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I'm a pretty active lady. I Crossfit and weight lift. I do aerial dance and yoga. I've even tried parkour. One thing I've never done is kickboxing, which is what attracted me to 9Round. 9Round is what Crossfit would look like if you got rid of the barbells and replaced them with kickboxing equipment. Like Crossfit, this is a workout based around varied, total body exercises and uses high intensity interval training (HIIT) to get your heart rate going. It's even short, like a lot of Crossfit workouts, lasting only 30 minutes long. I had to check it out.

I hit up one of the many 9Round locations in Houston one morning for my free first class. I was told a new workout starts every three minutes and I'd have my own trainer to walk me through everything. Here's how it goes down: There are nine exercise stations (get it?) and I was supposed to complete a three-minute workout at each one. Between each circuit, you run in place or do some jumping jacks for about 30 seconds to keep your heart rate up. Then you move on to the next station until you hit all nine. The workout changes daily and is tailored to your skill level.

Since I was a beginner, the trainer went easy on me, or so he said. The first couple circuits included "strength training" with dumbbells and a medicine ball. I did squats and lunges for three minutes each. Even for this weightlifting girl, this is rough stuff. Stations 3 to 8 were where the kickboxing fun began—I gloved up (they provide the gloves) and got to kick and punch and strike and mess around with a variety of punching bags. This isn't as easy as it looks, and for someone who's never done this before, it was a hell of a challenge. My hand-eye coordination was totally off. My form was off no matter how often the poor trainer tried to correct it. I'll need some time getting the hang of this. The final circuit was a three-minute plank to work on my core and balance. Ouch. 

I was finally finished and I was totally gassed. 9Round was a fun, tough, total body workout. And yes, it was only 30 minutes long, but you'll want to show up a little earlier to stretch and warm up for about 10 to 15 minutes before getting your butt kicked. I admit it, this workout is a total knockout.

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