Why 2013 is the year for women's boxing

The 'Nicola Adams' effect is transforming boxing into the top sport for women this year

Boxing has long had the stereotype as being a man's sporting event.

But after Nicola Adams won gold at the Olympics 2012 - making her the first ever winner of an Olympic women's boxing tournament - that idea is being turned on its head.

Women's boxing: A great way to get lean and burn calories ©RexThis year is tipped to be a turning point for the sport, as the ongoing momentum felt by London 2012 combined with our new year resolutions to get into shape has many of us searching for a new challenge.

While people have been boxing for centuries, it's undergoing a very new revival for women thanks to the "Nicola Adams effect" and the growing number of celebrities speaking out about their love of the workout.

Celebrity fans of the sport are said to include Gwen Stefani, Anna Paquin, Kelly Clarkson and Lauren Conrad, among dozens of others.

Women's boxing has been tipped as the workout for 2013 ©RexIt's high time women's boxing had its moment too. According to Anita Albrecht, a personal trainer at APT and nutrition advisor, 2013 should see it become mainstream.

"It's finally being seen as something that's acceptable for women to take part in," she told us.

"It's also helping to raise awareness that women can be strong, yet feminine."

Boxing is a great way to burn off calories; with the intense, cardiovascular training it offers providing an all-round workout - as well a being a great way to de-stress.

"There's nothing else, I've found anyway, that gives you that sort of adrenalin," she told us.

"As cardiovascular training, it's one of the most intense things you can do. It burns the most calories and is a fantastic way to de-stress after a tough day," she explained.

Women's boxing has entered the mainstream thanks to Nicola Adam's Olympic glory ©RexSome women are turned off by boxing as they fear it will mean they'll bulk up and become too muscular, yet Anita insists this is far from the truth.

"That's a stigma attached to the sport because of heavyweight boxing categories," she said.

"Professional heavyweight boxers will train using weights to achieve that level of muscle definition, but actually if you're looking to become leaner and burn body fat you just work with your own body weight.

"If there are no weights involved you can't bulk up," she said.

She went on: "The conditioning of boxing only makes women leaner.

"The combination of resistance when you hit pads is great cardio and it burns endless amounts of calories."

And with our hectic lifestyles and stressful working lives meaning we all benefit from relaxation time, boxing can be the perfect way to let off steam.

"It's really de-stressing and it's also a great workout to do with a friend," Anita continued.

"The calorie expenditure (amount of calories you burn) is more than the likes of what you'd get in most aerobic classes," she said.

"This also means after a really tough boxing session you'll sleep better, making you more renewed for the following day."

Boxing isn't just a great way to get leaner and burn more calories though, as it's also confidence-building.

Learning how to defend yourself and growing stronger can have a positive impact, which in turn benefits our daily lives and feelings about ourselves.

Anita told us: "When you build strength and you see progression week to week, it can really boost your confidence.

"It makes you feel more powerful, having that strength. If you were ever attacked, you'd feel more ready to defend yourself with this type of training."

You don't have to sign yourself up to a professional fight to get involved in the sport either. Gyms offering boxing classes are popping up around the country, with the likes of Fitness First and Gymbox among them.

Boxing is fast losing it's stereotype as being a man's sport ©RexMost personal trainers, such as Anita, also offer classes. Anita admits she's been inundated with requests to learn boxing - something which has reached fever-pitch in the last six months.

"It's about time it became more mainstream for women," Anita added. "As well as all the physical and health benefits, it really allows you to go into a complete world of your own.

"You find yourself getting everything out from the daily grind of family and work, leaving you completely relaxed afterwards."

Have you felt the effects of a good boxing workout? Are you considering taking it up in 2013? Tell us over on Twitter, now.

Anita Albrecht is a personal trainer and nutritional advisor. For more information visit www.anitalabrecht.com or follow her on Twitter @LittleAnita.