Kickboxing for the Obese and Overweight


Man measuring his chest size with a measuring tape.

Kickboxing is highly beneficial for people who are obese or are overweight. The constant and explosive movements help burn a high number of calories. Studies show that kickboxing improves fitness levels and increase energy expenditure.

Overweight, obese, plus-size, or whatever your preferred term, you probably arrived at this article because this is causing some trepidation when it comes to working out, and that is something you’re hoping to change. Good for you! It’s a big step to admit that to yourself and an even bigger one to do something about it, especially if what you plan to do is take up kickboxing as a beginner! But rest assured that you are making a very good decision.

Why Kickboxing for Overweight Beginners?

When considering kickboxing, ‘obese’ isn’t generally a word that springs to mind. That’s not to say you should avoid it if you’re not in perfect shape, it’s the very reason you should jump right in! In fact, there is a strong case to be made for kickboxing being the most effective choice of exercise for those looking to get in shape.

A recent study (source) recruiting individuals of similar age, physical capability, and with no prior experience of combat sports put this theory to the test. It found that, while on similar diets, subjects exposed to kickboxing experienced significant improvements compared to the group exposed to a more general, non-specific exercise regime.

The Kickboxing group showed more improvement in:

  • Fitness
  • Muscle Functions
  • Upper-body muscle power
  • Flexibility
  • Speed
  • Agility

One more important thing to note is that while the kickboxing group saw tremendous improvements, they also lost a high number of calories. A challenging workout paired with proper nutrition is the best way to lose weight.

Check out our kickboxing calorie calculator to find out how many calories you can burn in a single kickboxing session.

Getting Started

It is a common belief that kickboxing clubs are an intimidating place to be. This often deters beginners but shouldn’t, as it couldn’t be further from the truth! Nobody is born a natural talent and, just as you are starting now, every person in every club starts from the beginning. Therefore you will not walk into a lion’s den of experts, but rather will be greeted by a team of individuals at various stages of the journey – including other beginners.

Of course, it’s more than okay to start alone at home with some basic techniques but, when you feel ready, joining a club is highly recommended. Do so and not only will you accelerate your progress, you will also likely meet some great new friends.

Here’s a video by Becoming Jai showing her journey with kickboxing as she lost 180 pounds in less than 2 years.

What Next?

Kickboxing is accessible for people of all shapes and sizes and any fitness level. However you chose to start, be mindful of your own ability and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day! Whether you are capable of performing spinning back kicks until your dizzy, or you can manage only a few basic punches before you need to sit down and take a quick puff on your inhaler, that’s okay! Find your threshold and work hard wherever that is.

With a bit of time and perseverance the exercise will become more manageable and, no matter how slow the improvement, that is progress. With that you will notice a difference both in the way your body feels and looks, especially if you combine this with a healthy diet.

There you have it! Kickboxing is an excellent way to get in shape, it’s a very welcoming community, and can be taken up by people of ANY fitness level. So if you’re thinking of getting started, there’s no time like the present.


Photo Credit: Phil Gradwell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philgradwell/

Video Credit: Becoming Jai

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