You may recall my blog where I first wrote about fitness kickboxing that I've been doing with Sebastien. It was cool to punch and kick my trainer. It was very cathartic and an incredible way to decompress after a stressful day at work. It provided me with an intense cardiovascular workout that I never anticipated getting. And more than anything it was fun. It was even fun enough to record a video of one of our training sessions and share it with you! Take a quick peek and check out how I was doing 70+ pounds ago...
Since Seb first introduced me to fitness kickboxing, I've also started taking a weekly class with Shelley -- the manager at the gym, who runs a great group class that is an amazing workout. She has helped me to refine and hone my skills. My technique has been fine tuned, my cardio endurance continues to improve, and my confidence grows. It grew so much that Sebastien and I even started sparring. Yes, after several months of me kicking and punching him with training pads, Seb started kicking and punching back. And that was a whole different experience.
Punching someone is one thing. Being punched back is something completely different. I quickly lost my confidence with kickboxing because I not only had to focus on executing good technique on all my forms, but I also had to think about how to be on both the defensive and the offensive at the same time. Kickboxing with Seb became more of a mental battle than a physical one, and I started not enjoying it as much. So, we've not been sparring as much as we used to, but on the weeks when we do my assessment, we make sure we have some fun and get in a few rounds for kicks.
This second video is Seb and I doing a quick round of sparring. Our typical session would be several of these rounds (each running about 2-3 minutes) with breaks inbetween. I was a bit hesitant to record this one, because sparring still feels foreign. Correction: being punched and kicked and having to punch and kick back still feels foreign. But after watching it a few times, I now realize how much I've improved and how cool this stuff really is. I also now see myself being physically aggressive in a way that I never thought possible -- not only because of my personality, but also because of my physical inability to be so. Well, now I can. I can kick, punch, grunt and shout with the best of them, and damn, it feels good.
So, my regular training and kickboxing classes have brought me to this point. As of this week, I've lost a total of 151 pounds, and well over 70 inches of body fat. I can run 20K on the treadmill, and will being training for a series of 5K and 10K runs in anticipation of my half-marathon in October 2010. This past week, I also had a workout during which I did 1000 crunches. Why? Because I can. But getting here has taken intense hard work. This is not the result of daily 30-minute walks. Yes, that is where I started, but I quickly had to turn up the intensity to get to this point. And what keeps me going? What motivates me to crank out a 2.5 hour workout on a Sunday afternoon? What keeps me focused on workouts where I burn close to 1700 calories???
Remember the cracking sound from each punch and kick. Listen to my grunts and shouts and I punch and kick back. That's what keeps me going. The incredible feeling I get after one of these sessions keeps me motivated. The fact that I've come so far keeps me focused. And the prospect of what these videos will look like in another six months is what keeps me inspired.
This is what hard work looks like.