At the end of our first season of “Fit Life with Stacy J,” a brand-spanking new show I host in Washington, DC for DCTV, my producer had the amazing idea to take the show on the road. I loved it! Let’s get out of the studio and experience health & fitness in DC.
Enter a Kangoo Jumps class, our first venture. Now I’d only heard about this activity in passing from a friend’s friend. But I was down. I’m Stacy J, figure competitor. I ran a freaking marathon. I eat HIITs for breakfast. Bring it on!
When I arrived at the Dance Lofts on 14th, the camera crew was all set up, and instructor Mel Blaine (aka Mel B.) didn’t hesitate to greet me with the warmest, prettiest smile. Rochelle Boykin of Fab Fitness actually runs this class, but she’s preggo and ain’t Kangoo-ing right now for good reason. Chatting up Mel B., I caught a glance of…the boots. I’d seen them during my research, and yes, they do look like a spaced-out version of a ski boot. Big, colorful, odd.
What’s really on your feet
The Kangoo boot was smartly designed eons ago for athletes recovering from leg injuries. It was redesigned for the rest of us in the 1990s, and is popularly promoted as a low-impact activity that increases aerobic capacity, burns fat and strengthens the muscles. Sign me up! Before Mel B. strapped them on, she let me know I needed long socks, which I did not have. Thankfully, she had a pair of long, black compression socks for me to borrow. Once on, I felt the ankle support immediately. They were snug but comfortable. I let go of the dance bar in the studio, caught a glance of myself in the mirror and thought: “They make me tall!” The boots added several inches onto my 5’2″ frame and I was digging that. And even though the bottom is curved — yeah, makes it a little awkward — it’s wide and that helps with balance.
What you’ll be doing
What I wasn’t keen on was possibly falling on my arse, DCTV cameras rolling. Would I be able to move around in these suckers? It was time to start. Mel B. threw on some fast-paced music and showed us the moves. We started off with an easy hip sway that quickly gave way to a fast, up and down bounce. Yikes! My heart rate soared, and in the first 5-10 minutes I was sweaty and worn out. Not only that, but thanks to intense leg training for an upcoming figure show, my quads and hams tired quickly, too. Here’s how the class was structured: Mel B. delivered the choreography, which lasted a few minutes long. We’d rest, then go back for more moves – butt kicks, jumping jacks, front kicks and side jumps. (Watch us in action below.) So it’s high-intensity exercise but with breaks. I liked the breaks.
This first-timer struggled, no lie. I couldn’t keep up with the ladies. The rounds felt like an hour long! Hahaha. I’d start off strong then peter out because my legs were so damn sore. But let me say this, it’s an amazing workout. I loved it. The soca music alone had me wanting to move, period. Overall, it’s an effective, total-body workout that’s just plain fun.
Is it for everyone? They say yes. But it helps to have some kind of cardio endurance. If you’re taking aerobics classes, run or do HIITs regularly, you’ll be fine. Try it – whatever your fitness level. Know that it’s OK to go at your own pace and stop when you get tired. Is it expensive? For this particular class, you’ll pay $51 for 3 classes. That’s reasonable, considering the boots can cost owners up to $250 a pop.
Things to know:
- You will sweat bullets, so bring a towel.
- Also, carry long socks.
- The class is 45-minutes long.
- And lastly, do NOT take the class with sore leg muscles. Lesson learned.
In DC? Visit fabfitrochelle.com to register for a class!
Stacy Julien is editor in-chief of Crush Magazine.