Cat Meffan

Just call me Muhammed Ali…

I’ve been wanting to try boxing for a while, so decided that the new year would be a good time to find myself a new hobby, especially when it’s something that looks as intense and tough as boxing. A lot of the training I do is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training), so even though I’m used to the style that Paul’s boxing session offered, I wasn’t used to how intense it was and the shear amount of pain my arms felt the day after. A jolly good workout I’d say!

Before getting the straps and gloves on, Paul got me doing a short warm up to get my heart pumping whilst telling me about the group boxing classes he takes during the week on Clapham Common. Along with the one-to-one sessions Paul spends the majority of his time doing, he runs a 7:30pm class on a Wednesday and a 10:30am class on a Saturday. The Saturday morning one will be my next stop I think!


To begin with, Paul taught me the very basics like my standing position and the simple forward, backwards & sideways footwork and made sure I had those right before moving on. As an ex-dancer I thought I might pick up the footwork easily, but it was really quite tough and I noticed that as soon as another jab or hook was added to the combination my guard and footwork went on a nice little holiday! Through the sweat and pain, I managed to listen to Paul when he shouted instructions at me… although the video below won’t back that statement up.

Before you watch it, please note that this was my final ‘dance with the pads’ as I like to call it, so I was very weak and tired. Also, I apologise of the out of time sound, not sure what’s happened there!

After the boxing combinations, I spent the last 15 minutes with Paul doing some resistance training, which only added to the huge pool of sweat on the floor! It was a good look, honest! I felt great after the session, not only because Paul had given my body an epic workout, but also because my brain got a workout too.

Following our session, I asked Paul a few questions about the benefits of boxing. Check out what he had to say below:

Why is boxing so good for fitness over and above other types of exercise?

Boxing is one of the true all-around workouts available, meaning it strengthens and works numerous if not all the main muscle groups, rather than focusing training on one area alone. Boxing works the core muscles contained within the trunk of the body by using balance and strength, the leg muscles through various kicks and stances, the arm muscles through punching and jabbing, plus the back muscles, shoulder muscles and even the all-important gluteus maximus, through continued skipping and dodging movements that are essential.

The leading fitness experts have discovered that repetitive workouts and continuous looped movements are detrimental to peak fitness. A constant up shift and down shift of cardio and strength training along with sudden burst training is proving more effective. Boxing and especially pad work and punch bag does this.

An hour of boxing is more fun and  burns more calories than a continuous one-hour jog. Boxing is fun; it can be done alone with a bag to music, with a partner or with a group. The element of competition and danger makes it exciting and the non-choreographed free movement means it can be as aggressive and energetic as you like. It is a fact that a task that is enjoyable will have a better overall result than a workout that you don’t enjoy.

Boxing is also a great stress reliever so is perfect for people with stressful jobs or people in stressful situations!

SMILE! Feeling very stress-free after my session with Paul.

SMILE! Feeling very stress-free after my session with Paul.


In a similar way to lifting weights, woman shy away from exercise they see as being masculine. Why should women give boxing a go? Guessing it’s pretty good for our bingo wings?!

There are three key things that make boxing great for women:

When training as a boxer what other sorts of training did you do alongside it? 

Me personally, I did jogging, swimming and skipping. The skipping is good cardio and helps with footwork, the jogging helps with long endurance in the later stages of a boxing match and swimming is also a great exercise to accompany boxing. Yoga and pilates can also be very helpful with core strengthening and flexibly.

There’s a lot of technique involved in boxing. What are your top tips for a beginner wanting to improve their technique?

1. Make sure you really get the stance and footwork practiced and learnt first, these are the building blocks of boxing and without them you won’t be able to box correctly.

2. Learn one punch at a time, progressing only when you are confident with each punch.

3. Buy good boxing gloves and hand wraps which will provide the correct support for your knuckles and wrist.

4. Find a class instructor or personal trainer with good experience and follow his or her advice and you will be getting the most out of your workouts.


If you want to book into one of Paul’s group classes then visit the website and get those gloves on! For personal sessions, please get in touch with Paul via email: [email protected] .