WAIT! I CAN LOOK GOOD AND FEEL GOOD BY TRAINING IN KICKBOXING?
Lets face it when you think of a kickboxer you think of an amazing athlete with skill and grace. You also think of people punching and kicking each other repeatedly. So why on earth would someone like me a tiny female in my forties ever want to try kickboxing? Shouldn’t i just take a cardio kickboxing class at the gym?
I have no delusions grandeur of becoming the next UFC star but oddly enough i was drawn to Muay Thai style of kickboxing after the gym i belonged to dropped their cardio kickboxing class that I fell in love with. This was the main reason I joined Neutral Ground.
I kind of had an idea what I was getting myself into knowing this wasn’t a normal class at the gym but not to the full extent. I had NO idea I’d be walking into a class that would change who I am as a person both mentally and physically.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF KICKBOXING:
Self Defense: Although this can be both physical and mental I’m going to put it under physical benefits.I never set out to take kickboxing as self defense but in hindsight what an amazing way to learn it. I can promise you I have the skills and the confidence to walk around anywhere because of my training.
I would encourage every woman to at least learn the basics so they can have self defense tools for life. No one one would ever think me standing four foot 11 could ever defend myself against anyone, but now kickboxing has given me this secret weapon!
Increased Endurance: Everyone likes breathing right? I mean its kind of essential for living. Have you ever in your life been out of breath walking up a flight of stairs? Do you get winded just at the thought of exercise? Then you know endurance is needed for more than sports.
Kickboxing teaches you how and when to breathe so you can keep up your endurance, You can have all the skill in the world but if you are tired and out of breath it does you no good. This is one of THE most important things I have learned with my training.
Weight Loss: Simply put Kickboxing burns a ton of calories anywhere from 800 to 1000 in an hour. The constant movement and use of your entire body makes it one of the top calorie torchers! In one class you are literally working your arms your legs and your core. its a true total body workout. Oh and you will have a ton of fun doing it so it won’t even feel like a typical boring workout.
Coordination/Balance and Flexibility i grouped these 3 together because they go hand in hand. Most of kickboxing relies on core strength. You will quickly see a difference when it comes to your core. You need it for balance you need it to deliver effective kicks and punches. your core is 100% engaged while you are training. The added benefit to core strength is better posture and less stress on other parts of your body. The benefits of a good core are too numerous to post but a good core translates into just about every daily activity you do.
Balance is as important as core. Learning how to execute kicks over and over has dramatically helped my balance. Also when sparring my balance is challenged a great deal. Getting punched or kicked while kicking back requires impeccable balance. There are so many scenarios where you can be knocked over in kickboxing. We work on balance a lot just to stay upright!
As a former gymnast i have always been looking for new ways to challenge my balance, and this has proven to be an exceptional way to work on it! Another unexpected byproduct of kickboxing has been increased flexibility. It goes hand in hand with core and balance but training such kicks as head kicks has dramatically improved my flexibility as well!.
MENTAL BENEFITS OF KICKBOXING:
Mental Toughness: Mental toughness is built by trials, errors and failures. Its acheived by directly facing your fears,staring them down and believing in yourself to achieve goals. I will sound like i’m repeating myself in my self esteem and facing fears paragraphs but they really are very similar.
I can’t even describe that feeling when you have finally figured out a combo or landed a kick you’ve been struggling to do. Its a feeling of well deserved accomplishment to climb that mountain of skills you’ve put your blood sweat and tears into and come out on top. I’m not going to lie there are tears and frustrations along the way, but overcoming these is what makes a person strong mentally. If you can be mentally tough you are ready for anything life throws at you.
Quick Decision Making: you have arms and legs flying at you everywhere you learn how to think fast. You learn excellent hand eye coordination and it works your brain! Mental acuity is essential as you start to grow older. It defends against such diseases such as Alzheimers. Thinking quick is also beneficial in the real world too for making important on your feet decisions.
Conquering Fears: I was scared to death at my first class when they mentioned the word sparring. People are going to be hitting me! in the face! Slowly you suck it up and by realizing you have the proper safety equipment and you are learning skills and defensive moves. Then you start realizing you are less afraid of being pummeled to death and thats when you start really enjoying the sport.
I think the first time i got hit in the face and survived i realized, OK this isn’t so bad. I’m tougher than i thought i was! Trust me once you conquer the fear of getting hit and kicked it translates to more than just kickboxing. It translates into real life where you now are more willing to try new things because you aren’t afraid of anything!
Self Esteem: A balance of self esteem is the holy grail of being a human. Some have too much some don’t have enough. Kickboxing teaches you to believe in yourself and your abilities through hard work. Through trial and error through failure and success. Its definitely a process getting there., however looking back and see how far i have come has definitely helped my self esteem. It helps you keep it in check too (pardon the pun)
You will have amazingly awesome days and days where you take 3 steps backwards. Its the entire process of learning that is a huge boost to your self esteem. After awhile you do believe that you can truly try and do anything!
Social Benefits: i know you are thinking kickboxing! The people are so violent and have way too much testosterone! How can i ever punch and kick people and be punched and kicked by people and be friends friends with them at the same time? Our dojo motto says it all “leave your ego at the door” the people you train with become very important to your well being. People who train are serious about learning and passing on their knowledge.
I have never walked into a more welcoming accepting place in my life because i instantly had something in common with my training partners. The desire to learn this sport. My training partners have become a family to me. They have all gone through the same training so they know how hard it is and are there to boost you up when you are doubting yourself or have had a bad day. They are there to celebrate with you when you finally mastered that combo or had an “on” day This is truly an amazing experience in this respect
Stress Release: Had a bad day at work? Did sitting in traffic make you super cranky today? Wanna get away from the kids for some YOU time? Did your husband just say that dress makes you look fat? Instead of internalizing it or taking it out on others kickboxing is THE perfect outlet for letting out any anger or stress from the day. There is no other feeling than stepping up to that heavy bag and “putting a face on it” you can punch and kick out anything and everything!
Well, you get the picture! kickboxing is an amazing sport with excellent benefits! Time to get ready to glove up! There is no excuse not to try kickboxing! it will make you look good and you will feel even better!