I wasn’t sure what to expect going in—my knuckles hurt if I do a fist bump and I’m no fighter—but my first shot at a cardio kickboxing class was love at first punch.

Do you ever feel like punching something? I know I do, but until now I didn’t have a good outlet for that feeling. Then I tried out a kickboxing class at Elevation Boxing and Fitness, a gym in Moriarty that’s been open now for about six months. For most of that time, a friend has been inviting me to try out this class and I finally quit procrastinating and joined her.

I can’t adequately describe just how good it feels to punch and kick your way around a gym for an hour.

I’ve heard it said that food is the most abused anti-depressant “drug,” and that exercise is the least used anti-depressant “treatment.” I believe that. As most of us are running around stressed out and maxed out, exercise as a physical outlet for that stress has immediate tangible benefits. As in, it feels really good.

As I’ve worked my way through this journey toward health and fitness and away from couch potato, I’ve learned how much of the battle is in my head. The decision of whether or not to work out, whether to eat healthy food, frankly, whether to take care of myself at all when self-neglect has been the norm for decades, is mental. Self-destructive habits of a lifetime have ingrained the idea that I don’t deserve to be taken care of, by others or myself. And if you are like me, and many other women, knowing how to release pent-up anger is a thing.

A little bit of training in how to punch by Amber Brown.

Amber “The Bully” Brown owns the gym with her husband Joe. Elevation Boxing and Fitness offers classes for children, co-ed classes for men and women, and women’s classes, along with personal training. Amber said she finds that many women have the same reaction I did, and my quick conversations with other people in the class confirmed that impression.

A side note, unrelated to this class specifically: For years, every time I’ve tried a new class, ranging from belly dancing to Jazzercize to Zumba, my reaction has been the same. Usually after a class, I find myself fighting back tears because I felt so inadequate during the class. In fact, over the years, most classes I’ve tried have left me wanting to quit in some way.

But my comfort zone is changing, and my fitness level is changing, and after this class, I felt like doing it again—as soon as possible.

Gym memberships are available by the month, week or day, and drop-in prices for classes are available also. For the women’s class I took, the first session is $5, after that classes are $10 per session.

The gym is at 2209 Route 66 on the west side of Moriarty, and can be reached at 505-267-2088. Find them on Facebook by searching @elevationboxnfit.

Have you tried kickboxing or another workout that took you outside your comfort zone? You can reach me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or by finding my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.