules and a code of honour.

There is a stereotype that heavyweight boxers are huge lumbering brutes. Muhammad Ali was none of these things. He combined speed, agility and power into a fighting style rarely seen in large boxers. He was light on his feet and lightning fast with his jabs. Other boxers were often worn down by exhaustion over time by Ali's endurance. He won 56 fights over a 21 year professional career and only lost 5.

He had a sometimes brash personality, but it was combined with magnetism and personal convictions that made him stand up for his beliefs. When asked to go fight in Vietnam, Ali responded.

"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years." - Muhammad Ali.
Born January 17th, 1942. Died June 3rd, 2016.

Muhammad Ali's boxing career started young (age 12), and by the age of 18 he won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.

Returning to the USA after his win he became frustrated with prejudice and discrimination and according to rumour threw his gold medal into a river. He would eventually sign a 6 year contract in Lousville, where he would also be introduced to the "Black Muslim Movement" in the USA and be given the name "Muhammad Ali" by the leader of the movement, Elijah Muhammad.

By 1963 he had won 15 professional fights and was still only 21. He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and set to fight heavy hitting slugger Sonny Liston, who he mocked as a "big ugly bear" and issued his now famous quote: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, rumble, young man, rumble."

The heavyweight champion, Liston was expected to win that fight easily, the odds were placed as 7 to 1. But in the opening rounds of the fight it became pretty clear who had the upper hand. At 210 lbs and 6'3" tall, Muhammad Ali would dance away from Liston's clumsy punches and pepper him with jabs. By the end of the 7th round, Liston gave up. He had torn muscles swinging uselessly at Muhammad Ali. He was tired and broken.

Sonny Liston swinging uselessly at Muhammad Ali.
 In 1965 Liston would be given a rematch, but Muhammad Ali took him out in the first round with what became known as the "Phantom Punch". Many speculate that Liston took a dive and bet against himself.

After refusing to fight in Vietnam, Ali was stripped of his title, but fought attempts to send him to prison. He would not be allowed to fight again until he was 28 years old, losing 3.5 years of his athletic prime. His draft avoidance case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and during that time he worked on a film, appeared in a Broadway musical, and endorsed a burger chain called Champburger.

When finally allowed to fight again it was Oct. 26, 1970, a minor fight before he would be allowed to go up against the new champion Joe Frazier on March 8th 1971. Frazier would win the 15 round match on points, but the fight was seriously damaging to both boxers and was a close decision.

Meanwhile Muhammad Ali was winning in the courts. The United States Supreme Court looked favourably on Ali and on June 28th, 1971, it unanimously reversed a lower court decision and granted Ali his conscientious-objector status.

After losing to Frazier on points, people began thinking Muhammad Ali was done. That he should perhaps retire. But that never happened. Over the next few years he would fight in 14 matches and win 13 of them, eventually getting a rematch with Frazier and winning, and also beating George Foreman who had become the new heavyweight champion.

The Foreman fight was unusual. It took place in Zaire, on October 30th 1974 and was billed as "The Rumble in the Jungle". Near the beginning of the fight Foreman hammered Ali with blows to the chest and shoulders that hit like sledgehammers, but as the fight wore on Foreman wavered and got tired. Ali just seemed to get faster and faster and by the 8th round Ali knocked out Foreman with a blurry series of lightning punches. He took back the heavyweight title.

Ali would fight Frazier again in 1975, in a match called the "Thrilla in Manila". Unlike their 2nd match, this one lasted 14 rounds, but Ali still won by knock out.

In 1978 Ali lost a fight to Leon Spinks but would regain his title during a rematch.

Ali’s longtime ring doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, urged him to quit, noting the slowing of his reflexes and the slurring of his speech as symptoms of brain damage. Ali refused. In 1980, he lost to Larry Holmes. A year later, his last fight, Ali lost to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

It was time to hang up the gloves.

Ali would later be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Some would claim it was caused by exposure to chemicals at his training camp, but as the years went by and more boxers / football players / etc became victims of mental illnesses, it became pretty clear that the symptoms were due to head trauma.

Even after his retirement Muhammad Ali would continue to speak out on issues that concerned him. Not all of his comments were welcomed or admired, but he would speak his mind regardless. As the years went by he began to lose his ability to speak and had a loss in mobility.

More Quotes from Muhammad Ali:

"I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong."

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' "

"I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick."

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize."

"I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain."

"The word 'Islam' means 'peace.' The word 'Muslim' means 'one who surrenders to God.' But the press makes us seem like haters."

"If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."

"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."

"I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others."

"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

"The man who has no imagination has no wings."

"My trainer don't tell me nothing between rounds. I don't allow him to. I fight the fight. All I want to know is did I win the round. It's too late for advice."

"Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are."

"Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don't belong anymore to anyone, that I'm not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one."

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."

"I don't have to be what you want me to be."

Muhammad Ali will never be forgotten.

Inventing your own Exercises - For Home Fitness or Sports

Earlier today I sparked upon the idea of using a cat toy as something humans can exercise with. The toy in question, was a simple mouse dangling on a long string from my chin-up bar - a cat toy we received during Christmas for our cat Victoria (see The Pet Project for more details). However what sparked my imagination was using it for other activities, such as:


Which are two intense cardiovascular sports, both requiring a level of dexterity and accuracy.

I thus conducted a fun experiment during which I practiced punching at the string, with an eye towards accuracy - after all, what good is a punch if it completely misses the target?

What I discovered is that a moving string - being both small and moving quickly, presents an interesting challenge for accuracy while boxing - it forces the person to concentrate on the accuracy and the quality of the punches over brute force. (I should note this is not the first time I have used a string as a target, being a huge fan of "splitting the string" during my personal archery practice.)

For the 2nd part of my experiment I decided to get my tennis racquet out of the closet and try batting the mouse on the end of the string back and forth, letting gravity and pendulum motion to bring it back towards me each time. This turned out to be an excellent exercise for practicing my back swing and also switching back and forth.

With a few changes it would be pretty easy for someone to practice with a tennis ball on a string indoors with a similar set up.

Add a pole in the middle and you have a sport similar to tetherball.

Inventing your own sports / exercises can be a lot of fun, whether you do them for a specific purpose such as training for a sport, or whether you are simply looking for a frugal exercise you can do at home.

A few tips when it comes to inventing your own exercises:

#1. Avoid anything where you think there is a chance you might injure yourself.

#2. Use objects that are sturdy and can withstand impacts if dropped. Avoid anything you know to be breakable.

#3. Don't do the same motion all the time with your new exercise. Find ways to change it, spice it up. Repetitive motion can lead to a sports injury. Not all pain equals gain, sometimes pain means you broke something or are repeating the same motion too much.

#4. Try to invent exercises which are fun to do, or can be combined with music or other exercises to make it more fun.

#5. Hydrate. Don't forget to drink something regularly. Many people forget to do this.


DIY Boxing Equipment

Boxing can sometimes be an expensive sport to get into. But it doesn't have to be. There are a multitude of ways to do boxing more frugally and save a bundle on equipment you either a. Don't need; or b. Can make yourself.

Below are a few examples of how you can make your own boxing equipment.

I should also note that it is possible to purchase used boxing equipment via Craigslist or Kijiji.

I still recommend purchasing new boxing gloves. Same goes with mouth guard.

Specialized Personal Training - Catering to the Needs of the Client

On several occasions I have been contacted by men who are into MMA (so-called "Mixed Martial Arts") who are looking for a trainer who trains MMA fighters.

Every time someone contacts me for this particular specialized kind of sports training I laugh. Not so much because it is funny, but for several reasons.

#1. I actively make fun of the "sport" of "Mixed Martial Arts". I don't consider it to be a real sport compared to boxing, for example. It is not a "Martial Art" either. Visually speaking, it is an activity wherein one man jumps on the other man, they wrestle and then the one on the top start punching (if you can call those punches) the one on the bottom. There is almost no fighting skill required either, as MMA has the same level of technique utilized by chimps or gorillas fighting each other - or little kids fighting in a schoolyard. No noticeable skill. Just brute force. It is a sport for gorillas and like minded individuals.

Boxing on the other hand is a sport for gentlemen (in a broad sense of the term). Boxing has rules (no punching below the belt, no kidney punches, etc) and your goal in a boxing match is to score more points (hits) than your opponent. The sport of professional boxing therefore has seen many upsets over the years as savvy boxers will focus on scoring more points than their opponent, and win the match through points. Winning a match via KO (Knock Out) doesn't actually mean the opponent was knocked out cold. It simply means they didn't get back on their feet before the count of 10. There is also a TKO (Technical Knock Out), which is when the ring physician declares that one or more fighters are not healthy enough to continue.

Thus someone contacting me asking for MMA training is a bit like contacting a vegan and asking for tips on how to fry bacon. You are asking the wrong person!

#2. Why is the person contacting me not contacting someone who specializes in training MMA fighters? Wouldn't it make more sense to hire a professional MMA coach or perhaps a former MMA champion who has retired and might be tempted to start coaching?

This is what I mean by Specialized Personal Training. You contact someone who is a Specialist in the field you are seeking to learn about, because they are an expert in that field and you will learn far more from them than you would from someone who is not an expert in that field.

It would be like contacting a piano teacher and asking them to teach you how to play the bagpipes. It just doesn't make any sense. I laugh because again, for a separate reason, you are asking the wrong person!

#3. Several of the people who contacted me asking for MMA training were clearly amateurs trying to get into MMA fighting - and clearly had no clue what they were doing. Thus the visual image of a complete amateur getting beat up on the floor gorilla-style was inherently funny to me.

#4. The phenomenon of MMA in North America is pretty much limited to the type of gorilla-minded individuals who think what they are seeing is entertainment. You get the same level of entertainment watching actual gorillas fight. It is always the same thing too. The two gorillas attack each other. One gorilla realizes he is outmatched and tries to keep his distance. Eventually their struggle back and forth meets a climax when the two gorillas roll on the ground and one gorilla pounds the other. Don't believe me? Search for "gorillas fighting" on YouTube and then compare what you see to MMA videos. Any time people mention MMA I laugh, either aloud or in my head. MMA is basically a joke.

If you want to be entertained more, try watching the recent Planet of the Apes movies. The fight scene between Cesar and Koba will suffice.

Specialized Personal Training

There are many kinds of personal trainers - and no two trainers are completely alike. For example:

Weight Loss Personal Trainers (sole focus on cardio exercises).

Weight Loss Personal Trainers / Nutritionists (similar, but heavier focus on diet).

Sports Trainers / Coaches for Specific Sports (eg. boxing trainer, Olympic skiing coach, figure skating coach, marathon coach, football coach, etc).

Muscle Gain Personal Trainer (sole focus on weight lifting).

Body Building Personal Trainer (sole focus on weight lifting, with an eye for competitive bodybuilding).

Powerlifting Personal Trainer (sole focus on competitive weight lifting).

Examples of Specialized Personal Trainers in Toronto

In Alphabetical Order

Briar Munro - Holistic fitness for women.

Charles Moffat - Archery instructor and general fitness personal trainer.

Dena Ryde - Pre and post-natal personal trainer for soon-to-be moms and new moms.

Gary Roberts - Former pro-hockey player turned personal trainer. Only trains young hockey players.

Greg Hetherington - Former pro-football player turned personal trainer. If your goal is football or rugby, he is your guy.

Joanna Zdrojewska - Olympic weight lifting trainer.

Joel N.M. Kerr, Dr. - Rehab personal trainer.

Kathleen Trotter - Weight loss and general fitness personal trainer.

Lyzabeth Lopez - Gymnastics, aerobics and body shaping.

Melissa Wessel - Strength training for women.

Nick Vernelli - Olympic weight lifting trainer.

Sarah Davis - General fitness personal trainer.

Steve Ashalou - Sports therapist / massage therapist and weight loss personal trainer.

Toronto has many other personal trainers, but you have to realize that each one has their specialties. Don't waste your time with a personal trainer who is doing something other than what you actually want to be doing.

So for example if you are looking for a MMA coach, contact a MMA coach. If you are looking for an archery instructor or general fitness, contact me. I also teach boxing, swimming and ice skating depending on the season.

The 12 Days of Xmas Fitness Gifts

Do you know someone who loves exercising often or wants to be exercising more often? Support their interest (and their health) this Xmas Holiday Season with the following list of gift ideas for the fitness freak in your life.

#1. Water Bottles - The better quality the better. Some water bottles break too easily, so finding a really good water bottle is amazing. One of my favourite water bottles is an old fashioned army canteen. It is nothing special to look at (although you can find them now in pink and other colours), but they are amazingly durable and don't break easily.

#2. Bicycle or Bicycle Accessories

If they don't have a bicycle, get them one. Or if they do have a bicycle, get them lots of handy bicycle accessories. eg. Kryptonite bicycle locks are one of the best bicycle locks on the market, so that is certainly a possibility. There are also lights, helmets, seats, bicycle tools, racks, water bottle holders, camel backpacks and more. HOWEVER some people are picky about what bicycle gear they will use so you may need to research what things they want/need first. When in doubt get them a gift card to a bicycle shop.

#3. Yoga Membership Card

Get them a membership card to a local yoga studio that is close to either work or home. Some yoga studios sell cards which are good for 5, 10 or 20 yoga sessions - and have no expiry date. Shop around and find a yoga studio where your loved one can go - and can use whenever they see fit. Do NOT buy them a "one month membership" as most of it will probably go to waste and not be used. Buying a specific number of sessions is more economical.

#4. A really awesome skipping rope...

The trick here is that you should only buy this for a person who is really into cardio exercises, or even better a person who is already into skipping. There are a lot of unusual skipping ropes out there on the market now, which means you can choose from all sorts of materials, colours and functions.

#5. Sports Equipment

If your loved one is into football, get them football equipment. If they are into archery, get them archery equipment. If they are into baseball, get them a baseball bat and balls (baseball players typically only use their favourite glove).

#6. Hockey Equipment

Hockey isn't just a sport in Canada. It is a lifestyle and a national symbol. Even people who aren't hugely into hockey, still enjoy playing road hockey when given the opportunity. This is Canada. We ALL played hockey at some point when we were younger.

#7. Kettlebells

For the weight lifting aficionados. Or get them dumbbells. I love dumbbells. Barbells are also a possibility, but they take up a lot more space and require a bigger investment.

#8. Exercise Clothing

I don't mean Lululemon (in my experience most people who wear Lululemon don't actually exercise, they wear it because they like to pretend that they exercise). No, I mean clothing from a store like SportChek - where they sell exercise clothes that is meant to actually be exercised in and isn't designed to be a fashion statement. If you don't believe me visit the Lululemon at the Eaton's Centre and then visit SportChek and you will see the difference. SportChek sells clothes, running shoes, exercise/sports equipment, etc - for both men and women.

Heck, Golf Town and also Bass Pro has more actual "exercise clothes" than Lululemon does because it is meant to be functional first and isn't about being a fashion statement.

#9. Heart Monitor Watch / Pedometer

Useful for joggers, High Intensity exercises, seeking the Afterburn Effect, Interval Training and more.

#10. Camping / Hiking Gear

You can never have too much camping and hiking equipment. Always useful.

#11. Polarized Sunglasses

If they are going to be exercising outside then a good set of polarized sunglasses are very useful. You can also get them with prescription lenses.

#12. Heated Hoodie

For exercising outdoors during the winter you can't beat having a heated hoodie. Useful for exercising, shoveling snow (that counts as exercise) and many other activities outdoors. Uses a rechargeable battery pack to provide the heat energy.

BONUS GIFT IDEA: Wii Console + Wii Fit and/or Wii Sports

Why? Because if you are exercising and playing a video game, it is still exercising. So Wii Tennis, Wii Golf, Wii Bowling, Wii Boxing, all good fun and good exercise.

Wii Sports for example has been on the market since 2006 and has become very popular with homes for the elderly. I am even thinking of getting a Wii Console / Wii Sports for my mother, because it is something she would actually use.

And who doesn't enjoy Wii Boxing? Watch the video below of ex Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien beating Rick Mercer while playing Wii Boxing.

Boxing - Good Sportsmanship Vs Cheating - Who wins?

When it comes to competitive sports there is a lot of cheating - and I am not just talking doping and steroids here, although that certainly happens too.

No, I am talking about just plain old fashioned cheating. Which in the world of professional boxing is things like low blows, head butting, hitting the back of your opponent's head, kidney punches, rabbit punches, etc.

The fight in the YouTube video further below - Riddick Bowe Vs Andrew Golota - is a rematch between two boxers who hate each other. The first of the two fights can also be seen on YouTube, but it is their 2nd fight which is the more interesting of the two fights.

The two boxers are evenly matched, but their primary difference is that Golota likes using headbutts and low blows - which gives him an unfair advantage over a fighter who doesn't cheat.

So who will get the upper hand during the fight? Who will win? Watch and see. When you see the match you will understand why this is such an important match and why it is a great demonstration of both boxing skill and the difference between good sportsmanship / cheating.

(Personal Note - This is my all time favourite boxing match to watch. I love watching this match. Even people who are not normally into boxing will appreciate watching this match.)

10 Ways to do Boxing more often

Want to do boxing more often?

#1. Do 6 minutes of shadow boxing in the morning when you wake up, combined with some morning stretches. Helps wake you up in a hurry.

#2. Install a boxing punching bag in your basement or garage - and then schedule 20 minutes every day to use it.

#3. Practice shadow boxing while you wait for water to boil. eg. When making coffee, tea, when boiling water for pasta, when making soup, etc.

#4. Buy an old used punching bag that has seen better days and take it with you to the cottage and take it out whenever you want to practice with it.

#5. Get yourself some portable boxing punching bags so you can practice while camping or on road trips.

#6. Practice boxing while waiting for a bus or taxi outside. Also keeps you warm if it is cold outside.

#7. Sign up for boxing lessons with a trainer (like me) or sign up with a local boxing gym.

#8. Encourage your friends or family members to get into boxing too, and practice boxing together in a safe manner.

#9. Go jogging and practice boxing while you jog. Great for your endurance.

#10. Install a homemade boxing bag in a nearby wooded area for everyone to use. A cheap way to do this is to use old tires like in the photos below.

How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Sooner or later if you are using your boxing gloves regularly they are going to start to smell pretty funky.

The quickest solution to this problem is to invest in some rubbing alcohol and some Febreze or Lysol Fabric Mist.

Using a dry cloth or a sponge, dab small amounts of the rubbing alcohol on to your boxing gloves and rub it around - inside and outside - to clean your boxing gloves. The rubbing alcohol will also kill any germs it comes in contact with - and will evaporate into the air without damaging your gloves.

Afterwards let your boxing gloves sit for 5 minutes and then spray inside and outside with the Febreze or Lysol - then rub your gloves all over again with the cloth or sponge.

Let the boxing gloves sit for half an hour, smell them to inspect for any further signs of funky sweat smells. If it smells good, no worries. If it still smells funky then you missed some spots. Repeat the process above and make sure you get the rubbing alcohol in every crack and crevice.

More Tips for Cleaning Your Boxing Gloves! (And keeping them clean!)

#1. Put them inside a plastic bag and put them in the freezer overnight - or even 1 to 2 days if you aren't planning to use your gloves any time soon. The extreme cold will kill most of the germs.

#2. If you don't have rubbing alcohol handy you can wash the gloves with brine (salt water) using a cloth or sponge.

#3. Wash with soapy water (preferably anti bacteria soap) and then dry with a towel. Let dry in a warm area (but not hot!). Make sure they are completely dry before using again.

#4. Spray inside the gloves with an Anti Bacterial Mist.

#5. When storing your boxing gloves leave them in an open container. Putting them inside a gym bag and zippering it closed is a sure way to let the bacteria grow in a closed environment.

#6. Crumble up newspaper and put the newspaper inside your boxing gloves when you are not using them. The newspaper will absorb moisture, germs and the funky smells. Replace the newspaper each time you use the gloves.

#7. Wash your hands with soap before using the gloves.

#8. NEVER use a clothing dryer to dry your boxing gloves. A hair dryer at a decent distance would be okay however.

#9. Avoid soaking your boxing gloves in water or putting them near heat sources if they are made of leather.

#10. Avoid going overboard with the anti bacterial soaps. They can damage your gloves. Just a little bit will do.

Boxing Footwork 101

Boxing footwork is a fundamental way to improve your skill in boxing.

Think of a successful boxer at a stool with multiple legs. The legs are Chin, Power, Technique, Footwork, and Strategy/Mental Discipline. If just one of these legs are lacking the stool is more likely to fall over, but hopefully the boxer is facing a chump who lacking even more. If several of the legs are bad the stool is much more likely to fall over. Thus a good boxer should have a good balance in all 5 key areas in order to be successful.

Quality footwork allows a boxer to stay balanced and on their feet, and also gives them an advantage because they can move in closer faster and weave around / fade from punches more easily. This gives them both an offensive and defensive advantage.

A boxer with poor footwork will get hit more often, knocked down more easily, and if their chin is poor also (or suffering due to being given a beating) will be less likely to get up within 10 seconds and lose a match due to a technical knockout. (And being KOd many times looks bad on your record if you want to get into amateur or professional boxing competitions.)

Examples of great boxers who were really good at footwork: Manny Pacquiao, Joe Calzaghe, Oscar De La Hoya. Watch some of their videos on YouTube and you will see some amazing examples of footwork. Watch it on a big screen so you can see better and pay close attention to how they move their feet.

Boxing Footwork Basics

#1. Use footwork to get out of range (fading).

To get good at this practice running backwards. Try to get really good at running backwards.

#2. Use footwork to weave sideways.

A good way to practice footwork is to position yourself in a room with your left side against a wall. Move sideways to your right by moving your left foot forward and to the right, and then your right foot behind and to the right. Then your left foot switches and goes behind and to the right, followed by your right foot forward and to the right. Continue alternating which foot is forward and which is behind until you reach the opposite wall. Then switch directions and go left, each time alternating which foot is in front and which is behind. NOTE: Make sure your shoes are tied properly and fit okay. This is an easy exercise to mess up and you can trip yourself if you get confused. The exercise is often used by football players as sideways footwork is also important for football.

#3. Step forward into punches.

Regardless of whether you are doing a straight punch, a hook or a cross you want to step in with your punch to add your body weight and additional momentum with the punch. A way to train for this is jogging or sprinting, while using your arm motion during jogging so you look a bit like rock-em-sock-em robots (if you remember that old 80s toy). I admit that is a weird analogy, but it works as you should be able to visualize it.

#4. Get better balance by doing Balance Exercises

There are a number of ways to build better balance using footwork, but the one I like to recommend to beginners is to practice hopscotch. (You may feel silly doing this, but it really works.) The trick is to challenge yourself physically so you can do hopscotch routines quickly on either one or both feet.

Another good balancing exercise for your feet is rope skipping. Learning to skip rope both fast and stay coordinated will build your leg muscles, coordination and speed.

#5. Keep exploring more footwork exercises.

I have only covered the basics here. The examples above will help a boxer gain muscle memory in their legs, more balance, more speed, more coordination and give them an added edge in the boxing ring. A nimble boxer who is well rounded and can pack a punch - or float like a butterfly, sting like a bee (Muhammad Ali quote).

I will go into more detail about some of these footwork drills on later dates but for now I recommend doing the exercises listed above.

There are a variety of other exercise drills out there aimed at boxers who want to improve their footwork. In the video below is an example of an exercise designed more for kickboxers and muay thai boxers, but is beneficial because it trains the abdomen, shoulders and legs - and improves balance

You are never too old to start a new sport

I was going through old emails earlier today and found one I had failed to answer (it was in the wrong folder).

In the email a mother was talking about signing her son up for archery lessons and said "he is kind of too old to start new sports".

I read this with quiet bemusement.

I didn't laugh out loud or anything. I was just mildly amused and a tad indignant. How is SIXTEEN too old to start a new sport?

I mean com'on, many athletes don't start their preferred sport until they are 17, 18, 19 or well into their 20s.

And there is nothing stopping adults and even seniors from taking up a sport - including a competitive sport - well into their golden years.

An elderly (and even overweight person) can easily learn to do the splits (see photo below) or any number of other activities during their older years.

They might get really into bicycles - and even fixing bicycles in their old age.

They might take up archery as a recreational sport - or even compete in archery competitions.

They might even take up boxing, martial arts or yoga.

What it really comes down to is that there is nothing stopping you from starting a new sport - and even competing in a new sport.

Age, disability, sex/gender, being overweight - these are just excuses.

Willpower and taking the first steps towards a new goal, those are the deciding factors.

How fast / slow should I lift weights?


"Hello! I have read that there is advantages and disadvantages to going faster or slower while lifting weights. What are the pros and cons?

- K. Duncan"



Yes, you are correct there are pros and cons.

The best thing to do is to go slowly and keep your form correct. Correct form while weightlifting reduces injuries. Going slowly builds more muscle and brute strength.

Fast Weightlifting will feel a bit like a cardio. It still builds strength, but it builds muscle speed and endurance more. 'Muscle Speed' is more desirable for people into martial arts. But it increases your chances of injury so it is better to stick to lighter weights.

It really depends on your goals. Strength = go slowly. Endurance = quickly, but pay attention and try not to hurt yourself.

If you get into the whole muscle speed topic then what you will be doing is aiming to activate "fast twitch muscle fibres", muscles that are responsible for explosive speed and strength. Unlike brute strength (which can live large amounts), fast twitch muscle fibres work on a different principle whereby they utilize energy differently.

Here are some tips when trying to build those fast twitch muscles...

#1. Do Jump Squats, Jumping Jacks and Push Presses and similar exercises - they require your muscles to fire quickly.

#2. Practice Reflex Exercises - such as catching a ball or juggling.

#3. Take up a sport that requires fast reflexes - like tennis or table tennis or even boxing / martial arts.

#4. Smaller Reps when Weightlifting - Only do 3 to 5 reps with a weight, focus on form, but try to do it really quickly. Don't over do it, rest a lot between reps.

#5. Rest a lot in-between sets / exercises. Anywhere from 90 seconds to 2 minutes. For example if you were practicing sprinting you would want to sprint for 10 seconds, then rest for 2 minutes, then sprint for 10 seconds, rest for 2 minutes, repeat.

#6. Speed Boxing or Kicking - Punching or kicking really fast, but do short reps and take lots of breaks.

The photo below of the cat amused me so I have included it just for fun.

Although to be fair the one below is even funnier.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


Popular Posts

Cardio Trek Posts