The Evolution of a Knockout

DSC03483-Edit-EditMost people don’t quite understand what we do at Knockout.  I can’t tell you how many times members share with me how angry they get when they tell someone they box and the person they are talking to says, “Oh like kickboxing”.  AH!!! WTF!!! No not kickboxing, we actually box at Knockout.  While we don’t spar, members at Knockout are trained like fighters.  They are hitting the bag, working pads with each other, running through real punching combinations, learning defense, practicing footwork drills and fighting to unleash their inner champion.


For some reason, people don’t take women seriously when they say they box.  Two images seem to come to mind when people hear a woman say she boxes.  First, they think cardio kickboxing, or some watered down version of kickboxing.  Second, they think of competitive women’s boxing with broken noses and bloody sparring sessions.  While there is nothing wrong with cardio kickboxing (in fact back in my fitness instructor days I use to teach it), and I’m all for competitive women’s boxing (obviously since I’m a former amateur boxer), Knockout isn’t either of those things.


Knockout is real boxing for real women.  Knockout isn’t cutesy, girly, watered down or just a bunch of flailing on the bag, shitty form cardio boxing.  Knockout is serious boxing, minus the contact.  You don’t have to get punched in the face or step in a ring to reap the benefits of boxing training, but you do have to TRAIN.  Yes, TRAIN not workout!


And here we have the seemingly subtle, but HUGE difference between Knockout and most types of women’s fitness.  Knockouts TRAIN, they don’t just workout!  By definition, a workout is all about cardio, burning calories, focusing on the esthetic results of moving your body and mindless movements that are typically aimed at a weight loss goal.  Working out is just something to check off your list.  There is no long term goal, no focus on the process.  Working out is a means to sweat, lose weight, look hot, and earn the right to eat (don’t even get me started on that part).  Working out is all about producing a certain feeling or experience in the moment only, it’s easy and not intentional.


Training is focused, purposeful, intentional, goal driven and emphasizes the long term.  We encourage our Knockouts to train, not simply go through the motions and burn calories with the hopes of losing weight.  When you train your mind is focused on your body’s performance potential.  You no longer care only about that single 45 minutes in the gym, you use that time efficiently with the goal of becoming a better boxer and a stronger person/athlete.  That day’s training session is just one piece of the puzzle, one step towards a greater goal.  You don’t think about how sweaty you have to get, how many calories you have to burn or how much weight you have to lose, instead you focus on something in that particular training session that will lead to long term better results or performance. Training keeps you going for the long haul, working out is temporary.


So at Knockout we don’t do cardio kickboxing, hell we aren’t even working out.  At Knockout we are training in the sport of boxing.  Our members are training with a purpose that is greater than each individual moment in the gym. 


Now before you start thinking “I don’t give a shit about training, I just want to workout and lose weight. This all sounds stupid, pointless, not worth my time” let me reassure you shifting your mindset away from working out (and especially from weight loss) and towards training will enhance your results 10 fold.  You will experience a transformation in the way you think about health, fitness, your body and yourself.  You will be more committed and train with a greater intensity and frequency that will lead to goal achievement.  Look I get it, you can’t get your mind to stop thinking about the scale or your body shape and the desire to change it, that’s okay.  Let me share with you a little secret!


Typically, there is what we like to call the “Evolution of a Knockout”. 


  1. First, most women come in wanting to lose weight or look better. They aren’t really focused on mastering the skills of boxing, they just want a good “workout”.  This lasts at least 30 days, but the whole time they are starting to FEEL the benefits of training.
  2. Next as they participate in more classes, they start to realize they need to focus on the skill a bit more. They want to keep up with others, prevent injury and look like they know what they are doing.  Most of the time they still aren’t 100% committed to the training mentality or sport yet, but the idea is starting to seep in. This can last from about 30-90 days.
  3. Now they’ve been training with us for 3-6 months and things are starting to click. They begin asking more questions about form and technique.  They slow down to get things right, they might even practice outside of the gym.  They are starting to get hooked and realize that what they are doing isn’t just about working out, but they still want to get a good workout.  So priorities are shifting and the mindset begins to change.  They aren’t giving up or quitting like they have done with other “workouts”, this training is taking on a new meaning for them.
  4. They are over the hump. We are at least 6-12 months in now.  There is no looking back.  Knockout is NOT just a workout anymore.  They feel connected to the training, the community and a commitment to improving as boxers and becoming an athlete.  They are learning.  They have a better understanding of their body; they want to master the art of boxing.  Now they realize getting the skills right leads to a better, more effective training session and results. They care less and less about weight loss or fitting into society’s mold of who or what they should be.  They are a Knockout now and that means something.  They have the support of the tribe of badass women at Knockout and feel a commitment to them.
  5. If life hasn’t taken them away from Knockout (moving, financial changes, kids, etc.) they are in for the long haul. 1, 2, 3, 4 years of membership and commitment.  They are okay that during their time with us their training frequency has ebbed and flowed, they realize the life long dedication is what is important. There is now a more serious attention to skill and technique.  Yea they feel great getting sweaty and kicking ass in training sessions, but more importantly they are starting to see the true progress and results of their commitment.  They are starting to feel like boxers. They move better, are stronger, the skills start to become more automatic, and they want to improve. 


The “Evolution of a Knockout” is a process, a journey and it starts with a single punch!


There is so much more to Knockout then I can put into words, but it sure as hell isn’t cardio kickboxing.  Our Knockouts take what they do seriously and have fun doing it.  Knockouts might not get in the ring and fight, but they fight every day to prove to themselves they are capable of more than they ever realized…and you CAN’T get that in your stereotypical cardio kickboxing class!

Jessica Storch, MA is a boxing coach, personal trainer, health coach and owner of Knockout Women's Boxing Club in Westmont, IL. Her mission is to empower women to be their best through the sport of boxing. She promotes a health focused mentality and encourages women to let go of the diet mentality. Jessica believes weight loss doesn't equal health and works with women to support them in building healthy lifestyles and happy lives.