A Closer Look At Box ‘n’ Burn Academy’s Unique Philosophy

Feb 12, 2017
Author:  Seth Gibson of Divined Movement Theory. Seth went from a fitness enthusiast to a fitness professional by attending both Onnit and Box’N’Burn Academies. 


When I decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry a little over two years ago, the first part of my plan was to take some time and get a real education before pursuing internships and eventually, paid work.

I have some informal experience coaching and writing training and nutrition plans for friends, as well, I had been a part owner of small MMA gym in Silicon Valley, but had never received any formal instruction or education in coaching and personal training.

Experienced coaches provide online education

Thankfully, in this age of internet and social media, it’s easier than ever for knowledgeable and experienced coaches to provide online educational opportunities that rival even the most well-established formal institutions. This technology allows coaches to network and share ideas with each other as well, which makes it much easier for like-minded individuals and organizations to collaborate. This is how the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy came to my attention.

I’d chosen to begin my education with the Onnit Academy, and have since come to respect their opinions on everything training related, so when they started working with the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy, I took note and signed up for the next available Level 1 Certification.

You’ll learn How To Teach Boxing

What intrigued me most about the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy was their notion of teaching how to teach boxing, not just teaching how to box.

As a lifelong martial artist, this interested me for a couple of reasons:

1. I’ve taught many different martial arts, and in my experience, there was little to no formal pedagogy. In some cases, it was limited to how to teach specific techniques or how to instruct the curriculum for a specific class, but taking those specific ideas and broadening them out to general practices for a general audience was a gap in my game that I was eager to fill.

2. There’s this notion, in fighting sports especially, that to be a good coach, one has to have actual ring fighting experience, but in reality, participation doesn’t necessarily translate to coaching ability.

Any MMA or BJJ gym has quite a few folks who train hard and probably fight well, but I’d wager that few of them would make good coaches without any formal mentorship. To hear from an Olympic Medalist that some of his best coaches and trainers, past and present, had never fought a round in their lives definitely added some credibility to Box ‘n’ Burn Academy’s tenet that you don’t have to be a boxer to teach boxing.

Perhaps the old adage “those who can, do, those who can’t, teach,” isn’t quite so true after all?

Learn teaching techniques and coaching cues

Fast forward to the present; I’ve been through the Level 1 Certification and am preparing for the Level 2 Certification. I can say without a doubt that I’m certainly convinced of the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy principles and methodologies, and I’m sure I speak for quite a few other folks too.

In addition to refining my own boxing technique, I’ve learned several teaching techniques and coaching cues to help other people acquire and refine their own boxing skills, in keeping with the Box ’n’ Burn Academy principle of teaching you how to teach boxing, and I’m interested to see how this paradigm scales not only to more complex movements and combinations in the Level 2 curriculum, but to other, potentially non-sport or martial practices as well.

Learn how to modify sport-specific skills for individual clients needs

The biggest takeaway from the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy curriculum for me: Learning to modify sport-specific skills for use with the general population, which as I mentioned, was a key skill I was interested in learning. Now, ideally, this is what we as trainers are already doing, but often times, in simplifying said sports-specific skills for general use, things tend to get “lost in translation,” and we lose the spirit of the original practice.

With Box ‘n’ Burn Academy, we’re still staying true to boxing, there’s no “watering down” of the techniques, just a bit of a shift in thinking when it comes to instructing and programming.

Some folks might not want a full 30-60 minute boxing/combat sports-training-type session, but how about having them glove up and do a 10 minute jab-cross finisher on the heavy bag?

Or maybe some easy 1-2-roll shadow boxing as a way to finish up their movement prep before the main workout? Likewise, most of our clients may not really be interested in learning all the subtleties of the jab, but we at least want them to be able to hit the bag safely.

These are a few specific examples, but they exemplify the aforementioned idea of using the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy’s principles as a lens to apply to other sports practices in order to make them generally accessible.

Learn a new way of looking at your client training sessions

Obviously, we want to be careful to not go too crazy and introduce ideas that might put our clients at risk, but I believe that the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy principles, coupled with a solid foundational movement and exercise education, provide the necessary perspective to ensure that we’re keeping our training sessions safe, effective, and ultimately, fun for our clients.

But don’t take my word for it, give the Box ‘n’ Burn Academy Certification a try for yourself and add a new perspective to your coaching practice. Your clients will love the new workouts, and you may find yourself inspired to take up a new sport to see what ideas you might be able to re-apply.

Sounds like a win/win to me!


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