Photo by Justin Ng on Unsplash
Yesterday, with my body finally recovered from ice skating and trapeze school, I decided to venture into a kickboxing class. I have taken (and taught) many a cardio class in my time and I have a yellow belt in Krav Maga and a green belt in Tang Soo Do, but I have never taken a kickboxing class, which kind of combines the two. I must say that kickboxing was a VERY effective workout.
I signed up for a 6:15pm class and entered the studio to wait for the teacher. While standing around, I met three elementary school teachers, all friends, that had made taking class together their new year’s resolutions. “I’ve lost nine pounds in twenty days”, one exclaimed. Wow, was this class that much of a workout or did she just do no physical activity whatsoever before January 1st?
As I pondered, the kickboxing teacher strode into the room. I guessed I’d find out soon. Our instructorr, John, was surfer from the neck up, WWE fighter from the neck down. He turned on some bad-ass sounding rap music and started calling out exercises as he went around the room and set up equipment. What was he doing? He tied a rope from one chair to another, set up steps, pulled down a speed bag, carried in a huge rope, and bunched balls into a corner, all while we were circling our arms, watching, and wondering what sort of torture this equipment would bring about.
After he seemed happy with the setup, he returned to the front of the room and taught us a sequence of exercises that were laden with pushups. Now, I’m happy to do a pushup from time to time, but anything more than 20 and I’m out. As we started the routine, I realized I was in trouble. I have never done more pushups in my LIFE. Seriously, we did at least six sets of two minutes of pushups, sprinkled with mountain climbers and planks. You think that’s easy? You try doing pushups for twelve minutes straight. I was sweating, shaking, and feeling fabulously diesel. (Or on my way to it, anyway).
After our warm-up (that was just the warm-up?), we found the purpose of all the equipment. John divided us up and gave us each a station. We were to spend one minute at each station; the first thirty seconds doing whatever exercise he told us to do and the second thirty seconds doing the same thing double time. He demonstrated what we were to do on the sixteen different stations.
“Go!” he yelled! For the next twenty minutes, we did crunches on balls with twenty pound weights, pummeled speed bags, kicked freestanding bags, banged the huge rope on the ground, balanced on an uneven plank while kicking, squatted onto steps, and basically worked out butts off (literally). We had about seven seconds between stations to reorient ourselves, but that was about it. By the end, I was dripping sweat from my chin and feeling like I had gotten my money’s worth.
Oh, but it wasn’t over. Next, we did a series of kicking and jabbing drills. We drilled each series in slow motion for balance (like, it took about sixty seconds to do one kick) and then sped it up while the teacher came around the room with thai pads and asked us to “beat the snot out of me.”
By the time he came around to me, I was so pooped that couldn’t beat the snot out of a third grader, much less mister I-have-seventeen-tats-on-my-diesel-biceps-and-I-think-it’s-funny-that-I’ve-made-my-class-of-women-sweat-so-much-that-the-floor-is-so-slippery-they-can’t-stand-up-anymore.
Finally, he turned off the music, smiled, and thanked us for a “good effort.” I wiped my sweat, smiled, and planned to make a “good effort” to return the next week to sweat some more. When you're looking for a great way to make yourself as completely exhausted as you possibly can in New York City, I suggest you look no further than your local kickboxing class near Union Square. It's worth the sweat for the sense of accomplishment afterward.