Does Kickboxing Burn Calories?
Losing weight is a major driving factor for people who are looking to join a Kickboxing class or other types of Mixed Martial Arts. If you’re wondering whether kickboxing burns calories, that can easily be answered without a thought. Absolutely yes. However, you also burn calories when you sit in a chair, cook your dinner, and even while you sleep. For a more meaningful exploration of this question, it’s helpful to consider what outcome you really care about when you ask about kickboxing and calorie burning. Let’s dig a little deeper.
What are Calories and how many Do I burn doing Kickboxing?
In the most basic scientific terms, a calorie is an amount of energy that the body requires to raise the temperature of one gram of water, by one degree celsius. Considering all the fuss about calories and weight loss, it can be difficult to see how this definition of calories is very pertinent to your goals, and how it relates to kickboxing. Calories are a necessary energy source to keep us alive and functioning, but people tend to consume more than needed to maintain basic functioning. While the source of a calorie has an important influence on how it is used by the body (carb, fat, protein, processed vs. whole foods etc.), in general, we tend to have some issues if we have far too many, or far too little calories.
If you’re like many Westerners today, you may find yourself with a rather sedentary lifestyle, which may put you in more of a caloric excess. This, and several other factors, may result in weight gain. It’s very important to address excess weight with a multi-faceted approach, but joining a Martial Arts gym and a fitness kickboxing class can be a great part of your plan towards optimal health.
According to American Council on Exercise, the average Joe burns between 350-450 calories per hour of kickboxing. The Harvard Health Publications put it at around 600 calories per hour of kickboxing, depending on your weight and body composition. For instance, if you weigh more, you generally burn more calories per hour (i.e. if you weigh 55 kg burn 600, weigh more burn more).
While there are many estimates on how many calories you can burn while kickboxing or doing other Mixed Martial Arts, they are exactly that, estimates. The true number of calories you’ll burn doing Kickboxing depends on many variables, including: The style of the kickboxing class, how much of the kickboxing class is drilling and what type, the amount of cardio and conditioning included in the kickboxing class, how hard you work and for how long, how much muscle you already have, what your diet is like, if you are a man or woman, your age, and your existing body composition.
Woah, that’s a lot of variables to consider! To keep it simple, if you’ve got more muscle than fat, you’ll burn more calories than someone of the same weight with a different composition. Men tend to have a lower fat percentage on average. Also, you won’t be surprised to hear, the harder you work during Martial Arts classes, the more calories you burn. That said, as you progress in your kickboxing journey and build more muscle, you may need to increasingly work harder as the work you did as a beginner puts increasingly less challenge on your strong muscles.
Other nuances of kickboxing classes will shift the number of calories burned as well. For instance, if upper and lower body movements are emphasised in the type of class, you’ll burn more than if only upper body movements are used. Some classes also incorporate jump roping, footwork, running, and other types of conditioning that aren’t always factored into calorie burning estimates on Kickboxing.
Benefits of Kickboxing beyond calorie burning
Kickboxing can be considered a moderate to high intensity, high-impact exercise which involves all muscles of the body. Weight lifting, running, cycling etc. are more linear movements that kickboxing which tend to target certain muscle groups at a time.
When you start regularly practicing kickboxing, you’ll definitely burn calories, but you’ll also improve balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. You’ll increase your endurance, build strength and develop coordination. One of the best, and often overlooked benefits, of kickboxing is the improvement in mental health areas like confidence, discipline, focus, self-esteem, and the release of stress.
Diet and Kickboxing
It’s almost wrong to have a discussion on calorie burning and Kickboxing without mentioning diet. What is more important than burning calories is losing unhealthy fat, and gaining healthy muscle. Calories are not all the same and the composition of your calories will have a huge affect on your kickboxing performance and your resulting body composition.
Diets can be formulated in many different ways and will ultimately be different for every person. That said, if you’re hoping to lose unhealthy weight and fat by joining kickboxing, it’s important to eat adequate fat and protein, and to stay away from processed foods, sugar and industrial vegetable oils, which are inflammatory and problematic for most people.
Cross training while Kickboxing
While starting kickboxing alone will definitely help you achieve fat loss and performance goals, there’s no doubt that cross training can speed up the process and offer you additional benefits. Once you’ve become accustomed to the newness of starting Kickboxing, you can try adding in calisthenics, resistance training, some weights and circuit training tol boost and support your efforts made in kickboxing class. You might also consider training in other martial arts, like wrestling and jiu jitsu, to develop other muscles and increased mental agility.
Stay away from the scale
Often when starting a sport like kickboxing or various Martial Arts, you will develop muscles while losing fat, and often the muscle gain comes first. Muscles are dense and heavy so many people may actually gain weight initially, especially if they are training often. Rather than getting hung up on the scale (yes, easier said than done), pay attention to how you look and feel. Your clothes might continue to get looser even if you are gaining muscle weight as you’ll be more compact with muscles than you were with the extra adipose tissue.
While Kickboxing will absolutely help you burn calories, hopefully you’ve got a handle on how many other benefits you’ll enjoy from participating in combat sports and Martial Arts. If you’re feeling ready to start Kickboxing, get in touch and we’ll get you started.
If you live in or work near the suburbs of Collingwood, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Abbotsford, Carlton, Richmond, Melbourne, Clifton Hill, Brunswick, Brunswick East, Thornbury, Northcote, give us a call today and get signed up for your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling or Kickboxing intro class.