Last Thursday I rambled my thoughts about cross-training and what I’ve been doing lately in the way of strength training and other workouts. I start off every new year planning to get consistent with strength training and then inevitably I always migrate to just running and running and then running some more.
All that running makes me a ‘better’ runner in some ways but neglecting to strength train sure doesn’t do me any favours. In my down time over the past two months, I figured it would be a good time to get on that strength training bandwagon and one of the things I’ve gotten into is kickboxing circuit training at our local 30 minute HIT gym.
I gotta say, kickboxing is totally something I never thought would be my cup of tea and even after the first few workouts I wasn’t totally convinced it was for me. But in the last two months, I’ve been going consistently and have really grown to love this style of workout.
What is 30 minute HIT?
Awhile ago I started seeing lots of chatter about 30 minute HIT but never really looked into it. A friend of mine has gone for years and it was great to go along with her so she could show me the ropes.
Our local HIT gym offers a women’s-only boxing/kickboxing circuit that takes 30 minutes to complete. The circuit is made up of 13 stations and you spend 2:00 mins at each one, alternating between full-power and high-speed punches/kicks on 15 second intervals. The stations are a mix of punching or kicking (upper cuts, jabs, knee-kicks, roundhouse kicks etc.) and core work (medicine ball crunches, hamstring curls on the ball, planks etc.)
Kickboxing: Cardio AND Strength
The workout begins with a quick warm up either skipping or stepping on the box and I always find that once I get my heart rate up during the warmup, it seems to stay up there through the rest of the workout. Even during the full power punches etc. the fact that it’s being repeated through that 2:00 interval, makes for a pretty high intensity workout even though it’s not always traditional cardio work.
It’s a nice quick workout but I love that I sweat the whole way through.
The timed circuit is super convenient
As a mom, who very carefully plans her days to fit as much in as possible during school hours, I love how convenient this type of circuit training is. I know that every time I go there, my workout will be exactly 30 minutes with a bit of warm up and stretching on either end. As mentioned above, it’s high intensity but it’s a compact workout and that works awesome with my schedule these days.
There’s technique involved too
As a runner, I’ve gotten used to setting goals, training hard and seeing improvement over time. One of the things I’m really loving about kickboxing is that there is a similar kind of technique component to it. I’m not just working out for a good sweat, I’m also working hard and improving my technique at every session. The runner in me loves seeing that continual improvement and it makes me feel motivated to not just get stronger but to also get better in my form and technique. I can’t say I ever felt that kind of motivation when I was just lifting weights at the gym.
And challenges too!
I’m not sure if all HIT gyms run little challenges but ours does and it’s kind of cool. The premise is pretty basic but to join the monthly challenge you simply specify how many times you will hit the gym in the next month and then keep track of it on a huge sticker chart. I’m a mom and know how effective sticker charts are for my kids and guess what, they’re effective for me too! I love adding those stickers to my name.
Bottom line: I love it!
I started with this gym at a time when my running motivation was pretty down and out and starting something new was a great way to try and build some of my motivation back again. It’s been 2 months and I’m happy to say that getting involved in the gym has worked great for capturing some of that drive and determination I was missing.
That motivation is easily translating to my running and dare I say, I think I might actually be seeing some baby muscles sprouting up! Win-win.