SILVERDALE — It’s not easy, but it’s a lot of fun to get a workout at iLoveKickboxing in Silverdale.
With a 15-minute warmup that might very well be the most challenging part — intense cardio to get your heart pumping — followed by some stretching and then six rounds of kickboxing moves with a personal bag for resistance, plus a couple rounds of partner exercise to improve hand-eye coordination, the hour-long class will have you sweating, even on your first day.
But this isn’t an ordinary box gym with large class sizes and no time for personal attention. In fact, owner Dan Fish said he and the other instructors are constantly walking around the mat, helping people correct their form and get the most of the class.
“The attention and encouragement you get from others around you is what separates us,” Fish said.
Classes can be up to about 30 people, Fish said, but depending on the time of day can be much smaller. Whether it’s your first day or your 100th, you all work out together. Though first timers and others still finding their footing can follow along with the modifications as you get into the swing of things.
iLoveKickboxing’s Silverdale location opened Nov. 12, 2016, and is dedicated to people meeting their fitness goals.
“We always tell everybody, ‘your goals become our goals,’ ” Fish said. “If people want to lose weight and tone up, then we ask them how much weight, how important is it and then we keep them on that track.”
Fish was initially a member at the Gig Harbor iLoveKickboxing before opening his own franchise location, a decision made after a life-altering experience.
“Jan. 11, 2016, I could not touch my toes,” he said. “I was a member in Gig Harbor for about three years … then I kind of slacked off. I bought some lake property, bought a boat, and I was hanging out at the lake, doing barbecues, not exercising. … I’m like, ‘I’m 42 years old, I can’t be living like this. I have high blood pressure. My cholesterol’s out of control.”
Fish said he decided to sign up for the 45-Day Challenge at iLoveKickboxing on the last day registration was open — and then lost 40 pounds in 45 days.
“I was feeling good, my blood pressure was under control — everything changed in my life. Everything,” he said. “So I went home and told my wife, ‘I think I want to open a studio. Cause I want to be impactful in other people’s lives.’ ”
He made the decision in March 2016. In November 2016, his own studio opened.
“Touching on my story is probably the biggest thing for me,” Fish said. “Because of the way it changed my life, I really want to change people’s lives.”
Working out at iLoveKickboxing requires a membership, but an online offer allows you to take three sample classes for $19.99 before committing to a seven- or 12-month membership. A seven-month membership costs six payments of $149; for a year, it’s 11 payments of $125. There is a membership agreement, but Fish said if something happens where you’re unable to work out, they’ll work with you if need be.
“It’s a commitment to you and your lifestyle that you’re changing,” he said.
And you get a lot for the price of membership. In those seven or 12 months, you can attend an unlimited amount of classes. Some people attend two or three a day, though Fish said most people average three times a week. Members also receive a “key tag,” which enables them to get discounts at local businesses partnered with iLoveKickboxing, including Max Nutrition, Total Nutrition, All Star Espresso and a chiropractor.
“That’s one of the perks you get with having the key tag,” Fish said. “You get to come to unlimited classes, and you’ve got the support from not only me and the staff, but you’ve got the support from the whole community that comes into the studio. And it literally is a whole community.”
Also a perk of membership is accountability — Fish said that if you don’t show up to class, they might “put your name on a milk jug and blast you all over our social media sites” (in good spirits, of course). There is also a VIP page online where people share encouragement and success stories and food tips and recipes to help aid in eating healthy as well.
Community is a large part of the iLoveKickboxing experience. During a class, people cheer and chant to help get pumped up, and the instructors share their experiences, and the experiences and successes of other members, throughout the hour. Instructors circulate through the class to give tips on ensuring your form is correct, encouragement when you need it, praise if you do well and generally just keep the energy up throughout the hour, which passes almost before you realize it.
Even the members taking the class are full of camaraderie — it would be difficult to leave iLoveKickboxing feeling disappointed in your workout.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re fit as a fiddle or you’re 500 pounds when you walk through these doors,” Fish said. “Everyone is welcoming and encouraging, with open arms.
“It’s a great place for you to come in, not be judged. Everybody’s a beginner on your first day.”
Michelle Beahm is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.