Tonight’s kickboxing class with Jessica is one I’ve put off for awhile, waiting until my back was up to the challenge. By resting yesterday and having a long, good session with Robynn Zinser (my chiropractor) this morning – I’m ready to have a go at it.
Before class begins we put on our boxing glove wraps – a new experience for me. Jessica shows me how to do it so that each knuckle is protected – while I idly wonder just what we plan to be hitting with these gloves. It’s fun to pretend to be a boxer for a moment – especially since I’m pretty sure no one’s going to be hitting back.
The class is non-stop activity – mostly boxing moves but also some kicking. The entire time we’re supposed to be up on our toes bouncing back and forth while we load up for jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts.
There’s a definite coordination that’s required for throwing a punch with any force or timing, which becomes apparent within seconds of my first jab. The combination punches are even more complicated and most of the times it feels like I’m just flailing my arms out there. It’s beautiful to watch the coordination of a real boxer – their balance and transfer of weight so that the power is delivered with the whole body rather than just the arms. It’s all much harder to do than it looks.
In part of the class we grab hand weights and use those to punch with. I have mistakenly gotten six pound weights, which are too heavy for this exercise and I realize I’m going to feel this tomorrow. Still, I feel pretty good tonight and do my best to keep up.
After the weights, we don our big red boxing gloves and go back to throwing combinations with a few kicks sprinkled in the mix. Jessica then comes around to class members one by one and has us punch the boxing pads that she wears on each hand. This exercise requires coordination too but it’s pretty fun to do and also exhausting.
After about 40 minutes of floating like a butterball and stinging like a beet, we lose the gloves and go to calisthenics. Jessica has set up benches for us to do dips on until our triceps are screaming. Then we do pushups galore before ending with a killer ab series.
The entire workout is tough and especially taxing on the arms. In class I burn 420 calories, maintain an average heart rate of 110 (it goes down a lot during calisthenics) with a max of 131. In general it’s harder to get the heart rate as high using mostly arm movements but all of the bouncing around keeps the pulse at a nice steady plateau in the 120’s.
Our coordinated and super fit teacher is Jessica Mougeot. She is the stepdaughter of the queen of early morning group ex – Kris Mougeot. As Kris proudly pointed out to me one day – on Monday’s you can start your day getting your rear end kicked by one Mougeot (Kris teaches kickboxing at 5:45 a.m.) and end your day getting it kicked by another Mougeot. Fun, fun, fun!
The kicking Mougeots (Jessica/Kris)
Jessica, encouraged by Kris and others got certified to teach kickboxing through the International Sports Conditioning Association (ISCA) several years ago and has been teaching at the LRAC for about 15 months. In her day job, Jessica works at the Cancer Institute at UAMS helping run cancer clinical trials. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, kickboxing, laughing, hanging out with friends and listening to live music.
Jessica’s classes (Mon./Wed.) have been building an audience and continue to grow and it's easy for me to see why - the class is both fun and a tough workout. Tonight in class there are about 20 – mostly women along with me and one other fellow.
The $25 gift certificate goes to Whitney Turk.
I’m going to go rest up tonight and hit Step and Core Crunch in the morning…see you then.