Christina Rondeau of Rondeau’s Kickboxing certainly isn’t the new kid on the block when it comes to running a successful training facility and (literally) kicking ass. But her newest venture with Rhode Island Fitness opens the door to two heart-pumping and strength-building functional workouts that will whip you into shape and prepare you for the latest craze of obstacle course and adventure racing fitness fun.
I arrived early to the warehouse-style space tucked away on a backstreet of Johnston, where her kickboxing studio also resides, to meet Christina for both the obstacle course and cross training circuit workouts. Having immersed and trained myself in the world of OCR (obstacle course racing) over the last year and a half, I was excited to see what she had to offer. Before I even crossed fully through the doors, I immediately noticed the monkey bars – which resembled a ladder with spinning rungs hanging horizontally from the ceiling, by chains on each side. In other words, this thing spun and moved around. A lot. While you were on it. I stared at those bars like I stare at brownies: I knew it was going to hurt after the damage was done, but I couldn’t wait to dig in.
Before I could get my hands on that beauty, Christina introduced me to one of the trainers who would be working with us (and who is one of the two that typically run the OCR classes) and took me through a series of warm-ups. She then sent me off to run the perimeter of buildings surrounding hers, outside. Once I was back in, it was go-time. I moved from minute-rounds of climbing the unfastened, swinging cargo net to working my way across those bad boy monkey bars to scaling the rope to bouldering across a wall, with more laps outside in between. Continuing on, I busted out pull-ups, wall balls, knee-high hurdles and flipped a very large tire until I was completely cov- ered in dirt. By the time the 45-minute class was over, my arms were shaky, my heart rate was pumping and my entire body was covered in sweat.
Naturally, she moved me right into the circuit training class next. Before we started the circuit training class, I took notice of the other equipment around me. Keeping each workout new and fresh, the obstacles are switched up every time. Some of the pieces I didn’t jump on but are used in their rotations were the peg board (a la American Ninja Warrior style, where you traverse your body across a board using only pegs to hold on to), eight-foot walls, tunnels, plyo boxes and other styles of ropes.
At the start of the circuit training workout, Christina showed me a board that changed daily, with the ten exercises for the class. What I loved most about the circuit training was that you pop in any time you want during the hours that circuit is open, check out the board and run through it on your own. There is always a trainer inside to help you with any exercise you may not know or need a demo on. You set up the timers and run your own show. This is the only gym I’ve visited that allows you to do that and it’s a huge bonus for a busy mom like myself who might not be able to make it exactly on time for a specific class. (Or on time to anything ever again.)
For a cycle of drills that were two minutes straight on and one minute of rest in between, I moved around from jump rope to box jumps to leg extensions, chest press, hamstring curls and lat pull-downs to bosu ball push-ups (with variations that included leg lifts) and weighted ab work. After I finished everything, (and when my breathing recovered to that of a human’s), I truly felt like a rockstar. I also felt like I needed to eat 16 egg sandwiches.
Aside from the fact that I’d just gotten two of my favorite styles of workouts in, (and although she showed me two different classes, you would be well off just taking one), I’m always a fan of a tough chick with a soft side. Christina uses her passion for fitness to bring awareness to her nonprofits, Fight Like a Girl and Fight Like a Dad, which raises money to help women and men in dire situations have a wish granted for them, to appease some pain and bring joy into their lives. She sets up various athletic events to support this cause and it’s her way of giving back to the community that has supported her along her journey.
Whether you want to learn how to conquer your first obstacle course race or are simply in need of some serious strength and sweat sessions, Rhode Island Fitness has you covered.
Rondeau Kickboxing & Rhode Island Fitness | 12 Sunnyside Avenue, Johnston | 272-5425