It’s not easy being The Wandering Gourmand. Having this “expert” knowledge of food and drink comes with a price. There is a lot of sampling – roasted pork belly, brewery tours, wine tastings. I didn’t realize the toll my love of food and drink was having on my body until I saw a New Year’s Eve photo. I had become that “chubby” kid. My back-pain had also reached the level of excruciating partly because of the extra weight.
I started with the typical New Year’s resolutions of going to the gym more and eating healthier. Salads replaced sandwiches for lunch. Ten additional minutes were added the elliptical machine. After a few months I stepped on the scale to check my weight. I flat lined. At least I wasn’t gaining any more weight, right? Wrong. Salads didn’t mean anything if I was binge eating my dinners out of hunger and ten extra minutes on the elliptical was a joke. More tweaks were made to my diet and workout with minimal results. They still weren’t enough. I needed a lifestyle change.
That’s when my wife spotted a sign for Title Club Ayrsley – a new boxing and kickboxing club that was opening in our neighborhood with classes designed to burn 1,000 calories an hour. I was hooked after the first class – or “Power Hour” as they are called. The hour begins with a 15 minute warm hot up. Think jump rope, jumping jacks, power-knees, running, sprinting, frog-leaps, push-ups, mountain-climbers, burpies, shadow boxing, etc. We then glove up and hit the bags with 8 three minute rounds where the instructor (most of whom are professional fighters in boxing or MMA) calls out boxing sequences – jab, cross, hook, uppercut, front-kick, high-kick, elbow-strike, knee-strike. In between rounds is a minute of “active rest” with jumping jacks, lunges, squats, etc. The class ends with 15 minutes of core work torture where we do every form of crunch known to man and even some made-up ones (dead spider). And let’s not forget the planks either (the instructor never does).
Our first Power Hour was a total rush. We signed up on the spot, and after two months have found the workouts to be life altering. It turns out that boxing is really good for back-pain. All those extensions stretch out the shoulder and back muscles. I am relatively pain-free for the first time in years. Title Club is also great for stress release. I normally attend Power Hours during the lunch hour. On several occasions that bag was a demanding boss or ridiculous client. I emerge a different person.
I find that punching the bag also helps with concentration, too. With technology constantly pulling our attention in a million directions at once from Facebook to work email to personal email, very rarely do we find ourselves concentrating on just one thing – like a punch sequence. It’s surprising how hard it is to remember commands as simple as jab, cross, hook, uppercut. The focus helps lend clarity to the rest of the day. I am more concentrated after attending class.
And, this is the most exciting part, I have already started to shed pounds and pants sizes. Pretty soon I’ll have to replace all those clothes I just bought at Jos. A. Banks with smaller sizes. Oh well, I’ll have the money. We pay half the price for Title Club as our neighbors do at Crossfit, and personally, I think we are getting twice the work out.
I know many of my readers are fellow foodies, beer geeks, or wine nerds. Make sure that you are taking care of your bodies. A life of gluttonous living will surely be a short life lived. Check out a Title Club near you. They are sprouting up all across the country. As I am on the road a lot, maybe you’ll even spot me there. I have been known to take advantage of the travelling benefits of being a Title Club member and visiting sister clubs in cities across the country. If there isn’t one, plug in somewhere that pushes you physically further. And no, ten extra minutes on the elliptical won’t cut it.