Counting the Calories Burned in Boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ

Getting in shape for summer doesn’t need to be an absolute drag! Martial arts are a fantastic way to build your ideal body while having fun and staying engaged at the same time. The calories burned in Boxing, BJJ and Muay Thai are far from negligible. That said, there are many different martial arts that you can build an incredible body with on your route to a beach bod. Not only is martial arts a more dynamic way of getting fit than weights at the gym, but it also allows you to develop the vital skills for self-defence.

Choosing a martial art to pick up can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re interested in all of them. What do typical Boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ sessions look like, and how many calories do you burn doing them?

In this article, we explore what typical sessions each look like, as well as how many calories you can expect to burn in a session.

  • 1 Boxing

    Does boxing help lose weight?

    Short answer – absolutely! The ‘sweet science’ has been keeping most of those who train in the sport in fantastic shape since its inception. There are some exceptions, of course, but they are most certainly in the minority. Lacing up and throwing hands is arguably one of the best workouts to burn calories activating the entire body while strengthening your muscles. 

    Calories burned in boxing

    You can expect to burn the most calories burned in boxing if you’re pushing the intensity. The amount you burn is based on multiple factors, one of which is your current body weight. We will be providing examples below of what the average male or female can expect to lose in a 1-hour boxing session.

    Average Male Weight (Australia)86kg

    You can expect to burn around 650+ calories per session.

    Average Female Weight (Australia)71kg

    You can expect to burn around 537+ calories per session

    Here’s an example of actual Boxing workout statistics from one of our students.

    an example of how many calories a student can burn using boxing as exercise

    What boxing exercises are there in a standard session?

    • Jumping rope

    Jumping rope is an excellent calorie burner. It is the staple cardiovascular warm-up for boxers all around the globe. Not only will it get your heart pumping, but it’ll also strengthen your body and improve your agility.

    • Shadow Boxing

    It doesn’t seem like a hard workout, but you’d be surprised that the calories burned from shadow boxing are also pretty significant. Shadow boxing is a deceptively tiring part of a boxers warm-up. You’ll find that you engage your entire body and notice a real good burn from punching nothing. 

    • Hitting Pads

    Padwork requires you to work with a partner. They will direct you to throw single shots and combinations in addition to defensive moves. When supporting your partner, you’ll be holding the pads for them. Don’t worry if you’ve never held pads before. We’ll be teaching you in class.

    • Hitting the heavy bag

    A heavy bag allows you to practise what you’ve learned in class on an artificial ‘opponent’. You’ll only get out as much as you put into using a heavy bag. That said, you should make sure to visualise the bag as your opponent, keep your hands up and throw with intent.

    • Optional: Sparring

    Sparring is most fun ways to exercise and burn calories as long as you're both in control

    Although not necessary, sparring can be an excellent way to burn even more calories. You’re likely to push your body even further when you have an opponent attempting to land shots on you.

    Clearing the air: Do you have to fight if you train Boxing?

    It’s a common misconception that every boxing gym will require you to fight somewhere down the line. The truth is that people join Boxing classes for different reasons. If you decide never to compete ever, then that’s not a problem at all.

    All boxing gyms aim to make you a better boxer. Some may exist to develop champions, but others aim to improve the health of the general public. At our boxing gym in Logan, you can get in incredible shape without ever needing to fight.

  • 2 Muay Thai

    Does Muay Thai help lose weight?

    Short answer – Yes! In fact, Muay Thai burns the most amount of calories in a single session.

    Aside from its intense calorie-torching capabilities, Muay Thai gives you solid weapons for self-defense as well. Muay Thai (also known as the art of eight limbs) is the national sport of Thailand. It uses eight points of contact: pairs of fists, elbows, knees, and legs, hence the name.

    Muay Thai is getting pretty popular, and for good reason! It’s a fun way to get fit in no time. Who doesn’t want that?

    Muay Thai calories burned

    As you can imagine, you’re going to move a fair amount in a Muay Thai session. You will find that the session will activate every single part of your body. You will also find that you will burn plenty of calories. 

    Why sign up for boxercise classes when you can learn a real martial art and burn a lot more calories? Just how many calories, you ask? Here’s what you can expect to burn in a 1-hour session.

    Average Male Weight (Australia)86kg

    You can expect to burn around 677+ calories per session.

    Average Female Weight (Australia) – 71kg

    You can expect to burn around 559+ calories per session

    Here’s an example of actual Muay Thai workout statistics from one of our students.

    if you exercise with intensity, you'll burn the most calories during martial arts classes

    What you can expect to do 

    • Jumping Rope

    Jumping rope is pretty much a staple for most combat sports, so expect to do it for Muay Thai too. This is an excellent way to get ready for the training you’re about to do in your Muay Thai class. It’ll warm you up, loosen your muscles, improve coordination, and get you into a meditative state of ultra-focus.

    • Shadow Boxing

    One of the most underrated ways to exercise to burn calories is to do some shadow boxing

    Although it’s still called shadow boxing, you will be using more than just punches while doing this particular part of your training session. As you’ll be taking part in a Muay Thai class, you’ll be incorporating all eight weapons into your shadow boxing routine. This will allow you to work through your techniques at your own pace before drilling.

    • Hitting Pads

    Whether with your partner or a trainer, each session will provide you with an opportunity to hit pads. Your instructor will have selected beforehand which particular techniques will be the lesson’s main focus, this being what you will be drilling on the pads. You’ll get out just as much as you put in, so give it your all if you really want that beach bod!

    • Hitting the heavy bag

    You’ll string together combinations when you make contact with your opponent. The target doesn’t really hit back in this case, but it’s still pretty good for polishing your offense.

    Muay Thai has a lot more techniques than Boxing, so you have to really get creative when you hit the bag. Make sure to push yourself until the time is up to get the most out of the bag session. If your goal is to lose weight, then showing up consistently to Muay Thai sessions will get you there.

    • Optional: Sparring

    Having a ‘simulated’ fight with a teammate provides an excellent opportunity to put the techniques you’re learning into practice. This is great for burning calories and fine-tuning your self-defence skills by working on timing and footwork.

    Clearing the air: Can you use your elbow in sparring?

    muay thai is most commonly known to be an exercise that will burn a truckload of calories

    First, let us reiterate that sparring is optional. When you do decide to spar Muay Thai, though, please know that you will not be able to use your elbows.

    The elbows are the most devastating strikes you could throw, and we want to keep training safe for everyone. We restrict the techniques to punches, kicks, clinching and knees (to the body). You will get the chance to learn and refine your elbow strikes in other ways (i.e. hitting pads, hitting the bag and shadow boxing).

  • 3 BJJ

    How effective is BJJ for weight loss?

    Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) has fast become one of the most popular ground-based martial arts. When it comes to an exercise that will burn the most calories, BJJ is somewhere at the top of the list. It first gained worldwide recognition when Royce Gracie submitted multiple opponents on Friday 12th November 1993, to win UFC 1. It’s also gaining quite a reputation for its effectiveness in self-defence.

    As its popularity continues to rise, so does the amount of enquiries we get for students to join our BJJ classes. Fancy burning an incredible amount of calories while getting strong and toning up? BJJ is quickly becoming one of the best workouts to burn calories. It might just be the perfect fit for you!

    How many calories does BJJ burn in a session?

    BJJ is very much a ‘hands-on’ kind of martial art. Due to the nature of the sport taking place the most on the ground, you’ll be burning calories like no other exercise. 

    Unlike the other two combat sports mentioned in this article, energy expenditure won’t be caused by throwing strikes but by moving your body and grappling with your partner. Below you’ll find an estimate regarding how many calories you’re likely to burn in a 1-hour session.

    Average Male Weight (Australia)86kg

    You can expect to burn around 734+ calories per session.

    Average Female Weight (Australia)71kg

    You can expect to burn around 550+ calories per session

    Here’s an example of actual BJJ workout statistics from one of our students.

    What you can expect to do 

    • Warm up

    BJJ warm ups are known to be an effective exercise to burn calories even before the technique part of the class starts

    You’ll be moving your body in ways that you don’t usually do day-to-day. If you don’t warm up before you get into it, you’ll screw your muscles up for sure. To prevent injury, you will begin each session by doing a warm-up. These general exercises last roughly 5 minutes and prepare you for more BJJ-specific practice.

    • Drills

    Once you’ve broken a bit of a sweat through the warm-up, you’ll soon be ready for drills. These are specific techniques that help you with essential components of practising BJJ.

    These include moves such as the get-up technique (helpful in getting back to your feet and protecting your face while in the process) and shrimping (used to create space between you and your opponent to allow for better offensive and defensive options to open up). This lasts for roughly 5 minutes.

    • Technique

    Your coach will have picked out a particular technique they want to teach the class on the day of your session. They will demonstrate how the method is to be executed multiple times in a step-by-step fashion so that you can keep up.

    Once the class is ready to start, you will be sent off with their partner to begin practising. Don’t stress out if you can’t remember all the steps! Do your best and wait for assistance from your coach to help you through the parts you are stuck on.

    • Rolling (i.e. Sparring)

    While there are no strikes when practising BJJ, sparring is one of the most important aspects of the sport. This will allow those willing students to put into practice what they learned that day. It is also an excellent way to begin training the mind for combat in a simulated and safe environment.

    Calories burned during rolling can range depending on the size of the student, the effort they put in and the resistance they are facing from their opponent.

    Unlike in Boxing and Muay Thai, sparring is not optional in BJJ. After all, you have to grab and manipulate limbs to get your opponent to tap out. You won’t be able to see how effective your technique is until you put it into action.

    Clearing the air: Can I hit my opponent?

    Unfortunately not. At no point are you permitted to throw a strike in BJJ. Although there are techniques taught regarding how to defend yourself from being struck while trying to get up, there are no strikes themselves taught. You will learn many different offensive techniques when training in BJJ. There is almost an unlimited amount of chokes and locks to learn. 

    If you want to strike and grapple at the same time, your best option is to try Mixed Martial Arts. Our MMA classes use techniques from Boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ to create a well-rounded fighting style.

  • Conclusion

    Getting into shape for summer or simply improving your fitness doesn’t need to be boring. Workouts to burn calories at TFC are fun and allow you to get into amazing shape, learn something new and leave every session with a smile on your face!

    Bonus: Avoid burning out when training martial arts by checking out this article we wrote for you!