Just Kickin’ Around

In the spirit of new experiences, I decided this afternoon that I wanted to try a new form of fitness.  I used to rock climb, circuit train and Zumba with the best of them, but one can only take so many poorly remixed Shakira songs before desperately needing a change of pace.  I checked my university’s group fitness schedule and lo!  What luck!  I discovered a kickboxing class, and immediately saved myself a place.  Kickboxing?  Psh.  If I can Zumba 5 times a week, I can most certainly float and sting for an hour.  For those who are unaware, I am a certified Zumba instructor, and also a retired acrobat (“retired” sounds nicer than saying “I quit”).  There was a time in my life when I was 107 lbs. of rock, and could climb a rope with no feet faster than a Sifaka.  That time, however, has long since past.  For a brief moment this afternoon, I forgot that I am now a sluggish academic who spends 75% of her day sleeping, cooking, or watching Dr. Who, expertly evading productivity.  So me, my extra 10 lbs. and my overly confident attitude went flouncing off to kickboxing, convinced that it would be a “moderate” workout.

Holy. Shitake. Mushrooms.

The instructor was dreadfully peppy, and I had no idea how much I would appreciate that quality about her later.  As the class eased into a rhythm, I was in the zone.  Punching and kicking in a fury, I pictured every obnoxious ex-boyfriend, every driver who had cut me off, and every technical support rep who had ever asked me, “did you push the ‘power’ button on the device?”  After the first 20 minutes, I had worked up an impressive sweat, and was at the beginning stages of fatigue.  The instructor then said something completely unexpected: “Alright, everyone get ready for jump-squats!”  What?!  There are no hardcore plyometrics in kickboxing!  Only kicking and boxing!  After the first round of jump-squats and jump-lunges, I was effectively dying.  Mentally rallying myself, I vowed to finish strong and not complain–but then the tricep dips came.  And the plank-to-pushups.  And football runs.  And plank-to-pikes.  And then we did it all over again.  GOOD GOD, WOMAN.  At about the 45-minute mark, I was deeply humbled.  My quadriceps were laughing at me, and my abs were on strike for inhumane working conditions.

Some valuable lessons were learned this evening. 1) Just because you didn’t gain the Freshman 15 doesn’t mean you’re still in shape.  2) Appreciate the pep, because sometimes the only thing keeping you going is that crazy woman’s smile at the front of the class.  I’ll be damned if she can do it, but I can’t.  3) Stretch, because throwing your back out at the age of 25 just looks stupid.