If you want to get fit, but don’t want to spend endless hours in the gym, on the treadmill or doing mindless repetitions of exercises you don’t like, these are awesome fitness alternatives that activate your whole body.
Doing martial arts as a form of fitness has been popular for years, and women all over the world love doing something that tones their body while teaching them a useful skill such as self defense.
Martial Arts work out all the muscle groups, increase your heart rate and strength, and we recommend them as a new, fun way to get active. Doing at least 30 minutes of a moderately intense aerobic workout a day enhances your immune system, clears your blood vessels and strengthens your heart and lungs.
Done routinely, aerobics reduce your risks for various health problems, including certain types of cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We give you Tae Bo and kickboxing in a nutshell, compare the pros and cons and help you choose between the two.
What is Tae Bo?
Developed by taekwondo practitioner Billy Blanks back in the Seventies, Tae Bo is one of the first cardio-boxing programs that reached commercial success. It incorporates martial arts techniques with cardio, dance and other forms of exercise. The name is derived from the “tae” in taekwondo and the “bo” from boxing.
It has been praised for its calorie burning effectiveness, since it burns more than your average aerobic exercise per hour. More on that later. It also increases your speed, strength, coordination, balance and flexibility. Doing kicks, punches and dance moves will get your whole body working. Plus, Blanks’ program is also focused on “working out” the mind. It targets your mental coordination, focus, concentration and stress management.
A typical Tae Bo class will involve a 15 minute warm-up, a 30 minute Tae Bo session and some stretching or relaxation afterwards.
Celebs Who Do Tae Bo
Blank’s clients include both male and female celebrities from sports and entertainment. Among those who have publicly praised his work are seriously fit ladies like Carmen Electra, Madonna and Paula Abdul.
Try It at Home
If you don’t want to go to a full class since you’re not sure you would like it, why not try it at home? Check out this video in which Billy Blanks shows us the basic exercises. Just make some space in your living room and get dancing and kicking with this 48 minute workout video.
What is Kickboxing?
Kickboxing is a form of fitness in which you’ll be miming a fight, to put it in layman’s terms. Modern kickboxing started in Japan in the Sixties and quickly spread to the West. During the years, it has morphed into different variations – a contact sport, a martial art and a form of fitness.
It is a form of stand-up combat sport that allows both punching and kicking. It can be done with a sparring partner, or using a punching bag. In aerobic kickboxing, you will be doing the exercises on your own or using a punching bag.
A regular kickboxing class also usually starts with about 15 minutes of warm-up exercises. You will be doing standard things like stretching, jumping rope, push-ups or some cardio. Then you do a 30 minute session of kickboxing in which you learn and repeat movements of the arms and legs. Punches, kicks, knee strikes, you name it.
Celebs Who Do Kickboxing
Hollywood’s ladies who pack a punch love this form of fitness. Among the hotties that practice kickboxing are Angelina Jolie, Eva Mendez, Ashley Green and others.
Jolie did months of training to do Tomb Raider, and she has stated that she loved kickboxing.
“They put up a boxing bag and a bunch of power bars in my living room for like eight months. There was also bungee ballet, diving, and weapons training and kickboxing, and everything from yoga to soccer and rowing.”
Try It at Home
Here’s a 10 minute video of a beginner’s kickboxing class workout program. This one requires no props, so try it at home and see if you like it.
Tae Bo vs. Kickboxing – Which One Burns More Calories?
An hour of regular aerobic exercises will burn 300 to 400 calories. Tae Bo will burn 500-800, while kickboxing can go up to 450 an hour. So in the calorie burning department, Tae Bo wins. If you want to lose weight, you should go with Tae Bo.
Can Anyone Do Both?
Well, there isn’t a law that says “no”, but just like with any other form of exercise, you should take your body’s condition and habits into consideration. If you don’t exercise much and lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle, you should probably start with a less active cardio routine. Consult your physician if you’re not sure, since he or she will be able to give you a more detailed estimation of what will suit your body.
Is There a Risk of Injury?
There is a risk with any type of physical activity, and these two are no exception. A friend of mine who’s tried both told me that she enjoyed Tae Bo but felt more like she was doing regular aerobics. However, when she did kickboxing she came back with a few bruises! Well, it does involve hitting the punching bag, so if you’re scared of injuring your hands, knees or feet, you should probably stick to Tae Bo. If you’re not afraid of releasing your inner Lara Croft, go for kickboxing.
Which One Teaches More Self Defense Skills?
Kickboxing wins in this category. While Tae Bo will give you some basic movements, it’s more of a dance compared to kickboxing. When you kick box, you’ll learn more of the actual punches used in combat, so it’s more rewarding if you want to learn to defend yourself as well as get toned and fit.
Deciding Between Tae Bo And Kickboxing
It all depends on what you want. They both activate your body, give you a full workout and can replace cardio and aerobics as a fun alternative. Tae Bo is recommended more for the people who just want to “flirt” with martial arts, and I think it’s better for amateur enthusiasts, since you can do it at home by simply choosing an exercise video on your computer. Kickboxing requires a skilled instructor, props and more time.
Cover photo: jessicasmithtv.com