For the past six months, I’ve been working closely with a personal trainer to mix-up my workout routine and he absolutely kicks my butt boxing. I’m not a big runner, but my body has never looked better…turns out boxing burns a similar amount of calories, and builds muscle.

Shape Magazine recently published an amazing article on the benefits of boxing. Quick excerpt: “A two-for-one cardio and strength workout, boxing targets the entire body, says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. “In addition to boosting strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, boxing improves a number of skill-related parameters of fitness, including balance, coordination, reactivity, and agility,” she says.”

Reasons to put on the gloves:

BOXING IS A TOTAL-BODY WORKOUT: “Women who join a boxing gym can expect a heavy dose of cardiovascular exercise in several forms. Examples include warm-up drills such as jumping jacks, conditioning activities such as jumping rope and boxing-specific exercises including shadow boxing and hitting the heavy bag. Strength training is also a key component, even if your training program doesn’t include lifting weights. Boxers strengthen their bodies through body weight exercises such as pushups, squats, burpees and crunches, and throwing punches in any training exercise also provides a challenge for your muscles.” – Livestrong.com

BOXING INCINERATES CALORIES—FAST: “High-intensity interval training (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. For example, a good starter workout is running as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes. Repeat that 3-minute interval five times for a 15-minute, fat-blasting workout. It sounds too simple to be effective, but science doesn’t stretch the truth. Read on for eight proven benefits of HIIT.” – Shape.com

BOXING FLATTENS YOUR BELLY: ““Boxing is extremely taxing on the core,” Antonio Valverde, a boxing instructor and owner of Elite City Fitness in New York City, says. “Your hips need to rotate in order to get full extension and deliver a more powerful blow.”

BOXING IS UPPER-BODY CARDIO: After being stuck in a Soul Cycle rut, boxing switched the primary movements to my arms, back and chest. Legs still got their own workout with all the squats and quick footwork but it was my arms that were burning by the end of my session.

And if you needed one more reason to try boxing, just see what Prince Harry said about the benefits of mental health:

Princess Diana’s youngest son, now 32, revealed: “During those years I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it’s a really good way of letting out aggression. And that really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone; so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier.” – from The Guardian.com