How boxing changed my life and gave me a second chance

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ONCE UPON A TIME...

I was overweight & disheartened with myself and life. I was needing something to retrieve the 'me' that had been buried in motherhood and life. Punch Love gave me the gift of a second chance. 

When I looked back at the photos of me then, I see such an unhappy woman and it reflected in all areas of my life. Being a wife, mother, career woman. Everything suffered as I put all my loved ones happiness ahead of my own. 


I was exhausted! I would take the children to school, come home for a nap. I would go to work, have a nap where ever I could. I would come home from work and again need a sleep. It seemed my life existed around no energy and feeling unhappy. There just had to be more!
My journey back to me has been filled with wonder, laughter... lots of laughter and a community of supportive women who wanted nothing more than to celebrate all our milestones along the way. I have loved every minute, and it has truly been a painless transformation. I would just get myself to the door and the team would do the rest.

From my own experience in transformation I joined the Punch Love trainers team and now I'm the face you'll see and the voice you'll connect with if you're thinking of joining Punch Love. I LOVE my job and all my ladies :) 

I began sharing what I had learnt, helping other women to feel empowered, confident and truly awesome again through exercise and self awareness. 

I love watching our ladies blossom as they find their inner strength and missing superpowers through the empowerment of hitting the bags and taking time to nurture themselves. Exercise should be fun and leave you feeling accomplished; excited to keep going. I like to sprinkle fun with hard work and results into every class I teach. I want our ladies to walk away feeling uplifted and just a little taller.

It doesn't matter whether you are fit or finding your way to fitness, being a part of the Punch Love team and having the privilege to work with our ladies makes me feel inspired and grateful everyday. 

Did You Know Getting Less Than 7 Hours Sleep Could Undo All You Hard Work?

 Ever had a conversation like this?
“I really shouldn’t have that extra piece of cake… one slice won’t really hurt, right?”

Turns out, lack of sleep made you do it! Sleep deprivation is a little like being drunk. You just don’t have the mental clarity to make good complex decisions, specifically with regards to the foods you eat—or foods you want to avoid. This isn’t helped by the fact that when you’re overtired, you also have increased activity in the the reward region of your brain.

Sleep deprivation destroys all diets; think of the reward region of the brain as mind control—it makes you crave high-calorie foods like hot chips, chocolate and wine. Normally you might be able to fight off this desire, but because your insular cortex (another portion of your brain) is weakened due to sleep deprivation, you have trouble fighting the urge and are more likely to indulge in all the wrong foods.

And if all that wasn’t enough, research found that sleep deprivation makes you select greater portion sizes of all foods, further increasing the likelihood of weight gain.

The bottom line: Not enough sleep means you’re always hungry, reaching for bigger portions, and desiring every type of food that is bad for you—and you don’t have the proper brain functioning to tell yourself, “No!”

Get less than 7 hours sleep regularly and over 15 years you can expect to be 15kgs heavier for it !

The Answer: Head to bed early, You'll need 7+ hours sleep to get out of the sleep deprivation cycle. Exercise, eat well and watch your body thrive. Before long you'll be looking and feeling great!

xxx Nik & Karina

Help Me Find My Fitness Mojo!

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To me winter is a glorious time of year. Crisp mornings & clear skies. It means uggboots, fluffy throw rugs and slow burning fires that warm the house to toasty levels. I love nothing more than curling up with my favourite book in my pj’s as soon as the sun has disappeared ( and sometimes sooner if I’m to be totally honest). All of these lovely things come naturally during the shortest months of the year. I’m a firm believer in honouring the natural cycles of our body and for me winter brings an unavoidable need for hibernation.  There is nowhere I’d rather be than snuggled up at home by the fire, which means that training has been a struggle. Workout gear Vs my velvet throw…? We all know which is more delicious right!. As for the shorter days? They too play to our hibernation desires and by 5pm I’m exhausted and drawn to my home cave which means setting off for my 6pm boxing session feels more like midnight.

Winter basically makes fitness harder, there is no doubt about it. There is no summer arms to display, swimming pools to luxuriate in and no need to work toward those goals right? Summer is but a figment of our imagination. So yes, motivation drops with the temperature.

So I thought I’d share some recent thoughts I’ve been exploring and quietly putting into practice. It’s the things we do while no one is watching that makes us constant, consistent, in control and ultimately a seeker and achiever of our dreams.  I hope they inspire in some way, after all, helping you along your own fitness journey is ultimately what Punch Love sets out to do :)

1. THE 15 MINUTE TRICK

The first 15 minutes of a work out are the most challenging,… (actually I lie- its the 60 mins before the workout as well but there’s more to come on that) after that I actually begin to enjoy whatever exercise I am doing. And yet, so often the prospect of an entire hour of training feels too long and absolutely impossible. I deceive myself if I’m going to class by saying I just have to walk in the door - If I want to leave I absolutely can. Give yourself permission. If I’m do weights I say I’ll only go for 15, a quick 15 minute blast seems so much more achievable than my whole work-out. Once I get through that first round or set, the rest flies by. In all the times I’ve tricked myself like this,  I have never once actually left boxing or the gym after 15 minutes. Simply showing up is all it takes.

2. THE LESS THE MOTIVATION, THE BIGGER THE SMILE AFTERWARDS

An hour or two before the workout, I embark on a wave of excuses. They become more and more real the closer to leaving time. When the clock strikes, I am one excuse away from faking an injury, or a fur baby in dire need of my undivided attention. It’s ridiculous, but then again, push ups and boxing training are my love, my business and what I live for. I spend a fair amount of time doing these very things,working it and as my hobby so it can be hard to stay inspired when it is every day. The good news is, doing it everyday has become so much like brushing my teeth that even when I don’t want to… I just do. The mind is still going on with the excuses but the bod is already halfway through the training.  I truly find that the less I feel like the training, the better I feel after going. When I’m most lethargic is when I need most to go. I strut out of class with a new and improved confidence; my head high and my shoulders back & I’ve convinced myself I am indeed wonder woman!

3. RAISE YOUR INTENSITY

I’ve really minimised the length of my work-outs over the last few years. Previously, I’d consider 2 classes in a row, boxing and weights, add maybe a yoga class or pilates. A couple of hours of work, which was also quite time consuming. I really believe these longer sessions are harder to maintain. They get boring and being the busy humans we are, there simply isn’t the time. You must prioritise exercise as a habit and not a hobby, in the same way we might buy electric toothbrushes for brushing efficiency, the same must be mirrored in our workouts. I go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week for an hour that speeds by once I get started. These higher intensity sessions are more invigorating, more feasible and more rewarding. A Punch Love training will bag a ton of burnt calories, increase your cardio capacity, build heart health, garner bone strength from impact bag work and develop luscious lean muscles. What’s not to love about a quick but effective training session!

4. EXTRA LOVE

In winter you need a little more LOVE: sleep, supplements, water & my friend, coffee. Winter also makes us hungrier ( storing energy) This is usually the area where I go astray. A bottle or two of bold Hunter Valley shiraz, after dinner chocolates, rich casseroles and crusty bread. This year I’m committed to doing things differently. I’m loving my body differently. There’s a glass of wine to last the night & to savour the flavour, a square of dark velvety chocolate and rich bodied soups with rice and quinoa instead. I’m not missing out but I’m not going overload and then regret having it. Life is too short to miss out or regret! Eat well, sleep well & fuel well will propel you into your active-wear and off to the gym.

5. BE A CHEATER

If you don’t indulge once a week, you won’t be able to sustain your good habits. The buzz word is balance. You must eat whatever you like and sleep for as many hours as you’d like without feeling guilty. I read that french women do this without guilt once a week. I dedicate Sunday to this, I’ll eat bread, take leisurely drives and sip cappuccinos, take naps and read the rest of the day away. Consistent restrictions are not healthy over the long term, the gym and clean eating are habits to enhance your life. You must experience the indulgences you fought all week long. They are necessary, be so good that you can enjoy being very indulgent every so often. It is called balance and believe it or not, it’s absolutely necessary and incredibly beneficial.

So the cycle of hibernation will be done before you know it. Keep your energy moving forward while honouring the seasons and cycles. Spring is coming :) xxx Nik

How Eating More Helps you Lose More

I wanted to share this one thing you can do today to kick-start weightloss results.

...and  why your life depends on this one tip!

#1 Eat regular meals, consistently – the very first thing you can do is eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and two small snacks at a regular time today, tomorrow & every day. Consistency is the key.
Here's why its literally do or die.

The metabolism is the system that converts your food and water each day into energy to be used now or stored for later.  When you eat more than you need each day your metabolism stores the rest for later as fat.

Everyone has to eat and drink, but in crisis your body could go for weeks without food. Your metabolism is programmed to conserve stored fat for those crisis moments. When we don't eat food regularly, our metabolism thinks it's in crisis, slows down and releases less fat / energy at a time so that you can survive longer. The problem is, we aren't really in a crisis. We just got busy and forgot to eat. Our body functions don't understand that we forget to eat.

Eating irregular meals with long gaps triggers your metabolism into crisis management and only slowly releasing stored fat/ energy reserves.

Here's how to start getting a result- Feed your metabolism on regular 2.5 hr intervals and it will continue to burn stored energy (body fat) on a consistent basis. Feed it intermittently and it will store everything you feed it and you won't get a results.

Infact, chances are you'll actually put on weight.

Start today eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a small snack in between to get your metabolism back on track regularly burning body fat and kicking goals.
 xxx Nik Fox

7 Tips To Stay Motivated

The first wedding invite to arrive in the post right about now is the one that usually scares us out of our winter coma. Its a flurry of urgent activity that scares us to get back in shape yesterday!

Now is an awesome time, while weekend activities are low and there is less urge to socialise to quietly work away on yourself.  Winter is the perfect time to take care of our bodies and you'll be confident to pop the shorts and t's on without a second thought the minute the weather warms up.

Good habits can be set for a year round consistent approach rather than a seasonal cycle. Here are some tips to keep your momentum.

Tip #1: Pick a SMART  Goal.  Make it specific. ( Fit my size 12 dress comfortably for the wedding)  Measureable ( I can try it on every week and see how I am progressing) Attainable. (I can easily drop a dress size before the wedding)  Relevant. ( my dress I want to fit into is what I am going to wear to the wedding so its relative to my end result)  Time Bound.( I have 12 weeks to the wedding)

So your first wedding invite for summer has just gone up on the fridge. Now what...Whether your goal is working toward an event, a holiday, a fun run, a competition, or a fitness or body composition goal, this will give you the destination to type into your GPS! You need to have a place to aim for.

Break this down into bite size pieces by each month, week, and day. Identify your potential roadblocks or problems in advance so when they show up you know what to do! Roadblock example:  I book for evening classes but when I get home I don't want to go back out. Tip- head straight to the first training session available on your way home.

Tip #2: Organise your training for the week ahead of time.

Head to class before work to keep you on track with nutrition for the rest of the day... or alternatively, head to Punch Love straight after work rather than home first (otherwise you may go home and not want to head back out again). Booking ahead means you are less likely to not go.

Tip #3: Get A Workout Wingman

It definitely helps to have someone to share your journey, holding you accountable, someone who is going to push you along and talk you into coming to the next class. Just remember the old saying - " you never regret a workout you go to ... but always regret the ones you 'should have' but didn't"

Overhaul your nutrition plan one step at a time

It's really easy to slip back into old habits without even noticing. You think you're eating healthy, and most likely you are. However the first things to go south are the portion sizes, the second serves creep in and then its glasses of wine by the fire, comfort foods and hot apple pies desserts when its cold.

Tip #4: Keep A Food Diary For A Week Without Changing Anything

Before you change anything, keep a simple food diary of what you ate and the serving size for a whole week. This will unlock any old habits creeping in. From there make some subtle changes. Smaller more frequent meals, cutting out the desserts at the end of the day and drinking more water.

Tip #5: Meal Prep For The Week

Winter has less social activities. Take the opportunity to cook up a simple storm. In just a couple of hours you could have your food prepped for the week.  ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ . Some nights once you get home from work the last thing you want to do is think about organising your food not just that night but for the next day too.
Easy prep foods to fill the freezer with for the whole family are  soups, chicken mince or fish cakes, casseroles and slow cooker meals. Bolognese sauces served over Zoodles ( zucchini noodles) or  baked sweet potatoes

Tip #6: Pack your gym bag the day before

Have your gym bag ready to go the day before, that way if your training in the morning it will give you that little bit of extra time to sleep in, or if your coming straight from work it will ensure you don’t forget your workout shoes.

Tip #7: Purchase some new shoes or gym gear

How good does it feel having some fresh new kicks and active wear to put on. I know I look forward to working out in my 'something new'  It gives you that extra boost of motivation. Go out and treat yourself to something new, this can also be a good reward for reaching your goals.

Plan ahead and utilise winter rather than going into hibernation, glued to Netflix and eating comfort food!  The days go by anyway and so will each meal. Take each day on its own and commit to making great choices for training and the meals you eat now and you'll be reaping the rewards in just  10-12 weeks time. Summer is on its way... it happens every year with out fail!! 

 

I'm building a baby - what's your super power? Part 1

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We followed our resident trainer and 2 time mother- Britt Finn through her pregnancy looking at training, energy, nutrition and how to get through those exciting stages of pregnancy and what to expect when you're expecting. The following 3 part blog is an insight into what you can expect of yourself and your training before, during and after pregnancy.

Britt’s Story:

Each stage is very different for every woman. I found I was quite well and suffered very little morning sickness in the first 12 weeks. This meant that I was able to continue my normal routine as much as possible. Once you find out you're pregnant there are several things to consider. Here is where I started, and it's a good place to start for you too if you  are considering having a baby or have just found out you are already pregnant. 

Exercising and keeping fit in your pregnancy is totally achievable. For most women pregnancy is a normal healthy experience and for the most part we aren't sick or have a disease. There is no reason we can't continue with moderate exercise through most parts of our pregnancy. There are some really simple guidelines to follow to keep  in optimum health and look after the health of the baby you are growing inside.

1. Start with getting cleared by your doctor. Let your doctor know what exercise you have been doing and for how long you have been doing it. Most gyms will ask for a letter from your GP stating you are healthy for moderate exercise.

2. Consider if you have been exercising prior to falling pregnant - That’s a yes from me... my regular routine of days I train can continue whilst following the next couple of tips. This will of course change as I progress though. Your normal routine doesn’t need to change much. If you have been exercising hard it is tougher on your body to stop and do nothing for 9 months. Regular and consistent moderate exercise adapted as you move through the months is idea in most instances.

3. Know the details... check you aren't carrying twins ( no not me - definitely only one on board  :) and be aware of things like gestational diabetes and high/low blood pressure. Check with your GP.

4. Whilst continuing to exercise ensure that you are not doing anything dangerous with risks of falling or being hurt. In class I took out  all jump and plyometric work out of my training. Its not because the exercise is a problem - it's the risk of falling that is what I am careful about. There are so many different options to keep my body toned and feeling good, there is no need to push boundaries. This next 9 months was about looking after me while I was building a baby. 

5. In pregnancy you need to be aware of hydration levels- Drinking plenty of fluids! Who would have thought! The more water you drink the less likely you are to retain fluid. 

6. Overheating is one of the most important things to be aware of during your 9 months -take a break in front of a fan if needed or cool yourself with a cold washer during classes or training. Wear loosely fitted cool clothing to allow lots of air ventilation.

7. Intensity- everybody has different levels of fitness. You want to work at a level that you can always maintain a conversation throughout your workout. I wasn’t just chatting to my trainers in class for fun ;) that’s how trainers gauge the intensity at which you should work. You don’t want to be completely exerted and out of breath whilst you are pregnant. Drop back and allow your breathing to stabilize if it is too high.

My First Trimester:

It was definitely harder to sometimes get out of bed or feel like doing things but I found if it was important to me I'd find the energy to do it and I always know that it boosted my energy levels afterwards! 

Cravings... Yes! I definitely wanted different things in my pregnancy and I knew my body is also requiring more. What would usually fill me up didn’t quite anymore. I ate nutritionally balanced meals and didn’t deprived my body if I was feeling like a treat. Its all about balance. An important food and fuel factor was that I found I needed to eat more regularly to keep blood sugar levels in check and to feel better overall.

Next article I'll be sharing more about the changes to the body and the modifications we need to make as we progress.

During  your pregnancy your aim is not to improve on your fitness but rather a way of staying active and healthy while minimising those creeping extra kilos! Please feel free if you are on your own pregnancy/ exercise journey to ask me questions or get help with alternatives as your pregnancy progresses.  I’m happy to share my experiences and answer any of your queries. 

xxx Britt

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3 Great Reasons Women Over 40 Should Take Up Boxing ASAP

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Are you over 40 and considering what exercise will get you through this next stage of your life? 40 is the new 30 and your body will love and perform better for you for this next era with just the right balance of exercise and intensity. Here's why all women regardless of fitness level should be taking up boxing as part of a weekly fitness regime.

Part member story , part excerpt from ‘The Huffington Post’

Girlfriends — Boxing is for us! Yes, us, women over 40! We were raised never to hit, punch, or hurt anyone, especially with our fists. We were raised to think of boxing as the brutish, aggressive domain of men. But fitness boxing isn’t about combat or competition. Fitness boxing — sometimes called non-contact boxing because you never hit another person — is simply the best cardio & strength gift we can give ourselves. If you’ve never thought about how much fun it would be to hit that punching bag at your gym — if words such as jab, cross, hook, and uppercut aren’t in your vocabulary yet — buy or borrow a pair of boxing gloves and start boxing.

"Boxing started for me, when I noticed a friend of mine 'Checking In' at at her favourite boxing studio Punch Love.  She was posting pictures of her laughing, sweaty and having fun. To be honest she looked happy and confident in herself - something I hadn't seen in her in years. I wanted some of that too. " Julie-  Punch Love member.

So, here I am, age 46, with my own red boxing gloves and some newly found muscles, having almost too much fun at the gym. I even caught myself actually laughing! At first, I kept thinking — this isn’t something I should be doing — really, is it okay to hit? — but with each jab, I overcame my reluctance as I punched my way around the room. This deeply-ingrained cultural training — girls don’t hit —prevents most women over 40 from considering boxing. But nobody is hitting me, and I’m not fighting anyone. No sweaty boxing ring is needed. And as I’m learning the techniques of boxing from my trainers, I’m appreciating the beauty in the sport, especially the athleticism it requires. In boxing, power starts in the hips, requiring muscles I never knew I had to serve a purpose, linking hands and hips in a rhythm. Here are three big reasons to start boxing today:

1. Physical: From the first moment you throw a punch, you are breathing heavily, heart pumping, arms, chest, shoulders, core, and legs working in unison. Boxing burns over 500 calories/hour, builds lean muscle, develops stamina and endurance, and triggers the metabolism. As we age, we lose muscle mass, strength, flexibility, and balance. Boxing reverses all this, giving us back what we lose, developing hand-eye coordination and entire body strength. For women over forty, boxing is one of the most complete cardiovascular and resistance workouts ... and it is fun.

2. Mental: Boxing forces women out of our comfort zone, overcoming fears, and requiring 100 percent mental concentration. It is demanding and strategic, stimulating new parts of our brain, challenging our minds and bodies. The research on successful aging urges us to learn something new, strategic, and to keep testing ourselves with new sequences and moves. Sure we can push our minds doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles, learning new foreign languages, even attempting to learn new card games, but boxing is both physical and mental. To box is to be steeped in rhythm and movement, coordinating the swing of hips, the swivel of feet, and the power of the arms. It is exhausting, exhilarating, fun, and immensely rewarding. I swear when I walk out the door I'm 10ft tall and invincible. Any problems in my world have melted away and I feel like I could take on the world.

3. Spiritual: Boxing, like meditation, focuses attention and calms the mind. When boxing, my mind unplugs from day to day schedules and family responsibilities, from the noise and chatter of the outside world, the ping of the phone and the distraction of social media. I have never been more present in my life than at boxing.

“My new friends at Punch Love say their daily boxing classes are like therapy. Some days its anger management, other days its counselling or meditation. Preparing for class, wrapping up and getting my gloves on seems a spiritual metaphor for life, too.’

Punch Love is for women of all ages, no mirrors, no men and all fitness levels can join and join in.  If you'd like to find out how you too can make the most  of the best stage in your life simply connect with us here .  We run over 65 womens boxing fitness classes a week across the Hills and Hawkesbury region of NSW.    We Live | We Love | We Box

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How Punch Love gave me a 2nd chance and saved my life.