Years ago I was overweight and walked into my local Boxing gym for help. Wondering, is Boxing a good workout for fitness and weight loss? Here’s what I found.
Boxing is an extremely good full-body workout for fitness and weight loss. On average, classes last for 1 hour of rigorous exercise including running, skipping, bodyweight exercises, and Boxing itself. All of which requires a high energy output and will improve your cardio and muscular endurance.
I personally lost a lot of weight with Boxing and got very fit.
In this article you will learn what you can expect from Boxing for fitness including:
- Boxing class structure (What to expect & fitness requirements)
- Plus 10 common Boxing fitness questions
Boxing for Fitness: Complete Guide
Whether you’re already in good shape and looking to take your fitness to the next level.
Or you’re unfit and looking to get in good shape – Boxing will help you achieve your goals.
As long as you’re medically fit to partake in physical exercise, Boxing is open to all body shapes and sizes.
Boxing is a great workout because the act of Boxing itself requires a lot of cardiovascular fitness, requiring constant movement, bouncing around on your feet and twisting your body to throw and roll under punches.
Whether you’re casually training, hitting pads or a punch bag, or you’re training to fight – all Boxing training is a high paced full-body workout.
In addition to the workout Boxing itself offers, Boxing classes are usually structured to focus a lot of time on additional fitness training too.
This is because if you want to get really good at Boxing, it requires both Boxing skill, and a high level of fitness.
So, whether your goal is simply weight loss, or you want to get fighting fit – Boxing has something for all requirements.
For more on the cost and benefits of Boxing, check out my other article: Is Boxing Worth It? (Benefits & Costs).
Boxing Class Structure: What to Expect & Fitness Requirements
I have had the opportunity to train at a handful of Boxing gyms around the world, and each of them followed a very similar class structure.
In general, you can expect a Boxing class to start with a 15 minute warmup with running and skipping, followed by shadowboxing. The remaining time will be for pad or bag work and sparring for more advanced students. At the end of class you can expect to do some fitness conditioning and a cooldown.
At my local Boxing gym, before we were even allowed to strap up our boxing gloves, the classes started with a 1.5 mile (2.4km) run.
We were required to complete the run (which usually took most of us between 9-12 minutes), followed by 15 minutes of skipping.
That’s almost 30 minutes of fitness training before we even started Boxing!
The classes then ended with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for about 10-15 minutes – and then a cooldown and stretch.
All-in-all, it totals up to nearly 45 minutes of fitness training during a one and a half hour training session.
That’s 50% of training dedicated just to fitness!
Not all gyms will follow the exact same structure, but to give you an idea of what to expect, here’s how most of the classes I’ve done looked like:
- You can expect to start the Boxing class with a run, either 1-2 miles, or 10-15 minutes.
- At some of the Boxing gyms I’ve trained at, the running was done outside the gym, at others it was around the room, or on the spot.
- Either way, you can expect to do some form of running as a warmup in your Boxing class.
- Skipping is an important part of Boxing because it helps condition your calf muscles, keeping you fast and light on your feet.
- It is also a great workout, after just a few minutes you will start to feel the burn in your legs, arms and lungs.
- You can expect to do at least 3-5 rounds of skipping at the beginning of Boxing class.
- If you’ve ever seen a Boxer throwing punches at an imaginary opponent with no one in front of them, it’s called shadowboxing.
- Shadowboxing is a great way to practice your punching techniques with perfect form and to visualize landing them on an opponent.
- It is also a good way of warming up your muscles which you will be using to throw punches for the rest of class.
- It is very common to do some shadowboxing in class, and you can expect to do at least 3-5 rounds of shadowboxing.
Pads & Bag Work
- Hitting small hand-held pads or a punch bag is a great way for you to build up your punching power and make your muscles work harder.
- Hitting pads and bags is also great for improving your technique, building stamina, and increasing muscle endurance.
- If you’re new to Boxing, or just training for fitness purposes, you’ll likely spend most of the class hitting pads or a bag.
- Sparring is the part of Boxing where you go head-to-head with another student, hitting each other with 50-60% power.
- Sparring can get quiet heavy and become more like a real fight, hitting each other with a lot of power.
- If you’re serious with your Boxing training, then you could expect to start sparring after a few months of training, or when your coach says you’re ready.
- If you’re doing Boxing just for fun or a fitness workout, you are unlikely to partake in heavy sparring, if any at all.
- Sparring requires a high level of fitness, if you’re unfit you will start to fade and be unable to properly fight and defend yourself.
- You do not have to do sparring in Boxing training if you don’t want to.
- At most of the gyms I’ve trained at, each class ended with high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
- This HIIT training consisted of bodyweight conditioning exercises.
- Including, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, leg raises, and anything else to condition your body.
- You can expect to do at least 10-15 minutes of HIIT style training at the end of your Boxing classes.
Cooldown & Stretch
- At the end of each class you will have time to cooldown and stretch off your muscles.
- At this point you will have had a serious workout and will have burnt a ton of calories (see question 1 below).
Boxing for Fitness: 10 Commonly Asked Questions
1. How many calories does Boxing burn?
On average, Boxing burns 10.6 calories per minute and 638 calories per hour, depending on your weight, age, and body mass. This can be more or less, depending on the type of Boxing you’re doing. For example, pad work will burn more calories than shadowboxing, with sparring burning even more.
Check out the table below to see how many calories you could be burning in Boxing, both per minute, and per hour.
- First, find your weight on the left from the weight ranges (either lbs or kg).
- Then, see how many calories burnt on the right from the estimated averages.
|lbs||Kg||Cals Burnt / Min||Cals Burnt / Hour|
|105 – 115||48 – 52||7.6||456|
|116 – 125||53 – 57||8.4||504|
|126 – 136||58 – 62||9.1||546|
|137 – 147||63 – 67||9.9||594|
|148 – 158||68 – 72||10.6||636|
|159 – 169||73 – 77||11.4||684|
|170 – 180||78 – 82||12.1||726|
|181 – 191||83 – 87||12.9||774|
|192 – 202||88 – 92||13.7||822|
With just a quick glance, you can use this table to see how many calories you could be burning during your Boxing workouts.
How did I get these numbers? Let’s break it down.
Seneca Labs Inc did a study of how many calories get burnt during Boxing training, and were able to produce a formula for working out an average of calories burnt in Boxing per minute.
(MET x Body Weight in kg x 3.5) ÷ 200 = Calories burnt Per Minute
They categorized Boxing training into 3 levels of energy output known as Metabolic Equivalent Task (MET) – which basically means how much energy you use in training – which changes depending on whether you’re hitting the bag or sparring etc.
The numbers in the table above are worked out from an average weight, taken from a range of each of Boxing’s weight divisions – Minimum up to Cruiser – and are calculated off of an average of the 3 MET levels in the formula.
- Heavy weights are not included because there is no limit to the Heavyweight division (but you can use the formula above to work it out for your weight).
- Your body mass, age and gender can affect these averages, and are not factored into the formula.
2. Is Boxing a good way to lose weight?
Boxing is one of the best forms of exercise for weight loss. Burning an average of 638 calories per hour of training, Boxing is a full-body workout which requires a high level of cardiovascular endurance. Boxing also focuses a lot of training time on running and High Intensity Interval Training.
Check out the table in question 1 above to see how many calories you could burn in your Boxing training.
3.Will Boxing give you abs?
Boxing is a great workout if you’re trying to get abs. On average, training will burn 638 calories per hour, helping you to lose weight. Boxing also does a lot of core workouts to protect the abdomen area against your opponent’s punches, which builds your core muscles resulting in defined abs.
However, whether you get abs or not from your Boxing training will depend more on what you eat after training and how consistent you are.
4. Can Boxing make you fit?
Boxing can make you very fit because it works your entire cardiovascular system in conjunction with your entire muscular system to help build your fitness and endurance. Boxing training also on average spends 30-40 minutes on fitness training to get you as fit as possible.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to get fit – or an athlete looking for a competitive edge – Boxing is guaranteed to push your fitness to the next level.
5. What muscles does Boxing work?
Boxing mainly works your shoulders, chest, triceps, legs, and core muscles. However, Boxing is a full-body workout, meaning during training you will be working the other muscles in your body and your entire cardiovascular system, to ensure you are fighting fit.
6. Do you build muscle in Boxing?
Boxing isn’t the most effective way to build muscle mass because it doesn’t provide progressive overload needed for increased muscle mass. Boxing is better for weight loss and endurance. However, during training you do a lot of bodyweight exercises which help to build and strengthen your muscles.
For best results, implement a weight training program into your Boxing routine.
7. Is weightlifting good for Boxing?
Weightlifting for Boxing is good for your strength and punching power, however your power is better generated from your technique rather than your strength or muscle mass. Building a lot of muscle can affect your cardio and speed, meaning the more muscle you have, the more energy you need to fuel it.
This is likely going to affect your endurance and cause you to burn out much faster.
Although the extra weight from the muscle may mean your punches land heavier – it also means you’ll likely punch slower.
8. Can I start Boxing if I’m fat/ overweight?
Anyone can start Boxing, no matter how fat or overweight they are, as long as you’re medically cleared by a health professional. On average, Boxing burns 638 calories per hour and is used all around the world to help people get in shape and increase their long-term health.
See questions 1 and 2 above for more on how Boxing can help you in your weight loss journey.
9. Does strength matter in Boxing?
In Boxing, strength is not as important as cardio, endurance, and speed. Because, together with cardio, the speed and accuracy of your punches are what make you an effective Boxer. Strength will help in the clinch to wrestle your opponent, but the clinch will be broken up, so therefore less important.
10. Are sprints or long-distance running better for Boxing?
In Boxing, sprints are good for improving your short-term fast twitch energy bursts. Long-distance running is good for improving your long-term endurance to maintain your energy over 12 rounds. Both are important and both have their benefits in your Boxing training routine.
“Read our other article: 5 Best Martial Arts for Self-Defense & Why”