Martial Arts

Fitness Kickboxing & Cardio Kickboxing what are they?

Recently I’ve been noticing a popular fitness trend called Fitness Kickboxing, also commonly referred to as Cardio Kickboxing. As a Martial Arts blog I felt inclined to talk about this.

Therefore today we’re going to be discussing a lot of common questions related to this new fitness phenomenal, fitness kickboxing and cardio kickboxing.

Fitness Kickboxing & Cardio Kickboxing what are they

What is Fitness Kickboxing?

Essentially fitness kickboxing is just a regular kickboxing themed fitness program designed to burn calories and and tone muscles. It sometimes incorporates the use of equipment such as:

  • Punching bags
  • Wrist wraps
  • Boxing gloves
  • Shin guards
  • Ankle support wraps

Though this depends on the cardio kickboxing fitness class your attending, as sometimes none of these equipment are needed or used.

How is a typical Cardio Kickboxing lesson routine planed out

A Cardio Kickboxing lesson usually lasts for one hour and is split into 3 sections like most fitness programs.

  • Warm up and stretching – 10 minutes
  • Cardio Kickboxing techniques – 45 minutes
  • Cooling down – 5 minutes

Cardio Kickboxing warm up and stretching

The first part of any cardio kickboxing lesson will start with some warming up and stretching. The reason for this is that, our body can’t instantly go on maximum performance. When we’re relaxed our muscles tend to stiffen up. Thus if we where to go all out from the beginning of the lesson, chances are we’re going to injure ourselves. Which is quite counter productive, after all we’re there to train not to end up unable to move a particular muscle thus causing us to be less productive.

Cardio Kickboxing warm-up

A typical cardio kickboxing warm up routine consists of the following exercises:

  • Some variation of the typical jumping jack
  • Light weights
  • Slow punches – straight punches, uppercuts, hooks, etc
  • Slow kicks – knee strikes, kicks, round-house kicks, etc

They say a pictures is worth a 1000 words and a video is worth 1.8 million words. So to have a better visual of what this looks like I’m going to link a video below showing a typical cardio kickboxing warm-up session.

Cardio Kickboxing stretching

A typical cardio kickboxing stretching routine consists of stretching these muscles: (There are multiple variations of these stretching exercises)

  • Hamstring
  • Groin
  • Calf
  • Shoulder
  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Quads
  • Hip flexors
  • Hip adductors
  • Piriformis
  • Lats
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Neck

Here’s a typical cardio kickboxing stretching routine video, so that you could more properly digest what I just said.

Cardio Kickboxing Techniques Main Lesson

After the stretching and warm up the main lesson starts. This is usually a combination of fast paced Kickboxing techniques. The techniques can be executed either in air, on a punching bag or with a partner holding focus mitts. Usually the kickboxing techniques follow some sort of sequence such as:

  • Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut
  • Sweep, Squat, Kick
  • Jab, Cross, Slip
  • Front Kick, Back Kick
  • Etc

Here’s how a typical cardio kickboxing lesson looks: (start video at 3:25)

As you can see it’s quite the workout, it’s not called cardio kickboxing for nothing you know.

Cardio Kickboxing cooling down

For the final part of the cardio kickboxing session, you’ll go through what’s called cooling down. This should be practiced in any form of high intensity workout. The point of cooling down is so that you don’t stop your body instantly. Instead you start to slowly relax the intensity of the workout. It’s essentially the warming up phase in reverse.

This is pretty much what you should be expecting from a cardio kickboxing session. Some cardio kickboxing classes might do it slightly different, such as using punching bags and focus mitts. I’m going to show you a video of an interesting franchise called Brooklyn Fitboxing who’s taken cardio kickboxing to the next level I bet you’d like.

Is Fitness Kickboxing A Martial Art

Ironically I’ve already made a post in the past explaining why Kickboxing is a martial art. I’d recommend you reading it to understand why I believe that kickboxing is a martial art.

On the other hand when it comes to fitness kickboxing or cardio kickboxing I don’t believe it is a martial art as it lacks what’s called aliveness. Fitness kickboxing resembles more that of a typical aerobics workout routine than that of a martial art.

Does Cardio Kickboxing Improve Self Defence

To continue on the previous point, do I think cardio kickboxing can improve self-defence. My answer to that is, no cardio kickboxing alone can not improve your self defence. In fact cardio kickboxing might actually worsen your self-defence. As it gives you the false illusion that you can fight.

Cardio kickboxing does not incorporate sparring into its regime. Your never trained to hit an object that’s trying to hit you back. I’m not saying cardio kickboxing therefore is bad, it’s great depending on the reason why your doing cardio kickboxing. Doing cardio kickboxing to improve your self-defense, is just as crazy as training football to improve self defense.

I don’t know why I see a lot of other martial art bloggers and cardio kickboxing classes claiming that cardio kickboxing improves your self-defense. Punching and kicking the air or an immobile object isn’t going to prepare you from an opposing force. If you’re interested in learning self-defence, join a kickboxing class that incorporates sparing.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing Cardio Kickboxing

According to a study done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), on the amount of calories burned at a typical cardio kickboxing class. They found that the typical person burns roughly from 350-450 calories an hour.

This might sound like a lot. Though when compared to other fitness classes, cardio kickboxing came in 7th place from 10 other fitness programs. If you’re main goal in training cardio kickboxing is to burn calories. I’d recommend you’d read this great post by Reader’s digest on ‘This Is How Many Calories You Really Burn at Your Favorite Fitness Classes’.

If you happen to prefer the training regime of cardio kickboxing, more than the others listed in RD’s post. Than by all means go to cardio kickboxing. Training is all about having fun, so choose the training class that makes you the happiest.

Can Cardio Kickboxing help me lose weight

Yes Cardio kickboxing can definitely help you lose weight. 350-450 calories roughly translates to a loss of 52g per lesson, now multiply that by 5 times a week and your burning 0.26kg. Maintaining that routine will compile to a loss of over 1kg per month.

Remember losing weight isn’t easy, however it’s not impossible. Staying determined and true to your routine, is key to success.

Will cardio kickboxing make me bulky

No, cardio kickboxing will not build you muscle mass. In order to build muscle mass one needs to train with heavy weights. It does however tone your muscles without increasing there size.

Bodybuilders sometimes use cardio kickboxing in order to remove fat, thus toning there muscles. This however does not mean that bodybuilders build muscle this way. Toning is done to further define the muscles, it’s solely for aesthetic reasons.

Can I do cardio kickboxing while pregnant

I’m no doctor, but I would definitely not recommend it. Even though cardio kickboxing doesn’t involve any sparing such as kickboxing. You still have the possibility of falling, while doing a particular kick. Remember that due to the additional weight in your abdomen, your most likely going to be less balanced.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying exercise is bad while being pregnant. In fact a bit of exercise while being pregnant helps you and your baby stay healthy. However there are better fitness alternatives out there than cardio kickboxing, that are safer while being pregnant.

Can you do cardio kickboxing everyday

Yes, you can do cardio kickboxing everyday, assuming you don’t have some medical condition that prevents you from doing cardio exercises. If you do have a medical issue, consult it with your doctor before signing up to a cardio kickboxing class.

However do take everything in moderation, excessive cardio kickboxing training will lead to injury. When your starting out, begin with 3 workouts a week. If your still feeling okay throwout the week, than you may move it up to 4 times a week. keep repeating this process till you reach 7 days a week, than you may start to add an additional 15 minutes to your fitness kickboxing workout.

Who created cardio kickboxing

Cardio kickboxing was originally created by Frank Thiboutot in 1992, a 2nd degree Shotokan Karate black belt and a 4th degree Taekwondo black belt.

He has also achieved a lot of other accomplishments in his martial arts carrier. All of his accomplishments can be found in the link I shared.

How to do cardio kickboxing at home

Quite simple really. However I would still advise you to at least attended one cardio kickboxing lesson before starting to do cardio kickboxing at home.

The reason for this is so that, you’d have supervision while starting out. You might be doing particular techniques wrong that could potentially injure you. Having someone show you the ropes, is definitely a good thing.

Once you know the proper forms though, there really is no reason to keep paying for a lesson. It’s not a martial art, you don’t need other people to spar against. Just go on youtube, find a cardio kickboxing session and keep up with the video. Something like this should be fine:

If you don’t have a local fitness kickboxing gym to get some supervision before hand. I would recomand starting out really slowly, find a mirror and first make sure your form is perfect. Than gradually increase the speed of your workout.

You can also make an appointment with your doctor and tell him about your plan to train cardio kickboxing at home. He could certainly give you some advice on how to properly execute your techniques.

What to wear for cardio kickboxing

It really all depends on the gym that your going to be attending, for the cardio kickboxing training. If the gym doesn’t utilize equipment such as:

  • Punching bags
  • Kicking shields
  • Focus mitts
  • Etc

Which most cardio kickboxing sessions don’t really use equipment at all, all you need to wear is:

  • A good pair of running shoes
  • Any comfortable pants, that you can move around freely with.
  • A comfortable shirt

That’s pretty much all you need for a typical cardio kickboxing session. Now if your going to be using kickboxing equipment, that’s another story. Your going to need all the items mentioned above and:

  • Boxing gloves
  • Wrist wraps
  • Shin guards
  • Ankle support wraps

Do refrain from using their own equipment and buy your own when possible. You never really know what the person before you has, and it’s quite unhygienic to share these types of equipment anyways.

Additional to these items I would also recomand you to take:

  • Bottle of water – to stay hydrated
  • Towel – to swipe of excessive sweat
  • Spare cloths – to change after the lesson

Negatives of cardio kickboxing

Like everything in life, there are the good things and bad things in everything. Let’s discuss some negative effects of cardio kickboxing:

Even though we don’t have sparring in cardio kickboxing, doesn’t mean that we can’t injure ourselves.

Common injuries in cardio kickboxing are:

  • Bad form
  • More than necessary speed and intensity
  • Long periods of training

Our bodies are fragile and we need to put that into consideration. We can’t one day decide we’re going to start cardio kickboxing and instantly start some kind of cardio kickboxing marathon.

Do everything in moderation, if you start feeling pain stop and find out why that pain is happening.

Cardio kickboxing benefits

We’ve already talked about some of benefits that come along with cardio kickboxing. Though now I’m going to list them, in case we forgot some out.

  • Lose weight
  • Tone muscles
  • stronger core muscles
  • Better balance
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Reduces Stress

That pretty much sums up, the benefits of cardio kickboxing.

What to eat before a cardio kickboxing session

Best food to eat before a cardio kickboxing session would be carbs and protein. Make sure to eat these at least 2 hours before the actual session in order to let your body properly digest these foods.

It’s important not to train with an empty stomach. Depriving yourself from food won’t make you lose weight faster.

If for any reason you don’t have a two hour period to eat before the cardio kickboxing session, you can also eat:

  • A piece of fruit
  • Nutrition bar
  • Greek yogurt

Make sure that it’s a simple food so that your body has time to digest it properly. Else your not going to feel well working out, trust me I’ve puked once.

Is cardio kickboxing hiit

Not necessarily, though some cardio kickboxing classes do make a combination of both these training fitness models to create a cardio kickboxing themed High-intensity interval training (hiit) session.

Though I would stay away from these type of hiit fitness classes if I were a beginner. Sure they burn way more calories at the expense of a higher injury rate.

If your already in great shape sure go try out a cardio kickboxing themed hiit lesson. If your still starting out though ,try to avoid these.

Can you cross training cardio kickboxing with other martial arts

Definitely, I would say cardio kickboxing is one of the best fitness program you can cross train with your main martial art.

Assuming that you chose cardio kickboxing because you wanted to improve any of the benefits we’ve listed.

Else I’d take on another different martial art or bodybuilding to cross train with your main martial art.

Concluding Fitness Kickboxing & Cardio Kickboxing what are they?

I think that pretty much explains what fitness kickboxing and cardio kickboxing are. If you’ve got any questions on the subject feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply to you as early as I possibly can.


Fitness Kickboxing & Cardio Kickboxing what are they?
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Fitness Kickboxing & Cardio Kickboxing what are they?
Everything you need to know about Fitness Kickboxing & Cardio Kickboxing. From, Calories Burnt, Negatives, Benefits, Myths, Home Training, ...
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