Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This Saturday our Karate Kids had a Taekwondo tournament over in Bloomington, IN so we had combined the Saturday morning BL group with the Friday night group for a kickboxing workout. It’s a fun class, very practical, and it burns a lot of calories.

Once someone takes the regular kickboxing class, they usually pick up some 12 or 16 oz boxing gloves so their hands will be more protected. Then they can hit the heavy bags, and that’s an absolute blast!

For this introductory class to our Biggest Losers, we did mostly partner drills, where the partner held the pads, while they practiced the 1-2 combination (Jab-Cross). Then we added ducking (1, 2, duck, duck), where the partner then swings the pad at their head after they punch. Finally, we added movement toward the targets to hit it, and back away, after the combination.

Then we worked on the back leg round kick to a low target in the same fashion. Finally, we put the kick together with the punches (1, 2 to the head, angle kick to the leg). This is probably the most realistic and effect combination you can do, from a self-defense perspective.

It’s always fun watching groups have fun with the timing and coordination. At first it’s awkward, moving in ways they’re not used to. Once they’ve had a chance to practice the timing, things smooth out a lot. By the end of the class, they were bobbing and weaving, and putting some pretty effective hands on target!

From a calorie standpoint, vigorous exercise burns about 10 calories a minute. So if the kickboxing class was 45 minutes, that’s about 450 calories. If it’s an hour, that’s about 600 calories.

I told you we had to reschedule the Saturday group because I was at the Taekwondo tournament with our Karate Kids. Now that’s some exercise. They all competed in forms, which are a predetermined series of movements—almost like a dance, except for the martial arts techniques. Some have said it’s a “dance of death.”

The kids (and a few adults) also competed in sparring, which is a match between two people where they’re both trying to hit or kick each other in specified target areas. They all wear a bunch of protective gear, plus they’re trying to “pull” their techniques, or just touch the other person, instead of just pounding on the other person.

The kids especially are encouraged to just lightly tap their opponent on the head with their feet, and they’re wearing foam headgear with a plastic face plate that covers the front of the face. They also wear a thick chest protector, and foam hands and feet.

The primary benefit of competition is learning. In forms, it’s all about making yourself do exactly what you want to do, without being distracted or losing focus. That’s tough to do. For kids, it’s a priceless lesson, because if they can learn to concentrate on that, other things become easier.

During sparring, the goal is to hit your opponent (who’s trying to hit you), without getting hit. It takes a good sense of distance and timing, and the ability to react instinctively—all important self defense skills. For kids especially, it’s a fun, safe environment where they can learn these skills without much risk of getting hurt.

Sometimes you do well, sometimes you don’t. The main thing is to learn something. I love it when the kids do well, but it’s when things don’t go as well, that the real lessons are learned. Things like perseverance and self-control.

At times like that, I try to get them to focus on something they did well that they’d been working on. Then, we try to pick one thing to work on that might help them do better next time.

If they can learn to overcome the disappointments, that to is training for life, because there will always be disappointments—it’s how you handle it that makes the difference. If a kid (or adult) can come back and try to improve, and then go back and take another shot at it, that’s priceless.

Finally, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how I roll when I travel. Just because you’re on the road and away from your usual gym doesn’t mean you have to leave all the things you’ve learned behind.

After the tournament (which meant a night in the hotel Fri), I turned around and left for Nashville to work on some new songs. That meant another couple of nights in the hotel. I was lucky on the way down there because there’s a gym I like to stop and get a workout at, just about halfway.

Once I was there, though, it didn’t work out to find a local gym (the one I’d always used had closed down), and the other ones weren’t open on Sunday. It was too cold to go out for a run. So, I did the next best thing—I made up a hotel routine:

• Handstand pushups on the wall (you could do regular pushups)
• Body Squats
• Arm curls—with a hotel chair
• Sit-ups (variety)
• (5 rounds)

The workout was fast and furious, and over in about 15 minutes—I don’t have much patience with people that tell me they don’t have time to work out. Each exercise hit a different area of the body, and they all worked the core very well.

As far as eating, I followed the normal routine (except for the Oreo Blizzard on the way back home): a nice salad, some kind of chicken, some veggies, and I just ate some of the starch (potatoes, pasta, etc…). I even took some yogurt, cheese, and grapes with me so I’d have some healthy snacks.

The main thing is to just be mindful of the portions—especially with restaurants, because they give you way too much food. If you combine good sense and moderation with some workouts, it’s easy to maintain your weight, even when you’re traveling.

This week’s Biggest Loser from the Friday group was Donnie Bartos, who lost 2.4% of his body weight and 4.6 lbs. Second place went to Danielle Foley, who lost 2.1% and 3.2 lbs. Jackie Tyler placed third, losing 2.0% and 3.2 lbs. Lorie Marietta was fourth, losing 1.8% and 5.2.Casie High was fifth, losing 2.0% and 2.7.

The winner from the Saturday group was Jennifer Bowers, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 4.0 lbs. Cheri Dosch was second, losing 1.5% and 2.2 lbs. Vicki Riggen was third, losing around 1.0% and 1.2 lbs. Brad Adams placed fourth losing 1.9 lbs, and Jamie Wheeler was fifth, losing 1.2 lbs.

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