Tell us about how you got into boxing.
I used to be a salsa/hip hop dance instructor. Six years ago, one of my dance students told me her uncle had opened a boxing gym and wanted me to check it out. Walking in I remember feeling excited and a bit intimidated by the ring and bags. After meeting the owner, he ran me through my first boxing training. At the time I was drinking and smoking cigarettes every day. So by the end of my training session I was sweating what felt like battery acid and spitting up black stuff. But as bad as that sounds, I had never felt better in my life. I was hooked, and so I decided to cut back on my drinking and quit smoking, cold turkey, right then and there. I knew from that point that I wanted to be a boxer.
What is your advice to folks who may find the thought of taking a boxing class intimidating?
Don't allow your fears to get in the way of learning something you may be interested in. If you're intimidated by the thought of a boxing class, go and observe one you'd be interested in taking. Take time to speak with the trainer or coach, voice your concerns and see how they respond. Basically get as much information as you can. Then make an informed decision.
Your class involves a lot of conditioning. Why is that necessary for boxing?
Boxing is a sport that can wear on an unconditioned body quickly and even cause injury to those who are not practiced enough. This is why it is imperative that every boxer undergoes as much conditioning as safely possible. When a boxing student starts incorporating sparring into their workout routine, they usually notice in the first round how tiring it can be to box for only 3 minutes (1 round). Getting worn out or gassed during a sparring round is one of the worst feelings you can experience. Your guard starts to drop as you lose more and more energy and before you know it, you're taking punches where you weren't a few moments ago. So now you're tired and defenseless and still have half the round left to get through. To help prevent unwanted situations like this one from occurring, good conditioning is key.
You also served in the navy for 4 years. We’d like to thank you for your service. How has that experience shaped you?
The Navy was one of the hardest but also most rewarding jobs I've ever had. Physically and mentally, it challenged me to push past my hang ups of what I perceived my personal limitations were. As a result I learned that these limits are only in my mind, and my mind can be used to push myself beyond what I originally thought possible. I've applied this lesson to everything I've done since my days in the Navy and have achieved greater things than I thought I would ever accomplish in my life.
We also hear you like to cook. Give us one of your favorite healthy recipes.
Shrimp Tacos w/ Cilantro Lime Sour Cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle or blended chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
8 corn tortillas
8 sprigs cilantro for garnish
2 limes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Juice and zest from one lime
Salt to taste
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.
Heat a stovetop or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Grill the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.) Spoon sauce on the tortilla, then top with about 2 or 3 shrimp and a sprig of cilantro. Serve 2 tacos per person, with a lime wedge on the side.