Five Questions with science teacher, kickboxer Lori Dziewa


Photo courtesy of Lori Dziewa

Lori Dziewa performs a high kick on a punching bag as part of her training. Dziewa trains six times per week in boxing/kickboxing. She also does cardio exercises two of those same days per week.

Andrew Leonard, Staff Reporter

Science teacher Lori Dziewa has made it her goal to be physically fit by boxing, kickboxing and sometimes training in other ways. Dziewa is also trying to set a good example for her daughter.

I want her to grow up knowing she can be strong and help her learn how to defend herself. I want her to see that I make my mental & physical health a priority,” Dziewa said.

What is the final goal or thing that you are working on?
Originally, I wanted to train to do a fight. However, when I changed my career path to becoming a teacher and then later became a mom, I decided I may have to put that on hold for a while. Right now my goal is to become stronger and hone in my technique. As of right now, I am not sure if I will try to fight.  Maybe in a year or two, I’ll reevaluate. I doubt I would do more than one. Training before a fight and nutrition before a fight is time-consuming and hard disciplines.  Right now my schedule is not that flexible. I’d definitely be nervous about losing or getting my teeth knocked out. The fear of failure is there for anything you ever do, but if I were to fight, I would have to overcome that fear because it would be a huge distraction in my craft.

Why did you decide that you wanted to take on training for fighting?
When I moved to St. Louis, I started running again and joined a gym. I got into weight lifting and spin class.  However, after a few years, I was looking for something else to do. One night a friend told me how she was going to start boxing. I asked her if I could go to check it out. I thought that being able to protect yourself is a vital skill. When I was younger, I wanted to take karate or some other form of self-defense. My parents said it was too expensive. I walked in and saw one of the trainers I work with in the ring training for a fight.  I was mesmerized by her movements. I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.  That first night though, I barely made it through the workout and had the largest bruises ever on my shins.

Who inspires you to do this?
My daughter. I want her to grow up knowing she can be strong and help her learn how to defend herself. I want her to see that I make my mental & physical health a priority (it is a great stress reliever and great for increasing my cardio endurance). I have no specific goal for her. I am going to encourage her to know how to protect herself. I’m going to have her start doing jiu-jitsu once she finishes up her swim lessons in the next few months. If it is something that she enjoys, I’ll have her continue it. If she says it’s not for her, I will respect that, but once again, I will encourage her to know how to protect herself as she gets older. If I don’t take care of myself first, I can’t care for her or my students. 

How many times a week do you train/work out?
I train 6 days a week, but it isn’t always boxing/kickboxing. I incorporate weight lifting, running, and biking as well. As for actual boxing and kickboxing, I typically do that four days a week. Those workouts consist of a warm-up, boxing rounds, abs and a cool down. Typically the boxing rounds are three to four minutes and I do eight to sixteen rounds. After each round there is a one to two minute active recovery. The total workout is between 45-90  minutes. As for my other workouts, I run one to two times a week and do five to six miles each time. My weightlifting will be incorporated into the boxing and kickboxing workouts and I will do 30-45 minute sessions two to three times a week.  

Where do you work out the most?
When I am boxing/kickboxing it is almost always in my basement. I typically meet with the trainer virtually or they will email the workouts and I do them on my schedule. Mimi Kutzin is the trainer I work with the most.  There are several others that I train with.  When we meet virtually she will basically tell me what punches or kick combinations to do. She’ll have me do 2-4 minute rounds and then I take a minute break. She will critique what she sees and make suggestions for things I can do for improvement. The trainers are all incredibly helpful. Training with various ones gives me a great variety of workouts because each trainer does things a bit differently. One will focus on high intensity and working as hard as possible for as long as possible where others will focus more on technique and strength training. I would definitely recommend this to others. It is a great way to stay fit. I used to go to the gym and train in the ring with them, but since I moved to Wildwood, it’s a far drive so I don’t go there as much. In the summertime, I will go to the gym more regularly to meet with the trainers. If I am running or biking, I do it in my basement or on the trails.