Transforming into a knockout for your wedding day is as easy as a little one-two. According to Milan Costich, founder of Prevail Boxing in Los Angeles, boxing is one of the most efficient full-body workouts for women, and recent brides like Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum, and Jamie Chung all regularly pound it out. Similar to other types of high intensity interval training, explains the pro, "you're alternating between sprints of attacking or defending and active recovery of staying ready in our boxing stance with your hands up." Throw in resistance training, plyometric exercises, core work, and intense conditioning—fixtures in the studio's signature 45-minute class—"and you'll notice your entire body start to tighten up while your strength and endurance improve." He hits us with more benefits.
Your arms will be cut.
No surprise, hitting a heavy bag delivers tons of arm definition. And because there's so much forward push movement, notes Costich, at their studio, they try to balance it out with rowing or TRX training that tones the back half of your body. For those worried they'll build up too big of guns, he swears it's unlikely: "It's pretty difficult for women to put on bulky muscle, so boxing is the perfect workout to get wedding dress-ready!"
Your legs will be defined, too.
While you may feel the focus is on your upper body, boxing "engages so many different leg muscles," says Costich. "Real punch power comes from the ground up—we generate power starting by the pivot of our foot, moving up through our legs and glutes, and all of that momentum is manifested into punch power as we rotate our hips and core to project our arms forward." Since most classes build in other strength training (think: jump squats and resistance band moves) you're legs and butt will get a solid burn.
And don't forget those abs!
The core "is central to punch power," explains the trainer, meaning you're working it with every jab and cross. In addition, many of the off-the-bag moves are abs-focused, he says, "Whether it's a simple body weight exercises, such as a plank, or something with a little resistance, such as using a medicine ball to weight our sit ups."
Quick results are basically guaranteed.
As long as you don't pull any punches, you can burn anywhere from 500 to 1,000 calories in a typical 45-minute class, notes Costich. "It's such an efficient workout, that even boxing just three times per week, you'll notice your waistline slim down while your muscles start to get some definition after just your first month." Your confidence will get a boost, too. "You'll feel more and more empowered to start challenging yourself, both in and out of the gym," explains the pro, "so you'll grow stronger mentally as you feel better physically."
It'll keep you on your toes.
Literally, since you'll bounce from foot-to-foot in the traditional boxer's stance. But the ever-changing routine will also ensure you stay mentally sharp. (Key for making all those decisions that come with wedding planning.) "One of the best parts about boxing is that you're building a skillset," explains Costich. "While you're focused on getting down the flow of the combo, you barely even notice how hard you're working your arms and back, and you're able to find strength in the face of physical fatigue."
Hitting things provides great stress-relief.
When you're experiencing seating chart-related anxiety or just too many questions from family members, physically hitting something can be a great release. And because mastering boxing "demands that you're fully present the whole time while you focus on your form, footwork, and rhythm," says Costich, "it enables you to take a little mental vacation from whatever else is going on in your world, and spend some time punching out your stress."