By Dorothy Foltz-Gray
Updated: September 01, 2007

Pamela C. Brown, 30
Indianapolis, Indiana
Loves: Kickboxing

Pamela Browns worst high school grade wasnt in some brainiac subject like trigonometry or physics. It was in PE. The now-30-year-old, single college administrator barely passed the class after refusing to suit up. "I didnt like to sweat," she says.

Brown started running during her college years to lose weight (prompted by a remark from a tactless ex-boyfriend), but gave it up when she moved to Indianapolis in 2001 and experienced her first brutally cold winter. It wasnt until three years ago, when she walked into a kickboxing class on a whim, that she found a workout she actually looks forward to. The class—turbo kickboxing, a tough, dancelike workout to a hip-hop beat—is a physical escape from day-to-day stresses. “Youre completely in the moment,” she says. “You cant think about your next move. You just do it.”

Now 20 pounds lighter, Brown says her muscles arent her only reward. She hasnt had a cold in years and has loads of energy. “Im more upbeat and confident,” she says. “I can do a lot more than I ever imagined.”