Do you know your limits?
It seems I have a bit of a reputation for pushing clients quite hard in my classes. More than a few clients have told me that they need to get in better shape before attending. Or that they might be a bit nervous trying one of my classes for the first time. I get it. And it's somewhat justified. My classes will always be difficult, no matter what level you're at currently. I'm always watching every single client. Watching their form, watching how they're responding to certain combinations, adjusting and queuing as required, keeping them as safe as possible. But I'm also watching to see if you're really pushing as hard as you could be pushing yourself.
But does this mean you have to be an elite athlete to attend these classes? Absolutely NOT! No matter what your current level of fitness is, or how skilled you may or may not be, you will realize the benefits of being pushed harder than you thought you could push yourself. There's no "fitness level" you need to be at before attending. There's no "skill level" you need to be at either.
When I see both first-timers and experienced fighters in my class together, and both come out with a smile on their faces, it's a huge reward. For the client, and for me. Both will take something out of the class that makes them smile. It could be because they pushed themselves hard, they learned a new skill, they finally got a technique or combination down pat, or simply because they feel empowered by knowing they're learning a martial art. Sometimes it's just about letting out the demons. This is one of the most common reasons clients tell me is their motivation for attending our kickboxing classes. There is definitely some therapy in hitting that heavy bag. I've been doing it my entire life, so I know this first hand.
So do you need to push "that" hard? Well, that depends on a few things. If you're exercising every single day (sometimes more than once per day), then you probably shouldn't be pushing yourself to your absolute limits every single time. This will inevitably lead to fatigue and potential injury. Your body needs recovery time as well. This could be active recovery (i.e. - walking, hiking, etc.) or a restorative type class (i.e. - yoga, pilates, mobility, etc.).
Am I saying you should attend less of our kickboxing classes? NO! However, if you're attending these kickboxing classes every day (and there's enough kickboxing classes on our schedules to do just that), it's going to be difficult to put forth your strongest effort in each and every class. And I'm still going to push you hard, whether you're ready for it or not. So it's up to you to find "your" balance. Remember, I don't know if you've attended a class or two just before coming to my class, or if you've pushed yourself to your max the day before. My ultimate goal is to try my best to make sure every single client is pushing themselves to their personal limit, or beyond their "perceived" limit, in every single class.
So you may still be asking ... is this really "necessary"? Do I "need" to push that hard? After all, we're not all trying to make the Olympic team. We all don't have a big fight to prepare for. We all don't necessarily have a competition we're preparing for. For the most part we just want to get or stay in shape, right? Or perhaps we have a weight-loss goal. Or we participate in some other sport and want to work on sport-specific strengths, or cross-training to help prevent sport-specific injuries. So as long as we're active shouldn't that be enough?
Well, let's look at it this way. Let's try comparing this to your career, your job, your business or even your relationships. If you're simply going through the motions to get the job done, and don't push yourself outside your comfort zone, are you really doing a great job? Are you advancing your career to your satisfaction? Are you thriving in your business? Are you building strong relationships? Are you the best you can be for your family, friends, loved ones?
Does pushing yourself really hard in your workouts really help with all that? I believe so ... strongly! If you can push past your perceived limits, if you can keep going even when your body & brain is telling you to stop, if you never give up ... this all translates to real life and will permeate into everything you do. For a lot of people the gains are mostly mental and not necessarily physical.
All that being said, I do recognize that not everyone is ready to be pushed outside their comfort zone. Some people simply want to stay active, and that's all good. Some people simply want to learn the skills we teach, and that's fine too. If you're moving and you're happy, then all the power to you. You'll still be very welcome in my classes and all of our classes. And you will still benefit both physically and mentally.
So if you see my name as your instructor on the class schedule, there's no need to be nervous or intimidated. I will welcome you with open arms no matter what your goals are. I'll just be happy that you're attending my classes and trusting me to guide you in the right direction. So jump in, enjoy and have fun with it. And listen to your body. Add rest and recovery days as required (even if that rest is required in the middle of my class).