I’ve never considered myself an athletic person. Obviously missing a limb can hinder the likelihood of me being a sports Rockstar. Still, prosthetic leg aside, I’ve never been the most coordinated human being you’ll ever meet, so things like gym class, Field Day, and really any sport activity was my living nightmare throughout grade school. Now, when people talk to me or see my Instagram profile, they may wonder how I went from the girl who literally did everything possible to avoid gym class participation to the girl who won’t shut up about boxing and fitness. If that last sentence just resonated with you, it’s time to sit back, relax, and read. This blog post is for you, dear friend.
You’ve probably heard me share before that I used to be way more self-conscious about my leg. Because of that, I always preferred to stay in the background in group physical activities. I knew my left leg was strong, but outside of that fact, I assumed I would be the weakest link of the bunch. It was better to just avoid any kind of physical challenge all together, at least when other people were watching.
One of the first times I ever felt strong was in my cousin Kirk’s gym. Up until then I rarely ever convinced myself to work out in a public place, and I was fighting severe discomfort. (I should also mention that it was the middle of the afternoon and not during a typical class time, so there were like 10 people at the gym, and about 6 of them consisted of family members. Baby steps.) During this particular time, I was trying to do a few pull ups (it wasn’t pretty, but I did them), and my cousin looked at me and said “wow, that’s impressive.”
I doubt he even remembers that now, but at the time I felt like he just handed me an Olympic gold medal. Me, strong?? I did something ‘impressive’ at the gym?! My world was rocked. My mindset changed. I momentarily contemplated teaching the next class since I was clearly an expert. Slowly but surely, I started to come out of my shell enough to keep working out in public. Whereas completing a group workout before felt like I was facing a mountain of fear, I eventually started to actually have fun. It took years, and I still felt uncomfortable, but the more I did it, the less awkward I felt.
Fast forward about 5 or so years, and I’m in my first year living in Nashville when a friend of mine tells me about this boxing gym. Apparently, the gym was offering some kind of special membership price, and it would be the perfect time to check it out if I was interested. My first reaction was to laugh. Me, try boxing? Yeah, okay. I kept replaying scenes from the Rocky movies in my head. No matter how many times I tried, I could never successfully imagine myself completing any of those workouts. Still though, my friend kept mentioning it, and my curiosity and competitive nature got the best of me. I decided I’d try it out, and as long as I didn’t die in the process, I’d join for a bit. So, long story short, I became a member of a TITLE Boxing Club.
To think back on that first boxing class still makes me laugh. I must have looked ridiculous. To even attempt to say I had good boxing technique from the get-go is a blatant lie. I had never experienced a workout like that, and I was literally DRENCHED in sweat by the end. (As in, I looked like I had just taken a shower. But no no, it was just sweat.) Regardless, I was hooked, and knew instantly I wanted to come back and try it again the next day.
A few months in to my TITLE membership, my mother started to get seriously worried. I was kind of weirdly obsessed. I was having a TON of fun, and quite frankly, people couldn’t get me to shut up about it. Finally, after several months of nonstop phone conversations where I talked about boxing, my mom gathered up the courage to ask, “Amy, are you considering becoming a professional boxer?”
I laughed. A lot. My dear sweet mother thought her youngest child had joined a group fitness boxing gym only to jump off the deep end and start a career change: Pro-Boxer. After re-assuring her that I in fact had NO intention of fighting professionally, I started to wonder why I loved TITLE so much.
So, why DO I enjoy boxing so much? Well for starters, it’s a great workout. Let’s be clear, I’m not going to a grunge gym you see in movies with old men yelling at you in the corner to work harder. TITLE is a group fitness gym that teaches boxing technique. With that said, I’m competitive and personally feed off of other people’s energy, so when I’m in a class setting and a trainer or someone next to me challenges me to do more, I do more.
On a deeper level, boxing has pushed me to my limits in more ways than one. I’ve had to overcome mental and emotional obstacles as well as physical. A lot of boxing is in your legs. Did you know that? Obviously your arms throw the punches, but the power behind each punch comes from your core and legs. When I first started at TITLE, I felt self-conscious every time I heard a trainer say that. I also assumed my technique would never be correct because of that, and there would always be certain moves I couldn’t do. The more I went, though, the more trainers noticed I didn’t mind getting pushed to do better. Eventually a few of them gave me constructive criticism on my technique, and they even worked with me to adjust the move or exercise as needed. The most amazing part in all of this is that I’ve learned my body is capable of way more than I ever gave it credit for. Turns out my boxing technique doesn’t have to look terrible. Through patience and a WHOLE lot of practice, I’ve improved. I’m still in the process of improving (that journey never ends), and through it all I’m learning how to use and trust my prosthesis better when I exercise more than I ever have before. Heck, I’m kickboxing now. Kickboxing. I couldn’t have dreamed that up 3 years ago if I tried.
Boxing gave me a confidence I didn’t know I had in me. It opened my eyes to a world of fitness I love, and it spurred me to continue pushing myself and to even try other workouts I never had the courage to try before. Yeah, it helped get me in shape - blah blah blah. But more importantly, it showed me that my prosthesis doesn’t stop me from living life. It’s meant to help serve me in whatever lifestyle I choose.
If you are reading this and have made it this far (let’s be real, I’m long-winded), don’t feel that you have to go join a boxing gym. Heck, you may hate the idea of boxing – it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. If you take away anything from this blog, let it be this: nothing and no one defines your physical limits more than you do. If you want to try something, don’t let fear stop you. The best way to get over fear is to face it, not just once, but over and over again. Eventually that mountain you’re trying to climb doesn’t seem so impossible, and before you know it you’re halfway up it and having a blast.