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What’s Farrell’s like? Part 1: Kickboxing class

21 Jul


Farrell’s is an intense combination of cardio and resistance training, six days a week for 45 minutes. My favorite part is the kickboxing. As my friend likes to say, “kickboxing makes you feel like a badass”.

So true. 

Aerobic/Cardio/Kickboxing class, 3 days a week

The kickboxing classes are the core of the program, designed to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and build flexibility and muscle tone. They usually start with some stretching (about 5 minutes), transition to some warm-up exercises (5-10 minutes) and the remainder on various kickboxing (punches, jabs, roundhouse kicks) interspersed with other drill exercises (pushups, sprints, squats).

The first couple of weeks are tough, if you were mostly sedentary before! Your instructor will find muscles you didn’t know you had. You’ll ache the next day, and that’s a good thing! After that, your body will adjust somewhat, and it won’t hurt as much, but the intensity picks up even further as you continue. It never gets easy. Ever. That’s kind of the point. Even when you’re an old timer, they’ve got ways to ramp up the intensity of almost every exercise.

There’s significant variety, too. There’s probably more than 100 different exercises that are interspersed in different ways, and different instructors definitely have different styles and patterns. I recall the 42nd birthday of one of my instructors, which of course meant we did 42 reps of every single thing – pushups included. Ouch.

Stretching at Farrell’s

Stretching at the beginning is important in preventing injury and preparing your body for the workout to come. As someone who did very little stretching or exercise before Farrell’s, I found the stretches … awkward, to say the least, during the first few weeks. Balance on a few of them is a bit tough, but you quickly get the hang of it, even if I still lack gracefulness on a few, even today.

Do pay attention to the instructors’ comments on technique. Each stretch is designed to target a certain muscle or group of muscles, and you should be able to feel it quite clearly if you’re doing it correctly. If not, ask an instructor later for guidance.

They do add in new stretches here and there, or change the order, but its mostly the same general items.

Warm-up Exercises at Farrell’s

Warm-up exercises are fun, usually because the music is pumping and the instructors get you going pretty quickly. Jumping jacks, jump rope, and front kicks or jabs are the mainstays but there are a few sequences that require some coordination skills to keep up. That only matters if you care about keeping in time with the rest of the class! There’s probably 20 or so variations on those exercises, and the instructors change them around pretty regularly and make them tougher as you progress. But don’t worry, you’ll pick up the warm-up exercises quickly as well. They’re not hard to learn or do, but you will be sweating by the time you’re done.

Sometimes you’ll do the warm-up before stretching, or mix them up, but in any case, by the time you’re done, your heart is pumping and you’re ready to go.


The main event is kickboxing. The first couple of weeks, kickboxing might be pretty straightforward and is perhaps half the class time. But as you proceed, the stretching and warm-ups get shorter and the kickboxing gets more class time, gets more complex, and gets much more intense.

For the most part, the kickboxing consists of you punching or kicking a large punching bag, usually with a partner. I’m not sure I knew precisely what kickboxing was before I started Farrell’s, but it’s fun, it’s energizing, and you’ll enjoy it.

There are a handful of different kicks and punches you’ll use, and like the warm-ups, the sequences require some coordination to master but they’re not too hard. In the very beginning, it might feel a little ridiculous (I, for one, didn’t generally spend much time punching things before Farrell’s!) but after the first few weeks it feels pretty natural.

As you might expect, this is the most intense part of the workout, and so be prepared to be tired before you’ve completed the 45 minutes. Especially the first few weeks, you’ll likely have a reaction to the instructor’s request like I did: “You’ve got to be kidding me…” but once you’ve done it a few weeks, it feels good punching or kicking that bag, and you won’t be tired nearly as quickly during the class.

It’s not all punching and kicking though.  Since the purpose of the kickboxing program is to build your cardio stamina, you’ll often include interval training. Interval training mixes things like high intensity punches with something low intensity like crunches or planks – which are tough but aren’t necessarily pushing your cardiorespiratory system very hard. In other words, even though you’ll be punching and kicking, you’ll also be doing dozens of exercises in between, and switching from high to low intensity over and over.

Often there’s a focus on speed to get up or get down, e.g. alternating situps with punches where you’re standing, which is designed to make sure you have to fully get your body up and down quickly, repeatedly. It’s harder than it sounds. 


So the kickboxing component of Farrell’s consists of those three parts. Together, they make for a fantastic workout for 45 minutes. They’ll get you toned, get your heart rate up, and burn some serious calories (for me, it’s typically 400-500 calories in 45 minutes).

You’ll like the kickboxing classes.


Tip of the day

20 Jul

Today I went to the 5:30 PM class, because I had a meeting in the morning that I couldn’t get around. Right before I went to Farrell’s, though, I ate chips and salsa. Not recommended – I felt like I had raging heartburn and was nauseous the last 10 minutes of the class.

Might not be the same for everybody, but I’m just sayin’, chips and salsa are not the best plan for a quick pre-workout snack.

Not that they would have made the Farrell’s diet plan anyway.