Kickboxing is a blend of karate and boxing mixed with a fast-paced cardio workout. If you’re looking for an intense and upbeat form of exercise, kickboxing is for you.
While it can seem intimidating to step into your first kickboxing class, with a little protective gear and the right instructor, it can be a great form of martial arts for beginners!
1. Create a Plan
If you want to get serious about starting kickboxing, you need a plan.
First, decide what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight from kickboxing? Enter competitions? Get better overall fitness?
You should also consider your current physical fitness level. It might be harder for a couch potato to start kickboxing classes than someone who is already active. Kickboxing is an intense sport, but it’s totally worth it if you’re up for the challenge!
On the other hand, if you’re a current gym rat or active individual, you’ll need to plan how a kickboxing workout will fit in with your other activities. Kickboxing is a full-body workout, so plan your days off to allow your muscles to recover.
2. Choosing a Gym
Unless you’re looking to learn kickboxing at home, you’ll need to choose a gym or martial arts studio to take beginners kickboxing classes at.
Kickboxing classes can vary widely based on instructor preferences. Some classes are focused on a cardio kickboxing workout. For example, the lessons might include choreographed moves to music that looks more like dance class than kickboxing. Other classes might focus on preparing athletes for competitive events.
Search around the web for kickboxing classes near you, and then visit some that seem to align with your personal goals. Some studios offer a trial class which can be helpful if you’re new and want to see what it’s like.
Use your goals to determine which type of gym or studio is right for you. If your goal is entering competitions, make sure you choose a studio that can train you for that. If your goal is weight loss and having fun, you might want to choose a studio that’s not as competition focused or at least offers non-competitive classes. And you might want to consider getting something like a cross trainer at home for days you can’t make it to the gym.
How Much Do Kickboxing Lessons Cost?
The price of beginner kickboxing lessons depends on the studio. It’s usually a monthly fee (plus an annual fee) similar to a traditional gym. Pricing varies widely, so it’s best to call around to your local gyms to research different options. While on the phone, you can discuss class packages and the staff can help you decide how many times per week to do kickboxing classes.
Make sure the gym you choose feels welcoming, clean, and professional. It’s important you enjoy your new gym and studio so that you’ll keep going back for classes. Don’t feel pressured to sign up at the first studio you visit if it doesn’t fit your vibe.
2. Learning Core Moves
If you tell your instructor you’re a beginner, they’ll help you learn the ropes with basic kickboxing techniques and feel comfortable during your first few classes. If you’ve never tried kickboxing before, you might find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the core moves of kickboxing. While it’s not required, it will help you feel more at home during your first class and speed up the learning process.
Here’s a helpful video explaining kickboxing for beginners and the core moves you’ll learn.
You can try shadowboxing at home before your first class. Shadowboxing is simply sparring against an imaginary opponent. You can try out your fighting stance and maybe some jabs and hooks to get familiar with punching. However, if you haven’t exercised in a while or are not familiar with martial arts, you should probably wait for your instructor to explain the proper form before trying out movements at home in order to avoid potential injuries.
Even if you don’t physically practice the moves, learning about them now can help accelerate your progress later on when you’re in class.
3. Get the Right Kickboxing Gear
Most kickboxing classes will let you know what gear you need before your first class. For a beginner’s class, dress in comfortable workout clothes that you feel comfortable sweating in.
It’s important to note that your kickboxing equipment will change based on the kickboxing class you choose. For example, some cardio-based kickboxing classes won’t require any gear like gloves or protective headgear.
Usually, if you’re training in a martial arts studio or using punching bags, you’ll need protective equipment. You’ll also need your own kickboxing gear if you’re planning on entering competitions.
For your first couple of classes, you might be able to loan boxing gloves and head guards from the studio. Not all studios have equipment available to loan out. However, if you’re going to be sparring, you’ll need to invest in your own equipment. You can also use your own equipment to practice at home with a punching bag. A good punching bag can be a big investment, but it’ll help you gain accuracy, strength, and speed.
High-quality boxing gloves will last a while if properly cared for. This is a core piece of equipment for kickboxing, so you want to make sure you get the right type and size. If you need help, this article explains how to choose boxing gloves for beginners. Make sure to dry them out after every class!
As with most contact sports, mouth guards are essential.
Hand wraps protect your wrist, hands, and fingers underneath your boxing gloves.
You’ll also need a pair of shin guards if you’re sparring to protect yourself from shin fractures.
Lastly, don’t forget head guards to protect your chin, cheeks, and head.
This might seem like a lot of equipment to get started, but it’s well worth it! If properly cared for, kickboxing equipment can last a long time.
4. Wrap Your Hands Like A Pro
One thing that many kickboxing beginners don’t know about is hand wraps. Boxing gloves protect your knuckles, but hand wraps protect the rest of your hand and wrist underneath your boxing gloves. Hand wrapping can seem intimidating in the beginning. With a little know-how and practice, you can become a hand wrapping pro in no time.
First, you need high-quality hand wraps. Protective gear is not any place to cut corners. It can save you from injuries later on.
After you get your hand wraps, follow some YouTube tutorials and practice wrapping your hands. You can also ask your instructor or friends at your martial arts studio. There are many different ways to use hand wraps, and you’ll naturally find out what feels most comfortable for you as time goes on.
For now, just practice getting the basic mechanics of hand wrapping down and follow the lead of others more experienced than you.
5. Eat for Optimal Performance
You should avoid stuffing yourself at a buffet before your class, but a light meal would be fine.
About 1 hour before your class, it’s recommended to have a 200-300 calorie snack or light meal. Kickboxing burns a lot of calories, so it’s important to make sure you’re properly fueled. A 185 lb. person can expect to burn about 855 calories in just 1 hour of kickboxing class! Kickboxing is a great way to lose weight, but it needs to be supplemented with a healthy diet for the best results.
While there isn’t an official kickboxing fitness diet, here are some ideas for nutritious snacks to eat before your class:
- 1 piece of whole-grain toast with scrambled eggs (or your choice of protein)
- 1 cup of unsweetened low-fat Greek yogurt with berries
- A handful of multigrain crackers with hummus
Eat whatever works with your body and dietary needs, just make sure it’s healthy and won’t weigh you down during your workout! Some experts also recommend avoiding fatty foods before your workout because too much fat can slow down digestion.
Lastly, don’t forget to drink water. You’ll likely sweat lots during your class, so make sure you stay hydrated all day and bring a water bottle to class with you.
6. Just Get Started!
There is no better time to start than now! Of course, check with your doctor before starting a rigorous new exercise regime or diet. You should also familiarize yourself with the risks of kickboxing, which are similar to other martial arts.
Don’t let the idea of heading to a martial arts studio scare you from getting started. Most experienced kickboxers are not there to judge you. Instead, they’ll be glad to share their knowledge and help you learn the ropes.
If you don’t know what you to expect from your first kickboxing class, don’t worry. Call your studio before your first class to get your questions answered. Otherwise, all you need to do is show up in exercise clothes, hydrated, ready to sweat, and with an eager attitude! And, if you’d like to explore other martial arts that are suited to those just starting out, check out our guide to Muay Thai for Beginners.
If you want to focus on increasing your general health, stamina, and strength before hopping into a kickboxing class, then follow our guide on Resistance Training At Home.