Finding the best martial arts for overweight people is not a straightforward task. So, it comes as no surprise that many people find themselves in the vicious cycle of starting at the dojo and then quitting shortly after.
You need to choose an activity that you love to remain motivated to see your weight-losing journey to its end.
Martial arts are perfect for fat loss, as they combine cardio and high-intensity training in one fun package that teaches you discipline and helps you unleash your full potential.
Not to mention, the martial arts community welcomes people of all body shapes.
Even if the voices in your head are still trying to get the best of you, once you’re part of a class and see for yourself how supportive everyone is, you’ll be able to shut those thoughts up once and for all.
Let’s get into more details.
Table of Contents
- Tips To Find The Best Martial Art if You’re Overweight
- Can You Be Fat and Learn Martial Arts? Spoiler Alert: Yes!
- Best Martial Arts to Help You Lose Weight
- 1) Muay Thai
- 2) Karate
- 3) Taekwondo
- 4) Wrestling
- 5) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- 6) Krav Maga
- 7) MMA
- 8) Judo
- 9) Boxing
- Nutrition And Weight-Loss In Martial Arts Training
- Best Martial Arts For Overweight People FAQ
- Finals Thoughts On The Best Martial Arts For Overweight People
Tips To Find The Best Martial Art if You’re Overweight
When choosing the best martial art to help you lose weight, some factors should be considered. Here are the key points to bear in mind to ensure you’re on the right track.
Find a Combination of High Intensity and Both Strength + Endurance
Even with two sets of good training techniques, you’re only as good as your weakest point. That’s why it’s necessary to consider both strength and endurance in choosing your best martial art for fat loss.
For maximum fat-burning power, choose a martial art that builds both muscle and cardio endurance through high-intensity training, and then make sure you include strength training on the side to build the areas you lack the most after dieting.
Choose a Martial Art With a Lot of Moving Parts
Out of all the martial arts out there, Muay Thai is a good choice for weight loss. This discipline helps you lose your cellulite and burn fat fast with its high-intensity workouts. Plus, the constant footwork involved in kicking and punching targets your cardiovascular system.
Choose a Martial Art With a decent Amount of Interval Training
Interval training is a time-effective way to burn fat fast while exercising at high intensity, and that’s why it should be a key part of your workout routine.
In the martial arts community, most instructors emphasize interval training in their classes, and that’s why it should be the main part of your routine.
Select A Martial Art That’s Right For You
Always remember that you can only choose the best martial art and not any one particular one. What may work best for one person may not be right for another.
Always evaluate your personality and the type of martial arts that will work best for you to see if you’re really getting what you want out of an activity or just “trying to lose weight.
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Can You Be Fat and Learn Martial Arts? Spoiler Alert: Yes!
Overweight people can learn martial arts. The main thing you need to worry about is your mindset. Also, you need to be kind to yourself and have patience.
It might be challenging to adjust to combat spots training if your fitness level isn’t optimal.
Some movements might be difficult to execute and you will be tired faster than others in your class but that will change if you stick to your training.
Unfortunately, society has continuously fed us the idea that losing weight is an overcomplicated process, mainly intending to sell us fake solutions over and over, which is harmful to losing weight.
It’s easy to find yourself thinking that you don’t have enough time for exercise or that the class will be too hard for you.
Having a negative mindset can stop your progress before it starts, but it’s not impossible to reverse it. If you’re looking to start a martial arts class, you already have your mind in the right place.
Successful fat loss stories are common in martial arts studios. If there’s a sport or activity where you shouldn’t be afraid of learning regardless of how heavy you’re, that would be martial arts. Most people will respect you and encourage you on your decision to take control of your health.
Does Weight Matter in Martial Arts?
Admittedly, extra weight can pose some challenges to martial arts beginners, so you need to be patient. Balance and stamina are the main hurdles that heavy people have to get over.
For instance, delivering kicks means that you’ll have to keep your balance on one leg. Also, you need to work on your cardio fitness to stay on your feet and deliver more moves before getting tired.
It’s also worth mentioning that weight can be an advantage, especially in sports that focus on grappling and tackling your opponent. Given that you have both the same level of skill and strength, it’ll always be easier for you to take down a lighter opponent and score more points.
Best Martial Arts to Help You Lose Weight
1) Muay Thai
Thailand’s contribution to martial arts comes in the form of Muay Thai, a fighting technique involving knee and elbow strikes, which earns it its name of “the art of eight limbs.”
Muay Thai is also great for improving your reaction times as you go through different drills that test your mental capacity as much as your physical one.
- Teaches you how to overcome your opponent’s grapples.
- Excellent for promoting overall wellbeing and losing fat.
- Great for boosting your body muscle percentage.
- Doesn’t teach ground techniques.
- Requires a great deal of balance.
- More aggressive fighting technique.
If you’re looking for the least entry barriers to martial arts, karate is a no-brainer. It’s accessible to people of different ages, sizes, and fitness levels. Also, its rich Japanese roots are exciting for people looking to learn more about different cultures.
When it comes to losing stubborn body fat, karate is king. Strikes, kicks, and punches engage all your body muscles to deliver a full-body workout without the need to spend countless hours at the gym.
You’ll notice a considerable boost to your core muscles’ strength that gives you the foundation to lead a more active life.
- Few barriers to getting started.
- A gateway to the Japanese culture and language.
- Perfect for strengthening your core muscles.
- Not all schools deliver sparring as part of their classes.
- Classes can become fairly expensive, especially if you’re planning to become a competitive player.
- Grappling isn’t part of the traditional karate training.
Taekwondo first originated in Korea around 2000 years ago, making it one of the oldest martial arts. It requires continuous movement, as standing still means your opponent gets the advantage and delivers more unblockable kicks.
It’s no surprise that taekwondo is considered one of the best martial arts for fat loss, promoting healthier body metabolism. You’ll burn more calories in a taekwondo session than spending the same time on a treadmill.
It’s worth noting that jumping and flipping are a big part of the sport as well. Overweight people might not be able to pull off certain moves from the get-go.
However, you’ll be more motivated if you play with the mindset that losing weight won’t only give you a better body image but also unlock new taekwondo skills.
- Delivers a solid leg exercise.
- Helps you burn more calories thanks to the fact that you’re moving most of the time.
- Promotes muscle coordination and balance.
- Focuses more on kicks instead of punches
- Jumping and flying kicks can be tricky for overweight people
- Leans more into sport than self-defense
Wrestling can be a rollercoaster ride for people looking for more thrills during their journey to lose weight. Endurance and cardiovascular health are front and center here, as you might have to face multiple opponents with little warm-off time in between matches.
It’s worth noting that competitive wrestlers follow strict weight loss techniques like dehydration and strict caloric deficit. You shouldn’t stress yourself out and try to lose weight abruptly.
Enjoy the ride and be patient, as attaining good health is the more important goal.
- Promotes self-control and discipline.
- Makes you better at reading body language.
- Delivers a full-body exercise.
- Injuries are common.
- Weight cutting can be stressful for people seeking to pursue wrestling professionally.
- Nutritional deprivation, followed by many wrestlers, isn’t a healthy technique to lose weight.
5) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) earns its spot as one of the best martial arts for big guys thanks to its great emphasis on discipline. It’s not an understatement to say that BJJ is a life-changing sport that goes way beyond helping you lose fat.
BJJ instills values in the back of your mind that help you achieve healthier relationships, better resolve in your career, and more focus.
- Mentally engaging.
- Promotes resilience and dedication.
- Excellent workout for losing extra weight.
- A steep learning curve for beginners.
- Doesn’t include punches and kicks.
- The risk for injuries can’t be overlooked.
6) Krav Maga
Krav Maga is one of the best martial arts for fat guys looking for a self-defensive fighting technique that works best in real-life situations. It lies on the brutal end of the spectrum with combined move sets from Judo, Muay Thai, boxing, and wrestling.
The martial art technique will surprise you as you see how much power and speed you can unleash if you put your mind to it. Disarming your opponent is another skill that can make a huge difference in a street fight and ensures you come out safe from dangerous situations.
- Effective in real-life situations.
- Versatile move set.
- Disarming your opponent is a pillar of the fighting technique.
- Not the most efficient for losing weight.
- More brutal than other fighting techniques.
- Discipline isn’t as crucial in Krav Maga.
As the name suggests, MMA or mixed martial arts combines different fighting styles and techniques into one cohesive package. There’s always something new to learn, and things won’t get stale easily.
This explains why it’s considered one of the best martial arts for overweight people who get bored of traditional gym workouts and want to shake things up. You get a full-body exercise that involves boxing, kicking, and even grappling.
- Versatile fighting techniques.
- Full body workout.
- Excellent for losing fat from challenging spots.
- Poses a risk for attaining traumatic brain injuries.
- Can have a psychological toll on some people.
- Doesn’t lean as much into the discipline aspect as other martial arts.
Not all martial arts are beginner-friendly. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with Judo, making it one of the best martial arts for a large person who wants to get started without facing a steep learning curve.
Furthermore, it isn’t as violent as other sports on our list. Finally, it won’t take long until you notice an improvement to your stamina and overall fitness level, which is an excellent motive on its own to keep you moving forward.
- Falls on the gentler end of the spectrum as far as martial arts are concerned.
- Promotes better stamina.
- There are many rules to learn.
- Leans heavily into ground combat, which isn’t suitable for all people.
- It could be hard to find a top-notch judo school.
If you’re looking for a martial art that focuses on your upper body muscles, then boxing is the smart choice for you. With that said, boxing isn’t our go-to choice for losing weight, as you won’t burn enough calories during the sparring and practicing sessions.
You can find a way around this limitation by incorporating cardio and strength training into your workout routine. Add a balanced diet to the mix, and you can start seeing your weight go down on the scale week after week.
- Helps you develop faster reflexes, as dodging is a pillar of the sport.
- Great upper body exercise.
- Accessible to many people as the basic stance is straightforward to get right.
- Isn’t the most efficient way to burn calories on its own.
- Your lower body won’t get as much attention as your upper body.
- Face injuries are common.
Nutrition And Weight-Loss In Martial Arts Training
Finding out the best martial art for overweight people and consistently training is roughly 30% of the process. Building a healthy relationship with food to support your training and fat loss process is essential.
It would help to build a healthy lifestyle instead of forcing yourself to follow an over-restrictive diet.
I’m not a fitness expert or someone who tries to build massive amounts of muscle. But I’m heavily focused on sports performance and a healthy lifestyle.
A simple blueprint for fat loss with martial arts training
I battled with stress eating my whole life. So I hope my experience can help you somehow. If you haven’t already, cut any refined sugars, fast food, and cheap vegetable oils.
Some things that might help to accelerate fat burning while training martial arts 3-4 times a week:
- Lean protein sources (beef, chicken breast, salmon, tuna, eggs, or plant-based)
- Green veggies, they’re high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals: broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, cauliflower.
- Stick to low GI (glycemic index) fruits only like strawberries, blackberries, and green apples.
- Eat nuts and seeds, but be careful with nuts as they can quickly increase your calories, and they’re delicious.
- Good carbs like baked potatoes and wild rice are excellent in moderation according to your activity level. Low carb is not the holy grail of fat loss.
- Stick to low-calorie dressings like sriracha or soy sauce. Salt, pepper, and lemon can be enough too.
- Lots of water. Some people say 3 liters is the way to go.
You shouldn’t feel starvation while trying to lose weight. Eat nutritious whole foods high in fiber that keep your body satisfied longer.
If you feel you’re eating the right way, I will focus on the mental game and why you are stress eating.
But if you think everything is in place, you might need to force your body to adapt and don’t eat every time you want to. You can always take small steps.
If you ate your fantastic lunch, balanced, and loaded with nutrient-dense food and 30 minutes later, feel like eating a whole meal again, drink some water instead or brush your teeth.
What to do if you’re still hungry all the time?
If you’re still hungry in half-hour, have something like a rice cracker with a half tablespoon of peanut butter. Eventually, switch to only the rice cracker, then to just the water, and at some point, you might get used to nothing and only stick to your meal plan.
Another good idea is to define a strong motivation for why you want this, which gives meaning to all the hard work.
Weight loss isn’t easy, and we all mess up from time to time, but the important thing is to don’t let a cheat food become a cheat day or a cheat week. Stay consistent and be patient.
Best Martial Arts For Overweight People FAQ
HOW CAN MARTIAL ARTS PROMOTE FAT LOSS?
Many martial arts fighting techniques rely on continuous movement and engaging all your body muscles. This way, you’re performing a fun full-body exercise that can help you get rid of fat from the most resilient spots.
HOW MANY CALORIES DO MARTIAL ARTS FIGHTERS BURN?
On average, martial arts fighters burn more than 650 calories per training session.
WHICH MARTIAL ART IS BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think, as different martial arts can suit different people. However, Karate and Judo are safe bets for beginners looking for a fun way to lose weight.
CAN I DO JIU-JITSU IF I’M OVERWEIGHT?
YES! You only need to change the mindset of being held back by your weight. Once you feel more confident in your own skin, you’ll become better at Jiu-Jitsu and put in the effort needed to help you lose weight.
Finals Thoughts On The Best Martial Arts For Overweight People
Incorporating martial arts into your workout routine will help you not only lose weight but also improve your overall physical strength and endurance.
Muay Thai is a perfect example. You’ll be working every muscle in your body during class, so fat burning will be a side benefit of your training.