Trying to gain weight is a very backwards-feeling struggle in today's fitness culture, since a vast majority of people are trying to lose weight. You're bombarded with an unimaginable amount of information about the best way to lose fat.
Do the opposite of what many fat loss experts say will help you gain weight, even if it means easing off on intense cardio workouts, like kickboxing.
In the struggle to gain weight you'll want to conserve as many calories as possible. To gain weight you need to let your body store energy, instead of burning it all through exercise.
Activities like weightlifting are better suited for someone looking to gain weight because you don't burn that many calories burned during a weightlifting session. Plus, you're starting the metabolic process of building muscle mass.
Kickboxing will use energy that you're trying to store to gain weight.
Calories Burned in Kickboxing
As one of the best group exercise options for weight loss, kickboxing has become increasingly popular over the years. In just an hour of kickboxing you can burn at least 350 calories, according to a study from the American Council on Exercise. In other words, it's not a good option if you're looking to gain weight.
The fast-paced and intense style that is common in kickboxing makes you burn calories quickly. Any form of activity will make you burn calories, but kickboxing is one of the more intense forms of exercise which means you will burn more than if you, say, went for a run.
Other than limiting your activity, eating more food is the best way to gain weight. The more energy you can consume through food, the more you can store.
If you decide to keep kickboxing in your exercise routine, you'll have to eat that much more food. If one kickboxing class burns at least 350 calories, then you'll need to add a large snack to your diet.
To put that into perspective, you would need to eat almost four eggs to balance out the amount of calories burned in a kickboxing class. Worse still, you might burn more than 350 calories in a class. The harder you work and the bigger you are, the more your calorie burn rate increases. If you work hard enough, you might need to add another meal entirely to your diet!
While kickboxing does burn a lot of energy and will make gaining weight much more difficult, you do gain one thing: muscle. Kickboxing is an intense activity and stresses muscles in your upper body, lower body and core. When your muscles are stressed, they're forced to recover.
In the recovery process you can lay down new muscle, which is formed from protein that you eat in food.
This is how you gain muscle, but it's not guaranteed with kickboxing. You still have to eat enough calories to gain weight, or your body will have a hard time making new muscle. When you're losing energy your body won't make gaining muscle a priority. Instead, it will use that energy to power you through your workouts.
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Execise: American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults.
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Musculoskeletal fitness and weight gain in Canada.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Energy balance and its components: implications for body weight regulation1,2,3