Fitness & Health

Tae cardio workout packs a punch

“PUNCH, KICK, AND block your way to a great workout,” promises the Gee-Gees website. “Using martial arts and boxing techniques, your instructor will guide you through an intense cardiovascular training session.” The intensity left me gasping for breath, and will become a regular part of my workout routine rotation.

First impressions

I brought along a couple of my roommates to try out this group aerobics class, offered free to U of O students and staff. We were chatting as we waited in the Minto Sports Complex fitness studio until we were shocked into silence when the instructor walked into the room. See, the classes I’ve taken so far have been led by very petite, svelte, fit women. When a six-foot-four, muscular hulk of a man walked into the room to teach the class, it was a tiny bit terrifying. We felt that we were in for an ass-kicking.

Don’t sweat it, just sweat

Despite his intimidating stature, our instructor led a simple, effective workout set to techno tunes. The moves, although based on martial arts and boxing, aren’t complicated and require minimal coordination. You don’t need to be Billy Blanks to feel the burn. You’ll be sweating after just a few of minutes of fake jump roping, side kicking, and upper cuts.

You’ve got the power 

The tae cardio workout is only as good as you make it, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage. It’s up to you how much tension you bring to the punches and kicks, so you control how hard your heart gets beating. On the one hand, this is great because beginners can keep up and more advanced gym-goers can ensure they get a tough enough workout. The downside is when you’re feeling tired it’s easy to slack off, which can make the workout less efficient. The instructor does a decent job of reminding you to breathe and to push yourself, and his countdowns help you continue through fast intervals since you know the end is in sight.

Ab-solutely killer ending

My favourite—and the most challenging—part of the workout was the last 10 minutes, which were dedicated solely to the abdominal muscles. After jumping around for an hour, it’s almost relaxing to grab a mat, get down on the floor, and hold a plank position for a minute or two. The instructor leads you through a series of challenging ab moves that you’ll definitely feel the next day, in the best possible way.

This class is a great way to mix up your cardio. After the crazy holiday season and perhaps getting back some less-than-stellar final marks, this fast-paced fighting style would be especially beneficial for those looking to relieve tension and frustration.

Tae Cardio classes are offered in the Minto Sports Complex on Mondays 4–5 p.m. and Thursdays 12–1 p.m., as well as  Wednesdays 5:30–6:30 p.m. at Montpetit Dance Studio.

—Ali Schwabe