Does Boxing Help You Lose Weight?

By Whitney Dickinson

Hilary Swank’s stunning figure in the movie “Million Dollar Baby” leads you to believe that boxing is responsible for its development. It is empowering, strength-building and confidence boosting, but you must determine if boxing is really an ideal choice for losing weight and developing a toned body. If executed correctly, the answer is yes. Boxing can be a phenomenal workout, and tailoring it to your individual needs may be the kick you need to bust through those plateaus.

Types of Boxing Classes

Your local gym may offer a host of classes related to boxing. Common names include kickboxing, turbo kickboxing and cardio-kickboxing. You are likely to receive more in depth, proper instruction at boxing gyms. These facilities commonly offer private and group instruction in sparring, bagwork, technique training and ring boxing.

Boxing Vs. Other Exercises

Walking on a treadmill burns calories and tones your legs. Using an elliptical machine burns calories, tones your legs, and may somewhat benefit the arms if using moving handlebars. If you are looking for a total body workout, though, boxing burns calories, strengthens and tones your legs and upper body, and is an intense core workout. Moreover, boxing will increase your total body muscle mass, leading to more calories burned while at rest.

Calories Burned

“Diet and Fitness Today” provides a calorie calculator for various activities. It estimates that at a weight of 150 lbs, you can burn on average 214 calories in 30 minutes when boxing with a punching bag. If you decide to spar with someone else for 30 minutes, you will average 322 calories burned. Thirty minutes of judo, jujitsu, karate, kickboxing or tae kwan do will help you eliminate about 357 calories. And boxing in a ring for 30 minutes will get rid of an astounding 429 calories.

Other Boxing Exercises

Boxers are known for their uncanny ability with a jump rope. Not only does this increase speed and coordination for improved performance, but it also develops toned, heart-shaped calves, challenges the core, develops muscular endurance in the arms and burns 342 calories in 30 minutes. Bobbing and weaving is another common exercise executed by boxers, developing the legs with each move. Squats are repeatedly performed throughout any boxing match and, thus, are used in training to develop muscular strength and endurance in the legs. Because boxing necessitates core strength, working the abdominals is very important while training.


Weak wrists may pose a problem when initially beginning a boxing workout. If so, work with a trainer to learn proper technique and strengthen your wrists and arms. Make certain the instructor of your class is certified to teach boxing or kickboxing. And, as with any new exercise routine, consult a physician if you have any health conditions that may limit your involvement.

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