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You might think that boxing is reserved for tough, bulked-up cage fighters, but the punch-and-jab sport is also one of the most effective, comprehensive total body workouts you can choose. Boxing is a high-impact, versatile sport that delivers big results in both calorie burning and strength training. The range of boxing styles ensures that you can find a routine that will work for your fitness abilities and goals, especially if you are hoping to blast fat and lose weight.
All forms of boxing involve simulation of hand to hand combat in which you rely on a series of punches, kicks and dodges to protect yourself and engage your opponent. Boxing combines high-paced cardiovascular exercise with strength training that tones and builds muscle in your upper and lower body. Professional boxing takes place in rings, but fitness boxing may take place in studio classrooms with or without any additional equipment. Once you've worked with a trainer to establish proper technique, boxing easily translates to a simple home workout that doesn't require much more than space in which to move around.
Boxing and Weight Loss
Boxing relies on constant motion. From dodging and ducking to jabbing and punching, your body is constantly on the move. The never-ending motion revs up your heart rate and burns calories -- the key to weight loss. The precise number of calories burned depends on your weight, the style of boxing and the intensity of your workout, but an average person can expect to burn at least 350 calories in an hour of boxing. A boxing class specifically targeted to weight loss can help you burn even more, exceeding 600 to 800 calories in 45 minutes, according to fitness author and personal trainer Ross O'Donnell. Boxing also requires engaged core, upper body and lower body muscles. Toning muscles increases your lean muscle mass, which increases your basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns calories for its normal body functions. Higher resting metabolic rates translate to a more efficient system of fat burning, which facilitates weight loss.
Types and Styles
Professional boxing training is distinct from boxing for weight loss. Professional training focuses on form, accuracy, and strength while fitness boxing focuses on sustained elevated heart rates for optimum fat-burning. Fitness or cardio boxing typically involves a brief warm-up of jump rope or jogging, followed by drill circuits lasting three to four minutes each in which you repeat sets of particular conditioning moves, like walking lunges, standing crunches, or jump squats, and boxing moves, like punching combinations or partnered sparring. Kickboxing incorporates more lower body moves than boxing, so if you are looking for extra lower body toning, kickboxing may be the right option. If you want to box at home, one option is to invest in a weighted, suspended boxing bag to simulate the act of sparring with a partner. You can also perform a boxing workout at home with no equipment, though a mirror is helpful for ensuring you maintain proper form to burn the most calories.
Who is Best Suited for Boxing
Boxing is a high-intensity workout, and incorporating adequate resting periods is essential for preventing injury and allowing your muscles time to recuperate. If you are a beginner, incorporate one cardio boxing class into your routine per week to start, and increase to two or three weekly classes after you've increased your stamina and strength. For weight loss, three aerobic boxing classes per week, with rest days in between each, allows your body adequate recovery time without sacrificing results. Boxing is particularly well suited for individuals with decreased lower body mobility as a majority of the movements can be performed using only the upper body. Boxing may also be a source of stress relief for people who are looking for an outlet for anxiety or aggression.