CKO Kickboxing – Knocking Out Anxiety One Punch At A Time


Reading Time: 4 minutes

CKO Kicking Anxiety To The Curb  Image: Dakster Sullivan
CKO Kicking Anxiety To The Curb Image: Dakster Sullivan

My battles with anxiety hit a new low this past month when my doctor told me I hit the threshold on my medication and instead she was prescribing exercise. Enter CKO Kickboxing.

What Is This About?

My battles with anxiety and depression have hit a plateau and my doctor feels she’s done all she can with me in regards to medication. For fear of doing more harm than good and worrying about my recent weight gain due to the medications, she’s prescribed exercise as my next stage of treatment for my mental illness.

After 33-years of life, I learned that I have Aspergers and one of the things people with Aspergers do is get obsessed with things. My doctor wanted me to take that obsessive side and get obsessed with exercise to boost my energy and mood instead of upping my medication levels.

Being a woman on a budget, I went to Groupon to see what deals were happening around in my area and I found two kickboxing classes. Turns out that CKO Orlando was the closest of the two, and they offered a free trial class. Bonus!

That Saturday, I got my butt up at 8:00 AM and went down the street to CKO Orlando to see what this kickboxing thing was about and to see if I could get obsessed in this form of exercise.


I was expecting some punching, some kicking, and some sweating. No problem. I could do that for an hour or so. How hard could it be right?

Ohh boy if I could only go back in time and laugh at myself as I strutted into the gym that day because what I got was less kickboxing and more ass-kicking.


CKO Thorton Park - An empty gym never looks intimidating.  Image Dakster Sullivan
CKO Thorton Park – An empty gym never looks intimidating. Image Dakster Sullivan

The beginning wasn’t so bad. My instructor, Nick, was great at getting me hooked up with a set of gloves at a reasonable $20 (with no up-sell) and showed me the basic moves we’d be using in class. It was well air conditioned and the bags were evenly spaced out. A decent crowd of high energy people showed up on time for class.

When class started we got warmed up with some laps around the gym.

Wait…LAPS? I don’t remember that in the brochure.

We quickly went into push-ups, planks, burpees, squats, lunges, spider-man planks, and other things I had never heard of. All of this before even touching our bags.

Excuse me…I thought I was in kickboxing class??

Once on our bags, we were introduced to jabs, cross, uppercuts, and hooks. Throw in a few roundhouse kicks, and front kicks.

In between combinations Nick would throw in push-ups or a stretch or two. Maybe tell us to push our bags.

What About The Anxiety?

At first, it was hard to keep up. Nick goes fast…and I mean really fast! You get that heart rate up in no time when he teaches, which is what you pay for so that’s good. For me though, my anxiety went into full swing.

My mind couldn’t tell the difference between my heart rate going up for good because of the exercise and the feelings I associate with a panic attack. Several times I had to take a few steps back and tell myself I was safe, I was okay, and I was NOT having a panic attack.

I learned fast that this is a no judge gym and if I needed to step back and drink, you step back and drink. I checked my watch a few times to show my mind that I was, in fact, not dying. Then I would go back to punching my bag and reminding myself why I was there.

How Did I Feel After Class?

When the hour was over my legs burned from the lunges and squats and my arms couldn’t lift my water bottle from the jabs and hooks, but you know what? I felt good. I felt accomplished!! And that is something I hadn’t felt in a long time.

I was proud of myself for not having a panic attack and pushing through. I may have sat out of the laps at first but I still made it through most of the class.

Despite wanting to die in the middle of class and starting to sweat just from the warm-up, I was ready to go back and do it all over again. And again. And again. I could feel myself becoming addicted.

Come With Me On This Journey

So, for the next 2 weeks, I’m challenging you to come with me on this journey. Let’s see together how CKO changes me and challenges me. I’m starting this journey at fitness level 0 and working my way up.

Follow me and let’s see if I cannot only get obsessed but stay obsessed and kick anxiety down a notch or six and along the way I’ll be interviewing the owner and getting his take on what it takes to get the most out what CKO has to offer. Leave me your questions in the comments or on social media and I’ll do my best to get them answered. Let’s take this journey together!

Till next time.

Disclaimer: GeekMom has been given access to this gym for the purpose of writing this post. Full disclosure, Dakster has recently joined as a result of her experience.

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