Early last summer, I floated an idea by coworkers: Let’s get a group of Indy staffers to sign up for KUT, an intensive nine-week fitness and nutrition program offered by Martial Arts Family Fitness (MAFF). To my delight, five colleagues were in. So on May 31, Rachel Gantz, Marianne Kuga, Terry Ortega, Sarah Sinclair, Brandi Rivera, and I attended Class #197’s orientation meeting, determined to make eating and exercise lifestyle changes.

My prime motivation for the challenge was to get in shape for the long-course bicycle portion of the S.B. Triathlon taking place in August. I’ve ridden many more miles in one go than the 34 required for the triathlon, but it had been years since I’d sat in the saddle for more than 10 miles. I looked to KUT to help me regain physical discipline and curb my less-than-stellar eating habits and to my coworkers for the support and camaraderie that comes with a team of folks tackling a difficult feat together. I achieved those goals and found the experience so enriching that I signed up for MAFF’s martial arts program, a three-year course of study to earn a black belt in hapkido.

My four colleagues had their own reasons and goals for participating in KUT. Here they are in their own words:

Terry: I expected just an exercise program with some food advice. Three weeks in, however, I realized it was a lifestyle shift. It wasn’t until KUT ended and I stayed on taking classes that I realized the mind/body connection; while I was making my body fit, I was also creating time for my head to breathe and let go, which was just as important as the physical aspect.

Rachel: I bonded with my coworkers while getting stronger, and they inspired me to be better. The instructors at MAFF were extremely helpful, friendly, and encouraging. I am still taking kickboxing and resistance-band classes at MAFF because I just couldn’t stay away!

Brandi: Committing to an intense nine-week, six-day-a-week workout regime made me both excited and nervous. The support I received from the staff was great, and having coworkers go through the program, too, made the experience more enjoyable. It also pushed me a little harder in classes and kept me dedicated to the program.

Marianne: I was intimidated by kickboxing but, to my surprise, quickly learned the fitness techniques. I also learned what foods affect my body and was able to tune into what and when I needed to eat throughout the day. It definitely helped to have the support of my coworkers, especially when there were donuts in the kitchen at work!


The next KUT session begins January 10. To register, call (805) 963-6233 or see kickboxers.com.


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