I miss the days where I didn’t have to worry about my weight. Gym class and playing outside was enough to keep me faster than my neighbor in red light green light. Now I actually have to put in the effort to remain healthy and in shape which has been especially hard with COVID-19. I’m slowly realizing how hard it is to make conscious healthy decisions on a daily basis and get exercise without extracurriculars like dance and gym.
I’ve finally found something that helps me keep active in a really engaging way that involves boxing gloves and a punching bag that is over 200 pounds. Kickboxing is my new oasis to unplug from the outside world and focus on myself. I’ve been in a six-week program that requires me to commit to taking three in-person classes a week and adhere to a meal plan. My personal goal is to gain muscle, lose fat, and build up my endurance.
I’m about three weeks in and I’ve already lost five pounds. The workouts themselves are always so challenging and I’ve never felt bored or uninterested in class. The immense stress relief that hitting the bag gives me is always enough to keep me excited about my next workout. One thing I love about kickboxing is that you never leave the mat feeling like you haven’t done enough. With eight rounds of kicks and punches combined with cardio activities like push ups and high knees, there’s never a dull moment. I easily burn over 500-600 calories every class and I can see my body slimming down and getting stronger.
The hardest part about my kickboxing journey is definitely the meal plan. I haven’t had hot chips in three weeks! Having concrete measurements on how much carbs, protein, and veggies I need to eat exposed how little I was eating on a daily basis. I struggle to get all three meals in with protein shakes as snacks too. However, it’s really important to follow those guidelines, because of the mass amounts of calories and energy exerted during the workouts. It’s interesting to go out with friends or be at cookouts and having to pick and choose what to eat. It gets annoying at times, but I truly believe rejecting junk is making me treat my body like a temple. I now only want to put nutritional, clean, and natural foods in my body and stay away from processed foods with large amounts of sugars and salts.
This kickboxing journey is so valuable to me because I feel like I’m learning so much about myself and how I approach new challenges. I’m starting to understand how to keep myself motivated and committed to something like a simple diet or health regime. I’m setting serious goals for myself that are only contingent on my own effort.
This has been one of my more adult decisions since I’ve graduated high school and it’s showing me that I am the one that has to take control of my life. I’ve always desired to be a healthier and more responsible individual but I never took the conscious initiative to reach my goals. Kickboxing is teaching me how to do that while allowing for self-growth and understanding.
When my gloves are on, the world is truly off. The combination of uppercuts and roundhouse kicks make me feel like a superhero that deserves her own Marvel movie. The sense of pride and joy I get from weigh-in days, compliments from instructors, and strength improvement is unmatched. This is your sign to kick-start that goal or fitness journey that you always talk about. It’s up to you to actually make that change in your life and what better time than now!
By Kyla Hubbard, Second-year Broadcast Journalism Major, Florida A&M University