Created by fitness expert Billy Blanks, Tae Bo combines martial arts, boxing and dance moves in a fast-paced, varied routine from which anyone, from novice exercisers to fitness freaks, can benefit. Set to the beat of pumping music, it's a high-intensity workout designed to make your heart rate soar and has the potential to burn major calories. You can burn between 600 and 1,000 calories in a typical session, according to the Tae Bo website. How many calories you'll burn depends on several variables including your sex, weight and the intensity of effort you put in.
Tae Bo Gives a Full-Body Workout
In a typical Tae Bo session, participants punch like a boxer, kick like a martial artist and move like a dancer. The combination of these three fitness genres in one workout means every part of the body is being worked. The more muscles you use in a workout, the more calories you'll burn. Compare this to walking, even fast-paced walking, where your legs are doing most of the work, and you'll see full-body workouts such as Tae Bo give you more bang for your buck.
Intensity Equals Calorie Burning in Tae Bo
Tae Bo is meant to be a high-intensity workout. The routine is set to adrenaline-racing music and choreographed to keep pace with that music. The faster you move, the more energy you expend; that energy is in the form of calories. If you take a lot of rest breaks or don't keep up with the pace of the class, you'll burn fewer calories. If you never miss a beat and work to your "edge," you'll burn the most calories.
When you're first starting a Tae Bo workout, it's OK to take it a little slow and rest as you need to. You'll still burn a lot of calories because the workout is new to your body and very challenging. As you become fitter and more accustomed to Tae Bo, you'll be able to work harder and maintain a high calorie burn.
Other Calorie-Burning Variables in Tae Bo
Your sex, body composition and weight also play roles in how many calories you'll burn doing Tae Bo. Men tend to burn more calories than women in the same workout because they have more muscle mass; the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. They also generally weigh more, and the more you weigh, the harder your body has to work to support your own mass. Because it burns a lot of calories, Tae Bo can help you lose weight; if you lose a lot of weight over weeks or months of doing Tae Bo, the number of calories you burn during a typical workout may decrease because you weigh less. However, if you add muscle mass from regular Tae Bo sessions, that will increase your average calorie burn.
Typical Calorie Burning for People of Different Weights Doing Tae Bo
According to the Health Research Funding organization, a 120-pound person burns 552 calories doing Tae Bo for 60 minutes. At 150 pounds, the calorie burn increases to 687 calories per hour. If you weigh 200 to 250 pounds, you can expect to burn 912 to 1,137 calories in a one-hour Tae Bo session.
Measure Your Tae Bo Burn
You can get a more accurate estimate of your calorie burn by wearing a fitness tracker with a heart-rate monitor each time you do Tae Bo. Fitness trackers take personalized information about your age, sex, weight and other variables and combine that with a measurement of your heart rate throughout your workout to predict calories burned. Although there is a margin of error – 10 to 15 percent for the majority of trackers – they still provide a reasonably accurate estimate.
Read more: Tae Bo and Diet for Quick Weight Loss