If you want to look knockout during party season, it's time to join fight club. Boxing is one of the fastest-growing sports for women and getting into the swing is simple.
Firm arms, strong core, a quick cardio hit and an unbeatable way to tackle stress... boxing is fast catching on as the hottest way for women to get fighting fit. US model Gigi Hadid is a fan – she goes to Gotham Gym in New York – while her fellow Victoria's Secret models Doutzen Kroes and Adriana Lima both work out with professional boxers.
Here in Britain, model Jourdan Dunn is also on the ropes and gets some strong support in her chosen fitness regime from her younger brother Antoine, a personal trainer and instructor at Kobox, a studio in London that offers high-intensity boxing-based classes.
"I know a lot of women who think, 'Oh I could never do that, I'm not strong enough,' or, 'I don't hit things,' but I'm telling you that after your first session you will be hooked," says Antoine. "I first started boxing as a part of my own routine when I was working in New York at a gym called Gotham and I noticed that more women were boxing than men, not only for cardio, but to give them the upper-body strength and definition they wanted and to beat stress," he explains. "Think about it, punching a bag is a great way to relieve stress and tension."
Boxing is not simply about moving your arms back and forth. "The average arm is just a few pounds, so it has no force or strength unless you put your body weight behind it and that requires core and leg strength and comes from the floor up," says Antoine. "In other words, boxing is a full-body work out; there is not a single muscle in the body that is not used during a three- or four-minute round. You use your hips to pivot and move, your thighs and legs to transfer the power and your core to stay stable.
"Add those rounds to a HIIT [high-intensity interval training] class to music with lunges and squats, push ups and squat jumps and you start to see how boxing can be the perfect way for women to exercise. For my clients it's a lot more fun than running on a treadmill."
It's not just models who believe that boxing is a knockout – singers Mollie King and Ashley Roberts also swear by the sport to stay in shape. So many women are wary of showing off their arms, yet boxing can give the functional leaner, stronger, more toned arms that we all want. What's more, if you worry that weight lifting is going to leave you too muscly, or that you're not fit enough to start an exercise class, then boxing could be a winner.
"Anyone can start boxing – from the first timer to the gym goer," says Antoine. "This is because all you need is a few minutes to learn how to punch, then you're ready."
The idea of boxing as part of a class is still relatively new, but is fast gaining popularity in the UK. No experience is necessary, nor is any special equipment – you can wear what feels comfortable. Classes typically combine both boxing and conditioning training.
"Each class includes people at all levels of fitness and because the boxing bursts are short, from two to four minutes, you can quickly and easily gain cardio fitness from one class to the next," says Antoine. "No two classes are the same. That's not only rewarding but addictive too. With the right technique and skill, boxing gives women the opportunity to realise their inner power and strength."
• For more inspiration and advice, follow Antoine on Instagram @pt_dunn. For details of Kobox classes, visit koboxlondon.com.
Glove Love At most boxing classes, you don't need to buy your own gloves, but once you're hooked, try Adidas Hybrid 100 Boxing Gloves, £34.95; visit adidasspecialtysports.co.uk
Flexible Friends To keep you quick and light on your feet, try Nike Free TR 6 Neoprene trainers, £95, from net-a-porter.com
It's a Wrap You may want to wrap your hands for extra protection before you box. Try Everlast Hand Wraps, £6.99, from argos.co.uk
Gear Up Choose form-fitting leggings like the Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Leggings, £65, teamed with the sleeveless Compound Workout Vest, £35, so that your arm movement is not restricted; visit sweatybetty.com