When I was in seventh grade, I was bullied. A lot. My mom — a former police officer, gave me two choices — continue to do the sport I was doing at the time, or learn self-defense. Around the same time, my dad ran into his high school best friend and struck up a conversation about her teaching women's boxing classes. I took that as a sign that I should try boxing.

At first, it was kind of intimidating walking into a martial arts gym called the "Dungeon." Soon, it became more than just a "gym" — it became a second home, and trainers became family.

I encourage you to push beyond your comfort zone. I encourage you to not shy away from the "guys section of the gym," and work out with them. I encourage you to give everyone something worth watching.

So, here's nine reasons you should put on some gloves.

1. It burns calories, and fast

Within an hour an hour, you easily burn around 500 calories. You're lucky if you burn half of that on a treadmill.

2. It works wonders toning your body

Typically, I workout for an hour or so before boxing (five days a week). You can really do any workout (leg day, upper body, etc.) and turn your workout into a full-body one by following it up with boxing. It works nearly every muscle group. During your workout, you're strengthening your muscles. Boxing allows you to strengthen and tone your muscles with fairly fast results.

3. It's empowering as hell

You'll feel stronger, and more capable than ever before,

A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.” – Gina Carey

4. It teaches you self-defense

Well, this one is a no-brainer. Self-defense is extremely important, especially for women. In the USA, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. Sexual assault can occur anytime, anywhere, and to any person. Boxing, and self-defense in general, helps you prepare and react...for the worst.

5. It teaches you integrity

Integrity is all about having strong moral principles. When you're training, you're constantly pushing your own limits and learning more about yourself. Boxing helps you stay grounded, and humble.

6. It increases your response time to incoming stimulus

7. It's FUN!

Many people dread going to the gym, but you won't dread boxing. It's an awesome stress reliever, and good way to burn off some steam!

8. It's amazing for your cardiovascular system

In the USA, heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined — it's directly related to your lifestyle. I strongly encourage you do everything in your power to have a healthy heart.

9. You'll be stronger than ever before

As I stated earlier, it works wonders toning your body. Additionally, it increases your overall strength. You'll learn that a great deal of your strength when you throw a punch comes from the power in your legs, abs, and obviously your upper body.