It’s been a while since I’ve done any kickboxing classes. Hip Teacher Dada mocks my “fake kung fu” as I jab and punch in front of the bathroom mirror in the mornings. My friend told me about HERS in April and I knew it sounded like something I’d be interested in (Goodlife’s Body Combat was my go-to class before kids).
I felt a good vibe from HERS even before I had a class. A couple of weeks ago, I walked by one morning with Baby C. I met two ladies who told me that everyone was welcome, all shapes and sizes, all ages and experiences. They didn’t work there, but they handed me a flyer and we chatted for a while outside the studio. Just from those ladies alone, I had a positive feeling about the place. They said, “Sweetie, everyone is like family in there. You will love it.”
I signed up for a trial class last week and was greeted warmly at the door by Caity (Service Team Lead). She went through the sign-in process (iPad at reception), the heart monitor set-up and handed me some gloves. She ended up next to me in front of our BOBs (Body Opponent Bags) which kept me motivated. I looked up at the screen every so often where my pulse, calories burned, and effort were monitored. My pride wouldn’t let me stop though my brain begged me to ease up (my body ached for days later which meant my brain was right). Hitting BOB is very different than just punching the air. The impact and the target (you just want to hit his angry face) were great for me.
Led by instructor and co-owner, Paul Le, the class was INTENSE. This was the After School Special (4:30-5:15pm) which I thought meant the time was special for teachers or students. Someone had requested Rhythm Kickboxing so off we went. Lots of jabs, crosses, and hooks along with front kicks and roundhouse kicks. All 18 BOBs were occupied. Paul called some people by name and made sure we didn’t stop. He had witty comments throughout the class so even though sometimes punching BOB became punching Paul, the comments eased the tension and everyone had a fast laugh and reset. Forty-five minutes of intense cardio later (with the last few minutes for hardcore ab work which is a huge challenge after three C-sections), we stretched and Caity gave us cold wet towels to wipe down with. That little gesture made all the difference. I never appreciated a towel more.
I was still sore a few days later, but already felt a difference. My abs felt tighter and my arms felt stronger. I decided to go ahead and do the Totally Committed Package ($79/month for 12 months – 2x a week). I wish they had class passes instead of weekly commitments, but as Caity explained, they really want you in there to see results and to keep at it. I had my first official class yesterday and same thing…fast-paced and intense, but definitely a good workout. It’s the kind that you know will leave you sore, but also wanting more.
There are a few things to be aware of if you decide to join. There are two small change rooms at the front of the studio. On my trial day, I witnessed one client opening the curtain on another mid-change. I’d suggest changing quickly or coming to the studio ready to go. Another thing, during the ab workout, you lay down directly on the mats that you were standing on for the kickboxing session (you do change into shoes at the door however) so if that irks you, perhaps bring a towel for yourself? Yesterday the temps outside were about 25C and inside, even hotter. I’m hoping it’s because the A/C hadn’t quite kicked it yet. I wasn’t ready for Moksha kickboxing. 😛 I will be back Saturday so the A/C should be going strong or like my classroom (which reached 36C before), fans in every corner. It’s not attractive, but does the job. 😛
I had a chance to speak with co-owner, Anthony Zhao, and he said this women’s only concept kickboxing studio near Markville, Moksha Yoga, and Goodlife is not by accident. It isn’t meant to take away any business, but rather gives options. (I do hot yoga too, but HERS gives me a different outlet.) It gives women a place to explore MMA in a safe and comfortable environment. Women can focus on their technique and training. He said he has a co-ed studio downtown and he sees the difference in the ambience here. Everyone seems to be quite positive and ready to compete with themselves. The women are ready to learn, committed, and getting stronger with each session. The staff and women I’ve already met are friendly and warm and make you feel comfortable from day one if this is a new venue for you.
HERS? Make it YOURS.