by Natalie MacIsaac
When you enter the building and walk up the three flights of stairs, you are greeted by a somewhat matter of fact man saying, “so, who brought you here? Did they tell you what you were in for?” It is obvious from there, this is no ordinary gym. These people mean business!
I was introduced to the sport of kickboxing rather haphazardly, by a fitness instructor friend of mine. She had attended the class and thought I would enjoy the challenge. She hasn’t been back since and short of stopping to have my two kids, I have not missed a class since.
This is more than just a workout. For me, it has been life changing. It is a challenge just to get yourself up the three flights of stairs every Monday and Wednesday night, knowing the torture you are in for. But, the exhilaration you feel following this workout will bring you back every time. This is not a workout for the weak of heart. You have to really want to be pushed. As a fitness instructor, I can not tell you how many times I have had clients tell me they want that “boot camp” experience. Well my friends, many workouts claim to be like boot camp, but this is the real thing! From the minute the clock on the back wall hits 7 pm, the workout goes not stop for an hour and a half. It is a workout which will quickly allow you to figure out how tenacious and competitive you really are.
The looks I get when I tell people I am going to kickboxing is priceless. Usually, it is met by the assumption that I am speaking about one of the many cardio – kickboxing classes which emerged following the Tae Bo boom. When I clarify, that this is no Tae Bo class, that I am a competitive fighter, the response is usually disbelief. After all, how does a 35 year old, relatively mild mannered, teacher and mother of two, end up a competitive kickboxer? The truth is when I think about it myself, I am a little surprised. I was never in a fight growing up, I was a highland dancer for 14 years, and have always been a relatively quiet individual.
The intimidation I mentioned, of those first few classes, does eventually fade and what you are left with is a wonderful group of friends, all of whom push one another beyond where they thought they could ever go, and a workout you will never find anywhere else. A workout, which in my eyes, makes every other workout (short of perhaps a marathon or triathlon), feel like a waste of time and money. What I get out of two nights of kickboxing a week, both mentally and physically, can not be matched. It is a workout that usually leaves participants with obvious external results, but more importantly, a feeling of accomplishment and confidence not achieved with many other workouts. I often tell people that if they can get through this class, they can get through anything. That belief has gotten me through the delivery of two babies, four challenging competitive bouts, and a number of long road races. And, has left me in better shape now at thirty–five than I was at twenty–five.