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Personal Improvement

Why more women should consider boxing

For a long time boxing was considered as a man’s sport but we’ve come a long way since those days. The stigma, however, remains and only a select few women take up boxing, not for competitive reasons but for losing weight and getting in shape.
There are many reasons why women should consider taking up boxing as their go-to workout. The positives far outweigh the negatives.
Here are a few reasons why more women should consider boxing:
 

1 Stress Relief

Imagine going to the gym after a tough day at work but instead of hopping onto a spin bike you get to punch a bag for 45 to 60 minutes. All that tension you brought to the gym from work will melt away in a puddle of sweat by your feet as you continuously beat your punching bag. By the time you get home the endorphins will have taken over and you will feel a lot better.
 

2 To Tone

Instead of building muscle you will be toning up your body. By the time you reach your goal weight, you will look like an athlete and not a bodybuilder.
 

3 Entire Body Workout

If you want a strong core then boxing is a sure fire way of getting one. It doesn’t just work your arms and shoulders but also the rest of your body as you twist and turn to deliver different punches. After your third or fourth class, you will begin to feel muscles ache that you didn’t even know you had.
 

4 A Strong Confident Woman

Your arms, legs, and core will be working extra hard during a boxing training session. With all the repetitive movements your body will build up strength over time and as you tone up it will become stronger. And as we all know, strong is the new skinny.
 

5 A Happy Heart

When you take part in a strenuous workout that has you breathing heavily to the point of being out of breath, your heart rate increases. This means it is pumping blood to the rest of your body, strengthening your heart and lowering the chances of heart attacks and strokes later in life.
 

6 No Gym Membership Required

If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy going to the gym then you can still get your boxing workout in. All you need are gloves, a punching bag, jump rope and medicine ball. With these few items, you can get in your daily workout without breaking the bank or having to leave your home. So no worrying about how you look after a long day of work or feeling self-conscious of how you look in your new workout leggings.
 

7 Self-Confidence

If you’re struggling with your self-confidence then boxing can definitely help. By learning something new with your body and feeling how you progress with each class, you will soon feel like a new person. If you’re doing it for the weight loss and sticking with it you will soon regain the confidence that you lost after picking up that little bit of weight.
 

8 Self Defense

Knowing that you can defend yourself when the situation arises can be a very powerful and liberating feeling. We’re not saying go look for trouble but when trouble does come knocking you know you can sit a guy down before he even thinks of doing anything shady. You will also walk taller and look more confident which takes away the image of you being a soft target.
If you’re in two minds about what type of workout to take then definitely consider taking a boxing class or two.
 
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Personal Improvement

Why my kids love boxing

It’s not generally a good thing when your kids fight each other. Whether it’s the whiny refrain of ‘I’m not touching you!’ or ‘Mum, she’s BREATHING on me,’ it’s enough to drive a parent crazy. A while back, I was introduced to an … alternative approach. It’s a more down-to-earth version of this phenomenon I read about online. In Japan, some corporate spaces have a hologram room to help its employees de-stress. And yes, it’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from Japan. In this hologram room, staff members can programme a VR experience of their choice.
They could spend time on a virtual beach, go on a date, or even punch a hologram of their demanding boss. It helps them let off steam in a healthy way, as long as they’re not doing anything illegal.  Of course for my kids, I prefer something a little more … grounded in reality. So I thought about letting them work off their sibling rivalry in a safe, carefully monitored, keenly supervised environment. Sports seemed like a good starting point.
 

Contact sports FTW!

I figures the kids could be competitive without being toxic, and I could merge their after-school-activity run, which means more free time for me! I looked around for activities offered at their school, or in community clubs. Lots of our youth centres offer team sports, but I wanted something they could do at home too. So my criteria included paired activities rather than team clubs. That narrowed it down to things like tennis, badminton, fencing, or martial arts.
There’s a youth club near home that offers all these activities and more, so I cycled the kids through them. They tried each activity for a few weeks before we settled on boxing training in Sydney. I liked it because they can practice in the yard, or even on the porch when the weather is less than friendly. It doesn’t need much equipment, just some skipping rope and boxing gloves for home sessions. At their club, they can access punching bags, boxing rings, and sparring tools.
I like that it gives them a full body work-out. Kids can start training as soon as they can walk, and it helps their balance and motor skills. The kids don’t really get into proper technique until age four or five, and they can turn competitive at age 10, joining tournaments and contest circuits. I like that my kids’ boxing club has produced global champs, so there’s something tangible to aspire to. I also like that their coaches have a verifiable track record.
 

Healthy assertiveness

Of course I’m talking from a parent’s perspective here, so I decided I should get some input from the kids themselves. They said they like hitting things and not getting into trouble for it. And they like knowing they can defend themselves. That last part set off my protective parent alarm, so I asked them what they need to defend themselves from. Bullies, they said, and thieves.
I asked if they were being harassed at school, or in our neighbourhood. They said not really, because the mean kids ‘know not to mess with them.’ My daughter was especially emphatic. She said during recess, some kids pick on the little ones. Nobody likes to be a tattle-tale, so they don’t want to tell the teachers. But she said she likes knowing she can fight back, and that she sometimes protects the smaller children from being targeted.
I should probably have a chat with their teacher about that, just to be sure I’m not inspiring school yard brawls. But it did give me pause, because there’s so much talk about helicopter parenting. It does feel good to see my daughter proud of her own sense of agency. And I like that she’s thinking about defending those who can’t defend themselves. It shows character, and that makes me one proud mama. Plus, my twins box is a good gender model.
 

Structured living

My son – who’s a few minutes younger than his sister – says he likes the predictability. He has to be at gym at certain times of day, and practice for a set number of hours. That surprised me, because we hear a lot about kids needing routine and structure, but we also hear about the joy of unplanned play. In the 50s, where kids were left to their own devices and could play however, wherever, whenever, and with whatever they wanted.
They’d ivent their own games and entertain themselves until dinner. So it’s enlightening to see my kids wanting some kind of planned, guided supervision. And because amateur boxing tournaments focus on points and targeted hits instead of blood and gore, I worry less about hospital bills and injury. Clearly, boxing works for my family, and it could work for yours too.
 
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Featured Personal Improvement

2019 is the Year for Change

As 2018 comes to a close and the new year is on the horizon, there may be some dissatisfactions, great or small with how the year may turned out. Maybe those fitness goals you had set at the beginning of the year may have not been met or surpassed, or maybe out of your quota of finances that you wished to save are not as much as hoped or estimated for, or life generally just did not seem to go along with the odds much in favour of you. Either way, the time for mulling over those shortfalls and beating yourself up over your failures has come to a point that it may not be very productive to hold on to. It is time to get up, dust yourself off and steel yourself for a better, more satisfying 2019.
The anecdotal narrative of “new year, new me” may be cliché and overused, but that does not make it any less true. A new year is the perfect opportunity to start over on a clean slate, putting in place better structures that will help you achieve your goals better and generally live a healthier and happier life. Almost like buying a new pen and beginning its use on a fresh page.
So, what are some of the things one may wish look into changing to combat the repeat of failure or dissatisfaction as we hop over into 2019?
 

Make time for things that make you happy

It is very easy to get caught up in the trappings of a routine life. Doing the same thing over and over again can lead to fatigue and dissatisfaction. This is why one should be willing to make time for things that make you feel alive. Whether it is meeting up with old friends, reading a good book or hiking a nature trail, it is important to do such revitalising activities often enough as they help keep your energies up and thus make you healthier and more productive.
 

Organise your time

In this day and age of smartphones, your calendar, planner and diary in the palm of your hand. Take note of how you spend your time. Cut down on unnecessary time-wasting activities such as scrolling for hours through social media and instead allocate that time to something more mentally, physically or spiritually stimulating. This will help you be more productive daily.
 

Rest when you are tired

While we all would love to be productive and active 24/7, we are only human, and so we get tired. Do not hesitate to take some time off when you feel fatigue and burnout kick in. Resting is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it guarantees you better productivity when you get back to your daily activities.
 

Making better financial decisions

Your financial plan for 2019 should looks something like “Spend less. Save more.” Research has shown that that once you are able to afford your basic needs, more money does not translate to more happiness. So, stop killing yourself with more work hours in order to earn more money in search of more happiness. Instead spend that time building a more holistic life and doing things that you love doing.
 

Take care of your health

When speaking of health, many people lock it down to exercise and eating more greens. And while physical health is important for a happy life, mental and emotional health are just as important. Therefore, beyond joining a boxing club near you to achieve your fitness goals, and eating 3 regular balanced meals daily, reducing your toxin intake and drinking more water, it is important to reduce stressors in your life by making lifestyle changes, and invest more in all aspects of your health.
 

Invest more in your relationship with people

With the rise of social media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to form deeply satisfying relationships with the people around us. However, in 2019 you should set aside more time for friends and family. Meet them face-to-face and not over a Skype call. Talk to people more and less to your phone. Your loved ones are an important support system that you must take time to develop in this new year. Establish an 80:20 rule between physical interactions and electronic ones.
So, as you gear up for 2019, the goal is not just to hit the gym, but also to live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. Write down your goals and slowly, but surely, step forward to achieve them in 2019. Bear in mind, targets are not set to be hit in one goal but to be worked on over time, don’t beat yourself about not completing, but you are working to it and the journey is just as much important as the end goal in this life. The relationships you create should positively impact the journey you are on.
 
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Personal Improvement

How to build positive body image in our children

There’s a popular Buzzfeed video that shows beauty standards throughout the ages. The video (also available on YouTube) focuses on women, because they generally have bigger body-image issues than men do. Just an example, ‘boxy’ female bodies were admired in Ancient Egypt and again in the 20s. Curvy girls with slightly poochy tummies were hot during the renaissance and in the war years. The 60s and 80s preferred modelesque figures.
These days, curves are in, but there’s a bias towards the kind of tiny waists and ample bottoms that can only be achieved through surgery and Victorian corsets. It’s also worth noting that in some indigenous communities, slim figures were a sign of poverty, so your family would literally fatten you up before marriage (or in-laws would pressure you to fill out soon after). This ensured the neighbours didn’t gossip about your broke home.
In Mauritius, teenage girls are still frequently force-fed to give them the ‘right shape’ while in the west, bulimia and anorexia can literally slim a girl to death. Teenage boys (and young men) are getting caught up in body image drama as well. Boys with slight frames and fast metabolisms feel pushed to over-exercise and use steroids to bulk up. It’s not until their 40s and 50s that the average man embraces his dad-bod (which, amusingly, was popular with frat boys in the mid noughties). Point is … all bodies are beautiful in their own way.
 

Right body models

That can seem like a pointless platitude, especially because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That said, following ‘popular’ versions of body beauty are risky, because they change over time. Imagine spending two years in the gym getting buff, only to be told the optimal bicep size is now 5 inches. Or struggling to shed fat and becoming medically underweight, then failing your audition because they now want plus-sized participants.
In an ideal world, we would all be happy with ourselves, forming intrinsic measures and not comparing ourselves to others. In the meantime, we can help our kids by giving them different role models. Find out what areas of their body they’re unhappy with. Start with things they can’t change, like height and skin tone. Then actively seek people who look like your kids and are happy with their lives.
If you can find someone in your neighbourhood, it’s a plus, because they can physically meet and engage with them. But if this isn’t feasible, you can find articles and videos – body image is a big thing now, so there are lots of resources. Get a healthy mix – actors, celebrities, sports-people, or even just regular people with body-image related blogs. It’s easier to share these with younger kids, because they still look up to us. Teens and tweens are a little harder to get through, so you could offer them resources and let them explore on their own.
 

Zoom into their interests

For best results, find something they’re already interested in. The kid that’s perpetually in headphones might prefer a podcast. The sporty kid will connect better to a sample from their sport than a stylista, for example. So as you search for role models, seek within your kids’ niche. A short kid might be inspired by Jada Pinkett Smith, Kevin Hart, or even Mike Myers. A short aspiring basketballer? Muggsy Bogues is 5’3. Non-waify ballerinas? 16-year old Lizzy Howell can dance en pointe.
And remember that for kids, being too small can be just as frustrating as being too big. Google has convenient search metrics, so you can look for something as specific as ‘celebrities who weigh less than 50kg’ or ‘dark-skinned famous people under 4 feet tall.’ Share these stories and images with your kids.Next, you can carefully introduce your kids to make-over shows. Carefully, because they might gain a message of materialism, so watch it with them to guide them along. The ideal take-away is that any body type can be flattering if you wear the right clothes for your style and shape.
Trying on a different cut of jeans could make your ‘too small’ or ‘too big’ child look just right. Also, remind them of their inner qualities. And while physique isn’t the most important thing, we can still use exercise to improve our bodies. Enroll your kids in fun exercise options like boxing training. It’s a high intensity, full-body work-out with quick effects. Plus, it’s a ‘cool’ sport so they’re more likely to stick with it than traditional gym exercises. Boxing trains their mind as well as their muscles, so it will help them shift their attitudes and look at themselves in a different way. It’s good for their health too, which is a highly underrated but crucial focus of any exercise plan.
 
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Personal Improvement

How boxing increases confidence

If you are one of those people who has taken up boxing training lately, you will know that this particular sport is much more than practicing a form of martial arts. Whether you went to the boxing club to get fit or are planning to use the combat sport for self-defense, it is known that boxing has an incredible effect on your self-confidence like no other sport as the training challenges you in so many ways be it physically, mentally or spiritually. To convince your friends to try out boxing training at the nearest club for better self-esteem, read on to find eight reasons why boxing increases confidence to promote your new hobby.
 
#1
Especially women have said they gained confidence after having taken up boxing, as certain styles and punching techniques might prepare for possible real-life situations. By training in martial arts, females are able to be amongst a crowd or walk home alone with less fear, as they know they are able to defend themselves in a compromising situation.
 
#2
Once you have started joining a Boxing Club Sydney, the number of techniques might seem overwhelming at first as well as the shape your sparring partner is in. But within time and practice, you will realize, that if you train hard you will overcome these obstacles since your technique and condition will get better. Boxing will teach you that nothing is impossible and that you can achieve almost anything as long as you train hard for it.
 
#3
Boxing is one of the hardest sports and by drilling, sparring, and weightlifting you will burn hundreds of calories. Hence no wonder you will be able to show off a leaner body at the beach soon or fit in those skinny jeans again. The great physique you gain through exercise will leave your passerby’s with envious looks and a boost in self-confidence.
 
#4
Once you have trained hard enough, maybe you will find yourself in a situation where you eventually join competitions. By competing against an opponent you will show not only your skills but also how much you have learned to believe in yourself. The pressure that comes with competitions is immense but no matter if you win or lose, every fight you will gain experience and true sportsmanship. Competing will truly show you what you’re made of as you can rely on no other than yourself when in the ring.
 
#5
Another advantage that comes with taking up sports is the chance to socialize with others. As boxing is usually taught in a group setting you will come across other athletes at any given time who share the same interest. Your social circle is likely to get bigger since the setting will give you the confidence to socialize with others maybe even outside the boxing club.
 
#6
As eating healthy comes with exercise you might want to change your diet and eat more whole food, fruit and vegetables to not only perform the best of your ability in training but also in daily tasks. This comes with a weight loss as you will change chocolate bars for dried apricots and a soft drink for freshly squeezed orange juice. You will not only look good but feel good as boxing takes away some tension that might have built up during the day.
 
#7
Boxing requires mental strength as well as physical strength as it teaches discipline and builds character. You will overcome fears and getting through obstacles will make you not only stronger but build confidence on another level as you gain a fighter’s mentality to never stop and you might take up challenges you never thought you’d be capable off.
 
#8
On the physical side, boxing requires enormous stamina and excellent condition. These aspects alone may lead to a boost in confidence and continue to grow if one is successful in this sport. This is why boxing builds confidence in the long run and does not give a short-term boost like dressing well or downing a few beers at the pub.
 
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Feeling Flat After the HSC? Get Back Into Training With These Tips

The HSC is one the most stressful times in our schooling lives. They are not the be all and end all but can help set up the future we desire – whether it’s getting into the University of our choice or securing a job. The lead up to the HSC is a stressful period of all-nighters, not the partying fun kind either! It’s all about study, study, and more study.
The intense cramming involved can take its toll on the mind and the body, but it’s all worth it when the scores come in and all the hard work pays off. Well, that’s of course if you get the mark you were hoping for! Regardless of your scores, once the HSC is over a wave of calm washes over you and you can finally get back to living your life. No doubt with all the pre-HSC hoo-ha your exercise routine went out the window. This post is dedicated to giving you some hints and tips on how to get back into shape.
 

Start Slowly

After a hiatus from physical exercise for quite some time, it’s a good idea to start off slowly. Pushing yourself too hard on your first training session will hurt physically and mentally and can do more damage than good. If you push too hard your body will ache and your mind will flinch at the idea of putting yourself through it again.
Start slowly and gradually and then work your way back up. Go for a short run and gradually push yourself harder and harder over the next month. If you’re partaking in boxing training or aerobics, take it easy on yourself and don’t push too hard, regardless of if the instructor is yelling at you to “push it push it push it!”
 

Yoga

Yoga is my go-to stress relief and exercise. I tell all my friends to get into it because of the benefits one can receive from regular practice. The stigma of housewives in colourful pants doing yoga is long gone and now everyone from athletes to famous musicians are getting on board the yoga train. It’s a great way to strengthen your body and calm the mind. There are many different styles of yoga and a good idea is to sample all of them and see which one resonates with you.
 

Boxing Training

Boxing training is a great way to get back into the exercise arena. Whether you see yourself as the next Jeff Fenech or would just like to get toned and fit boxing training has you covered.  It’s quite a diverse training regime that will have you punching a bag and working on your cardio. There are boxing clubs in pretty much every city and town across the country and you don’t need much equipment to get started. Just grab yourself some bag mitts and away you go.
 

Team Sports

Team sports are a great way to increase your fitness, make friends and learn some valuable skills that will help you in other areas of your life. Being part of a team has a multitude of benefits such as leadership skills and learning to cooperate with others while striving for a common goal. So, if basketball, soccer or football is your gab, jump online and check out the local sporting teams in your area. A good place to start is your local club as they have a bunch of sports and activities to get you back in the exercise arena.
 

Cross Fit

Cross fit is a multi-faceted exercise regime usually done at high intensity and incorporates elements from a variety of different disciplines, from running, to aerobics, to weightlifting. It has gained immense popularity over the last decade and continues to gain momentum. The great thing about cross fit is the diversity and the range of movement that it provides. It’s great for building strength and increasing your cardio while having fun. Well hopefully. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
 

Parkour

Parkour is an exercise and training discipline that will give you the necessary balance, skills, and strength to navigate an obstacle course, usually in an urban environment. It was developed from military obstacle course training and involves jumping, climbing and pretty much everything that is required to get from the start to the finish. Ninja Warrior, the popular television show, is a prime example of Parkour where the contestants have to navigate a difficult obstacle course to reach the finish in the fastest time. Obviously, to get to the Ninja Warrior level, it will take years of dedication and training, but your local club has beginner classes that will get you started on your parkour adventure.
The HSC’s are over. There is no excuse anymore to slack off on exercise. Your body is your vehicle to drive through life and the better it performs the easier life will become. Think of it like a car. The better you take care of it the longer it lasts. So hop to it!
 
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Personal Improvement

Why We Are so Impacted by A Smile

It is in our nature that we all like to be around happy people and with the perfect smile, maybe you are the one folks get drawn to as well. The reason why we feel attracted to smiling people is not only because we instinctively want to interact with that person, but also hoping their happiness and positive mood might make us experience the same emotions, hence a smile can be contagious and might lighten up some other person’s mood as well. A big open smile not only signals friendliness but also makes you seem more approachable, thus, your smile can be your greatest gift to the world.
 
People, who smile often, are commonly satisfied with their life and find it easy to engage in social activities. As we usually smile at a positive situation, our muscles contract and reduce our stress level, which enables us to cope better with negative emotions since smiling increases endorphins in our body. Recent reports reveal that smiling people tend to be healthier and make the person even look a lot younger as the muscles used for smiling actually lift the face.
 
An attractive smile can be the best outfit you’re wearing and might open a lot of doors as it makes you look positive and confident in many life situations. Whether you need to ask a stranger for directions, have a job interview or simply smile at the barista when she hands you your morning coffee. When you smile, you’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed, and sincere and people will treat you differently. Even in professional life, a nice natural smile can be persuading and it is proven that smiling people close more deals and sales, which can then lead to job promotions and other work offers. And the great thing is, that a smile is universal. If you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, maybe even a foreign country with unknown cultural habits, and language is a barrier, smile, as it means the same all over the world: a smile is the global sign of friendliness.
 
Suffice to say that if you don’t smile, you are maybe missing out on opportunities, as life could be less exciting and enjoyable due to the fact that people might hesitate to approach you. And since a smile can change your life, you should take proper care of the teeth you are showing. If you have to hide your smile because you’re not happy with your teeth and have to cover your mouth to hide them you may come across as insecure and unfriendly, which might have a negative impact on your social and professional environment.
 
If you are embarrassed to show your smile, you might even avoid eye contact and shy away from people. To prevent this from happening, make sure you practice oral hygiene regularly by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing them daily to prevent tooth decay. Also, an appointment at the dentist should be scheduled on an annual basis for a professional clean to prevent the build-up of plaque and to make sure there are no bigger dental problems before they become costlier and in the worst case even irreversible.
 
If you already have a problem with your teeth and are not confident enough to smile, consult an oral health professional. There are great dental solutions for you out there, ranging from invisible braces to straighten your teeth, restoring a chipped tooth and replacing missing ones by dental implants. The high-quality services a dental clinic offers are countless but will certainly give you a great new look to improve both, your smile and your life.