Now that summer is over it seems almost instinctive to forgo the commitment to exercise as we inch closer to year-end celebrations that all seem to involve feasting. As we start to make compromises to take a ‘brisk walk’ after dinner as a substitute for a gym session, though still positive, is definitely not the same type of workout. Enter the dispute about whether cardio or weights is better for you. The answer will always depend on your personal preference and goals; however, if you’re wanting to sculpt and tone your body, you will have to do a healthy balance of both cardio and strength, and martial arts ticks all the boxes in giving you the fitness program that you need to sculpt and tone. Being consistent year-round, no matter how close or far New Year’s is, nor how close or far you think you are from your body goals, plays a key part in results.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are 4 steps on how to sculpt and tone your body.
1) Burn fat
Seeing as fat is stored a layer above muscle, burning fat is an essential first step to toning your body. As your body fat percentage decreases, your muscles will naturally start to show underneath. It’s no joke that training Muay Thai can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour (equivalent to 2 bowls of spaghetti). Muay Thai punching and kicking drills give you a whole body cardiovascular workout, which is exactly what’s needed to burn fat. A published study has found that a Muay Thai bout intensely taxes both your aerobic metabolism and anaerobic glycolysis, leading to speedy stamina gain in tandem with increases in strength and power.
Regardless of whether you train Muay Thai, BJJ, boxing or MMA, you will be in for a fat burning session, from the warm up to the warm down. As a lot of these classes include HIIT (high-intensity interval training) elements, you will be getting the most bang for your buck in terms of burning the most fat in the shortest amount of time.
2) Make healthy and balanced diet decisions
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The second step is achieved mostly subconsciously, with a little bit of discipline. After a grueling but rewarding martial arts class, the last thing you will be craving is a bad meal to undo all the hard work you’ve just put your body through. In general, the more you train, the easier it is to encourage your brain to make healthier and balanced diet decisions, especially when the results start showing in the mirror.
Eating better will help you perform better and increase your maximum output in martial arts classes, which again helps with burning fat. Better yet, high-intensity workouts, such as martial arts, boost your metabolism. It’s all a positive cycle.
3) Resistance and strength training
Sculpting can happen simultaneously with the losing of body fat. Likewise, martial arts helps you develop lean muscle at the same as burning fat. By doing BJJ, MMA, Muay Thai, or boxing, you will develop and maintain strength to excel in your training, but also visible strength in your core muscle groups.
The grappling aspects of BJJ and MMA focus on repetitive resistance and body-weight training. There is constant human resistance – by your training partner, and the constant need to push your partner’s body weight off you in order to attain a more favorable position. You will acclimate to exploding against your training partner’s bodyweight over and over again. If you train with bigger guys or girls, you will definitely gain that proportional strength because you will be resisting and pushing against larger amounts of weight.
You will also tone in Muay Thai and boxing classes. Your hips need to rotate in order to get full extension and deliver a powerful punch. Since you are burning more calories than you would lying on the floor for isolated abs work, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone. As both Muay Thai and boxing are repetitive workouts, it results in toning, building lean muscles.
4) Consistency and ease
The last step to sculpting and toning your body is about consistency in your routine. The easiest way to keep something consistent is to have it as simple as possible. Unless you have a personal trainer, making your own weekly workout plan on top of your already busy schedule can be very time-consuming, not to mention the amount of self-motivation you will need to keep to your plan.
Joining a martial arts gym and training in one or all of the disciplines takes the planning aspect out of your workout plan. Your instructors will have planned out their classes, so all you need to do is turn up and give it your best. You will find encouraging training partners and friends who will keep you accountable for turning up consistently. Before long, you will see the progress as your body becomes firmer and stronger.
You will be able to achieve all above 4 steps with martial arts, which works every part of your body, both strengthening and burning fat at the same time. The hardest part is physically getting yourself to the gym. Once there, all you need to focus on is the techniques being taught, putting in maximum effort, and having fun. Every workout will be different but will incorporate both cardio and strength, and it’s the combination of these that will give you the sculpted and toned body that you want.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a trial class today and give martial arts a go!
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