Posts Tagged ‘speed bag

18
Aug
18

Stamina

I’ve noticed it all summer long—small minute observations of not being on my game. Whether it’s slowing down in the ring as the rounds add up or the feeling that I’m going to run out of breath when I walk from home to my writing room or from my office at work towards the subway.

These are things I take for granted: having the pep and vigor to work hard through my 16 rounds of training at Gleason’s or walking at my fast pace wherever I go, in fact hating when I amble as some sort of flaw in the process of how I move through space

And yep, it’s been hot and humid, even at 6:15 in the morning. And as for Gleason’s – well it’s a boxing gym! Air conditioning is for the winter when cold air barrels through because there’s very little heat—and summer, well, the heat and mugginess is just part of the “allure,” not to mention a sure fired way to loosen up tight muscles.

In contemplating why my stamina is off, and why there have been times this summer when I’ve had to stop in the middle of running pads with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore, sit for a while under one of the overhead fans with a wet towel on my head before picking it up again on the double-end bag or the speed bag, I’ve wondered if it’s just the heat, or something else.

Is it turning 64? Is it the process of the body inevitably slowing down even when one does the same thing repetitively? Is it mental? A sense of not being in the moment, my thoughts wandering off somewhere, stealing glances at CNN’s early morning news show as I shadow box around the ring—feeling my guts tighten and cringe at whatever the latest outrage is about children being separated from their parents or yet more cuts to things like food stamps and healthcare?

In thinking about stamina—that ability to work at something long and hard whether it’s something physical or mental or both for that matter—I’ve been thinking through the processes that gives one the feeling of invincibility as one works through the problem, whether it’s running five miles in a set amount of time, boxing a set number of rounds, or putting in the hours to write a book; efforts that require focus, attention, and a sense of being present with what one is trying to accomplish.

I’m hoping that my being “off” in the gym—is some combination of heat and mental focus, and in thinking it through even further I do have to own up to the fact that I’ve not been resting as I should and have been letting the day-to-day stuff we all live with “get” to me.

And so in trying to tease out stamina—I can see it as a “trifecta” of sorts: one part being in shape, one part being focused, and one part being present enough to let it all happen. And sure, it can be physical too—but the truth is, I just don’t buy, at least not yet, and so off I’ll go on Monday to work it out on the bag again.

21
Mar
18

The gym is closed today

My ritual of morning is out of kilter.

With the gym closed today there’s no need to push myself out of bed at 5:30 to begin the process of readying for the gym. Gone is the symmetry of my every other weekday morning boxing workout with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore.  Of the silent walk to the gym, and brief chitter-chatter with the coffee guys in front of the court-house in downtown Brooklyn.

On different mornings, I have different looks and feelings. Mostly I’m reassured by the discipline of making it to Gleason’s Gym pretty much without fail. I arrive, wave to the early morning denizens and making my way to the locker room, transform myself into my boxer self.

It is in the locker room where I set out my tools–my well-worn rival sparring gloves, my hand wraps and my shoes, my water bottle and towel, while hanging up my work clothes for the quick shower and change after my workout.

Ready for battle, I enter the ring to begin the rounds of shadow boxing, working on my footwork and my mix of combinations, careful to always snap my jab with my right hand up.

The rounds with Lennox — four to six depending on how much energy we have.

The four rounds on the double-ended bag, or the heavy bag.

The four rounds on the slip bag or the speed bag.

Sometimes an added bit of something, sometimes not.

Each has a place in my ritual of morning.

Mostly it is all about the sweat and pushing myself and staying positive during those times when I am anything but. This past year has had its difficulties. I still mourn my father’s death in June, finding strength in my memories of him performing his 300 crunches while hooked up to the oxygen that was his mainstay as he bravely battled COPD.  And perhaps it is that memory that pushes me to haul myself out of bed, even when I’ve only managed to get to sleep at 1:00 AM. Other mornings it is the concept that #ageisjustanumber or that the pursuit of one’s passions keep one young and vibrant and vital.

With the gym closed, I find myself up anyway at 5:29, a full hour ahead of my reset alarm clock. Up and wondering what I shall do. Go back to sleep? Scroll through posts on social media? Worry about the latest headlines in the news? The offer I saw on Facebook for an opponent to fight a former world champion for the ridiculous,  insulting and ultimately dangerous fee to the life and safety of the woman who will feel compelled to accept $2,000?

Instead, I find myself here at the dining table. Up and writing, thankful that I’ve given myself the chance to pivot and turn towards my other source of solace and sanity in a crazy world.

 

 

12
Jan
13

Effortless prose on the speed bag …

Effortless prose on the speed bag …

Speed Bag Gleason's Gym

I’ve always loved the speed bag. Coming at the end of a workout, it feels like a well-earned respite from the grunts and groans of hard hitting on pads, bags and bodies.

One can go slow, fast and everywhere in between as that classic patterned da-da-da-da-da-da-da roams through one’s head, the feet perhaps in syncopated rhythm, perhaps not, as the right and left hands make the speed bag sing.

Once mastered, however, there is always that push towards the next level. In my case I’ve been thinking  a lot about elbow strikes and telling myself that it’s good range-of-motion therapy for my shoulder has spurred me on to actually try.

For my first outing I chose a pattern of alternating a four-count between my left and my right hitting slowly with the following pattern:  right, right, right, right elbow,  left, left, left, left elbow.

I tried it during the last 30 seconds of my third round on the speed bag, and for the fourth round attempted the elbow strike pattern for most of it. I have to say I hit it right on the elbow a few times, but mostly struck the forearm.  Still, the range-of-motion was pretty tough on the right side — and as therapy alone, it certainly was something.

Coming home, I thought I’d check out some videos on YouTube and offer a smattering as inspiration!

Speed bag phenom in time to the music!

Cool double-strike patterns with elbow strikes!

Early efforts … with double-strikes.

True mastery.

28
Jan
12

Big days, little days.

Big days, little days.

Some days are filled with big things and others have the “usual suspects.”  The same it seems with working out: peppy for two or three training sessions in a row and then the dogs. We’re talking no energy, no pop and not so much going through the motions as just having no energy to get where you want to go!

I had one of those mornings at Gleason’s Gym today.  Sure, I did my sweet 16 (four rounds each of shadow boxing, pad work, double-ended bag and speed bag), but did I ever have to work for them.  Lennox kept shaking his head saying, “wake up, girl!” And maybe that helped because I did manage to bring it towards the end with two hopped up rounds on the double-ended bag and some serious da-da-da-da / da-da-da-da on the speed bag.

In analyzing it later, I realized that part of the problem is I’m still not doing enough during the week to keep the momentum up for a meaningful Saturday session.  A clue on how to do that in an otherwise busy life came from my old Peace Corps buddy Mark who had a post on Facebook today proclaiming that he’d hit his goal of 1,000 sit-ups in a week.

I thought, “1,000!?!  That is a lot!.”  Breaking it down to daily increments, however, brought it more in line with what actual humans can achieve! Reading further, Mark wrote about his formula for success: starting at just 130 for the first week until he had brought himself along to 1,000.

Given that I struggled through my 100 sit-ups this morning at the gym (having only done 20 all week) — it occurred to me that if I followed Mark’s formula of defining weekly goals, it might get me off my tush and into a regular daily sit-up routine. Not wanting to set the mark too high for myself the first week, I’ve settled on accomplishing 300 between Sunday and Friday.  That means 50 a day — meaning about 10 minutes!  Seen that way, there is no way I shouldn’t be able to achieve it.  The same thing for push-ups — or my version of them which means on my knees or against a bar at this point.  Sure, I did 20 today at the gym (in two sets of 10 each), but it was hard and strained my shoulder.  So there again, I’ve decided on setting a goal between Sunday and Friday.  I’m staring off with 60, that means 10 a day — or another 5 minutes a day at most!

Summed together, if I give myself a mere 15 minutes a days, I can meet my weekly goal and have sacrificed nothing. No excuses here!

Kudos to Mark for a great idea!

25
May
11

Lovely morning.

Lovely morning.

Daughter awake. Yoga routine finished. Kitty fed. Husband comfortably abed. Light full on in the sky. Warmish breeze at the window. In other words a lovely morning.

My work day is huge, to be followed by 12 lovely rounds of pounding on heavy bags, double-ended bags and the speed bag.

All is right with the world.

As for inspiration …

Lucia Rijker on the Speedbag!

Heavy bag – women’s training

14
May
11

Waiting for the end to come.

Waiting for the end to come.

Today was one of those gym days when if found myself waiting for the end. Whether it was the end of the round, the end of the set, or the end of the training session, my entire body seemed to be keeping rhythm to the “why are we here?” mantra.

We’re talking muscles yelling at me, head throbbing from a migraine, lungs shouting “wtf!?!” and legs that refused to bend.  Len (bless him) was a sweetheart about it and aside from a half-hearted, “wake-up, wake-up” during our first round on the focus pads, figured it was best to just go with the low-flow of energy.

Still, I did manage to get through the entire circuit, and even picked up some energy towards the end of my last couple of rounds on the double-ended bag and during my speed bag rounds.  By then I realized that by working it all out on the bag, I was finding a way to push through the physical morass and even found myself working a little past the bell on the last two rounds.

On the sit-up chair it was pretty much more of the same, but at least the head-throbbing was gone by then, and now that I’m home and adequately “coffee’d”,  I’m actually starting to feel a smile coming on.

So, what does it all mean?  I guess to haul your booty out the door anyway even if you’re feeling like dog-doo.  In my case, because I’m on a once-a-week schedule, I really feel that I have to go regardless — and let’s face it, while I’m still not at 100%, having made it through, I feel energized if only because I did complete the circuit. And who knows, I might even find the energy for a run later in the day.  I’ll see how it goes.

10
Apr
11

Sleep, per chance to dream…

Sleep, per chance to dream…

My sweet sixteen felt more like The Dirty Dozen yesterday.  I worked my butt off — with lots of right to the body, left to the body, straight right combinations during my pad work with Lennox, but was I ever ragged.  I’m not sure how I made it through the fourth round of the that set, but I managed it with some pretty pitiful arm punches, but, hey … I got through it.

The double-ended bag was also pretty pathetic, but I rallied for the speedbag and had really nice rhythm through most of it.  What helped was peering at some pretty great sparring in the two rings in my line of sight — along with my inner Gonna have a funky good time beat (thanks James Brown) and “legs don’t fail me now” entreaties.

What did work yesterday was upping my sit-up chair time to three rounds.  So all in all I was 16 + 3 for the day, if in limp mode for half of it.

In analyzing why my energy was so low, however, I had a true “duh!” epiphany.  Yep, the missing ingredient: Sleep!

From no less a source than Harvard Medical School Women’s Health Watch (link here), six important reasons for getting enough sleep include:

1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.

2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.

5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

Oy.  Who knew.

I mean, yes, I knew, but like many of us, I continue to blow-off the importance of getting those zzzz’s in favor of all the seeming have-to’s, not to mention the dumb want-to’s (like watching really bad TV) that get in the way of a decent night’s rest.

Put another way, getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is no less important to health than eating a balanced diet and doing all that cardio in the first place — and may in fact, help with curbing the pounds and upping your energy in the process.  Least ways I sure hope so!




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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