Our Canada


‘Months later and I’m still sore from Boxfit!’

- By Benjamin Rempel, Collingwoo­d, Ont.

A determined dad discovers that Boxfit is exhausting, painful—and addictive!

My wife is a fiery ball of optimism, so I’m sure she meant nothing but the best when she gifted me a Groupon for one-month unlimited boxing for my 42nd birthday. I play the role of cynical curmudgeon in our relationsh­ip, so naturally I took it as an insult.

“You’ve mentioned it before!” she said enthusiast­ically. I interprete­d this to mean, “You’ve become rather frumpy in the mid-section.” My brow narrowed as I mulled over the lengthy physical injury waiver. “It sounds like a lot of fun,” she smiled, which I’m convinced actually meant, “Most humans don’t tire from loading the dishwasher.” When the gift sat idle for over a month, she grew concerned. “Do you think you’ll use it?” she inquired, which we all know translates to “The term dad-bod is not the compliment you think it is, sweetie.”

Now don’t get me wrong: I love sports and the unending pursuit of trying to stay fitter than my aging terrier. The gift was presented before the pandemic, and at that time I lifted weights, played basketball weekly and put forth a strong effort to finish a five-kilometre run most weekends. So, at the time— when open gyms and group classes were normal—i felt I was in good enough shape to give it a go.

I wasn’t.

My regular fitness regime was nothing compared to pounding a heavy bag for a grueling 60 minutes. Well, it wasn’t a full 60 minutes. The first 20 was a frantic mix of skipping, squats, burpees, push-ups, planks and what had to be a thousand crunches. The

smug instructor had us scurrying around the sweat-stained mats performing (wounded) bear crawls and (drowning) crab walks.

After that torturous sequence, the instructor glibly sneered, “So, now that you’re warmed-up...” That was just the warm-up? After the third round of Russian twists, I’m fairly certain I had succumbed to internal bleeding.


I was soon assigned a partner and was instructed to slide focus mitts over my ineptly wound hand wraps. The instructor stepped in front of the group: “Jab as fast as you can followed by crosses as fast as you can followed by hooks as fast as you can.” I nervously raised the targets on either side of my head, so my partner could viciously swing half an inch from my frontal cortex. This is not how I envisioned my Tuesday night playing out.

It became even more dangerous when I was told to put on a body pad: foam protection of sorts that extends across the upper body and around the abdomen. Think of a hockey chest protector not at all designed for speed or efficiency. I think you can rent sumo suits to wobble around in at corporate team-building events. But I recommend saving your money and just volunteeri­ng to be a target at your local boxing gym. It provides more or less the same results.

“Right jab, left cross, right fake, left hook, block, left jab, right body shot,” the instructor barked. “Then we’ll add some difficulty to the routine.” Oh, for the love of... I’m confident the combinatio­ns were above anything performed by the National Ballet of Canada. When I saw The Nutcracker several years ago, I don’t recall the principal dancers having to memorize such a complex sequence. ‘Go on your tiptoes, move left, move right.’ That was about it, as far as I can recall.

But boxing? I didn’t come close to rememberin­g the steps. The missed timing, the clumsy slips, the sloppy weaves; I screwed up more times than I’d like to remember. It was worse than an audition for Dancing with the Stars. The final whistle could not come soon enough.

When I got home, some curious pains began to emerge. There is this spot on the reverse side of your elbow, near the crease midway up your arm. It’s called the ulnar collateral ligament, and when it’s inflamed, it doesn’t do the job it’s meant to do, which is curl your arm. It just stops working. As in, “I have an itch along my forehead. Too bad I have no means to get my fingers that high to scratch it.”

The latissimus dorsi is another area of the body I’ve reluctantl­y researched. It’s the muscle that runs all the way from the upper ribs to tailbone, pretty much the entire surface area of your back. And a funny thing happens when you overuse it. The muscle waits until you are asleep and grows very tender throughout the night. It then seizes with such force that you are jolted awake long before the alarm goes o“. It’s quite a fun game, flounderin­g around the bedroom in the dark, rummaging the drawers for muscle rub and maximum strength Advil.

After that first Boxfit session, I hung my sweaty hand wraps to dry and grunted and groaned up the stairs. Her typical sympatheti­c self, my wife whispered, “I bought Epsom salts today. You know, if you wanted to run a bath.”

I emptied the whole bag into the tub.

Lowering my legs and torso, I winced and whined as my muscles gradually responded to the wet heat. And you know what? Soon after I emerged from the tub, towel wrapped tight around my not-quite-as-mushy tummy, I started to crave it again. The swift footwork, the rhythmic rolls, the two or three solid hooks I landed. It was enough to keep me motivated, to see what other skills I might absorb. My wife even caught me shadowboxi­ng in front of the mirror after the kids were tucked in.

I figure I’ll go back for another few rounds, after the pandemic blows over and it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, I’ll swing by Costco to stock up on an obscene amount of Epsom salts. Just to be sure.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Despite his aches and pains, Benjamin intends to continue with Boxfit.
Despite his aches and pains, Benjamin intends to continue with Boxfit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada