Tag Archives: fitness

Empowerment through Kickboxing

By Layla Zomorod

I hate exercising. It’s hard. It’s boring. But most of all, it’s HARD! I’ve spent most of my life silently brooding over the existence of strenuous physical exertion, that is until I discovered kickboxing. Now, dressed in workout pants and sneakers, I welcome the profound challenge of accepting cardio in my life and  I hope my discovery may lead you to give cardio kickboxing a try as well.

In high school, I used to force myself to run around the school track. These bursts of torture had their own soundtrack, a string of curses targeting the fat that was intent on staying glued to my tummy, my thighs, my everything. With running, cardio fitness was a constant battle that always left me out of breath and eager to just get through it. I felt inadequate and out of shape. The thought of giving up was always a relief and at the forefront of my mind. Results were stagnant and my affinity for exercise endorphins dwindled. It took me a while to realize that running did not have to be the solution; that there might be some other kind of fitness regime that could be a better personal fit. That’s when cardio kickboxing came to the rescue!

I began about 6 months ago. I was intimidated at first; surveying all those athletic people, huffing and puffing ready to knock someone down, I felt pretty small. However, once I put on my gloves, I gained a sense of intention and I looked forward to being one of those huffing and puffing athletic people. Once I started, I discovered all sorts of reasons why kickboxing was better suited for me than running. The punching combinations had much more variety than I expected, the studio and head trainer were more welcoming than anticipated, and the clean space and charismatic trainer made me enjoy the class even more. I especially loved how the upbeat music got you ready to throw some punches and throw down some trouble. My gym buddy and I spend an equal time performing combinations and mixing in dance moves when the trainer turns his back. When class is over, I finish energized, instead of hating life as I did with running.

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Running Down the Coast

By Katy Durbin

Marathon running is meant for pros. But for those of us who are not pros and who house a vaguely masochistic streak, marathons can also be a good lifestyle choice. Pain aside, long distance running increases your stamina and energy and gets progressively easier the more you do it.  It’s one of the best ways to see different parts of LA in the shortest amount of time, and, in my opinion, a pretty good way to kill a Sunday.  Most importantly though, intense running sessions are great for justifying an addiction to snacks. So, of what does marathon training consist? Oh, you innocents.

Running long distance begins with a few weekly runs of 5-ish miles, and one big run every Sunday for punishment. 🙂 Generally, the Sunday runs are over 13 miles, the longest being a 22 mile stretch that starts at Dockweiler Beach, goes through Santa Monica and Venice, and loops back around to Dockweiler. This route takes approximately 4-5 hours to accomplish. So let’s talk about this one.

Photo by Chris Goldberg on Flickr

We start at a Dockweiler bathroom coated in the kind of graffiti you want to see more of, a nice inspiration for the hours ahead. For the most part, this run takes place along the beach. It’s reliable because there are water fountains along the course so you can run out of fluids without freaking out. We all bring some form of electrolyte sugar, whether in gummy, goo, or powerade form. Most don’t realize that once you break the 14 mile threshold, you risk running low on sodium and minerals, as those are also lost through sweat. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and, therefore, can be easily digested. Ingesting sugar will ensure a steady stream of energy, and reduce the risk that you will hit what is colloquially known to runners as “the wall”, or the point where your body stops burning excess calorie and instead breaks directly into your fat stores. “The wall” feels like death, so sugar is recommended.

Photo by Gerson Repreza on Unsplash

Anyway, we go up through Venice Beach, passing tents full of vendors and their wares, each offering both sub-par and over-par paintings for sale, as well as an assortment of odds and ends. Graffiti coated pillars rise from the sand; muscle-strapped men and women work out on gym-equipment; people run by with miniature parachutes strapped to their butts (I assume this is a new-fangled workout routine). Yes, yes indeed: this is my favorite beach in Southern California.

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