By Cate Walker

Tired of running on the treadmill or your basic step class? Research has proven that the key to any successful workout routine is variety. And have we found a new way to break out of your workout rut: Krav Maga, Hebrew for “contact combat.”

As the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, Krav Maga works to train individuals to react quickly to high-stress combat situations, emphasizes instinctive movements and perfects practical techniques for hand-to-hand combat. It not only helps cardiovascular training, endurance, muscular strength, toning, core stability and agility; but also is a great way to learn how to protect yourself. Plus, it boosts your mood, raises your energy level and lifts your confidence – and it’s fun!

Workout clothes that keep you looking cool!

We went to Boston’s MacDonald Academy of Martial Arts for a closer look at Krav Maga. Brian MacDonald and his wife opened their studio to provide a place where people could learn to protect themselves while having fun. And that we did!

We knew quickly that we would like this workout when we learned that there are no official rules. (And rules were never something we were big fans of!) Rather, through practice and instruction, Krav Maga trains us to instinctively react in an effective way.

An excuse to eat more chocolate!

One of the most surprising things we learned in Brian’s class was that your natural instinct is not always the correct way to defend yourself. When someone is throwing a punch, your instinct may be to shy away; instead, we learned to block the attacker by using the weight of your body. Sure, it took a while to get used to a stranger throwing punches in our direction, but after just an hour, we learned a few tips, felt considerably more comfortable fighting back and exuded more confidence. Oh, and we were feeling the burn too!

We were certainly glad to learn that the most effective way to protect ourselves is to be properly trained and confident (and that we were on the path to being so); but, even more so, we were thrilled to find a new, fun way to get fit.

How to wear bright eyeliners!