Let me say this: you’re going to need a change of clothes. Now let me explain why: when you take Joe Rivera’s Kickboxing Burn at Burn Fitness you will sweat so much you will be sopping wet by the time you leave.

Rivera, a black belt in two styles of martial arts with 30 years of training behind him, structures his class so that it runs like a professional boxing match. There are 12 rounds; each round is three minutes long — with a specific purpose in mind.

The first two rounds deal with jumping rope, a warm up, which Rivera explains, “gives you timing, which means that every time the rope moves over you and you jump forward to the time it takes the rope to go back around, that rope travels a distance and the distance is measured in a unit, and that unit is called ‘time.’ When you start to get a sense of how fast that rope is traveling in that distance of time you’ll have a sense of calculating how fast a person’s fist might move toward you before you have to get out of the way.”

Thankfully, in Rivera’s class, no one punches me in the face!

Round number three is designed to set the tone and intensity. Rivera has us crawling like Spider-man back and forth across the floor.

“If you crawl across the room correctly several things start to happen. You get a sense of rotation, while you shift one hip left to right. You strengthen the striking muscles; hips, quads, legs, gluts and shoulders and triceps. Your heart is in an anaerobic zone. And lastly, when you have to move backward doing those Spider-man’s and you have other people coming at you and you’re trying not to crash into them you must truly focus on the exercise at hand,” he says.

It forces you to be present in the moment.

Everything is centered on enhancing performance for the combative arts. The class is regimented and precise, even the music is timed to specific sections of the class.

“Boxing is a total body workout,” says Rivera.

Rivera made the class so hard that it’s impossible not to get in shape. The first 12 minutes of the class my heart rate is completely jacked up. I feel like I’m going to die. Rivera smiles and yells out, “How you doing there, Taylor?” I can barely speak.

Subsequent rounds include kickboxing poses. This is NOT EASY. Grrrrr!

“Most people have no experience punching and kicking. Unless you actually hit a target you won’t know what you’re doing. You need to know how to align your fist, how to align your wrist, what area of the fist to strike with, how much you need to penetrate through the target, you need to know the difference between perceived target and actual target, which no one ever discusses. Perceived target is the target that you think you’re going to hit; i.e. a bag. Actual target is the eight inch thrust beyond the bag,” explains Rivera.

Rivera also has us moving around constantly. You jab (leading with your left), cross (with your right) then administer a left hook while moving around the target. Your target BTW, is another human being (holding focus mitts). Part of me just wants to stand still. No chance here.

“You know that old adage, ‘It’s better to give than receive?’ In boxing it rings true for everyone.” The idea being: you don’t want to get clipped in the face. It’s a little daunting. Your hands must be wrapped (with hand wraps), you wear gloves for part of the class, and you’re constantly working.

I have to admit to you folks, I had grand plans these last two weeks — while my trainer was out of town — to double up on cardio, workout in the morning and hit the gym again at night … but I have to be honest, a certain, very special guy came back into town and well … time got away from me. Thankfully, the Burn Fitness online diet program, Fat Burn, combined with my trainer, Keith Sims’ voice in my head, telling me to make healthier food choices, and Rivera’s TKO classes, I was able to lose a pound!

Well, my special guy returns in a few weeks and Sims is back in town so I’m ready to lose another three pounds and get my butt seriously kicked !!!

For more info: Kickbox Burn/LA Box Camp at Facebook, or Burn Fitness.com

Taylor can be reached at tailfish@roadrunner.com.

By the numbers

Starting Weight: 182

Pounds Lost: 21.5

Current Weight: 160.5

Goal Weight: 135

Pounds to Lose to Goal: 25.5

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