I previously blogged about a boxing friend of mine who suggested I try skipping to improve my cardiovascular fitness.
What I didn’t reveal in that blog entry is that this friend also suggested I try boxing. I’m ashamed to say I responded with a big frown face and mumbled something like ‘I’m a lover not a fighter’. LAME!
You see, growing up with tiger mother, my siblings and I were coerced into attending martial arts classes. CORRECTION. I was coerced into attending…… The other two loved class! So much so that my sister went on to become a junior European semi-contact Karate champion and my brother fought at the Muay Thai World Championships (pictured). Me? I cried. I cried when I got jabbed in the face. I cried when the instructor corrected my form. I cried so much that in the end I was allowed to drop the lessons……yessssss!…Not that I got off Scott free though, …….. I had to take up swimming instead……….. and that’s a whole other story!!
So- back to martial arts. Given my drive to always try new things, I decide to give classes another try and proceed to look for something suitable. Despite being a bit timid my enduring motto is just say no to Tae Bo!!! So I look for an MMA club with mixed gender and ability members. I stumble across some internet chatter and a newspaper article about Team Nogueira Dubai MMA and Fitness Academy.
What attracts me to this place is the offer of fitness classes, alongside martial arts classes. Still being apprehensive about full contact activities, I sign up for the no contact Ginastica Natura class. I find the venue easily (rare occurrence in Dubai!!) and with trepidation enter. The venue is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; boxing ring, fight cage, punch bags and tons of interesting looking crossfit equipment. The toned and chiseled casually mill around and I must admit I begin to feel a little intimidated.
I’m not overtly outgoing by nature, but to my surprise I soon find myself effortlessly chatting to everyone! I have never experienced such warm welcomes and introductions before. I feel right at home and increasingly excited to be there.
The class itself is physically challenging in a way that is difficult to describe. Like traditional bodyweight exercises, the routine was simple yet required concentration and effort to execute the moves. Unlike traditional routines, the movements were fluid and dynamic. I soon found myself sweating like I had gone for an outside run-minus the heavy breathing! By the end of the session I could feel the lactic acid build up in my muscles -particularly in my arms. Brilliant! The next day, I was sore all over.
The instructor was fantastic. Knowledgeable, funny, friendly and patient. Her confident, easygoing demeanour must have rubbed off on me as I didn’t feel awkward or self-conscious at any point during the class. I finished up desperate to try the other classes -particularly ladies camp and cross fight.
It probably worth noting that I work out on a budget, so for me the cost of membership is a factor to consider. The sessions are payable in monthly blocks, not individually so you really do have to commit to attend 3 times a week or more the get good value for money. I do really like the facility though – so much so that I think I will be signing up for a one month trial. Who knows I may even end up giving an MMA class a try!