Losing Weight with Martial Arts

20 Oct 2016



Martial arts is not just a combat sport. Many people participate in the sport for its fitness benefits alone. Our martial arts training at Storm Gym incorporates a variety of cardio, stretching, strength and toning exercises so when combined with a healthy diet and regular perseverance most people find it becomes easier to lose weight at the same time. We all know that building up a sweat in a fitness gym can become tedious but with martial arts there’s enough variety in the techniques and skills required to keep you engaged and challenged at all times. Once you find an enjoyable sport it’s always much easier to stick to your goals.

It’s common knowledge that we don’t all put on weight in the same place as each other and if asked most of us could instantly say where that is. However whilst we might initially target that particular area of our body, an all round body workout is more beneficial in maintaining an overall balance in the long run.

Martial arts is well known for the instruction of skilled punches and kicks and whilst perfecting these is still the main focus within our classes, we consider a combination of cardio, strength, toning and stretching exercises essential to achieving a high standard in martial arts. Our class structures do vary according to age, ability and progress so from time to time the class may solely concentrate on certain exercises for optimum improvement.

So which exercises that we incorporate into our martial arts training aid weight loss?

The simplest way to explain how you achieve weight loss is that you need to use more calories then you eat thus putting you in what is known as a negative calorie balance.

Cardio Exercises: These are the exercises that get your heart pumping, for example hitting pads and bag work, star jumps, running, step ups, rocket jumps, power skips, burpees and many more.

Cardio exercises help you lose weight because they:

  • help you burn more calories. (You need to use more calories then you eat to lose weight)
  • Increases your fitness (generally the fitter you are the more active you are during each day so you therefore burn more calories)


Stretch Exercises – Stretching exercises include lunges, twists, leg and arm swings and there are many varieties of these stretching exercises used to target each part of the body. Not everyone is naturally flexible but by practising the high kicks and powerful punches in martial arts your flexibility will soon improve over time.

Although stretching doesn’t impact weight loss directly, having supple joints does increase circulation and enables you to move at a quicker pace and more freely which in turn enables your body to burn off more calories. In addition consistent stretching will help reduce any aches and pains throughout the body.

Strength Exercises: Martial arts classes at Storm Gym incorporate a number of strengthening exercises including lifting punch bags, hand weights, planking, push ups and squats etc.

Strength exercises help you lose weight because:

  • They help build muscle.
  • Muscle is metabolic meaning it uses calories even at rest (therefore the more muscle you have the more calories you burn even when sleeping).
  • The intense workouts using cardio and strength cause a build up of waste products and an oxygen debt in the body which means your metabolism is likely to be higher for several hours after workout when compared to lower intensity training like jogging, which helps increase your daily calorie outake which leads to weight loss.


Toning Exercises: A mixture of sit ups, crunches, reverse dips, curls and leg lifts are from time to time included as part of the training.

Toning exercises can build muscles but cannot reduce fat as this type of exercise tends to be low intensity training and therefore doesn’t burn calories at a fast rate. So unless you’re managing to burn more calories than you’re eating, toning exercises alone will not show significant results. High intensity toning exercises however may have a greater impact on weight loss if repeated frequently purely because high intensity means you burn more calories.

However, although toning exercises are unlikely to have a significant effect on weight loss, they can have quite a large impact on the shape of your body. For example the deep inner muscle of your core help brace and pull every thing in tight to help stabilise your core. So if these muscles are working correctly it is likely to reduce your waist, think about it as if you’re wearing a corset and how that would reduce your waist.

We’ve talked about how Storm Gym training can impact weight loss but we also always stress the importance of re-hydration, routine and a healthy diet as part of a fitness regime for losing weight.


Keeping re-hydrated with water during and after training is vital to keep the body in good working order.


It’s important to maintain a consistent routine to allow the body time to build its strength and find a healthy weight.


Without a healthy diet, no amount of exercise will hold off the pounds forever. Reduce the calorie intake and your training will have quicker results.

So now all you need to do is come and visit us at Storm Gym and try it for yourself.

Storm Gym, Luton



Big thanks to Joe Newitt for all your technical input and providing me with accurate information to put this blog together.