Out of the Box

Gianluca Candiotti shares with us some of the physical benefits of boxing!

  1.    How did you become interested in physical contact sports? What made you dare to try boxing?

My interest was born out of simple curiosity. I always found some of these sports interesting, and I admired the expertise shown by different athletes in these disciplines.

Now, many things influenced me in finally deciding to learn and practice Box. The main reason being that I have always tried to lead a healthy lifestyle, without necessarily taking it too extreme. I really like to play sports and take care of my diet. I’ve played tennis since many years ago. However, I wanted to complement it with another sport to help me gain a little more muscle mass and endurance. I thought about enrolling in a gym again, but in my experience, it becomes quite monotonous and boring, and I did not know if it was something that would motivate me.

Luckily, a couple of friends were in a similar situation. We evaluated our options and decided to enroll together in an academy where you can practice boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, among other sports. So far, I’ve only dedicated myself to boxing.

  1.    Boxers are often considered macho and aggressive. Could you explain your point of view on these statements?

I believe that this falls on the character and profile of each person, but this sport would never seek to train anyone in that way. All the people I have met are quite kind and respectful. Moreover, many of them try to be very careful when they have to perform exercises in pairs and have not yet established trust in the other person. Luckily, most times I can train with my friends and we can hit each other with a little more freedom. In the end, if you make a direct hit, you know it’s part of the training. None of us would ever take it personally.

  1.    How do you prepare yourself physically for training?

I do not have a strict routine, to tell the truth. At least I do not feel that way.

I go to train 3 times a week, and I always go at 7:00 in the morning. I think it’s a very good way to start the day before going to work. Training relaxes you and gives you enough energy (which is important) to be able to concentrate programming.

Regarding the preparation itself, I think that the most important thing is to be in good condition, eating properly, and sleeping the necessary hours. I do not think I follow these rules accurately, but I try.

Another thing that I consider very important is not to smoke. Tobacco limits your lung capacity, alters your heart rate (among other things), and all this ends up negatively affecting your resistance and the rhythm you should be able to maintain while training.

  1.    Do you have any kind of special diet?

Not for now, although I have considered it. When I was younger, I was much more rigorous with what I ate, but lately I haven’t had much time to cook, and eating in a balanced way on the street is very complicated. Anyway, some time ago I learned some important things about nutrition, so I usually try not to get too far away from what I know I should be eating.

In general, I would say that the most important things are: to drink plenty of water throughout the day and not to consume a lot of carbohydrates – and when you do, take into account their quality (sweet potatoes are best) – and eat many times throughout the day, but in small quantities (ideally every 3 hours or so). But I think the most important thing in maintaining a good diet, or any diet for that matter, is to never take it too seriously. If you never give yourself a taste or a little indulgence, eventually you will get bored or it will be too difficult for you to keep up with. I think the best thing is to be disciplined with what you eat, but also know that nothing will happen to you if one day you go for an ice cream or you eat some pizza.

  1.    What sports-related goals do you have in the short- and long-term?

I think that when I started boxing, I saw it simply as a fun way to exercise. However, soon after I realized how demanding it is – physically and mentally – and all the technique involved. In the beginning maybe, you think that you only use your arms and that hitting isn’t so complicated. But the work of legs, the way you should use the body to give power to the blows, how you should move, how you should stand, anticipate, react… putting all of that together is extremely difficult and requires practice.

I found it very frustrating at first not being able to do some of the simplest exercises the way I should. But in the end, it all takes time and effort.

I think all these things have motivated me to want to take it more seriously and get better. I do not think I will want to participate in any circuit, but I would like to feel that I am good at this sport and that I could teach the basics to someone else.

I like to have boxing as a complement to tennis. I think that they share a set of interesting features that allow me to use qualities from one in the other. For example, the way you use your body and legs to give more power to the blow with your right arm in boxing is very similar in both sports. Also, boxing will help me to have better resistance because the energy is explosive, but at the same time you have to know how to manage your energy very well because everything happens over many rounds. This is something that I can also take advantage of when playing tennis. In general, I like to see things in this way. It will help me stay motivated as I plan to continue playing both sports for a long time.

 

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