Could there be a champion Kickboxer in you ready to burst into action? I first put on some gloves 10 years ago when I signed up to a Muay Thai class which whipped my body into shape and taught me how to punch, kick, knee, elbow and block. It became really addictive!

My current coach is ex Kickboxing Champion Paul Marut who has trained World Champions such as David Pacquette and ex European Champion Arnold Oborotov. Paul now runs KO Bloodline gym, a real East End London gym in Hackney where anyone from beginners to seasoned fighters can go to train.

I don’t want to get hurt!
Kickboxing is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, build muscle and tone up plus you don’t to have to do full contact, so there is no need to worry about getting hurt! It’s a full body workout from top to toe that targets your cardiovascular system, core, the major muscle groups and your range of movement. The benefits include better balance, enhanced co-ordination and looking great in the mirror but aside from that I find that it boosts your confidence in knowing that you would able to defend yourself, if faced with a dangerous situation.
The movements combine the power of boxing, the skills from martial arts and the perpetual motion of a traditional aerobics class. The variety reduces the chances of boredom as well reaching parts of the body you might not work if you’re used to a Spinning session or simply going for a run.

What to expect
A typical kickboxing session will get you moving through different kicking, punching and jumping sequences, in 3 minute rounds. Some of the advanced drills can be demanding if you are not in the best of shape, but the atmosphere, the music and a good coach can pull you past your body limitations.
Mastering the movements of a Kickboxer also require you to improve your flexibility, especially around the hips and hamstrings to improve on those high kicks. Stretching is a key component of any kickboxing routine and regular sessions will improve the range of movement around your ligaments, tendons and joints. This helps reduce your chance of injury from any other exercise you might have in your routine. You will also steadily improve the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body, aiding your recovery times.

Mental Benefits
The benefits of taking a kickboxing workout class on a regular basis are not just physical. Stress is a serious problem and this kind of workout can help you break through all of the mental energy that gets stored during the daily grind. Whether it’s an opportunity to take some time for yourself away from the kids, or a chance to unwind after work – taking it out on a punching bag, or simply going through the drills with a group, kickboxing is a one way ticket to releasing tension.
You won’t get bored either. There is a steep learning curve with some of the routines and sequencing in a kickboxing class. Developing your balance and coordination to keep up with the pace and variety of movement will mean you will usually be on the edge of your comfort zone, leaving you little chance of zoning out and going through the motions like you might in another less intense exercise class.
It’s also a calorie killer too. You can burn up to 450 calories in just 30 minutes. And studies, as many of us know have shown that cardiovascular endurance is one the most effective fat burners, especially the stubborn fat around the belly.

Ready to go?
You don’t need any equipment to join most kickboxing classes. You can get your own gloves and guards at some point in the future. But right now all you need to get started is a little bit of willpower and the motivation to get into shape as quickly as possible.
Michelle Cohen