Fighting yourself fit: My 6-week fitness challenge – The North State Journal – North State Journal

“This is how I want you to hit me. Don’t hold back. Remember, real people hit me all the time.”
(Photo courtesy of RockBox)

RALEIGH — I threw a punch and made solid contact with my opponent’s midsection. I felt the jolt up my arm to my shoulder. My technique was clean. It was a hard punch.

Dread descended on me almost immediately.

Oh no. I thought. I just killed Jennifer.

Jennifer was the amateur MMA fighter who taught our class. She was less than half my weight. Actually, if she lost a little — not too much — and I gained a little, she might be one-third of my weight, or close to it.

Jennifer stepped away from me and threw up her hands, signaling for my classmates to stop what they were doing.

“Everyone,” she announced, and I was relieved to hear that she could still speak.

“I want you to watch Shawn,” she continued. “This is how I want you to hit me. Don’t hold back. Remember, real people hit me all the time.”

She turned and faced me again as she concluded her remarks.

“You can’t hurt me.”

I was in one of my first RockBox classes. The franchise had opened a gym around the corner from my house, and it appeared to be Peloton for fighting. Their gym didn’t have a ring or allow sparring. Heck, they didn’t allow you to just walk in and work out on your timeline. They offered 50-minute classes with a wireless mic-wearing trainer guiding you through workouts while music played and funky colored lights flashed overhead.

I’d covered combat sports for years and worked out in actual boxing gyms — dirty, gritty places located in the back of transmission repair shops. They were the types of places where the “Law & Order” detectives have to go to interview the wise, grizzled trainer who always seems to be sweeping up the gym late at night.

RockBox had a Roomba. This was going to be boxing aerobics for office workers — fancy Tae Bo. But it was close to my house and would get me in shape, so I signed up.

I didn’t make it through the first class.

Jennifer had us run. She made us do up-downs, high knees, shadow boxing.

Years ago, I was captain of my high school wrestling team and can vividly remember wondering why we did jumping …….


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