What do you do when your friend tells you they're organising a charity white collar boxing event?
To cut a very long story short - as a 31-year-old, size 14 (recently 16), un-sporty, office-bound ecommerce operations manager I've signed myself (and my skinny hedge fund analyst friend Lora) up to a white collar boxing event in November this year.
Neither of us have ever boxed before - or in fact done any sport of any note since school. We're the only girls on the team of 16 office workers who are taking on the challenge of training for four months to get into the ring. This is our boxing diary.
Boxing For Buhinga: The Fight Club Diaries. Week 1
OK, so who exactly thought that this was a good idea? I was all bold and keen when I text Rich about coming along to his white collar boxing training but now Lora and I are here - in what can only be described as a sweaty man gym, with a load of strangers - we're slightly wobbly on the confidence levels.
That's an understatement - we literally have no idea what's going on. It feels like the first day at work, but in ill-fitting sportswear. Lora admits this is the first time she has ever worn her trainers - while I'm wearing my work t-shirt which spells out the name of my company in binary code...oh god I'm that geeky last-picked-for-rounders person at school again.
First rule of boxing club? No shoes allowed in the cage*. So not only do I feel like a fish out of water but I'm in my socks. Grown women do not exercise with complete strangers in their socks. Apparently they do now.
We're a few weeks behind the guys and it's glaringly obvious we're starting from a lesser point of fitness. Warm up nearly kills me (burpee?!! A whatee?), everything smells of man sweat, our hand wraps are too short, our borrowed gloves are massive and we end up getting accused of "tickling each other" during the "hit each other to build your core strength" torture bit at the end. Oh and I don't know my left from my right at the age of 31. I loved every second.
For the first time in my entire life I think I wasn't clock-watching during exercise. The hour literally flew by. I want to do it again right now. I text Rich on the way home to say I thought it was great and he admits the warm up is tough. I feel momentarily better about my fitness.
Oddly nothing hurts too badly the next day, and I manage the gym as normal but by Thursday I can barely move my arms. Two day pain!?! Great! I spend an unspecified amount of time browsing Amazon looking at gloves, hand wraps (longer ones this time) and general boxing kit. I love kit.
I'm worried about my weight in comparison to Lora. After eight years of running up and down stairs and standing up all day in retail the last five years of sitting on my backside at a laptop has taken its toll and added three stone to my not very tall self.
I've lost 15lbs so far this year from just eating less food (who knew!) so I have a good chance of getting down to 10ish stone by the fight without doing much. I'm hoping the exercise will get me closer to the low nines. Lora basically weighs as much as one of my legs so I might have to start feeding her up too - that way we can meet in the middle. (You've seen Mean Girls right? 'weight loss bars' mwah ha ha)
I've been emailing my friend Katie in Hong Kong as I spotted on Facebook she's quite into her white collar boxing - I find out later from Google that she's only some kind of MMA Asia white collar women's champion in her weight category. Expert advice indeed! I'm still petrified by mention of egg whites, conditioning every day and interval training but I'm comforted by her words "you will be fine poppet" and try to believe them!
*(I admit I stole that pun from Rich - that's payback for the time he nicked my mug when we worked together).
About Boxing for Buhinga & Universal Chance
The Boxing for Buhinga event will be held on the 24th of November at The Grange St Pauls hotel in London. For tickets and enquiries go to http://universalchance.org/tickets/. You can read about the fighters at http://universalchance.org.
Universal Chance is a charitable trust set up by a group of friends who share a common desire to use the skills that we have developed through our careers to do what we can to help communities that have not been granted the same chances that we have whilst inspiring others to do the same.
We are dedicated to implementing tangible projects that will help less privileged communities and individuals reach their potential . This could be anything from improving education facilities to providing medical facilities or giving access to clean water. To find out more check out our site http://universalchance.org/ or follow us on twitter at @universalchance.
Follow Helen Colclough on Twitter: www.twitter.com/helenc12