Boxing is a great way to release a little aggression.
It’s also an insane cardio workout that can burn anywhere from 500 to 600 calories per hour.
But boxing isn’t JUST a cardio burn. It’s a full-body workout, especially if you’re kickboxing. Your arms, legs, and core all see plenty of action.
It’s also, frankly, a lot more fun than running on a treadmill or plowing away on the elliptical. Plus the self-defense skills can be pretty handy — although hopefully you never need them.
But will these workouts actually change your body? What results can you expect from regular boxing and kickboxing workouts?
The most immediate advantage of regular kickboxing workouts will be a noticeable improvement to your mood. No matter what kind of day you had previously, all your troubles fade away when you’re punching and kicking with all your might.
It will take some time to start burning away fat, but boxing is a great workout choice for fat loss. The good news is that leaning out will make your physique more toned and defined, but you should know that boxing isn’t the best choice for putting on lots of new muscle.
To sum up, frequent boxers and kickboxers can expect:
- Weight loss
- Body definition
- Improved balance and stability
- Mood boost
To find out what exactly you can expect from starting a kickboxing regimen, I spoke to several fitness experts to offer their opinion on all that you have to gain.
Let’s take a look at what they had to say.
It’s generally considered safe and achievable to lose about 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week, and kickboxing is a great choice to get the job done.
Boxing is effective for weight loss because it helps you scorch tons of calories and create a calorie deficit, which is the main driver of fat burning.
Boxing is great for burning calories because it utilizes both your anaerobic and cardiovascular systems.
Anaerobic exercises involve high-intensity movements that are ideal for building muscle. Meanwhile, cardiovascular exercises, like running on a treadmill, increases your heart rate, setting the stage for effective calorie burning.
Combining these two variations makes for a highly efficient workout.
Just don’t forget that weight loss has more to do with your diet than with exercise.
Personal trainer Pam Sherman, had this to say about paying as much attention to your diet as your boxing instructor:
“For weight loss, it really depends on the client, [and] if they are willing to accurately log their food daily and be in a calorie deficit. I’ve seen very few clients succeed if they won’t commit to logging their food.”
Remember, just because you’re training is no excuse to eat whatever you want. A lot of people trip up because they think the workouts earn them tons of additional calories.
The important thing is to be consistent. You may start seeing some results after the first month, but the real gains take time.
Men’s Health profiled a man who took up boxing and ended up losing 96 pounds in 11 months. Naturally, your results will differ, but you need to keep at it with at least a few boxing sessions every week.
If it seems tough, just know it gets easier over time.
As Gwen Dannenbaum of KickHouse says:
“As [students] build their endurance, speed and power, each workout can provide a higher caloric burn rate. Where they used to be burning 400 calories, now they can burn between 600-800 calories in that same 45 min workout.
“Within 60 days, the metabolism starts to make a shift into burning at a higher rate and the body fat starts to melt away.”
It takes time, but the results are worth it.
Body Definition & Muscle Tone
Weight loss is definitely a perk, but most people get into boxing and kickboxing for a muscular physique.
When you’re hitting a bag repeatedly over the course of even just 15 minutes, you’re using a ton of muscles in both your upper and lower body.
However, be aware that boxing isn’t the most efficient or effective way to build new muscle.
Joe Bloom of MMAHive.com explains, “In my experience, you could expect more muscle definition as you drop the fat from your body but not necessarily muscle gains unless the routine is paired with strength building exercises.”
In other words, it could take some time to see the rippling bod you want.
If you’re particularly heavy, then you may need to drop quite a bit of fat first to reveal muscle tone. This could take a while depending on how consistent you are with workouts and what your diet’s like.
If you want to expedite things substantially, then you should incorporate weights into your routine.
You can see great results after just one month of weight lifting— in fact, strength training and boxing or kickboxing workouts pair together beautifully!
The good news is that getting lean and cut through regular kickboxing workouts will actually make you look bigger and more muscular due to the increased muscle tone.
Improved Balance and Stability
Part of being a good boxer means being light on your feet.
It’s easy to ignore by getting wrapped up in all of the flashy moves, but you absolutely need to pay attention to your center of gravity.
Once you start learning proper boxing techniques, you’ll become accustomed to bending your knees and moving from one position to the next without uprooting yourself.
There are a ton of amateur moves that compromise your balance, including:
- Spreading your feet too far apart
- Leaning forward significantly
- Lifting your feet too much
- Punching with excessive force
Over time, you’ll grow into a better boxer, and you can take those lessons into everyday life.
You’ll be more aware of your posture and footwork, have improved balance, and likely notice better performance in other athletics if you play recreational sports.
After a hard day at work and getting cut off by some jerk in traffic, sometimes you just need to punch something!
Gwen Dannenbaum says one of the biggest advantages of boxing and kickboxing is the immediate improvement in mood.
As she puts it, “Almost immediately, kickboxing relieves stress. The workout helps diminish feelings of anxiety, depression, and anger as students put everything they have into the heavy bag.”
There’s a more scientific explanation for why this occurs (other than the fact punching feels good).
Anaerobic exercises help release endorphins in the brain. These are your body’s natural mood boosters, allowing you to feel overjoyed and accomplished.
Unlike the other benefits that come with consistent practice, you’ll feel your mood improve immediately after your workout.
You don’t have to wait months to start seeing the benefits. You’ll feel better right away, so if you’ve been in a slump lately, then signing up for a kickboxing class may be precisely what you need.
Kickboxing or boxing is an amazingly effective, fun, and efficient workout.
It can result in great benefits in just a few months as long as you stick with it.
But it’s important to remember that it’s hard work. You’ll work out pretty much every muscle in your body, and you’re going to feel exceptionally fatigued at the end of a workout.
If you’re a total beginner or extremely out of shape (hey, we’ve all been there — no shame!) you should start out with cardio and weight lifting to build up your fitness base, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve exercised with any degree of severity.
However, if you feel ready, then boxing is great for burning fat, revealing lean muscle, and improving your coordination.
Hope this helps!