Exercise, food, kickboxing, recipe, workout

My 3-Week Be Healthier Challenge

Back in March, I returned to in-person kickboxing at the ILoveKickboxing Studio. It was time to get back on the big red mat and kick it in person and be held accountable.

Since then, I’ve been going rather erratically, because life sometimes gets in the way. Happy hour sometimes gets in the way, too. And patio cocktails.

Anywho, way back in February of 2020 I joined a 21-day challenge at the studio. We weighed in, had a meal plan and had to commit to going to class at least 3x a week. The challenge started around Presidents’ Day and lasted until the first week of March. And we all know what happened the second week of March 2020…

Surprisingly, I was able to keep at that healthier meal plan and working out at home (the studio did Facebook Live kickboxing classes). This was before we adopted Bruno, our high-maintenance puppy, who cannot be left unattended. This was also when the Little Mister had no daycare and was sleeping until 10am everyday. I found myself with more free time. I ended up losing over 20 pounds during 2020, which I felt was a win during a time when all I wanted to do was eat my weight in brie.

Apparently those 20 pounds really missed me over the last 2 years because they slowly started coming back.

Now, the kickboxing studio is doing another 21-Day Challenge called “Fit 2 Feast” where you start on November 1 and end right before Thanksgiving. I personally refer to this challenge as “Starve Yourself Before You Stuff Yo’Self”.

Let’s be real: this is the HARDEST time of year to try and be healthier. There are parties and dinners and Christmas cookies and fires and wine and cheese and cocktails and parties and wine.

This time around, however, they have upped the game a bit. Not only is it eating healthier (and likely a lot less food) but also removing bad foods and toxins from your life. No eggs. No dairy. No processed sugar. No alcohol. No tasty carbs like pasta. Did I mention no alcohol? So…no fun?

Despite all of that, I am dedicated to making this work! I bought tons of healthy foods, I have gone to kickboxing 3 times this week so far and I have been drinking lots of water. And, since this is a competition to lose the most % body fat, I was sure to eat a delicious steak, potato and wine dinner Sunday night before my 6:45am weigh in on Monday morning. All’s fair in love, war and scales.

Being someone who loves food, flavor and cooking, I had to ensure that I was eating dinners that tasted good.

I’d like to share with you my “Baked Mexican Sweet Potatoes” which are delicious (even Mr. KK loves them) and meet the strict food requirements of this challenge.

Baked Mexican Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is entirely made up by me to follow the rules of my challenge. Please, by all means, inject all the fat and flavor you’d like in your own version (like cheese and sour cream).

I swear there’s a sweet potato under there.

First, I baked 2 sweet potatoes until they were soft inside. I actually cheated and microwaved them until they were soft, then popped them into a 450 degree oven for 20 mins for the skin to crisp (it’s just faster).

While they were in the over, I browned a pound of ground turkey in a little bit of olive oil, breaking it up into small pieces. Once browned, I added a little bit of salt (sorry, had to be done), some garlic powder and a healthy dose of chili powder. I mixed it all together, added about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water and reduced the heat to let it simmer until some of the liquid evaporated.

How to prepare:

Split open the sweet potatoes and then mash them up a bit in their skins. Top with:

  • 6 oz of your taco turkey
  • 1/2 cup rinsed black beans
  • Slices of fresh jalapeno
  • Lots of fresh salsa (not the Tostitos kind, but the fresh kind sold refrigerated near the vegetables)
  • 1/2 of avocado

And that’s it. It is actually really delicious and filling!

Poor Mr. KK has to deal with me trying to blog every day while I am hungry and denying myself potato chips and ice cream. Rough month for him.

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.


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:


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


  • 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.