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Kickboxing is a fun form of exercise that will get you fit and allow you to blow off a little steam at the same time.

Kickboxing is a fun form of exercise that will get you fit and allow you to blow off a little steam at the same time.

Candice Martin, owner of Fierce Fitness Kickboxing in Southwest Portland, said, "It's just a really great way, a fun, safe way to burn a lot of calories, burn a lot of fat. We are primarily women. We don't try to be, but we have a huge clientele of females. We range from, like, age 13 to 76. It's a crazy age range."

Martin provides a high-impact aerobics class, which offers clients a full-body workout.

According to Martin, there's "lots of kicking and punching on the bag (punching bags), but we do other things like squats, pushups and other different abdominal work."

It's a family business at Fierce Fitness Kickboxing and Martin's daughter, Brittany Johnson, who is a trainer, said there are plenty of kicking moves at Fierce Fitness.

"Our kickboxing classes are based on Martial Arts training," Johnson said. "So anyone familiar with a Martial Arts background will be familiar with the techniques that we use in class. We use front kicks, round kicks, side kicks, elbows, knees, jabs, uppercuts and hooks."

If you visit Martin and Johnson, you'll find a room full of free-standing punching bags. Other equipment includes medicine balls and core balls (for balance and core strength).

"You do a lot of interval training on the bags," Johnson said. "You'll do different sets of combinations, you'll be working back and forth with each other (or by yourself). An instructor takes you through the entire workout."

Kickboxing has many benefits. "You're going to use all muscle groups," Martin said. "You're going to get your aerobics in and your strength. It's really good, particularly for women, because it helps maintain joint and bone health."

According to Johnson, "Health wise, it's a very cardio-centric class. You're going to be able to keep and maintain a heart rate the entire time. You're going to be sweating." With kickboxing, punching and kicking the bag will make your body stronger.

"You're constantly gaining full body strength from your core all the way out to your arms and legs, as well," Johnson said.

Kickboxing embraces men and women of all fitness levels. "We have new people coming in to check out class all the time, all levels of fitness, all levels of experience and all age levels," Martin said. "It's challenging, yet doable for anybody, because you're just going to go at your pace, and as you build the skill level, and your strength and your cardio, you can work out a little harder and a little harder."

Kickboxing can also help older clients. Speaking of a 76-year-old client, Martin said, "We go down and do pushups. She is either keeping up or surpassing the younger ones around her." For older clients, movement is important.

"For someone who might be at an older age, just being able to come in and, kind of, move to the beat or to the count of what we're doing is going to really help with their mobility," Johnson pointed out.

Even athletes can benefit from kickboxing. "Oh yeah, absolutely," Johnson said. "It is an amazing cross trainer for pretty much any sport or activity that you're involved in. It (kickboxing) will challenge them in new and different ways and can improve their overall fitness."

You can have fun with kickboxing. "It's super empowering, whether you're female, male, young or old. Put on boxing gloves and just go at the bag," Martin said. "It's safe. We have lots of people that like coming in right after work. They just get all the stress out from the day. It's a great stress reliever and great exercise."

Martin and Johnson enjoy helping clients learn a new exercise technique.

Martin said, "I absolutely love it — love our students, love the effort that they put forth, love the community that they create. It's so satisfying."

Scott Keith is a freelance writer with the Portland Tribune and the Pamplin Media Group. If you have a health tip, or a story idea, contact Scott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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