A New You: All You Need to Know to Start Kickboxing Like a Pro
Looking for a fun new challenge to add to your workout routine? Kickboxing may be the way to go.
Kickboxing got its roots in Thailand over 2,000 years ago, during the invention of Muay Thai fighting for Siamese soldiers.
Once hand-to-hand battle became obsolete during war, Muay Thai carried on as a sport, eventually becoming the national sport of Thailand.
Flash forward to 1966, when a Japanese fighter took aspects of Muay Thai and combined them with full contact karate and boxing to create what we know today as kickboxing.
Kickboxing has been a hit ever since, and for good reason. Not only is it engaging and great for building your confidence, the physical benefits for women in particular can’t be overlooked.
These benefits include:
- Burning calories fast: Kickboxing is a form of heart-healthy cardio that can help you burn fat fast. in fact, it can burn 750 calories an hour!
- Full body toning: The force and flexibility of kickboxing requires full body engagement, especially in the core. Get ready for a slim waist!
- Self-defense: Feel empowered knowing you can defend yourself.
- Stress relief: Hard day at the office? Kids driving you a little batty? Get it out fast with a good kickboxing routine.
- Confidence: Know you’re kicking butt and looking good doing it.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s everything you need to know before, during, and after your first kickboxing class.
Getting Geared Up
Some gyms may rent out equipment for their kickboxing classes. But if you want to get a head start on the gear, talk to your instructor first to find out if you’ll need any of the following pieces of equipment for class:
- Start with lighter gloves, or about 14oz. Be sure to baby powder the inside of the gloves after each use to prevent mildew.
- This is crucial if you plan to spar, or if you’ll be swinging at anything that can move in general.
- It protects your teeth and lessens the impact on your jaw.
- You’ll be kicking just as much as you’ll be punching, so be sure to guard your legs! These may only necessary for sparring or person-to-person contact.
- A lot of lateral movement leaves your ankles at risk of being rolled or sprained.
- Protect and support them with ankle supports.
- You always tell your kids to wear their helmets when they’re skateboarding or playing football.
- The same sentiment applies here. Be sure to protect one of your most important physical features — that beautiful brain of yours!
- Your wrists are at the same risk as your ankles when it comes to twists, turns and impacts. Avoid strains and bruising by wearing hand wraps.
Choosing a Class
If you’re already a gym member, check to see if they have any regular kickboxing classes.
If not, check Yelp for a few classes in your area (and read user reviews). Some classes will even let you observe in person or take a free class before signing up.
Check to make sure your instructor is not only professional, but personable. You’ll have a much more productive time with an instructor you feel comfortable around.
First and foremost, focus on your form!
In fact, you may want to practice this one a bit beforehand. Be sure you’re placing impact on the right parts of your body to avoid injury, especially in your knees. Feel free to let your instructor know you’re new, and ask for tips!
Be sure to also go at your own pace. Some classes can have different levels of experience, but the main goal is for you to learn as thoroughly as possible.
It’s going to take time for your body to adjust, so be patient with yourself and be sure to give your body the rest and recovery it needs:
- To avoid excess soreness and exhaustion, be sure to fuel up on healthy snacks before your workout, especially new rich in potassium.
- Fuel up again after your workout to assure your body has the energy to aide in proper recovery.
- Avoid high carb meals afterwards, even though you’ll crave it!
- Aim for foods with anti-inflammatory qualities (high in vitamin B6, C, and K). This will help ease that muscle ache bound to make you walk funny.
Roll it out
- Use a massage rollerto help ease any tension bothering you.
Stretch it out
- Attend an easy-going yoga class to help breathe through the soreness and return blood flow to any tight areas.
Hot and Cold
- Switch between hot and cold temperatures in the shower to help expel lactic acid.
- Keep those muscles lubricated and your body in full recovery mode by drinking plenty of water and eating hydrating foods.
You’re all set to go out there and kick some butt! Remember to listen to your body and give yourself credit for all the amazing new things you’re trying.