17 Nov

Kickboxing Class #24


It’s been over a month since I’ve recapped a kickboxing class.

The classes have been going awesome and I have to say that kickboxing just might be my favourite activity of all time. More than curling even! (I used to be an avid, albeit unskilled, curler in high school and university)

I thoroughly enjoy all the classes, even when I’m getting my ass kicked. There are so many things that I like about the sport.
I like being able to release all my energy.
I like punching things and, even more, kicking things.
I like that I am learning something new and I like getting pointers from other people in the class.
I like improving and I love getting positive feedback when I do.

In Monday’s class I was getting a lot of positive feedback about how my form has improved quite a bit since I started and it made me feel pretty good about myself. It made me want to keep coming back to get even better.

I wanted to recap last night’s class because it was such a good cardio workout so I thought I would share.

Class #9

This class was heavy on cardio and endurance work.

We spent lots of time on the punching bag with a partner, alternating rounds of punching and holding the bag for the partner. I chose the most helpful person in the class because I knew he would give me lots of pointers while he held the bag for me. It’s like having my own personal trainer.

Move of the Day:

Hooks: We did about 8.5million power hooks in class and my partner gave me lots of hints for my atrocious form (I don’t do hooks often for a reason). I learned to wind up my body because the force comes from rotating the hips and shoulders. I also learned to keep my elbow close to my body and keep my arm loose until right before I release the punch, rather than tensing it up early. I’m not sure if my form was really any good, but at least I have the pointers in mind so I can practice them.

The Workout:


– Jogging around the gym, sprints


– Jumping Jacks

Punching Bag Drills:

– Cardio: 1 minute rounds of speed punching (+1min rest) x 5
– Power: 1 minute rounds of power hooks (+1min rest) x5

Light Sparring:

We partnered up to practice punch and roundhouse kick combos for three 3min rounds.

24 Oct

High Rep Routine Recap

I just finished 4 weeks of the High Repetition/Low Weight routine that I set out for myself in September.

My plan was to switch up more normal heavy lifting/low weight routines with something a bit different. I liked the routine because even though I lowered my weights to I could hit 10 to 12 reps I was still pushing myself hard. Plus, doing 3 sets instead of 4 and doing some supersets makes the workout go by so much faster.

I made sure to track my progress for the last 4 weeks (I was a little lax about doing this in the summer) and found that I improved on most things. Sadly though my squats stayed pretty much the same.

High Rep Weight Training Routine

Click the image for full size:

High Rep Workout Results

You can get a printable pdf version of this workout here


Medicine Ball Launch

In today’s kickboxing class, after being exhausted from ten 3 minute rounds on the punching bag we grabbed a partner and did this awesome exercise.

Grab a 15lb medicine ball and stand about 8 feet from your partner.

Stand with your left foot slightly forward and you right foot back.

Hold the ball to shoulder height with your left hand

Using the palm of your right hand, thrust the ball the forward at your partner twisting your right hip forward as you do so, as if you were throwing a punch. Try to keep the ball travelling in a straight horizontal line as much as possible, not a parabolic trajectory.

You partner will catch the ball and thrust it back to you.

Repeat for 2 minutes before swtiching to the left hand.

21 Oct

Photography Challenge Day 21

Day 21: Faceless Self Portrait


Photo Taken October 21, 2011.

I suspect this was the result of a very good midsection roundhouse from my kickboxing class on Wednesday, although I don’t quite remember which blow caused the bruise.

In In spite of the bruises and the repeated punches to the head and the exhausted intervals of all out effort, I come home from kickboxing classes happier than ever.

It’s a satisfying feeling of learning a new skill, getting a killer workout, and releasing all my anger.

I don’t think you can get that from any other form of exercise.

06 Oct

Repeated Punches to the Head


This week meant sparring in kickboxing class.

I decked myself out in as much padding as I could to avoid getting hurt. Wrist wraps, gloves, shin pads, mouthguard, helmet. Check, check, check, check, and check. I was excited for a little light sparring.

I nabbed my partner, a nice little high school kid who looked unassuming. But looks can be deceiving, as the saying goes.

I was expecting light sparring—a little practice of our punches and kicks along with our blocking (of which I am in desperate need of practice). Instead I got an all out brawl. My opponent was, balls to the wall, attacking my head.

I tried getting in some punches to his head, but really I spent most of my time trying to prevent the incessant fist-to-forehead contact that I was experiencing. It reminded me a lot of our punching bag drills and this time I was the punching bag.

I should have told him to ease up, and that we clearly had different definitions of ‘light sparring’ but I just kept on keeping on as is the way I do things.

And I started kicking a lot more since I couldn’t get close enough to punch him.

And the more he punched the harder I kicked.

Until I kicked him, with considerable force, right in the ballsack.

Yup, I kicked a boy in the testicles. How’s that for a knock-out?

I felt really really terrible. I definitely wasn’t aiming for that area, but I instantly knew the pain that would be caused as soon as I saw where my shin landed.

He was out for the rest of the round and there was really nothing I could do but watch him doubled over in pain and embarrassment.

My instructor (the same one that told me how to break someone’s face) came over and said to me “Now THAT is what you want to do on the streets.” (Why does he always think I’m going to be brawling in the streets?! I live in the suburbs forgodssakes.)

Eventually my opponent was able to shake it off and partner up with me for a few more round. I lightened up on the kicks and I continued to apologize to him over and over but her still delivered far too many very painful punches to my forehead.

Eventually we switched partners. I ended up with a boy who was taking it easy on me and said “no offense, but I don’t feel comfortable hitting girls.”

Normally, I would have taken offense to that and my initial reaction was to say “No offense, but I know how to kick you where it hurts”. . . But I didn’t because, if we’re being honest here, it was a nice relief from all the head shots I had just taken.

Moral of the Story: If you have testicles and try to fight me, please wear a cup.

28 Sep

Kickboxing Class #9 & #10


Bizarrely enough, I think kickboxing is helping with my running. While I have been president of the 10 minute mile club since at least January, all my runs in the last couple of weeks have been faster. My 8 mile run on Sunday was at a 9:36 pace and my 6 mile treadmill run today was 9:15. Yip Yip!

Also, I caught myself watching an MMA fight on TV while I was running that 6 miles. Who AM I?

Class #9

This class was heavy on the endurance work as well as practice blocking punches and kicks from a partner.

I partnered up with a huge Russian guy, we shall call him The Centaur because he wore a shirt that said “Half Man, Half Horse”. Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I could make this shit up.

I felt really bad about partnering with since he was about a million times more experienced than I was. The guy literally blocked everything I threw at him while looking in the opposite direction. Seriously! He wasn’t even looking! It was ridiculous.

Move of the Day:

Jumping Jacks: Since we did about a million. I’m not a fan of this endurance stuff because I find it too easy. Sprints and and short bursts of energy on the other hand are much more challenging for me.

The Workout:


– Jogging, shuffling


– Jumping Jacks x300

Combo Drills with a Partner (no pads)

– left jab/right kick combo – alternating offense and defense
– right power/left kick combo – alternating offense and defense
– any combination of punches and kicks – alternating offense and defense
– light sparring

Punching Bag Drills:

– shin conditioning: 20 kicks per leg
– endurance:
10 kicks per leg
20 kicks per leg
30 kicks per leg
40 kicks per leg
50 kicks per leg

Class #10

This was child’s play. Well, we jumped rope for 10 minutes and also swing across the chin-up bar as if it were monkey bars so, you know, child’s play in one sense of the term.

All we did in this class was upper body work, so it was pretty intense. I had trouble washing my hair in my post workout shower because my arms were so sore.

I also can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of how ridiculously sweaty I was. I wore grey and looked like I had just gone swimming in my workout gear.

Move of the Day:

Monkey Bars: We used our arms to carry ourselves across the 3+ metre long chin-up bar not shuffling from one end to the other but more like doing the monkey bars in grade school. We went there and back three times.
Following that up with 15 chin ups was not exactly easy since, at my current weight, I can’t even do one.

The Workout:


– jumping rope for 10 minutes incl. 30 sec intervals of speed

Punching Bag Drills:

We spent the entire class on the punching bag doing 3 minute rounds:

– warm-up punching and kicking (x3 rounds)
– Upper Body Only (ie. no kicks) (x3 rounds)
– Upper Body Only, constantly punching with 30s intervals of all out power (x4)

Strength Drills:

– Monkey Bar (x6)
– Chin-Ups (x15)

21 Sep

Kickboxing Class #7 & #8


The instructor said to me today that I have a really powerful right punch. Apparently I could really hurt someone with this punch. …and by the sounds of it, he really wants me to hurt someone:

“When you need to really attack someone, use the heel of your palm instead of your fist when you punch. That way you can keep attacking without breaking your fist.”

That’s for self-defense, of course, and it’s a good tactic. It was just funny the way he said it, as if it is inevitable that I will one day need to break someone’s face.

But now I know I probably could break someone’s face if I tried.

Class #7

We did a lot of partner work in this class – punching and kicking each other a lot without pads. Luckily I had my new mouthguard so I could take some punches to the head and face.

Most of the other experienced kickboxers are really helpful. They give me pointers on how to block and how to punch and they will repeat the same moves multiple times to help me learn. I love getting advice because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing. Some people, though, were a little more aggressive than I would have hoped for and I think I might have bruises in certain places.

Move of the Day:

Defense: My offense is decent but my defense sucks BAD. I may or may not have punched myself in the face when trying to block punches.

My reaction time is slow, I can hardly “bob and weave”, and my two natural reactions to getting beat on are to stand there and take it or to run and hide. This needs work.

One defensive move that we learned was to block a front kick by pushing the opponents leg down and left with your hand while stepping to the right to get out of the way.

The Workout:


– Jogging, shuffling, 2-legged jumps


Alternating Jabs with simultaneous high knees
– sprawls

Push-Ups (x30)

Punching Bag Drills:

– 2 min rounds of any combination of punches and kicks on the punching bag (x4)

Combo Drills with a Partner (no pads)

– left jab/right jab/left front kick combo – alternating offense and defense for 30 second intervals (x6)
– any combination of punches and kicks – alternating offense and defense for 30 second intervals (x12)

Class #8

Lost of work with partners and Thai pads today plus some good punching bag work. I was hoping for sparring, but that didn’t end up happening unfortunately.

Move of the Day

Flying Knee: We practiced this move with a partner holding Thai pads. It’s essentially a drop kick, but instead of kicking, you knee the person instead. Fake out with the right knee but knee the opponent with the left knee.

This is a good move to use when the opponent has their head down, because otherwise you are easily exposed to punches.

The Workout:


– Jogging, shuffling
– 2 minutes of sprinting (x2) – this actually felt easier than the last time we had to do it
– stretching

Kicking Drills (with partner holding thai pads):

– roundhouse kicks x15 per leg
– flying knee x10 per leg
– high roundhouse kicks x15 per leg

Punching Drills (with partner holding Thai pads):

– rotating backhand x7 per hand

Punching Bag Drills:

– 3 min rounds of combinations of punches and kicks called out by the instructor (x3)

14 Sep

Kickboxing Class #5 & #6

After last week’s sparring sans mouthguard and getting a sore wrist after kicking ass in class #5 this week, I decided to pick up some boxing essentials at SportChek: a mouthguard and wrist wraps.

Wrist Wraps

I quickly sought out YouTube for instructions on how to wrap my wrists so I wouldn’t look like a noob trying to wrap them for the first time in class.

Yeah, they’re pink.

Unfortunately, I feel it takes away a bit of my street cred, no?

Wrist Wraps

I look ridiculous.

I haven’t needed the mouthguard yet. Today I wore the wrist wraps with smaller boxing gloves than I had been wearing previously. I didn’t have any wrist pain when punching the bag so I guess the wraps worked at keeping my hand and arm aligned while I threw punches.


Class #5

Move of the Day:

Pad Work: This was the first class that I was able to do pad work with the instructor holding the pads while I kicked and punched. The instructors took us aside one at a time and did pad work one-on-one while the others worked on the punching bag. I felt like I could use a lot more power than when working with a partner because punching the instructor is like fighting a brick wall. He didn’t flinch no matter how hard I punched or kicked It was a lot of fun and was probably my favourite thing so far.

The Workout:


– Jogging; Shuffling; Skipping
– Shadow boxing with sprawl

Punching Bag:

– 2 min intervals of combos called out by the instructor (about 10-12 times)
– 15 s intervals of speed jabs (x4)
– 15 s intervals of power – any combo of punches (x4)
– 15 s intervals of the power – combo: left jab, right jab, left hook, right roundhouse kick (x4)
– 15 s intervals of speed knees (x4)


– jogging

Class #6

Move of the Day:

Skipping Rope: I like skipping. I’m not great at it — I often trip over the rope– but I find it to be a fun form of cardio. We did 10 minutes of skipping. After the 10 minutes were up the instructor came to me and said “Great job! Not a lot of people can skip for 10 minutes.”

And I thought, Skipping? That’s the hard thing? Last week you made us run sprints for, like, an eternity! But, I just smiled and thanked him, because I guess everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

The Workout:


– 10 minutes of jump rope (30 sec speed, 30 sec recovery)
– Burpees for 1 minute – 2 sets (I did 26 reps and 20 reps)
– Burpees with 3 push-ups for 1 min – 1 set (I did 7 reps)
– Plank – 1 min

Punching Bag:

– 3 min intervals of combos called out by the instructor (about 5 times)

Stretching with a Partner

Kicking Drills:

– 50 roundhouse kicks per leg

07 Sep

Kickboxing Class #4


The cardio in today’s class practically killed me. After exhausting myself with 2 minute long sprints the instructor made us do some crazy ass run/burpee/sprawl combo thirty times. Thirty. I pretty much felt like vomiting. (I blame it on my blood donation yesterday. . . it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m out of shape or anything. I swear.)

We punched each other a lot today which was new. My partner and I had to take it easy on each other when we were practicing jabs to the head since neither of us had a mouth guard. Our sparring was limited to body hits so we wouldn’t be going home toothless.

I didn’t expect to be sparring and, to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s a lot of fun and more tiring than I thought it would be considering how infrequently I was throwing punches. But I think I hold back my power because I don’t want to hurt my partner. I’m not really sure how hard I should punch …I mean, it’s not supposed to be a real fight right?

Move of the Day:

Front Kick: Today we learned how to front kick with our front foot (left foot, in my case since I’m right-handed). I learned that you have to square your hips off to your partner, and thrust your hips forward as you kick. Your toes should be pulled toward you so that you strike the thai pads with the ball of your foot (kinda like scuffing the floor, if that makes any sense).

It was really awkward to kick with the left since my weight is usually on that foot so my kicks were pretty weak to say the least. I started to get the hang of it after a few minutes but it’s something that I would like to spend a bit more time on so I can build up technique and power.

The Workout:


– Jogging


Sprinting Intervals: 2 min sprinting / 1 min jogging (x3)
Burpee Intervals: Run half the gym / Burpee / Run half the gym / Sprawl (x30!!!)

Kicking Drills (all with a partner holding Thai pads):

– 2 min intervals of the combo: right knee/left roundhouse
– 2 min intervals of the combo: left front kicks/right roundhouse
– 2 min intervals of the combo: right front kick/left roundhouse

Combo Drills (with a partner holding Thai pads)

– 2 min intervals of the combo: jab/knee

Punching Drills (partner work with gloves and helmets)

– 2 min intervals of jabs to the head
– 2 min intervals of jabs/hooks to the head
– 2 min intervals of jabs to the head / body punched


03 Sep

Kickboxing Class #3

Move of the Day:

Follow the Bag: I have a tendency to stop the punching bag when it starts swinging too much. The movement of the bag is suppose to mimic the movement of your opponent in a fight. When the bag is retreating you want to advance on it and punch it. When the bag is coming in your direction, you want to back up, block, and get ready.

The Workout:


– Jogging
– Shuffling
– Skipping
– Jogging with a power jump after every other step


– simultaneous punching and high knees
– 30 push-ups

Kickboxing Drills:

punching drills: 2 min intervals of performing the punches on the bag

kicking drills: 2 min intervals of roundhouse kicks on the bag

combo drills: 2 min intervals of combination punching and roundhouse kicking the bag

alternating roundhouse kicks: 2 min intervals of roundhouse kicks- kick pads held by your partner

thai pads with a partner: side body kicks — kicking pads held by your partner


– None

I feel like I learned a lot more technique in this class. I learned that a lot of the punches and kicks rely heavily on rotating your hips so that the power comes from the whole body.

29 Aug

Kickboxing Class Recap

So I decided to sign up for the kickboxing classes for 3 months. After trying out two classes and getting some positive feedback from the instructors and other students I figure this is something that I will really enjoy and maybe even be good at.

The classes are pretty demanding and I do like a good challenge. Plus it’s something that will keep me occupied during football season while Matt is busy coaching.

I’ll try to recap most of the classes so that you can get an idea of what goes down in a kickboxing gym.

Move of the Day:

Sprawl: When the instructor calls sprawl, you get down to the ground then jump up again. It’s a bit like doing a burpee without the push-ups

… funny story about the sprawl. When we were working with the punching bags I jabbed the bag twice, hard and then the instructor called “SPRAWL!”. When I got down to the ground, the punching bag swung back and hit me square in the head, knocking me down. Talk about embarrassing moments!

The Workout:


– Jogging
– Shuffling
– Skipping


– 10 High Knee Jumps + Sprint to other end of the mats (x9)
– 8 frog jumps across the mats (x5)

Kickboxing Exercises:

punching bag: 1 min intervals of performing the punches/kicks called out by the instructor

alternating roundhouse kicks: 2 min intervals of roundhouse kicks- kick pads held by your partner

high and low roundhouse kicks: 2 min intervals of high roundhouse kicks and low roundhouse kicks – kick pads held by your partner

knee/kick combo: 2 min intervals of knee and roundhouse kick (with the same leg) – kick pads held by your partner


– Chin-Ups- pyramid reps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
– Pull-Ups- pyramid reps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Squat Improvement Strategy

In other fitness updates with my squat improvement strategy I am up to 145lbs for 5 sets of 3 reps.

I’m going to need to stay at this weight for a while until I can get up to 5 reps with good form. By the 3rd rep I find myself looking sloppy and my core isn’t engaged enough to keep myself in safe squatting form.