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October 8, 2014

“How Exercise Helped Me Get My Confidence Back”

There’s a psychological technique called “The 5 Whys” that is used in anything from business problem solving to interrogation to solutions for individuals to figure out the absolute core cause of something. You ask the question “Why?” 5 times to uncover the underlying reason for action. THIS is the heart of the matter.

In fitness, for example, someone may say that they want to lose 10 lbs. That’s the most-easily expressed outcome, but it’s not underlying emotion. Once you identify the emotion, that’s when the real transformation begins.

Why do you want to lose 10 lbs? 

  • “Because I have a beach vacation coming up.”

And why does having a beach vacation coming up mean you need to lose weight?

  • “So that I can fit into my summer clothes and bathing suit.”

Why does fitting into your clothes and bathing suit matter?

  • “I would make me feel better if I did.”

Why is it important to feel better?

  • “Because I want to feel confident walking on the beach.”

Why does feeling confident matter?

  • “Because it makes me feel good about myself and more empowered.”

So, you can see what began as wanting to “lose 10 lbs” turned into wanting to feel good about oneself. There’s an argument to be made that that outcome can be accomplished without having to lose 10 lbs, but the key here is that action invokes empowerment. Doing something — and then gaining/seeing/attaining a result — is what transform us.

Anyone who has picked up some heavy weights at the gym and gets through a through a tough workout can attest to the fact that action + hard work + learning a new skill all help us feel more accomplished because we’ve gotten some wins under our belt. We see results. We see results, physically and then we feel results mentally. That is where the magic happens.

JillFit Ambassador Amanda Brown, creator of “The Beautiful Knockout” At-Home Boxing program, has an amazing story that I asked her to share for the JillFit audience today — her one story of struggle and ultimate transformation as a result of finding her form of physical empowerment — BOXING — that helped not only build her confidence and empower her, but get her through some of the toughest moments of her life. Amanda’s story is emotional and poignant and I love it so much. I hope you do too ;) Enjoy! Ox, Jill

Boxing and martial arts literally saved my life.

At 21 years old, I was lost. My self-confidence and self-esteem were extremely low. I had just broken up with my first serious boyfriend who helped me overcome a serious drug addiction. Both he and my mother helped me get back into school and he showed me the value of working and pursuing my passions in life. I was struggling with the grief of this significant loss as this vulnerable period in my life, It was another a dark and lonely place.

See, at this point, I had already been through a lot in my young life. I grew up in poverty, moved multiple times which almost always involved changing schools, parents divorced, father abandonment, no real friends or positive peer support, a high school drop out, drug addicted teenager who was wasting her life and almost spent 7 years in prison for drug possession. Yep, it had already been a crazy, emotional, shameful ride. But I had turned things around at 18.

At 18, I decided I was sick of living the way I was, I wanted to change and it was about that same time that I met my boyfriend who helped me helped me through the darkest period of my life, and then at 21, we broke up. My old wound of father abandonment was re-opened, and I began looking for something to help me because I felt so weak, so unloved, just plain damaged and didn’t trust myself.

It was at this time that I took a trip to Mexico with a co-worker and stayed with a Mexican family. It was an amazing experience and where I found boxing and martial arts for the first time.

I’d always loved martial arts and boxing growing up, but I’d never had the opportunity to train with anyone. Now, in Mexico I got the opportunity to train with some black belts. It was the first time I felt confident and strong, like I could take care of myself, by myself, and that I was going to be okay. Once I got back to the states, I immediately found a martial arts and boxing gym, where I still train with the owner today, more than a decade later.

Boxing for me is more than just fitness, it helped me gain my confidence back.

I was able to deal with the shame and guilt of some of the choices I’d made by channeling into my boxing. When I boxed, there was never any judgment. It was always just me, the bags and the timer. Boxing brought me back to life and gave me something to fight for, myself. It has been with me through breakups, failed tests, bad days, and good days. Boxing and martial arts were and are my therapy. Boxing and martial arts helped instill in me what I needed to learn to grow into the woman I am today, confidence, self-worth, self-acceptance, and a strong belief in myself and that I am capable of achieving great things, if I just put effort into it.

More and more women are finding their way into the ring for competition or just fitness or simply to feel like a badass. And that’s awesome. Because boxing has the amazing power to transform people like no other because it works on the mind, body and spirit of a person.

Since I started training women several years ago, I have seen the power that boxing has to truly transform an individual. I have used it with my clients and it has been amazing to watch them blossom into more confident and self-assured women.

Maybe you can relate to pieces of my story or you have your own story where your self-confidence or self-esteem has been impacted. Boxing for me has been transformative on so many levels, but here are just a few reasons why I believe boxing is the king of both physical and mental conditioning:

  • Learning a new skill is empowering.
  • Traditional cardio bores you to tears.
  • Boxing provides a total body workout every time.
  • It’s one one of the best tools for core development.
  • Sometimes punching stuff makes you feel powerful (in a non-angry way ;)).
  • It gives you the ability to protect yourself and use self-defense
  • It hones new movement patterns and activates new muscle groups, giving the body a new stimulus to respond for fat loss and building stamina
  • Boxing is meditative — jab, cross, jab, cross, jab, cross, kick, jab, cross, kick — and so reduces stress.
  • More physical strength and power increases mental strength and power — things like confidence, self-worth and sense of accomplishment.
  • It basically makes you a badass.

These are just a few of the things boxing can do for you. I have seen this happen with my clients at Beautiful U Fitness University and I have experienced it myself. We all have a beautiful, confident woman inside trying to figure out how to get out and shine. It’s time to release her.

What I learned from boxing is that we all have a story that we are fighting to not only accept but to redefine and to grow from.

We are looking for skills on how to deal with set backs and what to do when we get knocked down or sucker punched.

Boxing has taught me to roll with the punches in life and has prepared me for the days I get knocked down because it is unavoidable. Whether it be with starting a new goal, relationship, or whatever, shit happens that I can’t control and I am learning to be okay with it. Boxing has taught me how to bounce back and to learn from the struggles I have faced, including the times I was metaphorically face down in the gutter or in the deepest hole I could imagine.

Boxing taught me focus, determination, dedication, perseverance and tenacity because we are in life for the long haul not the short game. When I box, I feel strong, confident, self-assured, badass, powerful, alive in ways I didn’t know existed until I started boxing and at peace with myself and my struggles. Boxing is a skill, an art form, a non-judgmental sanctuary for those who find solace in it. Boxing can be whatever you want it to be, however no matter what that is, it makes you stronger and a more powerful force to be reckoned with and can literally save your life.

Love, Amanda


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