Cardio-Box Like A Million Dollar Baby

In Million Dollar Baby, Coach Frank Dunn gives Maggie Fitzgerald the boxing name "mo cuishle", which means my darling. Her passion for boxing warms his heart and ours (I'm assuming you've seen it...if not, you're missing out). Maggie Fitzgerald is a fantastic character, role model and fitness style icon. She's feminine and fierce, and subsequently inspires great fashion for one of my favorite workouts, cardio-boxing!


Cardio-boxing is one of the best forms of exercise, because it conditions your whole body and builds muscle strength, endurance, balance, agility and coordination all at the same time. It provides a complete workout for your cardiovascular and endurance systems. Most cardio-box programs consists of variable heart rate work and actual boxing techniques. (source: Cardio-Boxing for Super Fitness by Elizabeth Quinn on


Cardio-boxing sessions are proven calorie burners...we're talking 500 calories an hour or more! But more important than that, it's fun and you get to bounce around a lot and punch without getting punched back. Do it to relieve stress, anxiety or hyperactivity. Do it to feel like a bad-ass. Do it to get a killer body--you will see a difference in your arms, abs and legs.


Cardio-boxing is a workout of confidence and discipline. Dress like Hillary Swank's character, Maggie Fitzgerald from MDB, and you're good to go! Maggie's look is all about going pro and staying in the fighting zone. Put your hair in secure french braids and stick to classic boxing gear with a kick-ass vibe. Wear clothing that's comfortable for quick movement. Nothing too loose, too tight or too blah! Express mad style in Shiny Capris Pants and Relace Boots from Adidas. Stay on point and track your heart rate with Polar's Cardio Sports Bra. Forget the old school tangle-prone hand wraps. Cut down your prep time with Evergel Hand Wraps before sliding on your training gloves. They're lightweight and the elastic straps support your wrists during impact. You're going to need a gym bag as tough as your workout to lug around your boxing gear and I suggest a Y-3's roomy, chic and doesn't have a screaming logo. You're going to sweat a lot so keep cold water handy in fun, filtered Bobbles by Karim Rashid. Once you have the basic pieces, emulating Maggie's fitness style is really quite effortless. That's good news because your workout requires a lot of energy!

Cardio Box Like A Million Dollar Baby, Set 1
It might not feel like sugar 'n spice and all things nice when you first get started but I can promise you this--you'll see results! Cardio boxing moves are easy to learn and since no one's punching back, all you have to do is focus on your own choreography and form. Two phenomenal boxing-based group fitness classes for women are:
  1. Piloxing
  2. Million Dollar Knockout
Piloxing studios are based in LA and the workout is a mix of Pilates and cardio boxing. I got to see Viveca Jensen (Piloxing's foxy creator) in high-energy action, teaching a class at the Idea World Fitness Conference in LA. It's an amazing workout for strong, high-energy women who like to sweat together and encourage each other. There's tons of camraderie going on at Piloxing studios and the instructors I met in LA couldn't have been nicer. If you don't live in LA, definitely order the DVD and get yourself a pair of 1/2 pound piloxing gloves for more of a challenge. If you're on the East Coast check out Million Dollar Knockout, a women's fight club class offered at Crunch gyms in NYC. You'll learn traditional boxing and mixed martial arts moves from Swedish instructor,  Fredrik Andersson. Expect a lot of strike and kick combos, and equal parts cardio and sculpting throughout this 45 minute class. Fredrik is animated and really gets into the workout with you, so much that he almost slipped in his sweat the day I joined class. Don't feel sorry for him, ladies. He's a stud and his recovery was excellent.
You know how I love accessories and when it comes to cardio-boxing, these are the best. Take jumping rope to the next level with a weighted jump-rope from Valeo. It's not as hard as you think and your arms will look great afterwards. The Wavemaster Punching Bag is a no-brainer because cardio-boxing is WAY MORE FUN when you actually make impact. Plus, wavemasters are soft and won't bruise you up. If you're hurting for space, forget the Wavemaster and punch the air with weighted hand-wrist gloves. Use a Gymboss to structure your workout with timed boxing intervals. I have one in hot pink and I love it! It's cute and feminine and clips to your clothes. The Bodybugg is all that and a slice of cake because it tells you how many calories you burned during your workout---and keeps you from eating that slice of cake afterwards. Plus you can switch out the frame for different colors and designs. Personally, I'm a fan of the zebra frame. If you're going to wear it on your arm, make a statement! And finally...the punching bag couch...tres chic and transformable. Hey, if you can afford it, why the heck not?


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