Last summer, I was in a relationship unlike any I had been in before. Drama-filled and absurd, each day of the relationship was like living in an episode of Empire, complete with a narcissistic asshole and trashy sidepieces. When I discovered the extent of the lies and deception (in a courtroom nonetheless – I told you this was ABSURD!), I quickly got the hell out of there.
But relationships like that can leave a lot of questions. And anger. Revenge fantasies floated through my mind like ash after a volcanic eruption. I knew I needed to do something to release the pressure. So what’s a gal to do when you want to punch a sociopathic cheating liar and his piece of trash “baby mama” in the face, repeatedly? (Side note: if you use the terms “baby mama” or “baby daddy” with any kind of pride and without irony, please reevaluate your life.) Well, if you are like me and want to avoid going to jail over two pieces of shit, you find yourself a boxing class. And quick. So that is what I did.
As fate would have it, the World Champion Cardio Boxing gym is in my neighborhood. Run by Terrible Terry Norris and his wife Tonya, it’s a small gym that has a welcoming vibe that also says “we’re not about to tolerate your bullshit”. I loved it immediately. Classes are kept small (about 10 people) which I really appreciate. I’m not a fan of those giant classes where you get lost in the shuffle. AT WCCB, Terry pays attention to each student, correcting form and pushing you to “fight through it”.
And Terry knows a thing or two about fighting through it. A native Texan, he held both the IBF and WCA Light Middleweight championships before hanging up his gloves in the late-1990s. His record is 47-9 (31 KOs) and defended his title against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1991. Currently living with Pugilistic Dementia and Parkinsonism brought on from his extraordinary career, he’s also working on his life story and is still in amazing shape! He and his wife Tonya opened WCCB in 2010 in the garage of their home and expanded to their current Toluca Lake location in January 2016.
I reached out to Tonya and after explaining that I needed to hit something as soon as possible, she found me a spot in the 6am class the following day.
Here’s how a typical class breaks down (from the WCCB site):
- Warm-up – Approximately 5 to 10 minutes
A complete head to toe warm-up. Its purpose is to safely prepare your muscles and tendons for the rest of the session.
- Conditioning – Approximately 10 minutes
This is typically a transition from the warm-up into some boxing specific strength and conditioning exercises. These are resistance exercises that emphasize muscular strength and endurance, speed, tone and anaerobic conditioning.
- Technique – Approximately 5 minutes
One to two new techniques are introduced in each session. The objective is to build from the basics, such as fundamental punches, to more complex combinations and defensive maneuvers.
- Hitting Drills – Approximately 35 minutes
These are the heart of the workout. Timed rounds are employed in a circuit training format that works everything from focus mitts to target shields to heavy bags and more. This is highly anaerobic, involving two or three minute rounds (work intervals) interspersed with one minute active recovery periods. After a series of these rounds, you will be refreshingly exhausted, de-stressed and invigorated.
- Cool Down – Approximately 5 minutes
This gets your heart rate down while you stretch out and improve your flexibility
With hip hop blaring, we then ran through some punches and some footwork. Cardio rounds alternated with slower, stretching moves and then we hustled from bag to bag, punching 15 times at each. When the bell rang two minutes later, I had sweat dripping into my eyes and I smelled really bad. All signs of an amazing workout. I was also feeling sick to my stomach, which was a first for me.
Now let me just say that I’m fit. I have competed in triathlons and half marathons. I run a 5k every weekend. I weight train and I’ve NEVER thrown up during a workout. But Terry Norris almost broke me. Forty minutes into the workout, I started feeling sick. So sick in fact that I started looking around for the bathroom, my mind racing. “Jesus, where’s the bathroom?! I am going to be sick. Don’t be sick. Breathe. Oh god, am I going to be THAT person? Do I just go outside and throw up?”
Luckily, Terry keeps an eye on his students and noticed that I looked grey and told me to breathe and rest, which I did until I felt well enough to rejoin the class.
Despite almost tossing my cookies that morning, I felt great after the workout. I have been going back about three times a week and am absolutely hooked! After the first few weeks, I noticed my anger subsiding and my training sessions took on an almost meditative feeling.
My goal was never weight loss but I have gotten stronger and leaner. I have also noticed more definition in my abs and in my arms. My punches are landing stronger and my footwork is coming along as well. I have also noticed the difference in how I feel when I miss a class. Let’s just say, I find I am a much nicer person when I spend an hour punching a bag. I would definitely recommend this gym to anyone looking to mix it up and try something new that might make you throw up but will ultimately make you stronger.
Note: I am not being paid to mention WBBC and Terry Norris – I just love this gym so much!