If you ever feel like you're ready to kick the world in the butt, consider a kickboxing workout. The version taught for physical fitness is called Cardio Kickboxing. This tough workout was created by fitness instructor Frank Thiboutot in 1992.
Kickboxing classes typically last one hour. Classes quickly progress into fast-paced martial arts-inspired movements, like punching, kicking, jumping and jabbing. Some studios use punching bags.
Benefits of kickboxing: Kickboxing is a total body workout. Unlike actual boxing, the only battle that takes place is the battle of the bulge—you'll normally kick the air, a punchbag or sometimes a well-padded trainer.
Kickboxing is an excellent way to burn fat quickly. The high intensity workout helps to improve balance, flexibility, coordination and endurance, all while giving you the satisfaction of pretending to kick the crap out of someone or something.
Who kickboxing is best for: Anyone looking to get in shape while letting off a lot of steam can benefit from this martial arts-inspired workout.
Getting ready: Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Do not wear tennis shoes. Invest in a pair of cross-trainers, which make it easier to shift from side to side.
Calories burned: Kickboxing can burn 350 to 450 calories per hour.
Reality TV star and fashionista Lauren Conrad prefers kickboxing to yoga. Other celebrities who have been known to punch a bag from time to time are Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie, and Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky.
Muscle, tendon and joint injuries can result from overextending or stiffening the arms and legs while kickboxing. Sprained knees and ankles are among the most common injuries suffered by kickboxers. Beginners should work out with a trainer to avoid injuries and ensure proper form.
Who shouldn't do it: Individuals with diabetes, asthma or who are obese should speak with a physician before participating in a kickboxing class. While pregnant women are welcome to take a swing at the bag, most trainers recommend that beginners wait until after giving birth to pick up the sport.