No words can describe my love for kickboxing. I had started back in my 2nd term of college. I was in quite a rut at school because I had burned myself studying non-stop. My grades were awful because I was clearly trying too hard to study everything all at once. Plus I had gained my freshmen 15 (and more!), so my self-esteem got shot.
When I first started out in kickboxing, I was horrific. I was completely uncoordinated, I hadn’t done any form of active exercise in months, and not to mention I hated jumping around because I felt so flubby. Eventually though, I learned to stop thinking about how I looked in the mirror or what other girls (or guys for that matter) in the class thought of me when I messed up. I concentrated solely on my instructor’s movements and my form. Soon enough, I started picking up small mannerisms that made kickboxing a more effective work out, my my body got used to the cardio conditioning, and I gained a bit of confidence.
I have had 3 kickboxing instructors so far. Each have given me at least 1 valuable lesson.
Four (AWESOME) Kickboxing Lessons I Have Received
- Lesson#1: Muscle Memory & Stress Relief:
Sierra was my first instructor, and she worked as an electrical engineer consultant. She taught me to rely on my muscle memory for this class instead of thinking too hard about the motions. The key was to listen your body: if its in pain you are working it wrong, and its okay to stop and walk away for a bit. It was also from her I realized that kickboxing would be one of my number one sources of stress relief; where I could zone out from the worries of school, work, and life and just HEEYAA it away for a while.
Kickboxing Style: Fancy & fun footwork, alternated with other muscle building activities: ie – use of gliders, weighted medicine ball, a lot of partnering up activities.
Physio Connection – How Muscle Memory Works:
This groovy physio diagram explains how exercising your muscle fibers actually helps them gain nuclei, thus making previously trained individuals have an easier time repeating those same exercises again. Thus muscle memory.
- Lesson#2: Breathing & Form:
Johanna was my second instructor, and probably the one with most teaching experience. She was the one who really got me in the habit of correcting my form and learning to do the smaller movements properly so that the muscles were being worked right. She definitely had my favorite combo sets that she skillfully built up throughout the term.Also, she taught the ever important lesson of all cardio intensive exercises: RHYTHMIC BREATHING. Which makes sense. If you are using your muscles that much, the lactic acid production is probably through the roof. Need to get some good old oxygen into those deprived muscles and relieve those cells from cramping.
Kickboxing Style: Gradual combo sets, core muscle emphasis (my aching flabs!), sprinting and step aerobic courses, fluid motions
I’ve seen this diagram a lot during my Biochem class. As you know, when you use your muscles, glucose can be broken down quickly (without the use of oxygen) for a rapid, small amount of ATP. The by-product is lactate or lactic acid which is actually toxic to the cells in high amounts. Blood flowing through in vessels carry away this lactic acid from the cells.
- Lesson#3: Use Force & Controlled Actions:
Maggie is my most recent instructor, and probably my favorite in terms of teaching style and personality. She’s a PT student full of spunk and wit. There is really no other way to describe her haha. Her kickboxing regime is pretty challenging in itself because its full of a lot of jumping, more than usual than in any other cardio class I have taken. I feel like she is also the most fast-paced. What I love most besides the awesome kicks and leg work we do is the weighted bar!
I felt like Mulan training with Lt. Shang waving my bar to and fro, up and around! My arms definitely got destroyed and rebuilt with some good muscle with that 9lb bar this term! We did a lot of rowing movements and swinging. My favorite move is the Helicopter 🙂
I think from all the kickboxing classes, I lost the most weight/got the most toned during her sessions because she had emphasized controlled movements. For example, when you punch, don’t just sloppily extend your fist forwards. Jab outwards sharply and return quickly as if you made contact. Consciously doing small things like that can make or break how intense and effective a work out can feel. Since at this point I’m pretty comfortable with kickboxing, I had also exerted a lot more energy in my movements because I got a huge confidence boost. I felt as though I knew what I was doing, and it’s partially because I was one of the few who have had previous experience in this type of exercise.
Kickboxing Style: Rowing movement-intensive, more jumping than a usual cardio class, muscle tone centered in arms/shoulders
Side note: could not find a physiology diagram that could trump the epicness that is Lt. Shang.
- Lesson#4: Enthusiasm:
Like anything else, what you put into the kickboxing classes is what you will get out of it in terms of results. If you hate it, you will probably not succeed or even continue going for that matter. If you love it and work yourself to what you think is your greatest limit each and every class, guaranteed you will see results physically and mentally. Your body won’t be toned in days or weeks, but in the months and years you continue, slowly your coordination will pick and muscles will show up. Also, you can smile at the fact that you are participating in something super fun and hardcore while giving your heart a good work out.
Look at that jacked heart! Nice & healthy! Goooo cardiovascular muscle!
While highly intimidating at first try, I really recommend kickboxing! 🙂 It has to be one of my top favorite college activities!