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Oct '05

I am a Kickbox Queen…in training

I’ve been feeling a bit bored with my usual exercise routine. It’s been the same for two years: aerobics from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Monday through Friday (assuming I go all five days). Granted, the classes offer some variety—some days are step, some are interval training, some are kickboxing or hi-lo. But since we moved to our new house in Springville I’ve been struggling to push myself to class every day after work.

So I decided to try something new. I went to a kickboxing class in Springville that starts at 5:45 in the morning. All week I’ve been practicing waking up early by setting my alarm for 5. I’m jolted awake, turn off my alarm, blink my eyes a few times to verify I am indeed awake, and then roll over and go back to sleep until 7. (It was just practice, after all.) I guess it worked, because today I managed to get up on time, slide in my contacts, and stumble into my work-out clothes and out the door by 5:35.

The great thing about being on the road at 5:35 in the morning is that hardly anybody else is. Yet I found myself looking at the other cars and wondering, “What in the heck are you doing out of your bed this early in the morning?” I mean, only two types of people should be on the road at 5:35 a.m.: responsible, punctual job-holders on their way to their early morning shift and crazies like me who want to sweat and breathe hard for a full hour before the sun’s even up. I sincerely hope that most of them were punctual job-holders, as they are probably more sensible than the calorie-burning crazies and are at least getting paid for their early hours.

The kickboxing class is at a martial arts academy on Main Street. About thirty-five women are in the class, plus one 10-year-old kid who apparently gets dragged to class by his mom. Wendy is the teacher—a certified Tae-Bo instructor. I introduced myself just before class started and she gave me some pointers: Take it easy your first time. This class goes a lot faster than those Tae Bo tapes you’re probably used to. Hold onto a pole to help you balance. If you need to, go to the back of the room and take a break if you find yourself gasping for breath. And drink plenty of water.

To which advice I thought, “What, do you think I’m a Tae Bo tape junkie? That I’m addicted to Billy Blanks and his blue spandex suits? And what makes you think I’ll be gasping for breath?!”

Even so, I politely nodded and said “thank you.”

Initially the class was disappointing. The warm up consisted of ab crunches, push ups, and lunges. Definitely not things my body is accustomed to doing at 5:45 in the morning. But it got better after that. The class was fast-paced like she said, although I don’t have sufficient experience with Billy Blank’s videos to know how the class compared with them.

All I know is that by the end of my hour my arms and legs were so tired that I could barely hold the plank position for the full thirty seconds. The other women in the class were amazing. Some of them have been attending the class for two years and, even though they’re middle-aged, are surprisingly tough.

I drove home at quarter to seven, satisfyingly sweaty and grateful my daily exercise was already out of the way before the sun had managed to poke its head above the mountain tops. I’m thinking I might say goodbye forever to Billy’s blue spandex and become a Wendy junkie instead.

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