Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

After 9 Rounds of 9 Round

So I've had 9 workouts at the 9 Round adventure and overall am definitely enjoying it.  I've had two workouts that I would've classed as excellent, one (discounting the first) that was a complete waste of showing up, and the rest are somewhere in the middle.  I am definitely seeing physical changes already, although to be fair, I was so out of shape that *any* program would show difference at the start, so I'm not sure that's a great measure lol.

I love that the 30 mins really is exactly 30 mins.  Some of the trainers are definitely a better fit for me than others, but to be expected.  There's also one station that's always trainer-reliant because they hold the pads you kick/punch.  The quality of this varies greatly depending on the skill and strength of the trainer.   There's one that it's a waste of 3 minutes because she stands too far away to reach and needs a break after every round -- I'd rather just workout against the bag.   Conversely there's one who's excellent and pushes me way more than the bag ever would because he pushes the speed and strength just a little each time.  With him, I'm generally struggling by the end of the 3 minutes.

And yeah - 3 minute sets (with the last 30 seconds sometimes something different) are just about right.   There've been a couple that I've found too short, but as often as not, I'm wiped by 2:30 and good to go to something else ;).   The one that killed me today used the sideways bag and was 10 double punches (both hands together), four shin kicks, and three burpees.   Rinse and repeat.  I was dying by the time the bell rang.   It doesn't sound that bad at all, but somehow...

My rhythm and coordination are improving on all the bags.  I really enjoy the speedball although tbh I think it's the least useful from a workout perspective -- and I suspect I'm not the only one who thinks so because it's last (before abs) and usually paired with burpees or something equally unpleasant.   I strongly dislike both knee and elbow work - I don't have any power, they don't seem to be working specific muscles that aren't otherwise addressed, and they hurt.   Conversely - all the others are all kinds of badass - especially the roundhouse kick.  lol. I'm glad there aren't more mirrors, because I'm quite certain my reality is nowhere near my imagination ;)

I'm starting to get a better feel for the "point" system and could see it being useful. I do find it frustrating at times though as it's entirely heart rate based and if there are too many non-cardio exercises in a row my heart rate drops quickly.   Some days they nail the balance, but some days are almost all strength and that doesn't really work as far as points go.  I do like my email summary, although the app is a waste of bytes.   It's a shame because they could make it something interesting fairly easily.

Anyways - we'll see how it goes, but for the moment, all good.

Be brave enough to suck at something new

Stumbled upon the title quote today and love it.  Especially as it totally fits with my day ;)

So there's a new gym around the corner from me that just opened today - 9 Round (it's a chain, you can google).  It follows a premise of circuit training with -- you guessed it -- 9 stations.  Each station is 3 minutes, with a 30 second miscellaneous exercise in-between.   And what's different is that it's a kickboxing focus.

Boxing.  Like with boxing gloves.  Which I now not only own, but know how to wrap my wrists to support ;).  Hint -- it's *significantly* easier than wrapping a horse's legs *g*.  What's not easier is doing up the second glove while wearing the first one ;).  Also, I learned quickly to remove rings before starting.  Ow.

So the equipment stays the same every workout, but the exercises change daily.

Round 1 is skipping.  How many of you have tried skipping any time past the age of 12?  Lol yeah - way harder, and more exhausting, than I remember.   I distinctly recall skipping for HOURS in Jump Rope for Heart.   Today...   I made it to the three minutes, but had to fight for it.  And that was with "breaks" that were caused by getting tangled in the rope.  The worst was getting it tied in my pony tail?!?!  I honestly don't think I could do that if I tried.   But... Magic ;-P.  I figure my cardio will improve faster than my coordination.

Round 2 is weights -- today's exercise was weighted squat kicks using a kettle ball.  Okay that's a pretty standard exercise, so nothing interesting.

Round 3 is when the gloves go on and a had a smaller ball held in place at about eye level.  It had enough swing to it that I stood back so it wouldn't punch me in the face, but not free swinging.  This one was fun in that today's exercise was just punch with one hand and then with the other.  They showed me how one is theoretically supposed to do this.  My form, I'm sure, was ummmm questionable.  It was fun though and moderately entertaining (read horribly embarrassing if anybody were watching).  While I don't think I actually missed the ball at any point, I definitely struck it well off centre sending the ball bouncing wildly in all directions and a good thing it's literally tied down, and also had challenges with rhythm and timing (eg - hitting the ball as it's going away).

The whole picture is worth 1000 words thing:  Round 3 on the left, Round 4 on the right.
All pictures stolen from Google
Round 4 includes a "normal" punching bag.  I say normal because it's what I, in my completely unknowledgeable state, think of when I think of a punching bag.  Big, solid, taller than me, bag.  It was used for a backward lunge into front kick -- mine kicks were about shin high *g*.  Lol now these I've done before too, just never with a bag.  Added an interesting twist in that if you got the timing with the rhythm of the bag swinging it flowed really well, but if you didn't it was arguably better exercise because you had a lot more push back.  And thankfully my balance is solid so the times when it spun out sideways (cause nobody is surprised I can't kick with any accuracy!) I could stay upright.

Round 5 was a GIANT ball.  lol this one was a series of uppercuts, then duck and shuffle under the ball and uppercuts on the other side.  Again - proper form was demonstrated.  What I did, I'm quite certain did not even slightly resemble it ;).  But moderately entertaining.  And the last 30 seconds was just punch as fast as you can, which was more fun than it should've been.

This needs a person for scale ;)

Round 6 was by far the most fun.  It involved one of the trainers with punching pads -- he would tell me what order to punch in and meet my punches with giant pads.  Fun both because it took my lack of coordination out of the picture -- he accommodated for it ;).  And also because it gave way more complex combinations (utilizing all the punches I'd learned in the previous rounds).  It also ended with a "as fast as possible" in the last 30 seconds.
This looks like fun, but it is not :(
Round 7 I really disliked.  It was a sideways bag and the idea was to bring your leg up underneath it and hit it with knee/thigh.  After about 30 seconds, my hips were killing me.   So random.  Very definitely not supposed to be what was sore from that, but of course I would involve random body parts.  So I didn't get much out of this, because I couldn't get past that enough to work the muscles that were supposed to be.  It was bad - trainer even asked me if I was recovering from an injury?!?!  So pathetic.  Nope.  Just work at an office job and am completely inflexible.

Round 8 I think will be my favourite once I get good at it.  Today was not that day.   It's a tiny ball that bounces really fast.   But today's challenge was to hit it on every third bounce...   I'd get the rhythm for five or six times in a row, but then I'd miss it horribly and take a while to reset.

Round 9 is abs.  Today was just weighted situps.  Nothing exciting and nothing horrible.  Followed by 30 seconds of plank which, I admit, I failed at.  lol ah well, going to say that means I did the rest of it well.

So yeah - this is my new challenge.  Going to give it a month and see if I like it.   Overall, I think there's potential for it to be a good workout -- mine wasn't particularly but that was mostly due to being slowed down due to lack of coordination and needing explanation at each station.  That should get significantly better quickly.  

They make decent use of technology -- I was given a heart rate monitor and stats are on the screen while you're exercising.  The goal is to say in the "yellow" or "green" areas -- which basically means you're working but not at top level.  They also give you a score based on your ability to stay in that area.  The trainers seemed very happy with my score of 80 (I guess target score is 60) but given the lack of cardio beyond the skipping this didn't really mean much to me.   I also got an email summary later that evening which I enjoyed more than I should.   Yeah dashboards :)

The only thing I really don't like is the cutesy culture.  They want everybody to pick a "fighter name" which is so not my thing and that they insist you ring a bell when you finish the round.  And worse, ring once for good workout, twice for a great workout, and 3 times for an amazing workout.   Well not only do I have zero interest in doing this, but I find it aggravating to hear the bell constantly ringing as others finish.  It's a little thing, but it might make the difference overall.

My timing was good as when I got there there were people at most of the stations, but nobody came in after me, so by the end I was the only one in the gym with two trainers.  Slightly awkward, but at least pretty sure they'd catch if I was doing something stupid.

So we'll see.  Go back tomorrow to see if anything is any better on day 2.  Cause you know, coordination improves greatly when one's tired ;)