“I have no idea what’s going to happen. And I love it.”

As The Great Experiment continues (for those of you who are new to the blog, it’s my four week break from running), I’ve been using my newfound free workout time to mix up my routine, lift more, let my muscles rest, and, most importantly, try new workouts.

This week’s adventure: the full mix of workouts – Kickboxing, Bootcamp, and Strength Training – from JoeFitness.


Where the magic happens

I’ve known Joe since our days working together at a local gym. I always respected Joe for his knowledge and approach. Then I had the opportunity to work out with him and, holy shit. 10 years later, I still remember having sore abs for two weeks.

While I like Joe’s style and trust that he and his wife/co-trainer, Jill know their stuff, I’ve never been a member of or worked out at their gym. With my constant focus on running, always in race training mode, I could never quite figure out when it would make sense for me to fit his workouts into my regimen.

The upside to my running sabbatical that I was most looking forward to was the chance to finally work out at JoeFitness. This past week, I supplemented a few of my regular gym days with his classes. And I loved it.

Here are the three things I learned during a week at JoeFitness.

30 Minutes or Less
No, I’m not talking about pizza. Although I could really go for some pizza…

I’m referring to an ass-kicking, sweat-inducing, utterly-fatiguing workout can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes. For someone who considers one-hour-plus workouts to be my best of the week, purely based on the time factor, this was pretty refreshing.

p.s. 30 minutes in Joe’s class went by faster than 10 minutes of regular cardio on the bike, EFX, or Stairmaster. Oh I loathe the Stairmaster.


How can you not feel great about a workout that includes putting on these bad boys?

Kicking and Punching Not Frowned Upon
Joe’s Kickboxing class, the first one I tried, was tough – but also, really fun. Sometimes the best part of a good run is to relieve stress or even anger. That was one of the things I was concerned about with giving it up for four weeks. But I discovered, if you’re angry and then go to a class where you get to punch and kick things, you’ll feel better.

Plus, it kinda makes you feel like a badass. Speaking of, there were two sets of the workout where we got to spar with Joe. That was the coolest.

It’s Good to Feel Out of Shape
You know how it goes when you feel like you’re in good shape, then you try something new and you suddenly feel horribly out of shape? That sucks, right?

But this week made me realize that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes, we get too comfortable with what we know and what we do well, then forget what it’s like to have a workout absolutely kick our ass.

For the record, yes, I am stating that working out at JoeFitness made me feel horribly out of shape.

Those are three things I learned.
And now, three things I already knew that have been confirmed.

Aggressive Sweating
During an interview this summer with my favorite runner, Carrie Tollefson, another of my favorite runners, Shalane Flanagan, revealed that her coach has described her as an “aggressive sweater.” Not only did this NOT gross me out, it made me love Shalane even more. You see, I too sweat more than the average person.

Within the first three minutes of Joe’s Kickboxing and two minutes of Bootcamp, I was sweating. And with all workouts, I left Joe’s drenched in sweat. Especially 5:30 a.m. Bootcamp. My whole drive home was uncomfortable.

I Haven’t Lost It
Not to brag but I’m a pretty awesome dancer. I was a member of danceline throughout junior high and high school where my natural coordination was put to good use.

Although it would be quite an asset in Zumba and other classes requiring said coordination, I’ve never been a fan of organized classes and such workouts so my coordination skills aren’t really tested much anymore. However, I was pleased to see I hadn’t lost that when shuffling through Joe’s workout stations. I did struggle right away with some of the complex, powerlifting moves in Strength class but once I got the hang of it, I felt nice and smooth.

Following Directions Takes Effort
Just as quickly as I was proud of my coordination, I realized how much my “read-and-follow-directions” skills are lacking. And perhaps it’s why I tend to shy away from classes and do my own thing in the gym.

Joe’s workouts featured five to 15 stations, each with a different exercise game plan. In Kickboxing, for example, upon arriving at each station, one is required to look at the plan and do what’s on the sheet or whiteboard. A few times, I may or may not have failed to read and follow directions, and instead just start doing something that felt right. Joe and Jill, being the attentive leaders they are, were quick to point out and correct me each of these times.

To sum up, this past week of non-running has been my favorite. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I barely experienced any feelings of FOMOR. As I was leaving Joe’s today, I mentioned this to Jill, and thanked both her and Joe for the great experience – and in advance for my sore abs I’ll surely have tomorrow.

Now all I need to do is figure out how I can make this a more regular part of my workout routine!

Fargo friends, have you tried JoeFitness? I highly recommend you do – then let me know what you think. Especially this time of year when the weather sucks, it’s dark, and motivation can just be lacking, it’s a great chance to get in gear.

Non-Fargo peeps, do you regularly do or have you done HIIT, bootcamp-style, or kickboxing classes? What types are your favorites? Comment below or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.


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