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Try Cardio Kickboxing to Sculpt Muscles, Burn Fat

With so many different options in workouts, it can be difficult to determine what to try next. Here are some reasons why you should give cardio kickboxing a shot.

Are you looking for a way to get active, sculpt your body and blast fat, but you're a bit tired of running or doing your usual workout routines? Then martial-arts-inspired cardio kickboxing might be a great option for you to try. Cardio kickboxing is slightly different from regular kickboxing in that it incorporates more heart-pumping moves and maneuvers like jabs, punches and uppercuts along with intense kicking at a rapid pace. These moves are all designed to get your heart pounding and your muscles working so you can tone up your body and start burning fat. In addition, learning how to kickbox is a great way to increase your self-defense skill set, as it is related to karate, and it can also act as an outlet for stress relief. Kickboxing is great to take as part of a class in your local gym, which many offer, or even in the comfort of your own home in front of a kickboxing DVD. Let's take a closer look at the basics of cardio kickboxing and examine the many benefits it can provide.

The Basics

If the word “kickboxing” conjures an image of a warrior performing elaborate combinations of kicks and punches at lightning speed, don't let it discourage you. Kickboxing is not for only karate or martial arts experts, and it is comprised of simplistic movements that might appear complicated because of the speed and intensity at which they are executed. The main “punch” movements are comprised of hooks, jabs, uppercuts and crosses; the “kicks” are made up of front kicks, side kicks and roundhouse kicks. Before you begin to practice the different movements, it's essential to first solidify your fighting or sparring stance—a body position designed for you to assume when fighting an opponent. If you're right-handed, it is most common to stand with your left foot planted ahead of your right, with knees slightly bent; if you're left-handed, stand with the opposite foot forward. With your hands elevated to chin level, make sure your right hand is positioned closer to the side of your face, with your left hand aimed a little in front of your face. Your elbows should be bent and positioned beside your body but not touching it, with your chin tilted downward. 
Once you have this stance down, you can start practicing your punches and kicks. Before you try to blast out a series of movements, it's critical to ensure that you are performing the individual moves properly. For example, take time to practice your uppercuts repeatedly before you start to combine them with hooks and start incorporating roundhouse kicks. To start addressing the cardio aspect of kickboxing, you should be confident with the proper ways to execute each move on its own. Then, you can try to amp up the intensity by blending the moves together and concentrating on being forceful and fast. Focus on tightening your core and really working the muscles in your arms, shoulders and thighs. Kickboxing is a physically demanding exercise, so it's important to start rather slowly and gradually work up to maximum intensity.

Mental Health and Body Benefits

Since cardio kickboxing is essentially a total body workout, you can expect to achieve very thorough results, addressing the muscles in your upper body as well as your lower. According to Fitness Magazine, one hour of cardio kickboxing burns an average of 500 calories but, depending on the intensity, may even rise above 800. Cardio kickboxing is a great way to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles, shoulders, biceps, quads, glutes and other muscles. Partaking in cardio kickboxing regularly can help you to blast away fat and transform your body into one that is strong and seriously shredded. In addition, consistent kickboxing can build up your physical endurance and stamina, encouraging your body to achieve its maximum potential in terms of how long and how strong you can perform. Cardiovascular fitness and heart health also benefit from kickboxing. Due to its defensive, attack-like nature, cardio kickboxing is also a great way to relieve stress and built-up aggression. Shadow boxing, or fighting against an imaginary opponent, is a productive way to release any negative emotions, and it also makes great practice for any situations you might encounter in the future where you'll have to utilize physical self-defense. 

Before You Start

It's imperative to be certain that you are in excellent health before you begin rigorously training for cardio kickboxing, so make an appointment for a check-up with your doctor. If you've signed up for your first cardio kickboxing class, or you're just about ready to pop in a DVD and work out at home, there are several important things to consider before you start. Because cardio kickboxing is so physically demanding and involves almost non-stop movement at its level of maximum intensity, you need to make sure you remember to breathe. It won't be a good thing if you end up passing out from holding your breath during your jabbing, uppercutting and roundhouse-kicking. Proper and thorough stretching is also crucial to perform before your workouts, as immediately diving into a cardio kickboxing routine with stiff, unused muscles can cause pain, injury and other negative effects. Taking a preworkout supplement before you start can also provide some benefits in how well you perform, as it can help you to maintain energy and keep your body fueled for your intense, impending workout. 
Kickboxing can be a great way to get active and get toned, so give it a try the next time you're looking for a high-intensity workout. Come back tomorrow for more health tips, and have a great day!
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