punching-gloves

I gave it a lot of thought. I spent a lot of money. I put in a lot of time and effort. When I was done, there it was in all its glory… My own simplified cross fit style basement gym, ready for all sorts of incredible and fun full-body exercise routines. Pull-up bars, Swiss balls, a Bosu, free weights, medicine balls, combat rope, TRX system, resistance bands, and…

My brand new heavy bag.

bloody-knuckles-4

When I bought the heavy bag and installed it, I had never put on a punching glove in my life. I had never so much as touched a heavy bag. All the other equipment that I put into my gym I know and I know well, but the heavy bag I purchased untried and on a whim after hearing for years about the quality of workout they offer.

Plus, let’s be honest. What doesn’t sound appealing about just punching the crap out of a bag when you need to let off some steam?

And so, heavy bag securely installed, equipment all setup, and new flooring laid, I made a plan and I made a goal.

You see, I’m going to Cabo with some friends in March, planned more than a year ago, booked and paid for months ago. We’ve all been so excited about the trip, yes, but we’re seemingly equally excited about getting into the best shape of our lives before the trip. And the thought of ending the bleak winter by walking down a warm sandy beach without sucking in my gut has been in the back of my mind since September at least.

So, with that image in mind, I made a serious new goal to make it happen.

Step one. Complete the nine week Insanity Workout. Hard as hell, but I did it. And I felt so good when it was done.

Step two. Make it through the holidays with minimal damage to my progress. Done. I gained a couple pounds back. No biggie.

Step three. Setup my new gym and dive headfirst into my new self-customized routine, starting with the heavy bag.

I setup the gym.

I installed the heavy bag.

I strapped on my brand new pair of punching gloves.

I set my timer for twenty minutes.

And I started punching the hell out of the heavy bag.

I had watched a few YouTube videos for proper workouts. I had done my research on stances and exercises. And I punched. I shifted. I hopped back and forth. I jabbed. I swung. And with every movement, I just felt POWERFUL. And I felt GOOD.

Never in my life have I done an exercise where I felt every area of my upper body and my core engage all at the same time. My lower back. My lats. My upper abs. My lower abs. My obliques. My biceps. My triceps. My shoulders. My forearms. My pecs.

Every time I realized how out of breath I was, I paused for less than a second, pushed out a forced puff of air, and I went faster, and harder, and gave it even more. With every hit I felt myself becoming one with the bag. I began reading its sway. I began moving with its motion. My focus intensified as I repeated my patterns. My hits became more square and solid. Every impact became meaningful.  And as my muscles engaged more and more, I kept smiling knowing how much I was going to feel it the next day. Everywhere. I also smiled even bigger realizing how it was going to shape my body in the long haul and how strong it was going to make my heart and lungs.

When the timer went off I could not believe it had been twenty minutes already. I had to stand hunched over for at least three minutes to catch my breath. And as I stood sucking wind, I started to feel a burn across the tops of my knuckles. It was the kind of burn that means only one thing. I had rubbed them completely raw.

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