It was the night before Valentine's Day at iLoveKickboxing in Parker, and though there was plenty of heavy breathing, the only roses in sight were reduced to petals strewn about the floor.
Nearly 30 women gathered for the gym's annual Shred Your Ex workout session. Participants brought photos of ex-spouses, ex-lovers or printouts of negative words and ideas and taped them to punching bags before punching and kicking the images to shreds.
“It's a night for them to focus on one thing that's troubled them in their life,” instructor Haley McDonald said. “It's also just a night to have fun, take it out on the bag and leave with a smile.”
Hearts were pumping and ears were ringing throughout the hourlong session, as the drumming of gloved fists and bare feet hitting the bags beat an erratic rhythm under McDonald's shouting and a DJ's blaring music.
Marie Hopper drove from Green Valley Ranch to get in on the workout. She brought two printouts, one of the word “tax,” and one of President Trump.
“It's just the perfect picture,” Hopper said. “He looks like he wants to fight, so we're going to do this.”
The session ended with a combination of hoots and gasps for breath as the boxers dropped their gloves and reached for their water bottles. Mouths that had been twisted in determination opened into smiles, hands that were clenched into fists relaxed for a round of high-fives.
“It's just such an adrenaline rush,” said Amy Buoniconti of Parker, who brought a printout of the word “negativity,” and punched it to bits.
“The first 15 minutes is pure hell,” she said “Then it's fun.”