Boxing workouts are fun, fast-paced, tough, and provide amazing weight loss results. Whether you’re slugging through a heavy bag routine, doing some speed bag drills, or sparring with another boxer you’ll get a fat-torching workout.
However, that’s not all. Here are some of the best benefits of boxing for weight loss and why you should consider it for your fitness routine.
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Burn Calories Fast
In a 1-hour boxing class, you can burn up to 450 calories. That number rises as you tackle other boxing workouts. Sparring or 1-on-1 sessions with a trainer can burn upwards of 800 calories, and fighters routinely burn over 1000 calories during a match. The number of calories you burn while boxing puts it in an elite class of cardio exercise alongside intense running and biking.
Keep in mind, a caloric burn is the number one key to losing weight through exercise. By burning more calories than you take in during your meals, you put your body in a caloric deficit. In response, your body breaks down fat to create energy and fuel your activity.
Burn Calories at Rest
Like other types of high-intensity circuit training, boxing puts your body into the aerobic zone during the workout. Not only does this improve heart health, but it also has other benefits.
In order to repair once an intense aerobic workout is complete, your body needs to consume additional oxygen to refuel. This increases your metabolism at rest, putting your body into a sustained state of calorie-burning. Thanks to boxing, crucial you’ll be burning calories even on rest days!
Get a Total-Body Workout
So often, when people think of boxing they only consider the upper body. If you haven’t boxed before you’re probably most concerned with throwing punches. Yes, when you’re punching your way through a heavy bag routine your arms and shoulders to get an intense workout, but there’s a lot more to boxing than that.
Boxing is a whole-body sport. You’ll be on your toes and moving the entire time you’re hitting the bag, which is part of what makes a boxing cardio workout so intense and rewarding. Add in “slip” and “under” moves and you’ll be getting quite a leg workout. It’s almost like doing bodyweight squats while running and punching. After your first boxing workout, don’t be surprised if your calves and thighs are almost as sore as your shoulders.
Improved Muscle Tone
One of the great benefits of boxing exercises for weight loss is that you’ll naturally see more of your muscles as you shed weight. Muscles that were there all along will be more apparent as you burn calories and trim fat.
In addition, boxing builds incredibly toned muscle. It does this by 1) requiring the use of large muscles in both the upper and lower body to power your punches, and 2) engages all of the smaller stabilizer muscles to perform the precise actions required for boxing. This will give you that ripped and toned look you’ve been seeking. Look to see the first changes in your shoulders, arms, and calves.
Build Skill and Confidence
Often when we talk about workouts we focus only on the body. We ask “Is boxing good for weight loss?” or “Does boxing build muscle?” and stop there. While the answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes, it also pays to think about your emotional well-being.
There’s an immense sense of satisfaction in seeing yourself improve in boxing. Whether it’s finally nailing a combination of punches that was too advanced for you on day one or stepping into the ring for your first sparring match, you can feel real progress happening.
Your own confidence will rise, knowing that you can take care of yourself and that you’re in top condition—although we should note that we absolutely do not condone looking for a fight! When we weigh the pros and cons of boxing it’s important to note that a sense of satisfaction and stress relief is often cited among the biggest motivators for those who put on the gloves.
Did we Mention Abs?
Most boxing programs contain a lot of ab workouts. This stems from a long boxing tradition. Fighters in the ring know they’ll be taking punches to the stomach and that the best way to absorb these blows is with strong, tensed abdominals. It’s not uncommon to end a boxing training workout with a series of ab-specific exercises.
Combine a good ab workout with the cardio burn of boxing, which works wonders to burn belly fat, and you’ll see why boxing for fitness is known to deliver rock hard abs.
Boxing at Home
Boxing training at home workouts is a great way to begin. In fact, you can start to learn boxing at home without any equipment at all.
Start with Shadowboxing
To begin shadowboxing, stand in front of a mirror, get up on the balls of your feet, and begin throwing punches.
You might think shadowboxing is silly or useless, but it’s actually an important part of training for fighters. Shadowboxing teaches you to recover when you miss with a punch, which is something you won’t get from a punching bag cardio workout. As you progress in boxing you’ll continue shadowboxing, so the skills learned here are crucial.
Get a Bag and Gloves
If you have space at home, a heavy bag is a great investment for your home gym! We’ve already done a review on some of the best punching bags on the market. With a heavy bag, you can begin your own at-home boxing training. Set it up in a space where you can move freely around the bag (about 5–10 feet of clearance on all sides) so you’ll have room to continuously move and throw punches.
Some hand wraps and a great pair of boxing gloves are the next necessities. While they primarily protect your hands from injury, they’ll also allow you to throw harder punches, resulting in an even better workout.
At Home Boxing Workout
Below is a great 1-hour beginner boxing workout you can perform at home or in any boxing gym. It’s guaranteed to burn a bunch of calories and have you come out the other side ready to face anything.
- 10 minutes cardio warmup (running, jump rope, biking)
- 5 minutes active warmup (jumping jacks, burpees, bodyweight squats)
- 3 minutes of punching the heavy bag
- 1-minute rest
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for 10 rounds. Try mixing up your punches, from hard and heavy, to quicker punches. Make sure to work in jabs, hooks, and uppercuts.
- 30 seconds hitting the bag as hard as you can.
- 30 seconds hitting the bag as fast as you can.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 with 1 minute of rest between rounds. Repeat 3 times.
- End with some light stretches.
Find a Boxing Gym Near You
If you’re not sure you want to commit to buying a heavy bag and gloves until you know boxing is for you, boxing exercise classes are a great place to start. Many of them offer a free first class to newcomers and they’ll set you up with all the gear you need on day one.
Here’s how to get started:
Pick the Right Gym for You
As mentioned before, a good gym should offer deals for newcomers, as well as a welcoming atmosphere. Having an expert wrap your hands on day one and show you the ropes can make a big difference in whether you want to stick with boxing.
Make sure the gym you go to is clean and organized. Also, a good beginner gym will have experienced instructors. If the gym you’re looking at has youth and children’s boxing programs that’s usually a good sign. It means the people there love to teach and are focused on fostering a lifestyle of health and fitness.
It’s okay not to have specialized boxing gear. You don’t need to show up to your first boxing class with gloves and a mouthpiece. To begin, a pair of athletic shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt are fine. But you should check the class schedule beforehand to see what time boxing classes begin.
It also pays to show up early on day one. You should plan to arrive 10–15 minutes before the class starts to sign any waivers, get fitted for gloves and wraps, and get your bearings. It’ll make the first class more comfortable for you.
Boxing isn’t as Intimidating as you Might Think
Movies might depict boxing as a down and dirty sport with tough people working out in old-school gyms, but the reality is much different. You can box at home and get a great fat-burning workout, with punching a single piece of meat, a la Rocky.
Most professionals who own gyms work to build a positive atmosphere and love to welcome newcomers. If you step in looking to get a great workout and lose weight, you’ll find you’re surrounded by plenty of people who share the same goals. With so many boxing workout benefits it’s definitely worth a try!