White collar boxing - A winner's story

Over the last few years boxing and the associated training has become a very popular way of working out and getting fit. From boxing boot camps and boxercise to sparring sessions at the gym; men and women young and old are taping their fists and putting on the gloves as part of their exercise plan. White Collar Boxing and the training that goes with it has become increasingly popular. Not only is it a great way to get fit, lose weight and learn new skills, it is also a great way to raise money for charity. And it’s not only men that are taking up the opportunity to go a few rounds in a ring; as I found out when I interviewed Paul McGuire, a 44 year old Public Servant, about his recent White Collar Boxing match.

What is White Collar Boxing Paul? It is an opportunity for people who have never boxed before to partake in boxing training and then compete in the ring for a fundraising event.

How did you hear about it? My local Football Club approached me to take part to raise money for a local charity.

What made you decide to try White Collar Boxing? I always had an interest in boxing and the training associated with it. But this was the perfect opportunity to get trained by the professionals. And because I knew I was working towards a match I couldn’t drop out so it kept me motivated to keep going.

What did your training routine include and how often did you have to workout? I trained 6 days a week, it sounds a lot but it was very enjoyable and I learned so much about exercise and technique.

  • Monday was gym, weights and core work.
  • Tuesday was White Collar Boxing Training; this included boxing technique, punch bag workout, shadow boxing and also skipping rope. And nearer to the matches sparring was included.
  • Wednesday was circuit training, punch bag work, weights, and we finish with stretching.
  • Thursday was boxing training, this class included shadow boxing drills for improving technique, grappling and sparring.
  • Friday was the same as Tuesday nights.
  • Saturday was always a rest day.
  • Sunday was back to the gym for a cardio session using the cross trainer, bike, treadmill and finish with stretching.

You mentioned grappling, what is that? It’s about practicing techniques and manoeuvres to gain physical advantage over your opponent. But it is also about positioning your body in a way that allows you to escape injury.

You work full time, so how did you manage to fit in all the training? It was a matter of time management and realising that I would have to get up earlier and train before going to work. Some training took place directly after work or later in the evening.

Do you play other sports or do any other training? Yes, last year I finished playing football but have continued to go to the gym, jog and do boxing training. I feel that variety in training is a better overall approach to exercise. It keeps me interested and that’s really important when it comes to an exercise plan.

You are very fit and active, what keeps you motivated? For the match, my motivation was the fear of losing, and wanting to last the distance. In general, I am motivated for health reasons as I was overweight as a child. There is no feeling like the feeling of being healthy and fit.

How is your diet and did it change while you were training? Yes it did change while I was training. I started to eat porridge for breakfast again, I had a lot of pasta at lunch and I ate a lot of green vegetables. I had lots of protein after most training sessions. I cut down on my intake of alcohol, bread, takeaways and I took multivitamins most days.

Did you find that cutting down on these things helped? Definitely. I find bread quite stodgy so I was less bloated and sluggish. I had more energy and felt less lethargic.

You were up against a much younger and bigger man but you won, why do you think that is? You start with the head and finish with the heart. He started the fight by using a lot of energy, looking for a quick knockout. I paced myself and felt I was able to finish stronger. I had also practised a lot of blocking and guarding techniques and I feel this helped also.

So would you say steady wins the race, or your overall fitness stood to you? They told us in training to just let your opponent tire themselves out. My overall fitness did stand to me as I recovered very quickly after the fight. Within a few minutes I felt like I could go back in the ring again. There are not many 44 year olds that can say that. So my fitness and training definitely did help me.

There were some ladies competing on the night too, did they take part in the same kind of training? Yes they did and were very enthusiastic. They put on a great fight on the night and I think they might have been surprised how much they enjoyed all the training.

What did you learn or take away from the experience? There is a big difference between training and the real thing in the ring on the night. I regret I didn’t do this type of training when I was younger. But that said, it goes to show it’s never too late to give something a go.

Although it was for charity did you become competitive? From the word go I wanted to do my best and not look back at a later stage and say why didn’t I do more. If you give it everything you have you will never regret it but if you only give it a half-hearted effort you will always be disappointed.

Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. A lot of people who took part in the event are continuing on with the training. The camaraderie during and after the event was great.

Did you enjoy the experience? Yes, I would do it again.

Can anyone take part? Yes anyone can. As I mentioned, the ladies really enjoyed it and have kept up the training.

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