Hello AFM readers!
This month, we journeyed over to a small kickboxing gym located off of Airport Boulevard: Rise Kickbox. First and foremost, Rise Kickbox is a welcoming environment for all fitness levels, and you can tell that they love to see their community succeed. Whether it’s losing weight, building confidence, breaking a bad addiction or improving your fighting skills, at this gym, there is a community in your corner.
Walking in, you can tell that’s what Rise is about. It’s so much more than just a gym or a place where you go to work out — it is a community, a family. I experienced the thrill of taking on a Bag Work & Body Weight class with Coach Fernando Bernstein, and I can vouch that it was as much fun as it was intense. The continuous movement and active recovery made for just the right amount of intensity — you know, the kind that causes quivering legs and your arms to feel like noodles? Yes, that’s the good stuff.
Coach Fernando has 18 years of experience in kickboxing and martial arts and has competed professionally in kickboxing, mixed martial arts (MMA) and jiu-jitsu. He’s been coaching for 16 of those years and loves learning and drilling the basics, because it’s the key to advancing in each client’s journey. If you are unsure how to get started or are a little intimidated, here’s what Coach Fernando recommends:
The first thing I noticed when I entered the facility was 10-12 heavy, 6-feet-tall bags suspended from strategically spaced racks. The floor plan is functional for group classes, bodyweight movements and of course, pounding the stuffing out of these heavy bags. Upon entry, it was as if every piece of equipment had its designated place, and I appreciated that the class was respectful of that, and it says a lot about how they care for their studio.
Coach Fernando set the tone and got us going through our movement prep warmup as we prepared our bodies to move. Following the gradual warmup, Coach Fernando gave us the format of the class. He instructed us through a base combination of strikes, kicks, knees and elbows and explained that we had 90 seconds to drill the combination, followed by a bodyweight movement circuit and repeat. Additionally, following each full round of bag work and bodyweight circuit, we added on to the base combination.
Our bodyweight circuit entailed banded lateral walks, medicine ball push-ups, left lead split lunges, right lead split lunges, and a med ball squat into an overhead press, followed by med ball sit-ups.
I am a huge fan of how we started — with an initial combo that gradually built on for the duration of the class. Also, the combinations were practical, in that the order of strikes/kicks flowed as it would if the bag could hit back. You see, if a punch is coming towards your face, it’s instinct for our hands to move up to protect our face, leaving the mid-section exposed. What I found challenging was focusing my mind to execute the combination accurately when my fatigue continued to increase (thanks to an active recovery, bodyweight circuit between 90-second rounds). Our class was fantastic about keeping each other motivated, yet allowing the space for you to get in your own zone and work stuff out. It’s nice to unload into a bag that doesn’t hit back, but it’s exhausting. Just try it for 90 seconds and see how it feels.
My forearms experienced the fire — then it crept into my shoulders. I appreciated that even though I’m no expert in kickboxing or martial arts, they made it easy to learn new strikes and kicks, how to put them together and get an exhilarating workout. Rounding out our fifth set of strikes and kicks followed by our bodyweight circuit, we finished out with eight minutes of core work — talk about bringing on the heat!
Core work consisted of side planks, which I was able to modify due to a recurring shoulder impingement, followed by hollow rocks and med ball sit-up throws. We finished our class with a cool down where I used a band to stretch my legs and lengthen my core while focusing on controlling my breath.
The class was 45 minutes in duration, leaving enough time for the instructors and class to wipe down the equipment with bacterial wipes, briefly socialize and hear announcements for upcoming Rise events. It was inspiring to see everyone hanging out after class and just catch up with each other — I think that speaks volumes about their community.
For the recovery portion of this month’s AC, the AFM team and I headed over to MSW lounge, a wellness clinic in West Lake Hills. To paint a picture for you, think of a lounge where every drink, interaction and service is intended to make you leave slightly healthier than when you entered the clinic. Available services include vitamin injections, IV drip, a vitamin bar and lab testing, and they even sell nutritional supplements on-site.
Jonathan Mendoza (Nurse Doza), president of MSW, and Baldomero Garza, vice president of MSW, place an emphasis on health education and tailoring the services to each individual’s lifestyle needs. When I entered, they asked, “How do you want to feel after treatment?” From that point on, they asked questions to learn my experiences, how I currently felt and then shared insight into their process of tailoring the delivery of nutrients. The ambiance of their facility is vibrant and intentionally designed to play its role in supporting rejuvenation, recovery and community.
I shared I was mentally drained, physically sore (just 24 hours after our Rise Kickbox workout) and looking for a boost. At that time, my soreness level was an eight out of ten. Personally, I’ve learned I am more sore 48 hours after a high-intensity training session, and we were using this as a benchmark for how I wanted to feel after treatment.
Because of this, I’d know if the protocol was working if my soreness didn’t increase the following day.
First, I visited the vitamin bar and received a Slenderella Boost vitamin drink and experienced what high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplements and vitamins can do for your health firsthand. My drink was tasty, lemony and refreshing — a better alternative to a high-sugar sports drink. The Slenderella Boost is a multivitamin cocktail complete with a combination of electrolytes, B vitamins, amino acids, herbs and glutathione. It was truly a triple threat in that it can be utilized as one’s daily multivitamin, energy drink or pre-workout — and this is just one of their multivitamin cocktail concoctions.
By the time I walked over to the next room, I was already feeling my state of mind shift from fatigued to alert. Up next was the IV drip. Why is IV drip beneficial? I learned that, when it comes to nutrient absorption, your best chance to optimize nutrient absorption is using delivery methods that bypass your gut. Vitamin transport by way of IV is most ideal for maximizing nutrients absorbed, followed by injection, delivery through nasal passage, cream massaged into your skin, and finally, the pill form (thanks, Nurse Doza, for the education). I received a custom IV drip with 0.5cc of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
According to Elysium Health, this coenzyme binds to other enzymes to cause reaction on the molecular level for aiding biological functions. My IV drip took about 40 minutes to complete and, during this time, I learned more about the healthpreneur’s media production and podcasts that take place at MSW Lounge, How Do You Health?, as well as their Educational Lunch & Learn series, which captures their commitment to creating productions that contribute to nurturing the understanding around a holistic approach to our health.
Following the treatment and multivitamin drink, it was a fantastic and welcomed surprise to rate my soreness a six out of ten the next day. I was blown away at my body’s response to the experience and how it was impactful enough to lower my soreness significantly — and so quickly.
This month’s edition of Ambassador’s corner is continuing efforts to support the Central Texas Food Bank and their mission to respond to the ongoing presence of food insecurity in Austin. We are grateful for your generous donations which are aiding the work of keeping Austin fed, and every cent counts as we work to increase food access to those who are in need.