Studio Box instructor, personal trainer and martial arts student Shardae Mitha. Photo / Lucas Noonan

What Athletes Wear: Studio Box Instructor Shardae Mitha

Her gear, like her sports, pack a punch — and they're comfortable too

“I’ve been boxing and in the martial arts scene for 15 years. David Tua was my first coach. Training with him was twice a day, six days a week. I’d be up at 4.30am — he trained me like a professional fighter. I think my life changed because I haven’t been able to train to any less of a standard. After a couple of injuries I learned that I need to slow down, that’s when I started to focus on fitness and became a certified personal trainer.

I’ve been a trainer at Studio Box for a year and a half. I love people and I want other women to find the confidence I’ve found through boxing. When I started boxing, it was just for fun. It helped my fitness and my cardio was through the roof.

I was working in a very male dominated environment at the time and it just gave me this confidence. Boxing was this edge I had. I want to share that with Mûve, a women’s fitness brand I’m launching in the next three months, which will offer a more holistic approach to boxing and fitness (follow @_mûve for updates).

Shardae's first boxing coach was David Tua. Photo / Lucas Noonan

Boxing is a complete, full-body workout. There’s not one part of your body that doesn’t get a workout. You get out what you put in, so you can hit the bag or the pads or shadow-box lightly, or you can go for it.

Warm up can be anything from stretches, to skipping, shadow-boxing (sometimes with weights to warm up the shoulders), lots of good mobility and stretches.

READ: Everything You Need To Know About Auckland's Newest Boxing-Inspired Workout

With my clients we’re doing cardio, bag or pad or footwork, throwing combinations or doing strength and conditioning — it’s never the same.

There’s a real essence to martial arts; it’s a form of self-expression, like dance. It makes you focus inwardly, which I think is important, especially with social media being more prevalent. For me, boxing is a tool to break through areas of your life, it can be a therapy session.

1 Converse shoes $130 / 2 Dumb-bells from $5 / 3 Armaplus gloves, $100, from Sting / 4 Skipping rope, $39, from NZ Boxer / 5 Under Amour Phantom shoes $200

Outside of teaching, I train in boxing and kickboxing at City Kickboxing, where I’m a martial arts student. If I’m training for a fight I’ll be there twice a day. I have a strength and conditioning coach at Les Mills and we train once a week and I do other training on my own.

My aim is to run three times a week again, because it’s been a long time since I was able to run after an Achilles injury. A lot of people ask me where I get the energy. My body is just used to it.

You can wear anything to box, but I like to wear shorts and a singlet or T-shirt. I have Nike Huarache boxing shoes that I bought in LA but you can wear Converse Chuck Taylors or Reebok shoes that are flat and feel like socks. These are shoes you don’t wear outside the gym.

6 Finisher crop, $79, and shorts, $79, from Augustine / 7 Puma sports bra / 8 Under Armour bike shorts $100

You’ll need a good pair of at least 12-inch gloves and wraps to protect your knuckles are essential. Studio Box has just released a line of wraps that are great. A skipping rope is another great tool, and 1kg dumb-bells if you want to be really hard-out. For running, I have some Under Armour Phantom shoes that are great. They’re so comfortable and good for high-impact activity — my knees take a lot and I’ve noticed the difference with these shoes.

I need to feel comfortable in what I'm wearing, and if it’s matching it gives me a bit of extra confidence

I bought an animal print set from Lorna Jane and the material is the nicest I’ve felt in a long time. I used to have wallpaper on my laptop of Naomi Campbell running with a cheetah, so I needed to have this.

I have pieces from Ryderwear in the US, their fabric feels so good on your skin — I love their stuff. I’m also looking forward to wearing the Finisher set from Augustine’s Sweat Republic range.”

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