Cardio-kickboxing: Taking on a new challenge

I was standing in the store, chatting with co-owner Sarah, when I noticed that the establishment was carrying the new flavor of Honey Stinger Waffles — strawberry. “Go ahead and try it,” Sarah said. As I munched on the waffle goodness (though my personal jury is still out on the strawberry flavor) Sarah started telling me about a cardio-kickboxing class she was planning to take. The class was offered one down down from her Gear for Adventure shop, at United World Marital Arts. She had taken the class before and wanted to get back into it. By the time I finished the waffle goodness, I had agreed to try the class with her on Monday morning.

Apparently, I will agree to pretty much anything when given a free Honey Stinger Waffle.

The Tae-Bo videos were fun, but the live kickboxing class was amazing.

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. I have been around the fitness block enough times to know that the description “cardio-kickboxing” can encompass a myriad of things. Once upon a time I routinely did a Billy Blanks Tae-Bo workout and many moons ago I signed up for a 10-session kickboxing class held in some suburban church hall. So I had some experience with pretend punching. And then there was my test run with Bikram Yoga where the instructors weren’t just demanding but scary mean for 90 minutes which didn’t make holding challenging poses in 104 degree heat very enjoyable. This class could not be much worse than that. Right?

I tucked myself in to the back corner with Sarah. This particular class included putting on gloves to hit a punching bag with a few roundhouse kicks added for good measure. (For the record your core gets as much of a workout form the kicking and punching as your arms and legs do.) We then moved to cardio with jump ropes followed by strength work with hand weights. We rotated through the sequence for the next 60 minutes.

Twenty minutes in and I was already sweaty and sore. I did my best to keep up and for the most part it was easy to follow along. Our instructor, Master Sanchez, walked the room to correct form or better explain a particular move in a clear, direct and supportive way. Big bonus points to the studio for that. I enjoy being challenged but I’d rather not be motivated by fear. And challenged I was. It was tough and demanding and lot of fun. I spent the rest of the day mildly sore, the good kind of sore which means I mean I worked hard. I got to hang out with my friend Sarah and meet new people.

Oh, I still have my triathlon training schedule and yes, one gets better at swimming, cycling and running by actually swimming, cycling and running. With all of those activities, why work to fit in another fitness class? Because for me, triathlon and endurance sport isn’t about the sport itself. It’s about connecting to things I love — being active and healthy and connected. So why not try something outside my normal exercise box? It was everything I liked, along with getting to hit and kick things. Hard. Who knew I’d like that part as much as I did?

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