I never contemplated saying aloud, “I don’t want to go to kickboxing” until it was time for my 5th lesson. The day before class, I had so much work to do and some could only be done at school so I stayed up until around 4:15 a.m. finishing some work and I was up again around 9:45 a.m. ready for my mom to pick me up from school. I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and my right arm was hurting for some reason I’m still confused about.
I mentioned how horrible I felt in the car and ended up sleeping until we were close to the class. My mom and I talked briefly about just skipping the class and going home. But no, there was a voice in my head that said I should go and power through how miserable I felt.
The instructor told us we would be going in a circle around the room to practice staying in our fighting stance again. He added when he said “punch” we had to stop and punch until he told us to go around in a circle again. I thought this would be no problem because we’ve done this drill several times. I couldn’t have been more wrong; first of all, the pants I had on were bigger on me than I remembered, so along with trying to circle around the room in my fighting stance, every time he told us to punch I would have adjust my pants rather than punching. On top of this, I quickly became winded and it seemed like we were doing this drill for a lifetime. When we went from punching to going around in a circle again, he would tell us to go in the reverse direction. Almost every time I had to take a minute to think of what direction I just came from. When the drill finally ended, I was out of breath, exhausted and now both of my arms and the lower part of my stomach were in pain. To make matters worse, only 15 minutes passed. During the short break we had I wondered how I was going to get through the other 45 minutes of class and contemplated telling the instructor I felt awful and had to go home.
Again, I told myself to power through how absolutely horrible I was feeling. We then were told to get with a partner and practice throwing punches at a punching cushion. I thought this would be easy but I had to hold the cushion with my right arm which was hurting before class. My partner was able to punch fast and strong which did not help my situation at all. The next drill we did was one partner held a punching cushion in each hand and the other person would have to swat away the hand extended in their direction before it came near their face. Then, they would have to punch their partner’s other hand which the partner would hold adjacent to their face. This process was confusing for me, so rather than my partner switching which hand she would extend toward me at first, she only did it with her left hand. Once I caught on, we switched to extending her right hand, which meant I would punch with my left. When I made this transition, my punches had more force. The director, my partner, and the instructor all saw this and were extremely proud of me. The director was wondering where my aggression came from because usually I don’t punch with as much force and the instructor even patted me on the back.
The last drill we did was going from one side of the room to the other with our partner and practice punching with one hand. I began thinking about one of the women at my first lesson when we were doing seven minutes in hell and how she said imagine the punching bag/cushion is someone you hate. I began thinking about someone who negatively impacted my life. I then combined this resentment with my frustration about the constant stress of homework. I allowed myself to get as angry as I could and it motivated me to push myself harder in class.
After my lesson my arms were shaking and I was starving. Once I was home, I tried to eat but gave up shortly after because my arm was in too much pain and the action of feeding myself seemed too difficult to be worth the reward.
Despite the fact that I found the first part of the class challenging to get through, I was ultimately glad I didn’t accept any excuses I could think of for missing or leaving the lesson early. Although I kept pushing myself, I realize there are times where it is better to take a day away from exercise. I found through research having back pain or feeling a sharp pain after your previous exercise session are two signs to skip working out. This experience made me realize deep down I have the power to endure things I think I cannot at first and that mental strength is as important, if not more important, than physical strength.
Here is an interesting source if you would like to learn more about when it might be a good idea to skip exercising: