Can karate help you lose weight? Yes, and no.

Karate can absolutely help you lose weight, but it is by no means the only factor. Practising karate regularly, as well as making other changes to your lifestyle, will help you get the results you’re looking for.

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First let’s talk about the math, and then I’m going to give you a summary of what will actually help you get that weight off and keep it off for good.

Calories In, Calories Out?

The formula seems simple: to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. So you plug in the numbers in a nutrition calculator like the one I show in this video:

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And you do all the things that should lead to weight loss, but the number on that scale still doesn’t budge.

Calculators like this can be great, but you do need to realize that this is just a starting point. There are many so variables involved in both how many calories you actually absorb, as well as how many you burn off, so you can’t just rely on formulas and calculators like this.

Let’s take a look at your karate sessions. The number of calories that you burn during a karate session will vary depending on your weight, on your body composition, on your metabolism, on what you’re actually doing (sparring vs kata for instance), on how hard you’re working, on how much rest you take during that workout, on how long you practise at each session, on how many sessions per week, etc.

Then there are other aspects of calories out, like your resting metabolic rate, whether you’ve been on strict diets recently, your activity level throughout the day, and how much sleep you’re getting.

Then there’s calories in. And this depends on how much food you’re actually eating, how processed the foods you eat are, on what types of foods are present in the meal, even the type of bacteria in your gut can even make a difference.

How You Can Actually Get That Weight Off

So, as you can see above, that simple formula turns out to not be so simple. The following are the steps you can take to get that weight off and keep it off for good:

#1 – Exercise at least 5 hours a week.

People who lose weight and keep it off do so because they put in the reps. Practise karate, or a combination of karate and other workouts, at least five hours each week. Push hard during your karate training, but not so hard that you get injured. Give yourself time to recover, with rest days or lighter workouts in between those harder workouts.

#2 – Incorporate non-exercise activity.

The name for this is N.E.A.T., or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This represents all of the energy that you burn throughout the day during activities that are not sleeping, eating, or planned exercise. It turns out that the number of calories that you burn during your non-exercise activities are often more than what you burn during a single exercise session.

Think about it. Say you sleep 8 hours a night, then you’re awake 16 hours of the day. And you go to the dojo for one hour out of that day. That leaves 15 hours. Think about ways that you can move around more so that you can burn more calories during those 15 hours.

Watch this video on intermittent workouts to learn how you can add little bursts of karate awesomeness throughout your day to boost your metabolism and burn more calories overall:

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#3 – Don’t engage in extreme diets.  

When you drastically cut calories to lose weight, your body has no idea that it’s intentional. Your body actually thinks that you’re starving, and it attempts to conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism.

Fad diets don’t work. Check out this video to learn if there’s an ideal diet for karate:

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#4 – Eat whole and unprocessed foods at regular intervals, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.  

When you eat processed foods vs whole, unprocessed foods, your body will actually absorb more calories from the unprocessed foods. Basically, the more processed the food is, the less work your body has to do to break it down, to digest it to access those calories.

When you’re eating, eat slowly and mindfully. You can watch this video to learn more:

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And pay attention to your fullness level. To lose weight, eat until you’re about 80% full.

You can learn more about that in this video here:

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If you need more help with your diet, check out my healthy eating course.

Here’s a video with more information about it:

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#5 – Eat plenty of high-quality protein.

Protein is super filling, and your body’s metabolism actually jacks up when you eat a meal that’s high in protein, so you burn way more calories.

Check out this video to find out how much protein you actually need:

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#6 – Drink lots of water.

Thirst can often mask as hunger, and drinking more water can help you curb your appetite.

Watch this video to find out how much water you actually need:

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#7 – Sleep 7-9 hours per night.

Sleep deprivation can actually decrease the number of calories you burn. For example, having one crappy night of sleep can actually decrease your calorie expenditure by a whopping 5-20%. And over time, chronic sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the hormones that regulate fullness and appetite.

The end result? You eat more. Check out this video to learn more about sleep and weight management:

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#8 -Stay consistent with your habits.

Going to the dojo just once a month just won’t cut it. To make progress, you need to be consistent. Come up with a schedule, and stick with it.

Karate won’t help you get that weight off and keep it off if your lifestyle sucks, or if you just get back to old habits once you’ve achieved your weight loss goals. Do all the things that I mentioned, and do so consistently. That’s how you’ll get the results you seek.

Which of the above tips could you work on right now to help you achieve your weight loss goals?

Recommended Resources

Here are some great books to help you improve your habits, focus, and mental game:

(Disclaimer: Some of the links on my website are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase.)

You’re reading Will Karate Help With Weight Loss? by Sabrina Bliem, originally posted on The Karate Shrimp. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow The Karate Shrimp on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!