What I Learned in My First Kickboxing Workout
Jab, cross, hook, elbow. Jab, cross, hook, elbow. Got it. Easy. The kickboxing workout warm-up was a little tougher than I expected, and I had a pretty good sweat going already, but I had this.
"Ok, let's go," the instructor encouraged through the mic. Jab, cross, hook, elbow, I mentally rehearsed one last time before undertaking the 45-second set of throwing that combo again and again. Then, I threw what must have looked like a jab that in mid-throw changed its mind and decided it wanted to be a hook. Or a cross. Wait, what was next? This was gonna be a long 45 seconds.
That's just a sample of the sort of thing going through my head during the first kickboxing workout I attended at my gym. Some parts were harder than I expected. Others were a little easier. Overall, though, it was a blast. Here are the takeaways I walked out of it with.
I never actually punched anything.
One of the first things I noticed when the kickboxing workout started was that no equipment was involved. No wrist wraps, no gloves, no bags, nothing. So those combos we threw? All into the air in front of our faces. That doesn't mean it was any less fun, though—whipping your fists through a set of hooks and uppercuts, even if it's not into a bag, is immensely satisfying (once you get the pattern down, of course).
It packs in a ton of hidden cardio.
I think of myself as a decent athlete. I play a lot of basketball and get to the gym as much as I can during the week (mostly so I have plenty of excuses to eat whatever I want during the weekends, but still). And I've taken basic boxing classes before, so I knew I'd be sweating. But I was not expecting the amount of footwork and lower-body focus this workout provided. Combos were thrown while rocking back and forth on the balls of my feet, and "rest" was given in the form of boxing shuffles and jogs around the room. I left the workout drenched and drained.
It's tougher mentally than it is physically.
Remember that first combo I butchered? That happened more than once. A lot more. While I did get the hang of things about midway through the hour-long workout, I came to a very quick realization that remembering which punches, kicks, or steps to execute in which order would be tough. I'd be lying if I said this challenge wasn't fun, though: ignoring how tired you are and focusing on what you need to do makes you feel pretty great once you get it right.
The kicking is the most fun part.
As a 30-year-old who doesn't play soccer, I don't get many chances to kick things. I figured I'd get my opportunity in this class—After all, what is kickboxing if there's no kicking involved?—and I was right. As a newbie, chief among kickboxing benefits was leaping into the air, kicking up as high and as hard as I could, and coming down feeling like a ninja. A poorly coordinated, lead-footed ninja, but a ninja nonetheless.
You can never escape the wrath of the burpee.
I figured a kickboxing class would be a safe space from this dreaded up-down-up-jump exercise, but alas. The class wrapped up with a 10-minute segment filled with punch-and-kick combos with burpees interspersed. Did it make things harder? Yes. Was I cursing my instructor in my head the entire time? Yep. But would I go back and do it all again? Definitely.
See what other people have to say about kickboxing.
Kickboxing classes are fun, but don't just take my word for it. Here's what some Groupon customers have had to say about classes they've attended.
"It was such a challenging and fun workout ... Would definitely go again and recommend it to anyone who wants to get into really amazing shape."— from Saman S.'s review of StrikeForce Fitness in Chicago
"The workout was intense but doable. Its a short class but boy do you sweat those calories off!"— from Djamila M.'s review of Kickboxing Yorkville in New York
"Oh my gosh! This place is great. The instructors are fantastic, they show you the proper way to do the workouts, keep you motivated and help you with anything you need."— from Lauren H.'s review of S&J Fitness and Kickboxing in Cerritos, CA
"This class makes me excited to work out again. Always high energy and a great workout!"— from Meaghan G.'s review of CKO Kickboxing Center City in Philadelphia
"I love amerikick! If you want a great workout that keeps moving . Makes ya sweat and feel good at the end. Do it at your own pace as long as you keep moving. Love love this place!"— from Lisa S.'s review of Amerikik (multiple locations)