If you’re anything like me, you have an entirely prepared arsenal of swift and sharp body movements, should you suddenly be assaulted on the way to your car while leaving the library at 2:00 in the afternoon. While some may think it’s because I have an overactive imagination and too much Portuguese blood running through my veins (and perhaps am a tiny bit crazy), you can never be prepared enough to guard your precious cargo. Lucky for us, there is a place where you can hone those tough-girl skills while getting a killer workout at the same time.
I knew I was in the right place when I pulled into the small warehouse-style lot on a backstreet in Johnston and saw an open garage and a herd of exhilarated and sweaty ass-kickers making their way to their cars. I was heading to Rondeau’s Kickboxing for a Hip-Hop Fitness Kickboxing class and I was excited to get my blood flowing with some punches and kicks. I’ve taken some real-deal boxing classes before and there is nothing quite as liberating as channeling all of your day’s stresses into the motion of a strong swing (provided you don’t miss your target and knock out the person behind you). When I walked through those doors and immediately saw a shirt that read, “Fight like a Girl,” I knew I was in for a treat.
Christina Rondeau, owner of Rondeau’s and professional boxer, kick-boxer and coach (and all-around badass), is the pioneer of “Fitness Kickboxing” and the creator of the first ever kickboxing and boxing gym that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (with a ladies-only VIP membership). I chatted with Christina for a bit before we began and she walked me through their class area and 24-hour gym, which consisted of high-quality punching bags, cardio equipment and a free weight and bench section. I loved the nitty-gritty feel and “realness” to her gym – it was one that exuded strength and drive, but without any intimidation. I knew I was going to put in some work here. Which is exactly how a gym should be. Christina told me that their focus is to teach certified kickboxing moves that empower, boost self-esteem and give confidence while promoting fitness and health. I was a fan.
Class began as our instructor, Shawna, took the reigns. I loved Shawna. She talked to us straight (no sugar-coating), pushed us hard and made us laugh. After a warm-up that consisted of ab, core and arm work, she cranked the hip-hop music and had the large group of us pair up as we ran through different combinations of jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, roundhouses, slips and more. We didn’t stop moving for an hour – as we took turns with and motivated our partners – and Shawna walked around to be sure each of us were doing things correctly. The cool thing about hip-hop kickboxing is that Rondeau’s has an actual DJ come in to play during class (the line-up hadn’t started yet as of the date I took it, but check back to their FB page for more info on who will be coming). And, yes, there were guys taking the class, too. Being a badass has no boundaries.
At the end of the fitness kickboxing, I felt energized, strong and like I could take anyone on. The library parking lot better watch out.