Does Taekwondo Make You Lose Weight?

two taekwondo players exchanging high kicks during training

You probably already recognize Taekwondo as an effective form of self-defense, but you are unsure if it’s equally effective for weight loss. So, does Taekwondo make you lose weight?

Taekwondo can make you lose weight since its training helps to burn a large number of calories which is necessary for weight loss. A 200-pound person can burn 937 calories in one hour.

You will be amazed at the result that an intense 1 hour of taekwondo training can produce for someone looking to lose weight.

Taekwondo is great for weight loss because it is a high pace workout that combines cardiovascular, functional, strength, and flexibility training all in one making it a perfect choice for persons with obesity.

When compared to the gym, Taekwondo is a better way of losing weight since the gym requires you to do the above separately, but Taekwondo is an all-in-one workout.

Let’s now examine in detail the question of whether Taekwondo can be useful for weight loss and how it can help you to lose weight.

Does Taekwondo Help Lose Weight?

Taekwondo helps to lose weight as it involves highly intense training workouts which can help anyone burn calories quickly and efficiently.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to lose weight, most people need to reduce the number of calories they consume and increase their physical activity.

That generally means that to lose 1 ½ pound (0.7 kilograms) weekly, you need to reduce your daily calories by 500 to 750 calories.

So how does taekwondo help with this?

Well, while taekwondo cannot directly influence the number of calories you consume; it sure can increase your physical activity.

Without a doubt, Taekwondo is an effective sport for weight loss considering the number of calories burned by players during training.

Taekwondo is a highly cardiovascular exercise with all the jumping and drills leading to the active burning of calories.

According to Business Insider, Taekwondo is one of the best ways to burn the most calories burning 937 calories per hour in a 200-pound person. That’s a lot!

This conclusion by Business Insider was based on the Mayo Clinic which drew on Research published by the National Institutes of Health.

Compared to many other activities, Taekwondo is a faster and more interesting way of burning calories.

For example, in terms of calories burned, one hour of Taekwondo is equal to the following activities:

  • 2 hours of shoveling snow
  • 2 hours of golf – the golf calories burn are based on carrying a golf bag and walking the golf course.
  • 2.5 hours of lawn raking
  • 3 hours of cleaning
  • 3 hours of walking- at 2 miles per hour
  • 4 hours of cooking
  • 5.5 hours of working at the desk
  • 13 hours of watching TV – Yes we burn calories simply by watching TV
  • 16 hours of sleeping

The above clearly explains why most taekwondo players are usually slim and lightweight.

How Taekwondo Help You Lose Weight

Here is how Taekwondo helps to lose more calories and burn more fat.

HIIT Training

Taekwondo is naturally a HIIT workout which is an ideal way to efficiently lose weight.

But what exactly is High-intensity interval training (HIIT)?

This is a form of workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of short-term rest or less-intense activity.

These intervals get your heart rate up and burn more fat and calories in less time, and more effectively than Low Impact Steady State exercise, or LISS.

A Study compared the calories burned during 30 minutes each of HIIT, biking, weight training, and running.

The researchers found that HIIT workouts burn up to 25 to 30 percent more calories than the other forms of exercise.

Interestingly, Taekwondo is a HIIT workout because its kicks are explosive full-body moves that recruit every muscle in the core and lower body making it even more efficient than sprinting.

Throw ten kicks in a row as fast and as hard as you can, and watch your heart rate spike tremendously.

An unmodified taekwondo sparring match normally consists of 3-4 minute rounds, and each of these rounds normally includes bursts of kicks and punches which are interrupted by short periods of active recovery.

Additionally, most taekwondo classes include 20-30 minutes of special HIIT training.

So, expect to have your heart in your mouth during intense taekwondo training, especially when you are new.

To understand the massive contribution of HIIT to weight loss, a Study has shown that people doing HIIT 3 times weekly lose over 4 pounds in 4 weeks without any food changes. That is 14,000 calories!

HIIT also can help reduce visceral fat which is what we see as “belly fat”.

Taekwondo as a form of HIIT forces your body to use energy from fat as opposed to carbs which make losing fat more efficient.

With Taekwondo HIIT, you also get to preserve those hard-earned muscles while burning the maximum amount of fat.

Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion keeps your body working long even after your workout is finished.

You will stay in fat-burning mode (afterburn effect) for up to 24 hours after the workout, meaning you burn more calories than you would after a steady-pace run.

Cardiovascular Exercise

No doubt, Taekwondo is a beneficial form of exercise.

That’s not all; a Study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown Taekwondo to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular fitness as well as general physical ability.

A 154-pound person can burn anywhere between 140 and 295 calories in 30 minutes doing cardiovascular exercise. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And since Taekwondo incorporates cardiovascular exercises like running and jogging in its program, expect to burn this much fat in no time.

Do not forget that Martial arts in general are in fact a common form of cardiovascular exercise.

Flexibility Training

In Taekwondo, you learn to be coordinated, to be fast, and to hit hard, and you need the flexibility to achieve this.

To improve flexibility in Taekwondo players, both adults and children must practice proper warm-up stretches and exercises.

Although stretching alone is not a high-calorie-burning activity, it still contributes to the weight loss process.

The average calories burned by stretching are a mere 2.7 calories per minute for a 150-pound (68-kg) person.

This would however add up to 27 calories if your stretch routine takes 10 minutes.

Strength Training

Taekwondo is one of the best exercises as it works most of the main muscle groups in the body, therefore, increasing core body strength.

By practicing Taekwondo, you will be required to have hard kicks, strong punches, and good breaks which can only be achieved with strength training, power, and flexibility.

Specifically, strength training leads to lean muscle gain.

These are highly metabolic fat-free tissues that allow more caloric burns than any other tissue in the body.

This is essentially why Taekwondo strength training works best as it helps to lose fat while maintaining muscles that burn calories.

This is why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its exercise guidelines recommends strength training and aerobic activity for most healthy adults looking to lose weight.

Suppression of Appetite

Burning calories is just one part of the weight loss process.

Another surprising way that taekwondo helps to lose weight is through its ability to suppress the appetite.

Studies have shown that there is a relationship between appetite and exercise.

The old advice for fitness is the plus-minus rule which is that “you will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume.”

However, this formula is more difficult to achieve considering human behavior.

The reality is that exercise can make you hungry and the calories you eat at the end of every workout might even be more than what you had at the start.

Fortunately, there is evidence that there are some physical activities that do not stimulate the appetite.

Research has discovered that people who exercise vigorously for extended periods produce less ghrelin than those who did more leisure activities.

Ghrelin is a type of hormone believed to influence the desire to eat.

For intense martial arts activities such as taekwondo, this means that it is not just that calories are being burned off but that its highly active nature also encourages the body to stay away from food.

This is a significant discovery when you consider the fact that diet accounts for a larger percentage of weight loss results.

Related Questions

Can You Be Fat and Do Taekwondo?

Yes, a fat person can do taekwondo since Taekwondo is a fat burner that would naturally reduce your weight over time.

I have taught students who have lost huge tons in 12 months through careful diet and consistent taekwondo training.

The best part of being consistent with training is seeing the gains as the belt falls in front of you after tying it. It gets longer.

So, if you are looking to release a great amount of fat from the body, prepare for a fair amount of cardio and an intense training program.

The activity would seem daunting at first, but you will improve as time goes on.

How Many Calories Do You Lose Doing Taekwondo?

The amount of calories you would lose doing taekwondo depends on several factors such as age, sex, body composition, weight, etc. However, a 200-pound person can burn 937 calories in one hour.

As stated earlier, Taekwondo is an intense weight loss exercise that anyone including someone with obesity can benefit from.

How Many Calories Does 2 Hours of Taekwondo Burn?

In a 200 pounds person, 2 hours of taekwondo training can help burn about 1,874 calories.

This calculation is based on my multiplication of 937 calories which is a result of an hour of taekwondo training.

How Many Calories Does 30 Minutes of Taekwondo Burn?

In a 200 pounds person, 30 minutes of taekwondo training can burn about 468 calories.

This calculation is based on my division of the 937 calories which is a result of 1 hour of taekwondo training.

Does Taekwondo Burn Fat?

Taekwondo sure helps to burn fat through intense training and cardiovascular exercises.

To understand how taekwondo helps to burn fat, we need to know what cardiovascular exercises do to the body.

A cardiovascular workout makes almost all the muscles in the body to be targeted simultaneously making the heart rate go up.

AndTaekwondo involves a lot of vigorous and well-timed movements.

The kicks, the punches, and all the other movements involved are working out the whole body the way cardiovascular exercises do.

In fact, the workout is just as strenuous and effective as a cardiovascular workout.

The heart rate goes up with the body converting fat into energy for fuelling the workout.

Does Taekwondo Reduce Belly Fat?

Taekwondo can help reduce belly fat through intense training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. However, this must be complimented with a healthy diet, intermittent fasting, good sleep hygiene, stress reduction, and limited alcohol intake.

General exercise (in combination with other factors mentioned above) is a good way to burn belly fat.

You should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day of cardio or strength training.

HIIT is a popular workout that can help reduce visceral fat which is what we see as “belly fat”.

HIIT offers aerobic and resistance training which can help you burn fat faster.

Does Taekwondo Get You in Shape?

Taekwondo can help get you in shape through its training and full-body workout.

Since Taekwondo requires using every muscle group from your legs, core, shoulder, and arms, this kind of fitness cannot be gained at the gym.

So, if you’re stuck on a fitness plateau or find your old exercise routine uninspiring, Taekwondo classes may be just the thing to get you motivated and excited to work out.

Be assured that it will dramatically improve your fitness level and you should achieve full-body fitness.


Taekwondo is a great sport for anyone looking to efficiently lose weight in the quickest possible time.

With consistency and dedication, you should be getting your desired body shape in no time.

If you find this post helpful, please comment below and let me know what you think.

See: Is Taekwondo Useless?

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See: Does Taekwondo Increase Height?

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