A trained professional boxer or kickboxer is one of the most well-conditioned athletes you will ever come across: there is no other sport that matches the physical demands of boxing or kickboxing. The best fitness advice to the average joe that we could give would be to learn boxing/kickboxing. No aerobics or cardio kickboxing, we mean the real deal, the real sport.
I have trained and competed in both boxing and kickboxing. If you’re sick of the monotonicity of the gym and seek an an actual sport, boxing/kickboxing is your path to fitness. The reason why people spend so much money in gym memberships without actually going to the gym is the lack of a goal. Boxing/kickboxing gives you that goal. The magic of the boxing workout is its sustained intensity. Spells of anaerobic activity alternate with very short rest intervals. This high-intensity interval training is most efficient at burning fat than slow steady aerobic exercises.
If you’re disciplined enough to ride the storm initially and go through sessions that might feel like torture at first, your body will adapt to the rigours of the workout and you will feel your fitness levels move up swiftly. You will also have found a unique skill for yourself. There’s far more to boxing/kickboxing than just being a self-defence art. It inculcates discipline that your life might be lacking or it will help you improve concentration, your reactions will improve, so will your happiness quotient.
I have competed as a boxer and a kickboxer. Fighting someone has to be one of the most intense physical experiences ever. Even a friendly sparring session with all the protective gear in the world will drain you like nothing else will. A gym could never do that to you.
Your first sparring/fighting session will change the way you look at fitness. It will be the toughest reality check on your own fitness levels. And when you start to get good at it, nothing will be more satisfying.
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Arjun Kohli is a multiple time national muay thai champion and a competitive amateur boxer