Schilz Martial Arts & Kickboxing, Suite 106, 297 U.S. 287, Lafayette, 720-299-0940, schilzmartialarts.com.
Instructor: Kevin Schilz walked away from his corporate career after 25 years to teach martial arts, first in Longmont then at his own gym in Lafayette. He has black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai and has training in numerous other forms of martial arts. Along with the cardio kickboxing class, the studio offers an adult boot camp class and kids' martial arts classes.
What is the workout? Kickboxing and calisthenics. The class alternates between Muay Thai bag work and more traditional workout exercises. After a warm up and quick stretch we pulled out the punching bags.
Schilz demonstrated kickboxing combinations using both arms and legs, then added more complexity. Between rounds we did sit-ups or squats. After the kickboxing portion, we did arm and leg exercises using weights. At the end of class, Schilz dedicated five excruciating minutes to abdominal work. The ab workout was a killer. I started off strong then ran out of steam halfway through.
What's different? Schilz is attentive to each student, going over proper technique and teaching good form.
I've seen kickboxing classes where the instructors push too hard, not caring about safety. Others use kickboxing only as an overarching theme for an exercise class without any emphasis on technique. Cardio kickboxing sits between these two, offering actual Muay Thai techniques coupled with a fast-paced workout.
The format stays the same, but Schilz changes the combinations for each class to keep it fresh and avoid pattern training. "It always stays exciting, you never get bored with the routine and there's always something new," said Schilz.
Schilz is warm and encouraging. There isn't any pressure to push beyond what is safe and accessible for his students. The gym is small enough that it does not feel intimidating but large enough that people aren't kicking each other.
Cost: For $100 a month and a one-time $50 registration fee students get unlimited access to classes. The registration fee includes a pair of gloves and two private lessons. There is also a 10-class punch card for $200.
Level: It was easy to jump into class without any prior experience. Schilz walked me through the basic moves before class began. The two private lessons that come with the membership fee gives new students some one-on-one time to get comfortable with the punches and kicks.
Schilz encourages students to take breaks when they need them and jump back in when they are ready. "Take it as far as you can, stop, catch your breath. If you feel like jumping in, jump back in," said Schilz.
When: This is a 45-minute class held at 6:15 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:15 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. on Saturdays.
What to prepare: Normal workout clothes and water. Shoes are not worn on the mat, so feel free to flip flop it to class.
Muscles worked: My arms worked the hardest, followed by my abs. Schilz is constantly changing the pace, speeding up and slowing down, adding a good deal of cardio to the mix.
What I loved: Punching and kicking the bag after a long day at work was cathartic. I had a case of the Mondays, and working off all the stress against an inanimate object took the edge off.
What I didn't like: I'd suggest getting your own pair of gloves and make sure they fit right. I grabbed a pair I thought fit then ended up chafing my knuckles. Not wanting to sound like a baby (no offense to babies) I suffered through unnecessarily.
How I felt after the class: My abs were on fire and my arms were the consistency of noodles. I had enough energy to plop myself on the couch when I got home.
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