I really need to get back to the gym. Although I’ll be a little nervous and hesitant when Monday afternoon rolls around, I’ll be so happy to return to kickboxing.
For those of you who struggle with weight, with motivation to exercise, or with your overall physical fitness, I have to say: the secret to success with all of the above is to find a form of exercise that you love. An hour of kickboxing is the hardest workout I’ve ever experienced, but it’s over so fast. And it’s fun. Even when I’m not feeling up to it after a draining day at work, I feel so much better afterwards. My energy and positivity return, and I’m happy that I made the effort to do something great for myself. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that Muay Thai keeps me sane. When I’m not working my body hard, depression and anxiety are soon to follow.
I don’t expect Muay Thai to be a lifelong activity, like golf or tai chi. It’s too hard on the body. But I’m sure I’ll be at it until my weary bones can’t hack it anymore, because Muay Thai itself will never get old. It’s too challenging for that. You can study it for thirty, forty years and never once feel like you’ve perfected it. (Although if I was up to Tony Jaa’s
standards, I wouldn’t complain.)
Growing up in an isolated northern community, I was a one-person welcome wagon, the girl who made friends with all the new kids. Comfortable with my roles of “writer” and “funny girl” in town, I got along with pretty much everyone. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I never experienced shyness until I moved to the city.
My college program was full of talented people who were the writers in their communities. Suddenly, my skills were not unique. I was one of many. At the beginning of the year, my journalism instructor called on me and I actually blushed! Blushed! I had no idea what was wrong with me, until I finally figured out that–for the first time in my life–I was shy. And it sucked. Big time.
My new home was a small city by global standards, but it was still a city. I’d never taken public transit before, so I nearly fell over when the bus driver took off while I was still walking to a seat. I’d never shared a room with someone before, let alone someone I’d never met. Everything was strange. I was terrified of being downtown during the day, certain I’d be mugged. The city seemed enormous, impossible to navigate, and my college wasn’t much better. It seems funny to me now, but that anxiety was my reality for the first couple of years.
Kickboxing gave me my confidence back. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was learning a brutally effective form of self-defense, or that I felt accepted somewhere again. As I’ve continued to train, each gym has become my community. I’m very lucky to be a member at KWest
, where almost all of my fellow students are friendly, cheerful, and welcoming. Like the theme song for that old sitcom, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name.
When it comes to exercise, what’s your poison?
Thanks for reading!