Tag Archives: workout

Gleason’s Gym Second Annual All Female Boxing Clinic!

Gleason’s Gym Second Annual All Female Boxing Clinic!

The World Famous Gleason’s Gym and Brooklyn’s own treasure, will be hosting the second annual All Female Boxing Clinic on April 19, 20 and 21, 2012!

There will be two days of boxing basics followed by a sanctioned all female boxing show.  The training will be handled by Gleason’s top female trainers and our female World Champions.

The amateur show will be sanctioned by USABoxingmetro and will be video-streamed live on www.gofightlive.tv with Gleason’s own Sonya Lamonakis providing the on-air commentary.

Last year’s All Female Boxing Clinic was highly successful with contingents from Great Britain and Germany joining women from all across the United States, as well as former Australian national champion Mischa Merz.

From the Girlboxing perspective, it’s a fantastic opportunity for novices on through established boxers to hone their skills plus have the opportunity to work out with some of the best in the business!

If you are interested contact Bruce Silverglade at Gleason’s Gym.

The telephone number is: 718 797 2872 and the email address is: info@gleasonsgym.net.  You can also check out Gleason’s website here.

The cost of the clinic is $299.00.

Bruce Silverglade was kind enough to sit down with Girlboxing last year, this is what he had to say!

Living each day.

Living each day.

Whether it is the dangers of the ring, such as the one that has seen Ishika Lay on her long road to recovery from second-impact syndrome, or something closer to home, such as the sudden illness of a relative or friend, living each day to its fullest is an important mantra:  even when that means walking away from the things we love to do.

That means not only pursuing your dreams, but knowing when to sit out because the risks are too great.

Have a headache after sparring that won’t go away?  Go and get it checked out and follow the mantra:  when in doubt, sit it out.

I know we all tend to ignore the long-term effects of our actions or even cast a “blind eye” to their very existence, but headaches and the like are also symptoms of acute problems that can be dealt with much more readily early on.  Sometimes it is only a matter of facing down the demons that seem to haunt us when we contemplate the “why” question that prevents us from taking the next step — say to a doctor’s office.  Not to do so, however, is to play a dangerous game of roulette with one’s own health and well-being.  It is also an example of breaking a cardinal rule that can best be translated as cheating at solitaire.

Here’s another one: Do you have indigestion every time you eat a slice of pizza?  Or in the absence of that, cough after every pasta or pizza meal?  Has it seemed to escalate at night lately, even when you don’t eat pizza? Go and get that checked! And P.S. … stop eating pizza and pasta till you know what’s going on.  At the very least you might have GERD (Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease), but it also might mean (depending on your age), that you are starting to see changes to the actual make-up of your esophagus (Barrett’s Esophagus) which can lead to “no joke” complications.

I bring this all up because so many of us “live” with things that we think are nothing that end up being a big something in a hurry when we least expect it.  When that happens the effects are often horrendous, both to the individual undergoing treatment and to family and friends who suffer along with each bump in the road.

Athletes presumably have a great sense of their bodies – certainly of the cause and effects of too little sleep, poor eating habits and so on; however, that doesn’t always translate into evaluating the relative risks of injuries or of even recognizing that the twinge in a shoulder is really a rotator cuff injury about to blow.

That’s when we all have to take some responsibility not only for our own health and well-being, but for what we see going on around us by taking to heart the “if you see something, say something” mantra.  Sure, you might be accused of putting your nose into someone’s business, but you well might recognize something that your sparring partner just doesn’t see.

Part of living each day certainly translates into living it with gusto, but we also need to be cognizant of all the aspects of our day, even the things we’d rather ignore.  The problem is the things we ignore have a way of slamming us in the face whether we acknowledge them or not, and for my money, it’s better to face an issue head on than wait for the unexpected surprise.

Hey pretty and other stories from the battle of the bulge!

“Hey pretty,” and other stories from the battle of the bulge!

A Girlboxing reader wrote about the problem of looking into the mirror and shaking her head a bit at the body that stared back at her.  That is a hard one to reconcile.  There we all are working our bottoms off, eating one pea at a time and going through all the truly difficult work-out stuff, yet because we don’t look like the women adorning the cover of Self magazine we steel ourselves with a sharp intake of breath every time we look at ourselves in the mirror.

It reminds me of the Mighty Aphrodite speech I used to give my friends back in the day when I was — heck, in my early 40s and really full of things!  (That’s another story for another day.)

I was going through a breast cancer scare at the time (luckily negative) — but went through one of those moments after the first mammo, when air seemed to be sucked out of the room into a kind of hush as the Radiologist and the Technician came back in to take yet another film.  Days later in the waiting room before surgery to remove a bunch of nasty looking calcifications, my two oldest forever friends we’re trying to distract me with tales from their love lives (never a good thing, I can assure you).

Now both were in my estimation beauties.  One had long blonde hair a body honed by a lifetime of tennis, racquetball, running, weight lifting and the most perfect shiksa legs you ever saw.  The other one had more of an “exotic” beauty and happened to be in one of her thinner than thin stages.  To remind you, we were all in your early 40s and yet all these two gorgeous women could talk about was how they hated dating because eventually they’d have to “show” their bodies to a new man.  What?!?

Girl in the Mirror, Picasso

Well, to say that I launched was an understatement, my basic point being you are Mighty Aphrodite, hear you roar!  Truly.  That body staring back at you in the mirror, the one with character and stories and loving feelings. The one that bore children or heartache. The one that fought illness. The one that gained and lost.  The one that worked out at five o’clock in the morning and ran in the rain.  The body with hints of ripples on your arms from slinging dumbbells or the fabulous movements of a Zumba class is, my friends, BEAUTIFUL.

Even when you hate that extra tire around your middle or my personal favorite, the “You’ve become one of those women,” statement from your doctor.  In my case it meant confronting how I’d become my grandmother. However, there is still deep beauty in the saggy skin and cottage cheese that combine to make YOUR fabulous thigh.  And to channel my grandmother even more you can go through the three stages of grief according to Lillian Miller:  first you cry, then you get up and wash your face, and then you do.   None of the seven stages nonsense for her.  Life is too damned short and has a way of making you 57 before you know it.

So Girlboxing friends please give yourselves a round of applause for where you are in life — and the next time you look in the mirror blow yourself a kiss and say, “Hey pretty,” it’ll work wonders for you!  I know that it did me.




Beautiful day, beautiful box, but the work continues.

Beautiful day, beautiful box, but the work continues.

So there I was this morning on my fast walk to Gleason’s Gym feeling mighty pleased with myself. I’ve lost about seven pounds since starting on the low-acid diet, I had lots of energy and I felt “back” in terms of my physical conditioning.

There is, however, always something — and yes, I got through my sweet sixteen and even a super fast round on the double-ended bag, but when it came to the abs workout, it all fell apart.

Yep, folks, if it’s not one thing it’s another and in my case, my next crucible has to do with my abs workout. Gone are the days of 100 sit-ups followed by 100 crunches followed by another round of 100 sit-ups. I was lucky to do a full 25 sit-ups followed by 60 crunches (in to 30-crunch sets). Talk about an “ugh” moment.

But hey, not everything works out all the time and while I’ve come along enough to feel the fabulous pop-pop-pow of my doubled-up jab/right hook combination, the situps will come along in due course too.

If you’ve been away from abs for a while too — here’s are a nice beginner tutorial from the UK, and a nice basic abs workout you can do at home or at the gym.

Working out in the heat!

Working out in the heat!

We’re talking 95 degrees fahrenheit today people and 98 tomorrow … in New York City!  That means summer is full on upon us and time to think about working out in the heat.

Personally, I love working out  when it’s hot. My muscles have an instant lube job and after a while the cascading sweat is like a cooling shower!  There are, however, some good tips to keep in mind, especially as the humidity begins to rise along with the questionable stuff in the air.

1.  You’ve probably guessed this one! Drink PLENTY of fluids, not so much that you’ll drown, but as a constant flow so that you keep hydrated.  You should also avoid caffeinated drinks and remember to drink some water 15 or so minutes BEFORE you get started.

2. Don’t forget you need to eat in the heat!  They don’t have to be huge meals, but small little tastings will more than suffice — especially salads and fruits.  They’re delicious, nutritious and will help keep you hydrated.

3.  Realize that if the humidity is high, you are that much more susceptible to suffering from overheating and other symptoms of heat stress such as nausea, light headedness, dizziness and so on.  That means you need to drink even more, and recognize your own limitations — before you get started.  So don’t plan a 5 mile run in the middle of the heat of the afternoon if you’re not used to running in the heat!  You could well end up with heat prostration in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge!

4.  Get acclimated to the heat before full-on exercising.  At Gleason’s Gym, while there are exhaust fans and overhead fans that keep it fairly cool (no A/C — its a boxing gym!), it still gets pretty hot on 90 degree + days.  Given that we’ve not had a lot of warm days in the gym, it’s likely a good idea to take it slower than normal to get your body used to performing in the heat and humidity.  A couple of weeks ago we had a pretty hot day — and my problem was the air quality.  Between the high ozone and the pollen I found I actually had to stop a few rounds earlier than planned — so be flexible, and know your body.

One trick is wearing a wet sweat band and throwing water on your head between rounds — I find that helps me a lot.

5.  Be careful not to get caught in extreme temperature changes.  If you’re planning a run and you’re coming out of your really c-o-l-d apartment into the heat, take a few minutes to get used to it.  Conversely, if you’re in the high heat and hit a frozen gym — do the reverse. Acclimatize before hitting full on into a workout.

6.  Wear sunscreen, replace your electrolytes and S-T-O-P immediately if you’re feeling any of the following: dizziness, nauseous, shortness of breath.  You’re going to want to cool down and remember it’s okay to seek medical attention if you really need help.

Enjoy the heat!

My Boxing: Training on the go

My Boxing:  Training on the go

My Boxing Trainer - iPhone App

I admit to being somewhat of a Mac head … meaning that I am all Mac’d up with an iPad, iPhone, Mac Book, numerous iPods not to mention an iTouch.  I’ve also come by all this Mac stuff somewhat honestly in that I also still have — and will occasionally use — my original Mac SE with all 4 MB of RAM!    That old museum piece has a small black and white cathode ray tube for a screen (that’s a small TV!) and a sleek (for then) all in one body. We are talking 1986 when I first got mine — and what an amazing beauty this bad girl was for her time what with her 20 MB internal hard drive!

So fast forwarding to my 32 G iPad — I am truly in techie heaven what with the world literally at my fingertips as long as I can find 3G or internet, and if not, I can dig deep and find all of the stuff I’ve got loaded up including books, movies, and those blessed apps!

This week I’ve been discovering fitness apps — in my world that means I found a few and have been sticking to them.  My two favorites are the My Boxing Trainer app (available as an iPhone app, but terrific on the iPad) and the Pocket Yoga app (available in iPad and iPhone versions).

The My Boxing Trainer app contains a terrific series of “how to” videos on such topics as boxing safety, hand wrapping and the boxer’s stance on through boxing tips for the ring including a video of Floyd Mayweather boxing “in the pocket.”


The other cool thing about this app is it contains a workout section that allows you to sequence your own training or follow a series of pre-defined training regimens.  Once you select a sequence, the user clicks a timer button to set the number of rounds you want for each part of your training, as well as the the length of each round and rest period.  The app also contains a straight boxing timer if you just want to use that.  For the end of your workout there are some pretty nice boxing conditioning videos — everything from ab exercises to tips on stretching, using a medicine ball and keeping your shoulders in great shape.  This app costs all of $1.99 and is highly recommended!


Pocket Yoga - iPad App

My other favorite app is Pocket Yoga.  This app has three general areas: practice, poses and history. The practice portion has 30, 45 or 60 minute classes or two sun salutation sequences that allows the user to program the number of reps from 2 – 30.  As a further refinement, each class and sun salutation sequence can be selected for a beginner, intermediate or expert level.

Once you choose a class type — the class or sequence you follow is animated with voice over narration.   I followed the 30-minute beginner class this morning and had quite a workout.  One other nice feature is the history tab.  It will keep track of your yoga practice listing the date, sequence/class you used and the level of difficulty.

While this app doesn’t exactly replace a live-action class, it can work well in a hotel room, during a break at work — or even at the boxing gym if you want to follow-up your training with a little yoga.  The app itself is $2.99 or $3.99 for the HD version and to my mind, well worth the cost.

Women’s boxing: getting it real

Women’s boxing: getting it real

Ukrainian Women Warriors, photo by Guillaume Herbaut

It seems that there’s some press around lately on the theme of  “getting real” when it comes to fitness.  For our friends in Chicago,  Chicago Now has a piece about the Warrior Fighting Sports & Fitness gym and its affiliated Knockout Boxing Club in Downer’s Grove, Il..  As the author put it:

“What I was looking for: – I didn’t want to join a large gym and do a cardio boxing class. I wanted the real deal, the same workouts fighters do.  – I refuse to wear makeup or dress up for the gym. – I don’t want to be treated like a girl.”

What she found was an environment of hard work, sweat, and the inspiration of watching a group of highly  skilled, ranked women fighters across a spectrum of disciplines from Boxing to MMA to Kickboxing.  Article link here.
New York City has also seen press lately about the idea of the urban warrior.  In a recent article in the local Chelsea Now paper, women’s boxing is touted as one of a select group of “alternate activities to stretch your mind and body in more dynamic ways,” the others being target shooting and rock climbing.  Article link here.  I know from my own experience I didn’t walk into a boxing gym so much for fitness as to engage in a physically demanding full-contact sport.
When I search around for women’s boxing news, I inevitably find some press related to new boxing or MMA classes and programs for women every few days.  That coupled with the upcoming debut of women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympics the sport is building a lot of momentum not only in the United States, but globally.

Andrecia Wasson

What’s cool is while I didn’t walk into a boxing gym until my early 40’s, girls like my daughter know the camaraderie and hard work of the gym starting as young as 8.   Detroit fighter, Andrecia Wasson is a case in point.  She first walked into the Warriors Boxing Club at the age of 12 and now as an 18-year-old Women’s Middleweight World Champion is starting her quest for Olympic gold.

The thing of it is, go to Gleason’s Gym on any Saturday morning and what you’ll find is a group of dedicated women boxers of all skill levels and ages plying their craft with heart and a lot of positive attitude — and then realize that those kinds of scenes are repeated all over the United States.  Then consider that it’s also repeated in places like India, China, Jordan, Zambia and Afghanistan.  That’s pretty heady stuff and something to feel very proud to be a part of.

Boxing day

Boxing day

Now that I’ve gone to a once a week training schedule for boxing, I find myself getting really excited by the time Friday comes along.  The daily fitness routine I’ve found that can work with my schedule these days is based around early morning yoga, but it’s the thought of boxing that gets me pumped up and ready to go.

My Saturday morning boxing routine begins with dropping my daughter off for her Aikido practice, after which I take a nice long walk over to  Gleason’s Gym. By the time I get there I’ve logged 2-1/2 miles at a pretty fast pace so I am nice and loose.  About a 1/2 mile out, I start pumping my arms a bit so that by the time I hit the gym I feel ready for one of my two favorites:  three rounds on the double-ended bag or three rounds of shadow boxing using the slip-rope.

For those who don’t usually practice, the slip-rope is real old-school consisting of something as simple as a clothes line tied between two poles or across the ring around 15 feet apart at about chest height. The object is to move forwards and backwards along the line and “slip” under as practice for slipping a punch. The slip-rope is also great for practicing upper cuts under the line — or for simulating jabs to the body and jabs to the head.  By around the third round, I feel loose enough to dance around the slip-rope going forwards, backwards, and circling.  Having the rope at chest height not only helps to “remind” me to slip, but also gives me an approximation of where to place body versus head punches.

Alternatively, I’ll use the double-ended bag for warm-ups starting with a round of lefts and finishing the second two rounds with combinations and a lot of hooks or upper cuts off the jab.

If I can train with Lennox Blackmore, we’ll do three rounds of pad work — with an aim of getting to four rounds by the end of January, five rounds by the end of February and six rounds by the end of March!  Once we’re done with the pads, it’s back to the double-ended bag for three rounds to work on punches and combinations that Lennox and I focused on during the training session on the pads. This helps to solidify moves, especially slipping punches to counter — a Lennox special. After that, it’s on to the speed bag for three rounds and then a whole lotta’ abs!  I’ll add that if Len isn’t around, I might work-out for three rounds on the heavy bag in lieu of pad work, or add in an extra three on the double-ended bag.

By the end I’m exhausted, but happy — and ready for the quick walk back over to pick-up my daughter.  I hope to keep this going for about three months so that by April I’ll be fit enough to get back into the ring for some light sparring.  We’ll see!

Waking up is hard to do

Waking up is hard to do

I have to admit, this morning was hard.

There was no way I wanted to get up out of bed — and when I finally managed it, the eyes that looked back at me from the bathroom mirror had bags, carry-ons and huge trunks.  I truly didn’t know that eyes could look that puffy without having gone ten rounds.

Once I got to the living room to start morning yoga, it was all I could do to unroll the mat.  I knew I needed something different or I’d fall right back to sleep so instead of following along with my usual yoga routine, Sara Ivanhoe’s Candlelight Yoga (available on Netflix), I went on Hulu and tried two of the Yoga Zone episodes, Gentle Yoga, Part 1 (if that’s gentle, oy…) and Strengthen and Tone, Part 1 (*lots* of leg stretches and downward facing dog poses).

Well, the fact that I’m writing means I survived, and I must say that doing the change-up really helped me to wake-up!  It also reminds me that whether one is boxing or doing yoga, changing up the routine with other exercises not only gets the body going, but helps focus attention on muscles that may not get much of a work out otherwise.


(Note the full video is available on Hulu.)

Doing the work

Doing the work

I’m helping my daughter study for her upcoming midterms and am reminded of how much we all want to be great at what we do, but sometimes hate the work and effort required to actually get where we want to go.


Work Progress Administration, 1930's

Having just sent her back to her room for the third time (and counting) to study some more for her English test, I’m feeling a bit like an awful ogre, but ultimately feel in the right to demand nothing less than 100% competency.  Her teacher may well throw her some curves, but I want her walking in there prepared and confident for the challenges.


The point is to not cheat at solitaire.

Saying one is doing the work when it actually isn’t getting done only serves to hurt oneself.  Goodness knows I’ve done my share of it, but watching my young one struggle with it is still a painful exercise — for both of us.  Her for needing to do it over and over until she figures out that doing the work in the first case will lessen the burdens later on and me for having to play the role of the brick wall.  Oh well.  She’ll figure it out — I just hope it’s sooner rather than later ’cause I want some ice cream too.

Get up offa’ that thing

Get up offa’ that thing

James Brown!


Yep, it’s that kind of day.  Getting up offa’ that thing!

As JB says:  “Feel good?  Feel good?”

Sometimes it’s the only answer!  Enjoy!


It’s good to hit things

It’s good to hit things.

I shadow boxed at home last night.  I put on 16 oz. gloves and boxed around the room for a couple of rounds before I pounded away at my closet door.  “Get this girl back to the gym,” seemed to be the refrain from my family who thought I was crazy.  I kept thinking how good it felt to hit things even though I wasn’t releasing much power or hitting very hard.

Hitting things is always my ultimate secret about boxing.  I love it.  I love how it feels to connect.   I love the physicality of working out on a big heavy bag and pushing in with my shoulder as I practice upper cuts.   The double-ended bag gives me a place to workout as a rhythmic dance.  It doesn’t have that da-da-da, da-da-da rhythm of the speed bag, but after a round or two, the timing is such that it starts to have its own distinctive beat.

Sparring is something else again.  It has its own magic that for me isn’t about the hitting so much as working through the space as a physical manifestation of a chess game.  Each jab is a feint, a loyal pawn that makes its way forward establishing pace, rhythm and control to set-up all the other punches, bobs and weaves in the arsenal.   To spar is to be in a pas-de-deux with my opponent as improvisational as tap dancing or trading eights with Miles Davis’ trumpet licks.

To hit something at the boxing gym is to come face-to-face with the truth.  You can’t hit and hit hard without that commitment or the emotional depths that get mined every time a punch is thrown.