Exercise, kickboxing, Uncategorized, workout

I tried kickboxing, and here’s what happened.

If I had known that my metabolism was going to up and disappear one day without so much as a ‘good-bye’ I would have been nicer to it. Showed it more appreciation. Maybe thanked it more often.

Because, man, do I miss it.

Over the years I’ve found it harder and harder to stick my goals, keep weight off that I’ve lost, and not fall victim to a “I should be able to eat whatever I want because life is short” mindset. (Though, I am a firm believer in said mindset, which is why I will never give up cheese, wine or beer).

Earlier this year, I was pretty committed to a workout routine of barre and pilates reformer classes. I was attending classes 4 (or more) times a week and was eating very healthy (read: no ice cream or alcohol) and I felt really good and even lost about 10 pounds or so. (Of course, Mr. KK was ALSO exercising regularly and eating the same things I was and he lost twice the amount of weight. This, my friends, is why men suck.)

I really enjoy my barre and pilates, and I’ve kept that up. But, as to be expected, life got in the way of me attending classes as much as I would have liked. Mr. KK and I were trying to sync schedules, while also balancing him building a patio in our yard all summer. Workout time became time I needed to spend going to the grocery store, or catching up on work, or watching the Little Mister.

I was also feeling like I needed to find a workout that would make me sweat. I am not one who sweats a lot to begin with (I once ran a 5k and my face was red, but not damp at all), but I tend to equate losing weight with sweating, so I was looking for something to supplement with my current toning and conditioning classes.

Enter: kickboxing.

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Targeted digital marketing was doing its thing, and I was seeing sponsored kickboxing posts in my social feeds. My gut instinct was that I would not like it. I had gotten used to very small, intimate barre classes, in a dimly lit studio, in my own zone. Kickboxing was the complete opposite of that: big, bright room, loud music and an instructor with a headset, tons of people around me, and a general feeling of intimidation.

Curiosity got the best of me, and I signed up for a 3-class trial with free boxing gloves. Plus, there was a promotion, so I ended up paying $9.99 for the 3 classes and the gloves. Even if I only go once, it’s a good deal, I told myself. And I never turn down a deal.

I knew I was in trouble when they called me to pick a day for my class. I liked to plan my workouts privately. “Can I sign up online?” I asked, hopeful. I was told that I couldn’t because I needed to have a mini orientation before my first class. There went my plan to sneak into a class, hide in the back and go un-noticed. Reluctantly I scheduled my first class and the dread set in.

On the day of my first class, my enthusiasm was around 10%. Don’t get me wrong, everyone I had been in contact with was very friendly and helpful. I was the issue, not the outgoing, super energized skinny kickboxing instructors. People who know me may describe me as outgoing, which I am, in certain situations. But when it comes to participating in large group activities where I don’t know anyone, I’m not in my comfort zone. I much prefer to be alone.

I wasn’t sure what to expect the other class attendees to be like. Would they all be svelte kick boxing pros? Would they make fun of my pathetic right hook? Would the class be filled with men who actually knew how to box? (None of this was accurate. The class was a mix of all women from early twenties to mid-fifties, all fitness levels, who only paid attention to their own workout.)

In regards to the actual class, a friend had told me about a grueling warm up, followed by the actual class, and some sort of partner drills at the end. From that description, I was hoping to stay out of the way and finish the class.

Here’s what the kickboxing class was like:

The warm up. It’s a HIIT-style warm up that lasts about 15 horrific minutes. It starts with jogging around the room, transitions into a million burpees, and then morphs into some combination of jump squats, push ups, planks and surrenders. And then more burpees. Thank god there aren’t any mirrors, because if I saw what I looked like doing a burpee, I would never return to class. I can safely say it’s the hardest 15 minutes of the class.

Stretching. Who doesn’t love stretching?! Especially if it means the burpees are over! My favorite line from this portion of the class, said breezily and all NBD by the instructor, “And whenever you’re ready, you can slide into that full split.” (Honey, this body hasn’t been in a split in 25 years.)

The kick boxing. This was my favorite part of the class, which consisted of six 3-minute rounds of punches and kicks to the bag. These mini routines focus on skills and form, and generally make class go by quickly. My arms got tired and I was sweating, so I felt good. Plus, there is something about hearing the satisfying whap! of your shin connecting with the bag with a solid roundhouse kick.

Partner drills. (Ugh, shoot me.) “Find a partner!” the instructor commanded, and I was immediately taken back to middle school gym class when we used to pick people for teams. I was the newbie, so I didn’t have kickboxing friends to gravitate towards. But I found a partner, and I wasn’t the odd woman out who had to spar with the instructor, either.

Cool down. More stretching, some instructor announcements and a fit tip of the day. The second best part of class! Except for the ceremonial hand drumroll on the mat, two slaps and a loud WOOOO! that is required of class members. I don’t do group WOO-ing.

The vibe. If I can get past this part of the kickboxing experience, I may be able to hang in there. The instructors are very good at keeping the energy level up, and encouraging class members throughout the routine. However, there’s lots of group chanting and answer-backs…which is not my style. Things like, the instructor yelling, “LAST ROUND!” and the class shouting back, “BEST ROUND!” Or the occasional ask of how everyone’s feeling, only to be answered with WOO-HOO and general hollering. (See note above about group WOO-ing).

The class photo. After every class, the instructor asks to take a picture of everyone, that they will use on social media, etc. I never participate in these photos. I don’t know why I run away and hide in the locker room, but I do.

I’ve been taking classes for about a month and a half now. I try and average about 2 classes a week, more if my schedule allows it.

Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • I feel good after a class. I sweat and know I got a workout.
  • The hour goes by quickly.
  • I have a decent roundhouse.

Cons:

  • The warm up. I literally DREAD those first 15 minutes. They don’t make me feel good, they make me feel out of shape. And slow. And old.
  • Class participation in the forms of woo-ing, shouting, hell ya-ing, etc.
  • Post class photos. No thank you.

I haven’t seen any “results” yet. But I assume that takes time. Honestly, if I burn enough calories to still enjoy a frosty beer with Mr. KK each night, it’s worth it.

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