Can Martial Arts help you lose weight? 

From my experience the answer to that is obviously yes, as I’ve explained before the way they run the classes where I train they use High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

We warm up with some pulse raisers and stretches then onto the main workout which usually consists of 2 or 3 minute rounds practicing a drill then swapping over pads and gloves. You get a short rest in between while the instructor demonstrates the drill to have a sip of your drink and catch your breath.

Classes are between 45 minutes and an hour often with more than one class available to  train in each night.

The class usually finishes with a burn out of some description from cross punching to ab workouts.

What’s the best Martial Art for weight loss?

I train in a variety of arts from Jeet Kune Do and kick boxing to Panantukan and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I get a different kind of workout in all of these arts.

Obviously as far as a sweaty blast it out session goes Muay Thai kick boxing wins hands down. There is nothing like blasting it out on the pads to get your heart pumping and your body aching. I’m no expert but I’d imagine the calorie burn is pretty high.

In terms of body strength and conditioning for me it’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, moving on the ground is a whole new ball game. At first it feels alien and awkward but the more you practice the more it flows.

It’s all about position and technique. I have found my core strength and flexibility have improved from BJJ but if you think you’re not in for a sweaty work out because it’s on the ground think again. From backwards rolls down the mat to shrimps and hip hops I have more muscle aches after BJJ than I do after most of my training.

The best part of training in mixed martial arts is that you get a full body workout as you train the different styles. This week as I’ve said is boxing week so I know I’m in for some fast paced classes and lots of sweat!

Do I have to be fit already?

Absolutely not, obviously you need to be physically able to get on the mat and expect some form of exercise. You need to expect if you’re overweight or inactive that it will feel difficult and you may struggle to keep up but remember as you look up the mat that everyone was where you are right now at some point. Very few people walk into our academy at peak fitness, in fact most people come for weight loss and fitness.

Remember that you will improve and like I said in a previous post there are things you can do outside of your martial art to help improve your fitness. I took up running as a way to boost my cardio fitness and mental ability to be able to push myself that bit further in class.

If you find a good academy the instructors and coaches will take care of you, they will tailor things for you and start you off at a pace you can manage. For me my main barrier was confidence and limited self belief. It was the instructors who helped me through that I didn’t have to do anything I wasn’t ready for.

Martial Arts for confidence?

More important than the physical weight loss that I’ve found from practicing martial arts is the new found respect I have for my body. After some of my first classes when I’d step on the mat not knowing how I would get through a round of circuit training, I’d come off and be glowing with pride. Pushing your own limits, challenging yourself from week to week, stepping out of your comfort zone.

Tony Robbins says you’ve got to raise your standards and that couldn’t be more true. If I think of myself as an anxious, overweight woman who could never do something like this then that is what I’ll be. If I’m not willing to accept that and I raise my expectations of what my body can achieve then I’m going to start meeting those expectations.

What do I need to eat to lose weight?

As they always say you can’t out train a bad diet.

If you take up Martial Art classes chances are you’ll be attending more than one a week that’s a couple of hours exercise a week that you wouldn’t have had before. So long as you don’t over compensate with food after training this alone should contribute to weight loss.

You may find as I did that you want to fuel your body differently now that you’re training and expecting more of yourself. Junk food doesn’t give you the fuel and nutrients your body needs to perform and if you experiment with different ways of eating whilst listening to your body you’ll find out what helps you feel your best on the mat.

Just eat real food, protein, carbs, fats, fruit and vegetables. Don’t deprive yourself of what you love but if it’s not good for you cut it down. It sounds so simple and we hear it all the time but it’s the truth. There is no miracle weight loss diet. It won’t happen over night but if you keep doing it week after week it will work.

You don’t plant a seed and expect a fully grown plant the next morning, you’ve got to put in the work, wait for the results and watch the changes.



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