Last week I made a big decision in my fitness journey - I changed my fit-focus. I'd always like active things - Nikki Fitness was perfect for me. I didn't have a lot of time, and I seem to have workout ADD - things have to change quickly for me to keep focused. But lately I've hit a plateau and I've found that I truly dread working out. I make every excuse in the book not to have to work out. Obviously something needed to change.
Last week I started something new: boxing.
It seems to make sense - with Air Force Guy gone I've got a lot of rage I need to let out. Frustrations, both daily, and... well, you know. Married People six thousand miles apart for a long time frustrations. Hitting things sounded like a perfect outlet. I could hit things AND I could get a workout? Yay me!
Almost as soon as I signed up and handed over the check for the gym I started getting scared.
It's one thing to be the toughest thing in a class of women doing aerobics with a few "kickboxing" moves thrown in for good measure. It's quite another to start an actual boxing class routine! I was certainly not going to head into one of those classes with no preparation.
Luckily the first person I talked to at the gym - LA Boxing in the DC Metro area - told me that there would be a coupon for vastly discounted personal training included with a new membership. And luckily for me the person I talked to was also female and understood why I was nervous.
I don't look like Jennifer. I would like to look like Jennifer. Jennifer is a boxer as well as a personal trainer. She has a website, and this is what Jennifer looks like when she is fighting:
If you are not scared by Jennifer, you have something missing in your head. She's tiny, and I think she might be made entirely of tightly coiled determination. She's also very no-nonsense. This was very helpful to me, since after signing up for class my first inclination was to flake out. That looks HARD! And an hour? I don't want to work out for an hour! I hate working out! I'm short on time!
I personally think that it is a great cosmic injustice that just signing up for or reading about fitness doesn't help us get fit.
I also don't think that Jennifer was up for any of my excuses. I said I'd be there for a personal training session, and I was there. Even though when I made the appointment she told me, "Don't worry. I'll work you hard."
That sounded like a threat. At that point I was seriously wondering what I had gotten myself into. Why on earth did this ever sound like a good idea to me? I spent the entire walk to LA Boxing arguing in my head.
I don't need to stick around, I could run away. Run away to Mexico - no one would ever find me! I wouldn't have to go to boxing! No one would know who I was! Forget this fitness thing! Being fit is highly overrated! They have clothes to cover that!
This was the my first experience with personal training, and right off the bat I have to say that I'm in love. I'm not looking forward to the end of my coupon! Personal training is like combining the spa and working out. Jennifer wrapped my hands for me (I have pink wraps - they didn't have purple) and even opened the water bottles for me! I was completely spoiled.
We started out learning the basic boxing punches. This was done facing a mirror, which meant I had to get over yet another phobia of mine. I'm working out because I don't like looking at myself in the mirror. I certainly don't like looking at myself doing something completely new and looking as graceful as a bear on a bicycle. I think I've already established, though, that you don't tell Jennifer no. When she told me to face the mirror, I faced the mirror.
I'm going to state right off the bat that boxing is not as easy as it looks. You need to deliver punches correctly, with the right form (or, theoretically, someone would knock your block off), you need to keep your feet where they're supposed to be, you need to remember where your non-punching hand is, and you have to aim at what you want to hit. You're also moving around constantly. It's a lot to think about at once, and it's frustrating when you start off and have a hard time getting the rhythm. And forget how cool Rocky looked dancing around - I looked more like an rhinoceros trying to dance the cha cha than the effortless dance of Apollo Creed.
We soon moved from shadow boxing to working with target mitts. Target mitts are these padded gloves (they look like flat catcher's mitts) that the trainer wears and the person being trained hits.
That felt good. They make a very satisfying SMACK sound when you hit them. And I hit them a lot. Well, I hit them a lot for me. I'm pretty sure that I came off as completely wimpy and weak compared to the workouts Jennifer herself usually does. Jennifer called out punch combinations for me to to do and I attempted to carry them out. It was not always successful, but I found out that I like to use uppercuts!
By this time I was exhausted and our hour wasn't even half over. I was ready to drop when Jennifer called out "Left/Right for 50!" (my terminology may be completely wrong - I have very hazy memories of the second half). When Jennifer started counting each set of punches rather than each punch, I wanted to run out the door and be done with it. That's not fifty! That's 100! Bait and switch! BAIT AND SWITCH!!!
But I finished. In fact, I finished TWO sets of fifty! Separated by a break, but still.
I'll be seeing Jennifer again next week. I'm actually looking forward to it.
Something else I noticed while Jennifer was working with me - the actual make up of the class going on at the same time. I had been worried that I was coming into a place where everyone was hard core, everyone knew what they were doing, and everyone would be irritated at being held up by the chubby new girl who has to pretend to jump rope because her hands are too busy holding her chest in place while jumping up and down to manage the jump rope as well (I'm still waiting on the invention of a sports bra that actually keeps things where they're supposed to be). Nothing could have been further from the truth.
There were several guys there who obviously knew what they were doing. There was also a guy there who was in great physical shape, but was having a hard time getting the rhythm of the punches. There was also a woman larger than I am, women older than I, skinny women who were still trying to figure out how to punch the bag, and even an older tween. Everyone was still learning, people were working at their best pace rather than a pro-pace, and the person teaching the class was giving personal attention to everyone at various times.
What a relief!
And did I mention that we get to hit things?
We'll see if boxing is really a good match for my personality, or how much I learn. But at this beginning honeymoon phase I think it's going pretty well. I have my first group class today, in fact. I'll let you know how it goes.
And for those of you in the DC Metro area - several of the LA Boxing locations offer military discounts - and spouses are welcome to use that discount as well. They even offer classes for children (my son is taking a class three times a week and he thinks it is the best thing ever. He's also exhausted at the end of it, which I think is the best thing ever)! You can even take a free introductory class to see if boxing might be something that would work for you.
Sound off - SpouseBUZZ! Have any of you tried boxing? Do you want to? How did it go for you?