The truth is, you don’t have to be into actual fighting to get a fun and challenging workout from a kickboxing class. Beyond the physical benefits, new Apple Fitness+ trainer Nez Dally—a Muay Thai fighter who, in 2018, became the first woman to compete wearing a hijab in Thailand—believes that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is its own reward.
“Being the first woman to compete in Thailand wearing a hijab was a very important moment for me and it happened at a time when there weren’t women like me occupying spaces like that,” Dally says. “While it can be scary to try something new, you have to lean into those moments. I’m always in the mindset of doing things that scare me because I know that’s how I can keep pushing myself.”
Dally says kickboxing helped her “find confidence and gain discipline” during a time when she needed that outlet. She hopes that the new kickboxing classes on Apple Fitness+ will help students find what they’re looking for, too.
How to pack a punch behind your, well, punches
To make the most of a kickboxing class without getting in your own head, Dally’s fellow trainer, Jamie-Ray Hartshorne, says taking the workout at your own pace is key. Here, he and Dally share their four top kickboxing tips for beginners.
1. Say the moves until you get the combo
“Kickboxing is a great cardio workout that improves coordination and overall strength with body conditioning,” Hartshorne says. “Everyone is a beginner at something, and that’s okay! To help you get familiar with the punches and kicks, try saying each move in your head or even out loud as you do them. The kicking and punching combinations will get easier and easier as you learn the moves.”
2. Approach each round like a fight
To access your power, you want to engage your mind and your body. In the Fitness+ Absolute Beginner Kickboxing workout, Dally explains that each round of combinations will be three minutes long, just like real fighting rounds. While that may not sound like a long time in a workout, she says that in the ring, a lot of intensity gets packed in to that time frame. So approaching each round like you would for a fight can help you access that sense of urgency.
3. Come back to your guard position
Because of that intensity, you’ll want to reset into your guard position—which is when your hands are up guarding your face—between each set of moves. That way you can always be ready for the next jab or kick.
“Your guard is your strong position and your safest position, so you always want to come back to it,” Dally says. “If you’re losing the combo, take a pause and come back in.”
4. Move from your core
As for your body, think of yourself as a whole unit moving together, not just a leg or an arm lashing out. To do that, engage your abs, back, and glutes—aka your core. Core strength is actually an integral, if understated, part of kickboxing.
“Like in so many sports, in kickboxing, the power behind every punch and kick comes from your core,” Hartshorne says. “Your core helps you move with speed and strength, for example when you rotate for a hook, lift your knee for a front kick, or simply put your hands up and brace to get ready for the next move!”
With the power of your whole body behind you, those jabs and roundhouses will have you working up a sweat—and believing in yourself—in no time.