In a now infamous incident, Gigi Hadid was assaulted in Milan last week. After using her elbows and fists to protect herself from notorious stalker Vitalii Sediuk, the model took to social media to talk about the importance of self-defense skills. "Thanked my boxing coach today," she wrote in one post; in another, she said: "GIRLS, prepare yourselves so that, if you ever feel in danger, MUSCLE memory can fight back for you."
Earlier this week, Gigi talked more about the incident with Lena Dunham for the Lenny newsletter. "Practicing self-defense is important so that when you're in the moment, reacting from muscle memory comes more naturally to you than freezing up," the supermodel said. "Confidence in your own ability to defend yourself comes with educating yourself about it, and is a massive advantage when in an unsafe situation." After the interview, Lena wrote that she's now "eyeing a membership" at Gleason's Boxing Gym, where Gigi often trains, and we admit it: we're ready to invest in some gloves, as well.
Gigi's not the only top model who knows her way around a punching bag. Donato De Martiis is the founder of Miami's Virtuos Boxing, where you might spot Adriana Lima getting in a tough workout. Apart from teaching self-defense, boxing "torches calories and burns fat faster than any other sport," Donato says.
For someone wanting to take up the practice, he advises practicing three times a week. That could include learning boxing fundamentals or working on the conditioning side of the practice through circuit training. "Beginners should know that boxing increases coordination, balance, speed, and power," Donato says. "Once you get into it, you can't stay away from it, and you [want to] do it on a daily basis." He added that regulars will start seeing results—including greater muscle tone—within a couple of weeks.
Joe Thomas, a personal boxing coach in Chicago who formerly worked at the famous 5th Street Gym, notes that boxing workouts can target areas that some women are concerned with, including core, butt, arms and legs. Beyond that, he says, it increases flexibility, breath control, and coordination.
To begin reaping the benefits, Joe says that mental preparedness is also key. "One of the best quotes I've ever seen walking into a boxing gym was 'Check Ego At The Door,'" he says. "Beginners should go in with a positive attitude and goals. Boxing workouts are always physically and mentally challenging, regardless of whether you're a beginner or have been doing it for months and years. The key to achieving your desired results is to keep going back and pushing yourself harder and harder."
Ready to commit? All you'll need—besides a trainer and a punching bag—is some loose-fitting workout gear and tons of water. Donato and Joe both recommend that clients get their own boxing gloves after a few practices (though gyms will usually loan out gloves.) "You can get quality wraps & gloves for less than $50 total," Joe notes.
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