As much as I love running, once in awhile I like to vary my workout regimen. Cut through the pattern. Shake it up. The prize for my favorite non-running form of aerobic activity has to go to kickboxing. Along with throngs of Hollywood wannabes and stay-at-home moms who’d grown sick of Winsor Pilates, I got hooked on Tae Bo back in the aughts. Few people in the world get me motivated like Billy Blanks. I don’t care if he sold out for millions, and whores out Tai Chi philosophies for a paycheck, that man exudes motivation. It works. I’ve retired his videos since, mostly because they were in fact videos and who has a VCR anymore? I found my guru in another strong, middle-aged, African American fitness trainer named Charles (although I like to pronounce it Chahhhhles, just because). Charles is the cardio kickboxing instructor at LA Fitness on Wilshire. I have Dana Block to thank for introducing me to his class, and when I say thank, I mean huge sweaty buckets of gratitude. Charles’ class is frickin’ amazing. By the end of the hour, every molecule in my body is hot and ready to kick someone’s butt. Much like running, kickboxing appeals to those with a taste for pain. I know that sounds creepy and sadistic but I don’t know how else to say it. I like to feel the burn when I workout. It’s a benchmark. I don’t know that I’m actually accomplishing anything unless it hurts. Come on, fess up people, you know what I’m talking about. We all know that difference between the pain of a hard workout, and the pain of pulling a muscle. One = bad pain, one = really really good pain. It’s a little gift from our brains. Brain says, “if you do something good for your body, I’ll give you this nice shot of dopamine as a special treat.” The second you push too hard, all-powerful brain yanks that dopamine away lickety split, so you know when there’s a bone jutting out through your leg or your heart has stopped beating. Ahh the delicate balance, the fine line between pain and pleasure. Love it.
Not only is kickboxing an amazing workout, it also teaches valuable self-defense techniques. For a young lady who occasionally goes for jogs by herself, self-defense is vital. After an hour with Chahhhles, I feel confident that I could do some serious damage to any perps out there who try to mess with me.
So yeah, kickboxing is kick-ass, but after an hour class I am completely wiped. So far I have not found the energy to run my daily 3 miles after the class, and if I tried to run it before, I would probably pass out in the middle of a side-kick interval. So what do I do? I have a mileage quota to meet every week, and sacrificing a day is going to set me way back; but I love kickboxing and it works an entirely different set of muscle groups and ultimately makes me a stronger runner. Of course my cop-out thought is maybe I should get some kind of mileage voucher. Like, 60 minutes of kickboxing equals two miles? I know I know, it takes away from the whole point that I’m actually, literally, running to Tahiti. I’m going the distance. Ya can’t exactly kickbox to Tahiti. I just feel like I’m punishing myself. I shouldn’t feel bad for sweating out an hour of kickboxing, but somehow I do because it takes away from my Tahiti goal. What do you think people? Should I get a mileage voucher for kickboxing class? I have a feeling that I’m going to eventually say no. I have a feeling I’m going to hear the voice of Billy Blanks in my head saying “Woman-up Sigl. Ya got to find the strength from within. I know you’re tired. I know you feel like you can’t do anymore. Ya got to reach way down deep into yourself and find that willpower.” Ok, Billy. You’re right! I CAN kickbox AND run 3 miles in one day. I can! And I will! Someone have a heart monitor ready.