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MerryWanderer86

Choosing a style for weightloss

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Hi gang,

 

For a long time now, I've been in the mindset that, once I'd lost a certain amount of weight, I'd go back to my true love of martial arts. I've loved martial arts since I was a kid, but hadn't pursued an education in it as an adult due to my weight (I'm 5'3, 240 lbs, and female). 

 

I have two friends who have taken up Jujutsu--a man and woman, both overweight. They've seen success with it, and I have a similar build to my friend.

 

My issue is this: I want to make sure I'm choosing a style that I can do physically, and will be of benefit for me in the future. My main goals are weightloss/getting fit, and improving my mental discipline. While learning self defense is a plus, I'll be gaining that no matter what style I choose, so I'm not considering it as high a priority.

 

Does anyone have any advice/thoughts on potential styles that would be a good fit for me?  

 

 

 

 

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Boxing has worked for me and quite a few people I know, since it's considered more of a sport than an art and has been widely used as a fitness program.

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I've tried my hand at boxing (no pun intended) mostly through a fitness center called 9 Rounds. While I liked it, I didn't love it like martial arts. Plus, as I do want to learn self defense, I would prefer a technique that would actual be usable in the real world. I'm leaning towards something like judo (I've heard that's better for women, as your size doesn't matter as much) but I'm not sure if it's something I can really do to lose weight. Any physical activity is better than nothing, but still. 

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Well, I wouldn't count out boxing for real world confrontation at all. Knowing how to effectively punch and not get punched is one of the more important things one can learn about physical altercations. But for self-defense, buy a firearm.

 

Former Army boxing champion, 71, floors 6ft 4in thug half his age after being punched in the face in attack

 

Retired Boxer Ends Street Fight Quickly
 

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Weight loss is 80% diet, if not more. And it's not necessarily true you'll learn self defence no matter what the style - some schools are quite open about the fact they teach fitness and fun with a slight martial style to it, others will not be so open about it ;)

 

The first step is seeing what's available in your area - there's little point picking a style no one in your city, or even country, teaches. When you have a list of what you could attend, do a little googling around to familiarise yourself with the style, and this should help you narrow it down a little more. Some classes will include fitness elements as standard, part of the warm up or the session - running, pushups, etc - but some will not. Some styles will be unlikely to lead to weight loss - I worked up a sweat at some kung fu sessions, but not all. If you're working on fine-tuning form, for example, or sticky-hand drills, you'd probably burn more calories taking a flight of stairs. But a weekend heavy session could include lengthier drills to build endurance which could encourage a bit of burn.

 

Wing Chun (my art) is known as a good choice for women, or smaller people in general, as you do not overcome your opponent with strength but with redirection, but then this isn't an uncommon goal or theory in other arts, especially kung fu, and other arts will often be quite happy to tell you how they are also suited for the smaller student. So, again, it really comes down to choosing an art because that's the art you want to do, rather than because it will cause weight loss (it probably won't.)

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Honestly, they bring very valid points to the table. Weight loss will happen in the kitchen, not anywhere else. If you're working out a lot and still eating crap, you'll not get very far.

 

Also take into account that there are pros and cons to every style, no exceptions. There is no perfect style, there is only what works for you. What works for you is typically going to align with what you enjoy to do. If you like to grapple, perhaps consider joining Jiujitsu or Judo. If you're looking for something with a little more striking (and not afraid of getting hit), Boxing, Taekwondo, Karate, or Muay Thai will be right up your alley.

 

Also things to consider are the quality of instruction you will be receiving. If you like the art, but the instructor is no good, you'll be learning very little. Find a quality instructor that teaches what you enjoy, and you won't be regretting your decision.

 

And if I've missed anything, please feel free to add!

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No martial art is "better for women".  You'll work with partners who will challenge you.  If it's important to match on size, you'll be matched. 

 

As for what is best for weight loss?  Yup - kitchen/diet. 

 

What is best for overall health and exericise?  Whatever you enjoy and will stick with for a little while.  If you love JJ, do JJ.  Why not?  I see lots and lots of all types of people doing BJJ at our gym.  Big guys, little guys, women of all shapes and sizes. 

 

There are also all types of people who do boxing.  Remember, heavy weight men used to be considered the BEST athletes in the world. 

 

As for self defense - to be really blunt and honest - do you really need it?  I live downtown in a big city and walk everywhere alone and have never faced danger.  IF you really feel you do, JJ is awesome.  But my best advice - is avoid situations and get away (run away run away is what I tell people).

 

Pretty much any gym teaching JJ or any other martial art will help you accomplish your goals.  Interview them.  Ask them what goals students have and how they help them meet their goals.

 

My MMA gym does a FANTASTIC job with that.  A lot of our members come simply "to get in shape". 

 

DO IT!!! Go!!! GO!!! Try something you are really interested in!!!

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I know that most of weight loss is diet based. But staying active is a part of it. 

 

What I've been trying to find is an activity that I can get excited about. Something I can look forward to doing. I loved martial arts as a kid, so it seemed to be the thing to do. 

 

I'm not interested in boxing. I've tried that, and while I like it for some things, I just don't feel like it's what I'm looking for. 

 

While self defense is not a main priority, it is something that I am looking at. Yes, I need to know self defense, just like I believe every person (especially women) needs to know self defense. Because you never know what situation you might end up in, and guns are not an answer. 

 

I suppose what I was hoping for is opinions about various styles, what people have seen success with, etc. There are certain styles that are more effective for certain body types--ones that don't rely on one's own strength as much as using one's opponent's strength and momentum against them. I feel these would be a better style for me, but I'm not sure what I may be overlooking. 

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I suppose what I was hoping for is opinions about various styles, what people have seen success with, etc. There are certain styles that are more effective for certain body types--ones that don't rely on one's own strength as much as using one's opponent's strength and momentum against them. I feel these would be a better style for me, but I'm not sure what I may be overlooking. 

 

People have seen success with every style out there, even those strange made up ones with only 10 students. What you're overlooking, first, is - what's within your walking/driving distance and price range? There's no point googling the perfect style only to find it's taught by a single monk in Tibet. I always fancied Ba Gua, Pi Qua Quan, even just some Wushu, but as none is taught in my city that crosses them off the list.

 

Many martial arts focus on using your opponent's strength against them, it's what differentiates them from a regular street grapple. Almost all kung fu and Chinese styles (if not all of them) and, of the Japanese ones I can think of off the top of my head... Aikido, Judo, Karate do as well. I don't know enough about the others but I'm pretty sure the philosophy is a common one.

 

So: tell us - which styles do you like the look and style of? Which are available near enough to you for you to attend and within your price range, and also within your time budget - can you commit to 3x a week and training form at home, or just once?

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^^^^^  that (all the posts)

 

You're getting super good advice.

 

Pick what interests you, find out what's around, ask to see/take a sample class.  Interview the coach.  And then JUMP IN!  You'll do well with anything. 

 

Sometimes you find things by accident or based on what's convenient.  I found Muay Thai by accident. 

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Seriously, just go for it! Don't let your "build" or size or anything hold you back! I practice Okinawan Goju Ryu karate and we do everything from striking to using the other person's momentum against them. It can be a tad aggressive, but I like that. And don't worry about not necessarily being strong at the moment, you'll get there. My arms and back are looking fantastic from doing karate. 

 

What kind of styles are available in your area?

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Agreeing with everyone above - find something in your area that you think you'll like, you can afford and you can get to relatively easily.  It's how I picked mine (Aikido).  Practicing, especially ukemi (receiving the technique) is really physically demanding (learning how to fall/roll without hurting yourself).

 

That's my $0.02.  Good luck, have fun!

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Assuming you're dialed in on food quality, the best martial arts for fat loss/body comp change are going to mimic the best workouts for body comp change.

So a lot of full-out sprints of output, or medium slow steady-state kicking and punching with intermittent bursts of speed.

 

Most martial art can be practiced like this, and I think most should - but most aren't. Boxing, thai boxing, and a lot of kickboxing clubs are great for this. I would stay away from most "traditional", statically practiced martial arts if you're looking for higher end fat-burning workouts. MMA clubs are often good for this too, if they're not too bro-tastic. They'll often have classes geared toward different skills and areas of interest, so if you want to emphasize grappling you go from 5-6, and if you want to do cardio work go from 630-8, etc. ( I don't like the terms cardio, or cardio-kickboxing much, but I'm using them as a shortcut here. )

 

Watch some classes at a prospective gym and if you like what you see, try 'em on for size. People should be working fairly hard for at least half an hour every class, unless they're doing some sprint-style sessions, then a little less is adequate. Pick a gym you're drawn to - the best martial arts workouts are just like the best regular workouts; the one you go back to is the best one for you.

 

And remember, you don't necessarily need a class to get a workout. Just another person and some pads and enough knowledge to not hurt yourselves. You can often connect with someone else at your gym and meet during open-floor hours.

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I would stay away from most "traditional", statically practiced martial arts if you're looking for higher end fat-burning workouts.

 

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this point. Personally, I both teach and take traditional Tae Kwon Do, and I am in what most would consider exceptional shape. It's not about what "style" you take, it's about your willingness to get it done. We see tons of weight-loss results (we have a great deal of adult students who come to us specifically for that reason, and they both lose weight and learn traditional martial arts), and we don't stray from our traditional roots. I'm not wanting to turn this into a "my style is better than your style", as there are pros and cons to EVERY style. I personally don't care what style any individual does, as long as they get whatever it is they are looking for. But advising someone to eliminate certain styles from their search criteria based on your personal experiences is not good advice in the least. I've seen some pretty horrible MMA and Boxing gyms, and I've seen some phenomenal ones, and the same goes for every martial arts style I've seen. You have good teachers and bad teachers, not good styles and bad styles. 

 

Sorry for the rant, but I felt like it needed to be clarified. That being said, you did hit the nail on the head with this portion:

 

Pick a gym you're drawn to - the best martial arts workouts are just like the best regular workouts; the one you go back to is the best one for you.

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Balmung,

 

If a traditional-style school does the kind of workout that I mentioned,

 

"So a lot of full-out sprints of output, or medium slow steady-state kicking and punching with intermittent bursts of speed."

 

then they're approaching a more optimal style fat-burning workout. If we were to compare the time spent in most traditional style gyms doing this type of exercise to the time spent on these in boxing, thai boxing, mma gyms, I'm convinced that we would find that the more modern gyms would have this workout much more often than traditional style schools.

 

I'm not sure anyone has done a study on this to back up my info - I'd be surprised if they did. And you're right, it's only based on my experience.

And my experience is limited. I only have 10+years of martial arts experience, having trained in Karate, TKD, Judo, Aikido, Tai Chi, Filipino Martial Arts, Mauy Thai, Kali, Shoot Fighting, Jiu Jitsu and a few others on a much more limited basis. And I only have instructorships in a few of these. So I haven't been everywhere and done everything and definitely have limited experience. But I think I have adequate experience to claim that you tend to find more minutes-per-workout spent doing steady-state and HIIT style exercise at more modern clubs than at traditional clubs.

 

Almost all workouts help the body become healthier and better at building a metabolism better suited to burning fat. Some workouts work better than others: Intense resistance training, HIIT and steady-state are among the best at improving insulin senitivty, mitochondrial developmement. Generally it's more productive to separate resistance training from a regular martial arts workout, so for Merry's needs I would probably emphasize workouts that incorporate effective HIIT and steady-state training.

 

It's not that they don't work hard in some - even most - traditional gyms. Optimal fat burning comes down to how much of the class time is spent performing 

Intense resistance training, HIIT, or steady-state exercise. The more time spent doing this, the most optimal the workout is for a developing a better fat-burning body - no matter the style. There's a variety in how every art is practiced to be sure - some traditional gyms include an effective dose of these workouts, but most don't. And I've never been to thai boxing gym where conditioning wasn't a major priority. I'm sure there are a couple somewhere, but I have no trouble asserting that they are few and far between. I love Wing Chun, and practicing it certainly has healthy elements, but it's definitely a traditional martial art that I wouldn't suggest for someone wanting to optimize fat burning.

 

 

So yes, of course you can find a traditional gym that incorporates optimal fat burning training. But in my experience - which is limited though plentiful - and in the opinion of most of the well-informed people I know who've trained in several different martial arts, you're much more likely to find a more effective fat burning workout in gyms with modern, dynamically practiced martial arts.

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Balmung,

 

If a traditional-style school does the kind of workout that I mentioned,

 

"So a lot of full-out sprints of output, or medium slow steady-state kicking and punching with intermittent bursts of speed."

 

then they're approaching a more optimal style fat-burning workout. If we were to compare the time spent in most traditional style gyms doing this type of exercise to the time spent on these in boxing, thai boxing, mma gyms, I'm convinced that we would find that the more modern gyms would have this workout much more often than traditional style schools.

 

I'm not sure anyone has done a study on this to back up my info - I'd be surprised if they did. And you're right, it's only based on my experience.

And my experience is limited. I only have 10+years of martial arts experience, having trained in Karate, TKD, Judo, Aikido, Tai Chi, Filipino Martial Arts, Mauy Thai, Kali, Shoot Fighting, Jiu Jitsu and a few others on a much more limited basis. And I only have instructorships in a few of these. So I haven't been everywhere and done everything and definitely have limited experience. But I think I have adequate experience to claim that you tend to find more minutes-per-workout spent doing steady-state and HIIT style exercise at more modern clubs than at traditional clubs.

 

Almost all workouts help the body become healthier and better at building a metabolism better suited to burning fat. Some workouts work better than others: Intense resistance training, HIIT and steady-state are among the best at improving insulin senitivty, mitochondrial developmement. Generally it's more productive to separate resistance training from a regular martial arts workout, so for Merry's needs I would probably emphasize workouts that incorporate effective HIIT and steady-state training.

 

It's not that they don't work hard in some - even most - traditional gyms. Optimal fat burning comes down to how much of the class time is spent performing 

Intense resistance training, HIIT, or steady-state exercise. The more time spent doing this, the most optimal the workout is for a developing a better fat-burning body - no matter the style. There's a variety in how every art is practiced to be sure - some traditional gyms include an effective dose of these workouts, but most don't. And I've never been to thai boxing gym where conditioning wasn't a major priority. I'm sure there are a couple somewhere, but I have no trouble asserting that they are few and far between. I love Wing Chun, and practicing it certainly has healthy elements, but it's definitely a traditional martial art that I wouldn't suggest for someone wanting to optimize fat burning.

 

 

So yes, of course you can find a traditional gym that incorporates optimal fat burning training. But in my experience - which is limited though plentiful - and in the opinion of most of the well-informed people I know who've trained in several different martial arts, you're much more likely to find a more effective fat burning workout in gyms with modern, dynamically practiced martial arts.

 

See, now I guess I'm a stickler for wording (I also happen to enjoy playing the devil's advocate), but I find absolutely no arguments with anything stated here. My main point of disagreement was on the dissuading of an individual towards a particular style for any given reasons other than their own (we each like different things, after all). However, I TOTALLY agree with the statement of there being very few traditional gyms that incorporate HIIT into their programs. 

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find something you really enjoy doing, then it becomes fun for you, then the fat loss becomes easy. seriously, it's that easy.  for me it's been grappling. wether it's been at an mma club, bjj, submission wrestling, and for the last couple of years judo has become quite important in our family's life, but it seems that grappling has been the only constant in life, and that's for a reason. that workout you get rolling around with other people, where else can you get a workout like that? you just gotta find your fun, the rest will follow on its own

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Hi gang,

 

For a long time now, I've been in the mindset that, once I'd lost a certain amount of weight, I'd go back to my true love of martial arts. I've loved martial arts since I was a kid, but hadn't pursued an education in it as an adult due to my weight (I'm 5'3, 240 lbs, and female). 

 

I have two friends who have taken up Jujutsu--a man and woman, both overweight. They've seen success with it, and I have a similar build to my friend.

 

My issue is this: I want to make sure I'm choosing a style that I can do physically, and will be of benefit for me in the future. My main goals are weightloss/getting fit, and improving my mental discipline. While learning self defense is a plus, I'll be gaining that no matter what style I choose, so I'm not considering it as high a priority.

 

Does anyone have any advice/thoughts on potential styles that would be a good fit for me?  

 

The best style for weightloss? Thats easy: THE STYLE YOU LIKE

 

Sound like a BS answer? Think again. Not all styles are created equal and many that have a focus on strength and cardio burn have other elements, such as sparring or forms, that you may not enjoy. So choose a style that suits you or else you will quit going after a while.

 

As for me, I train in Kyokushin Karate. It has a strong focus on conditioning, sparring, and a sh*t-ton of push ups. 90 minutes in the dojo and I feel like I've just run 15 miles!

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If you're looking for a martial art that's good for "weight loss", in all honesty it really depends on how intensely that club trains. It also depends on how much you put into it yourself. 

 

A lot of competition based martial arts/sports will focus on physical conditioning, such as judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, kick boxing, muay thai, mixed martial arts (MMA), taekwondo, wrestling and so forth. All these arts, while treated as a sport, have the potential to be used as a self defence. Let's hope you'll never have to use it as such. 

 

There's also other things to learn that are more "self defence" and not so sport orientated, such as Wing Chun kung fu or krav maga. 

 

I think it would be a good idea to do some research online. Look at articles, Wikipedia and YouTube videos. Investigate on potential arts and styles that you feel you might personally enjoy and be personally interested in. If you get interested in one, see if it's available near you. Look at the training times, cost, location and see if it's convenient for you. If you're interested, then go check out a typical training session. You don't have to participate right away, get in touch with the instructors/coaches and ask if it's okay for you to come down and just watch a session. See how it all goes. If you like what you see, give it a go!

 

Because I have a personal, biased opinion toward it I would suggest judo. However, it's up to you. 

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Hello,

I don't have a very wide range of martial arts experience, but I thought I'd put in my two cents in case it helped. I'm a 28 year old woman who up until about 7 or 8 months ago had never done martial arts or really taken any classes whatsoever. I decided I needed to get in shape (not weight necessarily, just general fitness and stamina) and I knew from past experience I tend to quit things if I do them on my own. I liked the idea of martial arts and the peer pressure of a class setting (I'm a bit competitive) so I called a bunch of places in my local area, asked to observe or attend a class to see what style i liked, then just picked one. I ended up really loving bjj and like others here have said, because I enjoy it, I want to do it so it doesn't feel like work. I've actually become a lot better at strength training and running outside of class so I can be better in class.

Moral of the story: try a bunch of stuff because it doesn't hurt to try.

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No martial art is "better for women".  You'll work with partners who will challenge you.  If it's important to match on size, you'll be matched. 

 

As for what is best for weight loss?  Yup - kitchen/diet. 

 

What is best for overall health and exericise?  Whatever you enjoy and will stick with for a little while.  If you love JJ, do JJ.  Why not?  I see lots and lots of all types of people doing BJJ at our gym.  Big guys, little guys, women of all shapes and sizes. 

 

There are also all types of people who do boxing.  Remember, heavy weight men used to be considered the BEST athletes in the world. 

 

As for self defense - to be really blunt and honest - do you really need it?  I live downtown in a big city and walk everywhere alone and have never faced danger.  IF you really feel you do, JJ is awesome.  But my best advice - is avoid situations and get away (run away run away is what I tell people).

 

Pretty much any gym teaching JJ or any other martial art will help you accomplish your goals.  Interview them.  Ask them what goals students have and how they help them meet their goals.

 

My MMA gym does a FANTASTIC job with that.  A lot of our members come simply "to get in shape". 

 

DO IT!!! Go!!! GO!!! Try something you are really interested in!!!

I agree!! Everyone can try different style as long as you have put your heart and mind into that, you can achieve what you want. :D

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