Kickboxing: The Only Workout I Can Stand


Flickr Creative Commons, Phicen Kickboxing, Edward Liu

It’s been a while since I kickboxed, but it was, by far, my favorite form of exercise. It’s the only thing that ever got me looking forward to class, and kept me coming back 3 or 4 times per week. Now, I’m thinking about getting back to it again, but all kickboxing classes are not created equal.

There are a few things I really love about kickboxing:

  • I don’t need to do anything else. My favorite class incorporated 15 minutes of ab work at the end of class, after I’d punched and kicked an inanimate bag into submission. Then we would stretch. There was no need for any other kind of work out.
  • I’ve never liked exercising for the sake of exercising. I don’t like to run just to run, or lift weights just to lift weights. But with kickboxing I felt like I was learning to defend myself, which made it feel like more than exercise.
  • I like to hit stuff. Let’s be honest, we all spend a lot of time being more civilized than we might like. I don’t yell at other drivers, or cuss out strangers in parking lots. But hitting stuff is fun!

Finding a class that incorporates all the things I love about kickboxing isn’t as easy as it might seem. It’s been a long time since I’ve found a kickboxing class that hits all these marks for me, and is affordable. Sometimes–especially at regular gyms–the “kickboxing” classes are really just Tae-Bo. You hit and kick the air. That is not for me. Others don’t focus enough on helping you build your strength.

When I was kickboxing 3 or 4 times a week, I was in better shape than I have been since I was a kid. I could run (which has never been my strong suit) and even do pull-ups for the first time since the Presidential Fitness Tests of my childhood (and I do mean childhood, because adolescence was a bad time for my upper-body strength). According to LiveStrong (which echoes all the things I said about kickboxing cramming cardio and strength training into one workout), you can burn 350-450 calories per hour.

As my doctor pointed out during my last physical, I need to start worrying about things like bone density and belly fat–at least according to her canned schpiel for thirtysomethings. More importantly, in the wake of the holidays, my pants are a bit more snug than I would like. So it’s time to bite the bullet, and admit that walking the dog for an hour every day is no longer cutting it.

There’s a boxing gym near me, complete with heavy bags, a ring, and people who punch each other in the face. They also have regular kickboxing classes! Here’s the thing–there’s only two kickboxing classes on the schedule. The rest of the sessions (that I’d actually be able to attend) are boxing classes. I’m a little worried about what that means.

As luck would have it, the gym allows new customers to try out three classes for. So starting in February (hopefully after the New Year’s resolution people have melted away) I am going to drag myself down to the boxing gym. Those first couple of classes are really going to hurt… but I’m counting on this blog to keep me honest. If I don’t go, feel free to leave me nasty comments telling me how lazy I am!

I’m going to go dust off the old gloves and wraps…



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