Camden Boxing Club, which was launched in September, is the brainchild of Manya Klempner, a former City executive. Klemperer owns a similar gym in Marylebone. “I left banking when I was pregnant in 2012, and started working out with a personal trainer to lose weight after my son was born,” she says. “It’s not an exaggeration to say boxing changed my life. I found the technique interesting, and felt like I was improving in a new skill.”
Klempner feels boxing is an excellent sport for midlife women. “All too often, it’s dumbed down into Boxercise, which is fine,” she says. “But women who are more assertive or competitive might get more out of boxing itself.”
I, for one, agree that boxing’s all-round health benefits should be shouted from the rooftops.
Health coach Lisa Monger agrees. “Boxing is lighting a fire in someone,” she says. “It’s exciting, fun, and engaging. From a physical point of view, it’s the ultimate high-intensity training: three, four or five minutes’ full-on work, then a minute’s rest.” The movements involved in boxing build cardio fitness and strengthen the bones, as well as the muscles of the arms and the back. “Most women have strong legs and glutes, but not so much on the upper body,” says Monger. “Boxing is functional fitness. Yes, you look aesthetically good, but you also become strong for everyday activities.”
At times during my 45-minute session with Coach White, I feel I’m drawing on every last reserve of strength. Even after the ‘warm-up’ (30 seconds running on the spot, 30 seconds running and punching, followed by 10 star jumps – repeated three times!) I’m gasping. But the minute we start the boxing, my motivation refires. I’m impatient to get onto the punching itself but White insists on showing me the correct stance, and the right way to throw my punches (my technique is apparently out of whack). It’s a bit like doing the sanding before you have the fun of applying the paint. White teaches me the perfect jab, straight, hook and upper-cut: how to roll, and ‘slip.’