Kickboxing has become an increasingly popular workout in recent years. With its combination of martial arts techniques and high-intensity cardio, kickboxing provides an effective full-body workout that can help you lose weight. But is it really one of the best exercise options for weight loss? Here’s a comprehensive look at how kickboxing stacks up.
How Kickboxing Can Promote Weight Loss
There are a few key reasons why kickboxing is an excellent choice of workout for weight loss:
- It burns a high number of calories. An hour of kickboxing can burn around 800 calories. The high intensity of the workout and the fact that it engages all the major muscle groups leads to significant calorie expenditure.
- It builds lean muscle mass. While cardio is important for fat burning, building muscle is also key for boosting metabolism and losing weight long-term. The resistance training elements of kickboxing help build lean muscle.
- It keeps your heart rate elevated. Sustaining a high heart rate is crucial for an effective cardio workout. The non-stop movement of a kickboxing class keeps your heart pumping.
- It incorporates HIIT. High-intensity interval training has been shown to burn more fat and calories than steady-state cardio. Kickboxing routines include HIIT in the form of intense bursts of activity followed by short rest periods.
- It works your entire body. Kickboxing engages all your major muscle groups, from your legs and glutes to your back, shoulders, arms, and core. Working your whole body burns more calories.
For these reasons, kickboxing is considered one of the most effective workouts for weight loss and body fat reduction.
Calories Burned During a Kickboxing Workout
One of the key attractions of kickboxing for weight loss is the high number of calories you can burn during a session. Here’s a look at how many calories kickboxing burns:
- A 155 lb (70 kg) person will burn around 800 calories per hour of kickboxing.
- A 185 lb (84 kg) person will burn around 950 calories.
- A 125 lb (57 kg) person will burn around 640 calories.
These estimates are based on high-intensity kickboxing sessions. Burning 800+ calories per workout will lead to significant weight loss over time if done several times per week and combined with a healthy diet.
Factors That Influence Calorie Burn
Several factors affect the number of calories burned doing kickboxing, including:
- Your weight – Heavier people burn more calories than lighter people when doing the same workout.
- Intensity – Higher intensity kickboxing burns more calories. Advanced classes and instructors who push you harder lead to greater calorie expenditure.
- Duration – Longer kickboxing workouts burn more calories than shorter sessions.
- Experience level – More experienced participants tend to workout at higher intensities, burning extra calories.
Kickboxing vs. Other Workouts for Weight Loss
How does kickboxing compare to other popular workouts for weight loss? Here’s a look at how it stacks up in terms of calories burned:
|Workout||Calories burned in 60 minutes (155 lb / 70 kg person)|
|Running (10 min/mile pace)||770|
|Swimming (vigorous laps)||700|
As you can see, kickboxing burns comparable calories to running, swimming, and HIIT workouts. This makes it one of the most effective exercises for weight loss in terms of calorie expenditure per hour. Weight training and yoga burn fewer calories, but are still beneficial for building muscle and increasing flexibility.
While cardio is crucial for burning fat, building lean muscle mass also helps boost your metabolism and burn more calories around the clock. The resistance training elements of kickboxing make it effective for building muscle. Specific muscle-building benefits include:
- Toning muscles in legs, glutes, shoulders, back, arms, and core
- Increasing strength and muscle mass by incorporating body weight exercises like push-ups and squats
- Improving power with punching and kicking exercises
- Using resistance equipment like bands, weights, and your own body weight against gravity
- Increasing post-workout calorie burn and metabolic rate
Adding lean muscle mass by strength training 3-5 times per week is recommended while trying to lose weight. The muscle building component of kickboxing can help achieve this without extensive weight lifting.
Cardiovascular and Aerobic Benefits
Losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn calories and kickboxing provides an extremely effective cardio workout. Cardiovascular benefits include:
- Raising heart rate and sustaining an elevated heart rate throughout the workout
- Increasing lung capacity and aerobic fitness
- Burning a high number of calories in a short time period
- Kicking and punching provide high-intensity intervals to get your heart pumping
- Jumping rope, burpees, mountain climbers, and shuffled dashes are aerobic exercises often included
For substantial weight loss, experts recommend getting 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity cardio or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity cardio per week. A few kickboxing sessions can help you achieve these recommendations.
Components of a Kickboxing Workout
A typical 60-minute kickboxing class includes the following components:
- Warm-up – 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching and movements like jogging to raise your heart rate.
- Cardio intervals – High-intensity intervals like punch/kick combinations, jump rope, burpees, etc. to get your heart pumping.
- Strength training – Body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, planks, and lunges to build muscle.
- Core work – Targeted core exercises like crunches, bicycles, and planks to build abdominal strength.
- Kick/punch drills – Repetitions of different kicks and punch combinations to improve form and technique.
- Cool-down – 5-10 minutes of stretching and light cardio to lower your heart rate.
This full-body combination provides excellent fitness and weight loss results. The high-intensity segments interspersed with strength and core work keep your heart rate elevated while building muscle. The kickboxing techniques improve coordination, agility, and power.
Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
While kickboxing is certainly an efficient workout for weight loss, it provides many other benefits beyond fat burning and muscle building. Some additional benefits of kickboxing include:
- Improved cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness
- Increased agility, coordination, speed, and power
- Boosted energy levels
- Reduced stress and release of endorphins
- Building confidence
- Learning self-defense techniques
- Challenging your mind and body
People who do kickboxing regularly cite both the physical and mental benefits as major advantages of this workout style.
Ideal Kickboxing Frequency for Weight Loss
To lose weight, how often should you do kickboxing workouts? Here are some general recommendations:
- 2-3 kickboxing sessions per week for moderate weight loss
- 3-5 kickboxing sessions per week for aggressive weight loss
It’s recommended to combine kickboxing with 1-3 days per week of strength training and some lower intensity cardio like walking or yoga on other days. Leaving at least 1 full rest day for recovery is also wise to prevent overtraining.
While kickboxing several times per week is great for weight loss, don’t overdo it when you’re just starting. Allow your body time to adapt to this intense workout style before ramping up frequency.
Sample Weekly Kickboxing Schedule
Here is an example kickboxing schedule for optimal weight loss results:
- Monday – Kickboxing
- Tuesday – Strength training
- Wednesday – Rest day
- Thursday – Kickboxing
- Friday – Low-intensity cardio like walking or yoga
- Saturday – Kickboxing
- Sunday – Rest day
Maximizing Fat Loss from Kickboxing
To get the best weight loss results from kickboxing, here are some tips:
- Push yourself to high intensities and take short rest periods
- Use heavy bags and weights to increase resistance
- Minimize rest time between combinations
- Focus on proper form and technique
- Increase your workout duration as your fitness improves
- Maintain intensity throughout the whole session
- Combine kickboxing with a clean, calorie-controlled diet
Proper nutrition is also key. Create a moderate calorie deficit by eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods to promote fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.
Is Kickboxing Good For Weight Loss? The Bottom Line
So, should you consider kickboxing if your primary goal is losing weight and burning fat? The verdict is clear:
Kickboxing is one of the most effective workouts for weight loss and body fat reduction.
The combination of high-intensity cardio, full body engagement, resistance training, and interval components give kickboxing major calorie-burning power. Just a few sessions per week can help you lose significant weight, especially when combined with proper nutrition.
Beyond fat burning, kickboxing also provides muscle-building, cardiovascular health, agility, coordination, stress relief and confidence boosting benefits. It exercises your entire body and provides both physical and mental boosts.
So if you’re looking to lose weight, kickboxing should absolutely be on your short list of workouts to try. Finding a great kickboxing class and instructor near you is the first step to seeing transformative results.