002: This Time, it’s Personal

What Boxing Means to me

How Boxing has Changed my Life

I don’t think I have ever done something more for myself than signing up for a boxing gym membership. I don’t think I have done anything else in my life like this, where I didn’t feel pressured by the expectations of other people to do something. I didn’t do it because someone told me to, I didn’t do it because I wanted to get skinnier or look different for others, and I didn’t do it interested in anyone’s approval. Boxing is for me.

Since starting boxing my life has changed in ways that I honestly didn’t think were possible. This entire year has been incredible for my self-growth, but in the three months alone I have been boxing, I’ve seen strides and milestones crossed I didn’t know I was capable of reaching.

I’ll put my gloves down, I’ll be real: I suffer with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia. Everyday is a challenge for me. I used to work out because I felt guilty for eating. I used to starve myself. I am my own biggest critic, like ever. I consistently believe that I am not enough. I fight those demons in my head that tell me I’m fat, stupid, inadequate, and a bitch. Every day is a fight for me.

A lot of my internal conflicts come from me being female. I feel like I need to act a certain way, be a certain way, in order to fit in or make others happy.

  1. Because I’m a girl, when I lead a group; when I am assertive, diligent, and passionate about getting the work done, I can be seen as a bossy bitch. But I am not.
  2. Also because I am a girl, when I lead groups, I am expected to be sensitive and empathetic towards my groupmates — always being soft and giving exceptions to deadlines. But then, nothing gets done.
  3. Because I am a girl, I am not expected to eat a lot. And, because I am a girl, I am expected to eat healthier, and be obsessed with my waistline. But I do eat, a lot.
  4. Because I am a girl, I need to be petite and skinny, not muscular, and certainly not like I could beat someone up. But I do.
  5. Because I am a girl, I shouldn’t be good at intense sports like soccer, hockey, and boxing. But I am.
  6. Because I am a girl, I should have long, silky hair. Not short “boy” hair. But I have short “boy” hair.
  7. Because I am a girl, I cannot dress how I want to. If I don’t dress feminine, then I don’t look feminine, and can’t be feminine. But I am female.
  8. Because I am a girl, I need to work twice as — no three times as — no more. I just need to work more than guys to get on the same level. My work will always face a bias. But my work could be the same.
  9. And because I’m a girl, and because I need to work harder, I do. But if I start taking up too much space, get too much attention, I am not giving others the space to grow themselves. I am seen as competitive, as well as encouraged to compete with others. But that was never my intention.
  10. Because I am a girl, I can’t be confident. If I am outwardly confident, if I declare how much I love myself, I get called selfish, arrogant, and narcissistic. But I am not.
  11. Because I’m a girl, I am interrupted by males, and other girls. My actions are constantly questioned. I am not taken seriously. But I am oh so serious.

This is shit girls shouldn’t have to deal with.

Since starting boxing, I’ve cut my hair, I’ve gained weight, I’m more muscular, I’m more confident, I seek to compete with myself and no one else, and I have more love for myself and my work than ever. And I didn’t do it for anyone. I did it for me.

But despite this, my inboxes and comments sections of my social media accounts have flooded with likes, encouraging notes, and powerful messages. Apparently, I am inspiring. Apparently, I give people courage.

That’s some pretty powerful and amazing stuff, and thank you all for supporting me through my journey. If I inspire you, I hope to keep doing it throughout the rest of this project, and wherever else I take myself in life.

I just want to inspire people to do what they want, be who they want, and not give a shit about what other people think.

Be aggressive.

Be smart.

Be your body type, and own it.

Be strong.

Be soft.

Be you.

So I know, my thesis is personal. I know that’s going to be a huge critique for me, because designers need to design for other people.

But I’m not here to design for myself. I’m here to design for you.

I have brought several friends boxing, and have plans of bringing more. I know boxing isn’t everyone’s everyday workout, but the amount of people who try it and like it is immense. The way people look after their workouts — the happiness, the satisfaction, the enthusiasm to crush the rest of their day — I live for that.

For the people who stay, who love it, who are addicted — I’m designing for you.

I want to give you the ability to set goals for yourself. I want to give you a way to easily track your milestones. I want to give you the ability to see your success. Because, girl, or guy, you deserve it.

So that’s where I am right now. I want to design a collection of devices (that will ultimately go into my future boxing studio franchise) that aids in tracking success in group fitness settings, specifically for boxing.

Like I stated in my previous blog, group fitness is a great way to commit to working out, and millions are currently doing it. But what if I could make it more personal? Most group fitness goers love it because of the accountability, and the energy other people in the class offer. The amount of actual competition is low, you’re really just competing with yourself. What if I made that more possible, and tangible?

Imagine, walking into your boxing studio for a class, and swiping your ID. The locker you have reserved is now activated, and your personal gloves are inside. Your gloves are calibrated to you, your strength, and training level. Along with your custom hand wraps, the gloves track your heart rate, speed, form, and more. Then, when you approach your desired heavy bag, you log in, and the bag calibrates in the same way your gloves are— but you can change those settings to give yourself a little more of a challenge, or to take it easy. The bag and the gloves together are the best personal trainer you will ever have. When your guard is down, the gloves vibrate to keep you in the right form. Your power and speed are tracked throughout the class, and you can review your stats before, after, and during to see how you can improve. Milestones will be tracked, and you can easily see how you get better with every punch. Want to work with a personal trainer to further improve your form and agility? Use training mitts that can more accurately track your form by being calibrated just for you. Or are you home, and can’t make it to the gym, or don’t have one in your area? Try out VR training, with visuals, feedback, and control as if you were really in your studio.

Is this ambitious? Yes. Am I ready to take on the challenge? Also, yes. There’s boat-loads of research, countless interviews, thousands of sketches, and a lot more boxing to do in my future. Am I excited? Excited is an understatement.

Now, Y’all ready for this?!

Because this Time, it’s Personal.

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