Fitness & Health

Cardio kickboxing: not for the faint of heart 

Britta Schiemann | Fulcrum Contributor

I AM A runner, so when it comes to anything fitness-related that doesn’t involve a treadmill or trail, I am usually at a loss. The other day, however, I decided I needed to switch things up a little and push past my plateau of repetitive workouts. I figured a cardio kickboxing class would be the perfect thing to try. To be honest, it was the word “cardio” that jumped out at me. How hard could be it be, right?

As I was walking to the room where the class was held, I noticed that it was pretty crowded for a workout class. “No big deal,” I thought as I swung open the door. Looking back at me were some extremely fit women, and I was intimidated, to say the least.

Before the class began, the instructor asked if there were any newcomers to cardio kickboxing. I swiftly raised my hand, did a quick 360, and noticed I was the only new person. My confidence went straight out the window at this point. The instructor then came over to me to give me a few pointers, but the only one I can remember was “Don’t leave—whatever you do, don’t leave. We don’t need anyone passing out in the bathroom.” Say what? How intense was this class going to be?

It took 30 minutes before my shoulders started aching from punching the air repeatedly. I was sweaty at this point, but even with aching muscles I was still enjoying myself. The upbeat music really helped, and the instructor was so energetic that even if you wanted to quit, you couldn’t because you’d feel guilty for being so comparatively lazy. Also, nobody wants to be the person in class who can’t finish.

Forty-five minutes later and I was officially beat, but the instructor was still going hard. I was punching the air like a madwoman, kicking left and right, nonstop upper-cutting, and then BOOM—the fatigue hit. I started feeling woozy and tried to convince myself to pull it together. Katy Perry was telling me I was a firework, but her words of encouragement couldn’t stop me from taking a 30-second break. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the instructor called out over her little microphone to ask if I was OK. I gave her a thumbs-up, but what I was really concerned about was the fact that everyone in the room was judging the new girl hard for taking a breather.

After some stretching and a cool-down I was feeling great. The hour passed quickly and my nausea went away in a matter of minutes. Even though it was hell at one point, I did enjoy the class. Not only did it challenge my body with new exercises, but the energy of the instructor and the other participants really got me pumped for the workout. It may sound like peer pressure, but I found that I kept going only because everyone else was—and my workout was better because of it.

So what’s to be taken from all this? If you are looking into mixing up your cardio, I highly recommend giving cardio kickboxing a try—just get ready for some hard work.