If you're looking for real fitness, why waste time with cardio kickboxing when the real deal works better?
If you want to start getting real results from your cardio workouts, put down the hand weights, step out of the mirrored "fitness room" and sign up for a kickboxing class. And we're not talking about the after-work singles club at LA Planet Lifetime where you kick and punch with the resident "guru" to the rhythms of Tiesto stuck on repeat. Leave those classes for the minivan & divorcee crowds and take an approach that will not only get you the buff body you want, but will train your mind as well. We're talking about studying authentic kickboxing, where you will learn to kick a little while you're shaping yours.
Let's face facts; if you're looking for something more rewarding than just being seen at the new fitness hot spot while you're breaking a sweat, cardio kickboxing classes at the Mc Mega-Gyms are wasting your time. The slick sales pitches can't change the fact that gyms exist to make money, not to make sure you're getting all of the tools - mentally as well as physically - that you really need for self improvement. Other than burning some calories and killing some time, what are you really taking with you when you walk out the door besides your sweaty gym clothes? Here are some of the greatest benefits you'll take away from studying real kickboxing instead of getting duped by the fitness room impostor.
You'll Burn More Fat
Sure, every cardio kickboxing class promises that if you stick with it, you'll burn calories and lose fat in no-time, and you will to a degree. How effective is the workout, though? Most high impact aerobics or cardio kickboxing classes will burn off a little over 400 calories during an hour workout for a 155 lb. individual. Real kickboxing is a perfect example of High Impact Interval Training (HIIT), the kind of training that will let the same person burn around 700 calories and upwards in the same amount of time. The added benefit? The impact that comes from hitting reactive targets will help you build more lean muscle. Not in the bulky-broski kind of way, but in the "looking good in clothes you forgot you had" kind of way, and you'll be doing it all faster.
You'll Get More Stimulation
Even though regular cardio kickboxing can help you tone and condition your body, it's probably not what you'd call an enjoyable time unless you like doing the same things over and over again while getting creep-stared through the fitness room mirrors. Real kickboxing combines a high-intensity workout that utilizes every muscle group while also engaging your brain to master fine motor skills, make split second decisions and remain focused under pressure. All of this occurs in an environment designed to get results (no gawkers allowed) with people who will become like family. Flexibility, muscle tone, stamina, balance and strength will all develop significantly while you gain real skills. If you're the type of person who enjoys variety and intensity with challenging workouts that let you train closely with other people instead of just staring at the backside of the person in front of you, ditch the gym and join the dojo.
You'll Learn Real Self Defense Skills
A lot of those soccer mom cardio kickboxing classes claim they are based on real martial arts systems with actual self-defense techniques, but most are just a sales pitch. Just kicking aimlessly without the benefit of proper instruction in body mechanics, timing and form does not construe effective "technique" in martial arts. Real kickboxing skills are learned with instructors who have spent years to decades perfecting their craft, not from someone who's only certified to lead the pre-made corporate kickboxing workout. Learning to defend yourself while getting a great workout offers a huge advantage over simple fitness classes. Not only will you achieve your physical fitness goals more efficiently, you'll also gain effective self-defense techniques you'll absolutely want to have in your arsenal should you ever need them.
You'll Deal Better with Stress
Relieving stress is something we should all do more often. Whereas all exercise helps to some degree, training in a martial arts studio is a whole different game. You're learning combat skills, not home workout skills, and training in intense scenarios will give you the ability to control your fight-or-flight instinct, helping to reduce stress triggers from just about everything you encounter. Let's be real, though. Kickboxing helps demolish tension and stress by letting you kick and punch things while teaching you how to face challenges with confidence and calm. Whether you're doing drills with a partner, smacking around defenseless training dummies, testing with a padded-up instructor, or sparring in the ring, every class will challenge you to master your emotions as you master your body. You will literally punch and kick stress right out - benefiting from all of those stress-annihilating hormones you've just released - in a neutral and safe environment.
You'll Gain Confidence
We all want to be young again, filled to the brim with confidence and equipped with a body that doesn't require counting calories. If you've discovered that you're simply not tackling life like you used to, or if it bothers you that last years' jeans are in a bag on the closet floor, training in kickboxing can bring you back from the precipice of low self-esteem. Learning skills that can prevent you from getting hurt or even save your life lead to a better sense of security in yourself, and the intense training will lead to the body you want (as long as you're not hitting the dollar menu on the way home). Confidence is a key to leading a fulfilling and successful life, and martial arts instills that feeling in everyone who trains hard to be better.
Shape Yours; Kick Theirs!
If you're willing to put in the hard work to lose weight in cardio kickboxing, why not get something more? Most martial arts studios are willing to let new students try a class or two to see if it's right for them, so you've got nothing to lose except a great opportunity to make your efforts (and yourself) more effective. The next time you're sweating to last year's dance hits while flailing around in the fitness room, look at everyone around you and think about what you could be doing instead. You could be learning to kick theirs while you're shaping yours.