My first college roommate, Angela, introduced me to Billy Blanks. I'm not sure if you and Billy have been acquainted. He's the creator of Tae Bo. This is Billy here to the right. If you haven't heard of Tae Bo, you just might be living in a cave, because it was one of the biggest mass-marketed exercise phenomenons in the 1990's. In fact, an estimated 1.5 million sets of Tae Bo videos were sold by 1999. Tae Bo helped to start a fitness craze of cardio kickboxing--a combination of martial arts, boxing, and aerobics--that has become popular in most gyms today. I have to say, I love kickboxing. And I love that Billy Blanks introduced me to it. Er, well I guess it was Billy Blanks via Angela, but Billy stayed in my life a lot longer than Angela did, so we'll say it was pretty much Billy.
So, the other day, when my good friend and fellow personal trainer, Josh Campbell, asked me if I wanted to complete a kickboxing certification with him, I realized that Billy and I haven't spent time together in a long while. I've been neglecting the cardio kickboxer inside me, and I have been needing to bring that kickboxer back out. Josh's inquiry flooded me with memories of days spent in my dorm's lounge area where girls from my floor and I would throw Billy into the VHS player and spend an hour kicking and punching our Freshmen aggression out. Those memories then took me to when I transferred schools and I explored live kickboxing classes in my new University's Rec Center. I started to use boxing gloves and I was hitting bags then. Kickboxing became a bit more intense.
After I graduated college, I moved to Las Vegas for a while. I had been running outside a lot, but my fitness routine seemed stale. My VHS Tae Bo tape had died from overuse and also, I didn't even own a VHS player anymore. Then one evening, while couch surfing and flipping through TV channels, I came across an infomercial. The star was my good friend Billy Blanks, and he was hocking his new Tae Bo "Boot Camp" routine. Minutes later, I was on the phone ordering the set for $19.99. A steal in my opinion. Billy and I had reunited. And it was good.
I've taken some kickboxing classes here in NYC at my gym, New York Sports Club throughout my four year residence. They aren't really cardio kickboxing classes, though.The teachers that I've had are usually former kickboxers themselves, so the classes are pretty fierce. Gloves are needed for punching bags and plyometrics always make an appearance. They're great classes, but not the same kind of deal as my beloved Tae Bo. For some reason or another, I can never make it to the plain ol' cardio kickboxing class times offered at my gym, but after Josh mentioned getting certified, I knew I had to make it a priority to see if it was something I still wanted to do.
I have yet to dust off my Tae Bo DVDs from days of yore, but I found a class time at NYSC that I could make, so I went. I was definitely a little rusty but it was fantastic. The teacher was spunky but chill at the same time. She kept the movements basic but hard hitting nevertheless. The great thing about kickboxing is that you need to use every muscle in your body to kick and punch your heart rate up. You're also moving through all 3 planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, and transverse), so you're working your body more diversely than you would if you were to just plop yourself on the elliptical for an hour. Let me tell you, I'm feeling this today. My body is sore in places that I forgot could be sore! My abs, legs, arms, shoulders, back...Most of my muscles are feeling that I worked hard and it feels great.
The moral of this blog post is to try out some kickboxing if you haven't already. And if you have tried it but it's been a while, it's time to revisit. You can even spend some time with Billy if you want. I won't get jealous, I promise. Oh, and if you're interested in a full private kickboxing session, you can give me a call soon because I'm pretty sure it's time for me to get certified.