When most women hear the word kickboxing, the 1989 Jean Claude Van-Damme movie appropriately entitled “Kickboxer” and it brutal fight scenes usually come to mind. Don’t get me wrong I loved that movie and I even love kickboxing as a sport but there is an entirely different type of kickboxing, cardio kickboxing. Kickboxing is just not for the men; in fact it is becoming increasingly popular with the ladies and for good reason!
Cardio kickboxing provides nearly all the benefits of kickboxing without any of the negative side effects such as getting punched in the face. Believe me; getting punched in the face is extremely overrated. When kickboxing is used primarily as a workout (as opposed to a contact sport) it provides numerous heath and movement functionality benefits for women, not to mention that it is a complete total body workout! Want tone arms and legs? Want that sexy flat mid-section? Well, cardio kickboxing will help you reach your ideal body quicker than most other fitness methods. Other kickboxing benefits include weight loss, time efficiency, motor skill improvement, increased bone density, muscle growth, and increased confidence.
- Weight loss – Cardio Kickboxing is a form of High Intensity Training better known as HIT. HIT has been proven to be a superior form of training when compared to long slow cardio. Don’t believe me, Google the images of sprinter versus marathoner. High intensity training gives an individual the most bang for their “fitness buck”. HIT is the most effective way to help women lose weight and build muscle simultaneously. This is important because not only do we want to lose weight but we also want to look good. A little muscle ALWAYS looks better than zero muscle (skinny fat).
- Time efficiency – Today’s women have to balance both work and family commitments and that does not leave a lot of time for working out. When it feels like every minute of every day is accounted for, wouldn’t it be nice if you did not need to spend multiple hours in the gym in order to lose weight. Well, you are in luck! Cardio kickboxing gives you a complete total body workout. In fact women can burn up to 1200 calories in an hour. When a person can commit to kickboxing 3 -4 times a week they will begin to see noticeable results in their body composition in as little as three weeks. What other form of exercise can you achieve these results from only working out 3 – 4 hours per week? Even the busiest of us can spare 3 – 4 hours a week!
- Motor skill improvement – This is probably the most underrated benefit of kickboxing yet the most beneficial to one’s quality of life. Whether it is our sedentary lifestyle or just a fact of getting older, we humans once we hit our 30’s, slowly start to become an uncoordinated mess. Our movements have become very stiff and ridged as opposed to fluid. Think of the way a tiger moves in the wild. It is very fluid and even beautiful, where as your typical 9 to 5 office dweller waddles very “sloppily” through life and for most of these people, just the thought of doing something athletic causes them to pull a muscle. However when experienced kickboxers walk around, their general movements closely resemble that of a tiger in the wild, their movement is extremely fluid. Also, in my experience of the fitness world there is very little to rival kickboxing in the motor skills improvement category especially for women. Our bodies are our vehicle and we need to take care of and be able to use our bodies to their full potential.
- Increased bone density – As we get older our bones start to become more fragile. Even though it is unfair women are at a much great risk forosteoporosis when compared to men. But once again kickboxing comes to the rescue. Believe it or not our bones are a lot like muscles, if you don’t use them you lose them. Our bones are stimulated through exercise such as resistance or weight bearing movements and this stimulation encourages new bone growth and increases the overall strength of our bones. A true cardio kickboxing workout incorporates the use of a heavy bag (over 90-lbs). Punching and kicking a heavy bag significantly increases the resistance of the training while minimizing the harmful hard impacts that can be hard on an individual’s joints. Stronger bones mean we are less likely to become injured!
- Muscle growth – Increasing ones overall strength is probably the single most important aspect for general fitness and quality of life. As in both sports and life, if everything else is equal the stronger person will always come out on top! Only the strong survive, right? Resistance training increases muscle strength. In cardio kickboxing gyms such as CKO you are punching and kicking a 125-lb heavy bag. These types of heavy bags provide a significant amount of resistance and thus you are stimulating your muscles for the entire workout. Most typical cardio type workouts such as running or Zumba just mainly work your cardio vascular system but provide little muscle stimulation as those methods provide very little resistance. Stronger people not only perform better, are less prone to injury, and they look better too! Remember strong is the new skinny!
- Increased confidence – Let’s be honest. Is there anything better than being really strong and fit, having “cat like reflexes”, moving with a fluidity the way the human body was designed to move, and let’s not forget looking extremely sexy in a swim suit?! When you feel physically strong and look great, your mental state improves positively. Whether it is being able to move like you did back in your 20’s, or compliments from your significant other and/or your co-workers, your increased confidence will be noticed!
Cardio kickboxing helps you lose weight, become injury proof, tones musclee, improve your mental state and make you feel and look young again! In the busy world of today why would you waste time doing anything else? Remember life is too short to be in the gym for multiple hours a day. Cardio kickboxing can positively change your life for the better!
Author: Garett Renon,
head trainer at CKO kickboxing’s Seattle location