The 5 Step Process to Lose Weight with MMA

Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight and Build Muscles?

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In this article, we will tell you can martial arts help you lose weight and build muscles. We will also let you know which are the best martial arts for it, as well as how its training looks like and more.

Martial arts are a great way to lose weight and at the same time, they build your muscles.

That said, there are many different martial arts in the world, and we will show you below the best martial arts for losing weight and building muscles.

Best Martial Arts For Losing Weight and Building Muscles

Just to be clear at the start, huge muscles don’t go well with martial arts. But, strong and toned muscles can take you far.

If your goal is to build muscles while training martial arts, then you should train a lot, and start doing calisthenics, pull-ups, push-ups, abs, squats, and all the variations of these (there are literally hundreds). This will, along with getting you powerful, give you muscle mass over time, but it will never be excessive, and you will become lightning-fast, which is in martial arts usually more important than big muscles.

On the other hand, if your main goal is to lose weight, and with it tone your body and build muscles, we still recommend the same thing as above, train a lot with all those exercises, but the most important part for losing weight is your diet. You have to eat the right way, train with it, and you will get in the shape of your life.

Below we will show you the best martial arts to help you lose weight and build muscles.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ is an amazing and fun way to lose weight and build muscles in the process. Overweight students often lose 20-45 pounds (9-20 kg) in the first six months of training BJJ.

The best part about it is that you can do it moderately. You are not thrown to wolves from your first training, but you are constantly growing with your training.

You should never start training BJJ at 100% intensity, but at the pace, that is comfortable for you and let your body adjust to it.

That way you will be losing your weight and building your muscles, but it won’t feel so hard for you, just the opposite, it will be a fun way to do it.

Usually, BJJ training consists of a warm-up, technique, and rolling.


Karate is unique as a martial art in that that it is a complete body training, that uses punches, kicks, elbowing, and throwing. 

That of course means that you are losing many more calories while doing it then in many other martial arts, thus losing weight, but as well are building muscles with all those body parts working all the time.

Still, Karate mostly uses upper bodywork, and it builds great arm strength and coordination.

Even thou there are many styles of Karate, this martial art is less competition-driven, so Karate training is more for the people who are interested in personal challenge and development.


Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in America, and one of the most popular in the world.

It can help you in attaining the healthy-looking body, want through learning discipline and fighting techniques while losing weight and building muscles.

Taekwondo training has a range of other benefits such as learning self-defense skills, having an increased positive mental outlook on life due to the increase of endorphins, and the joy of competition in a healthy environment.

Unlike Karate, it is one of the most competitive sports out there, it is even included in the Olympics, which means it is for people that love to compete.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi can help you in many things, one of the most important is releasing stress while increasing your strength and flexibility.

It is a slow, controlled movement martial art, that probably won’t directly impact your weight loss, but stress-free, you could probably get much more motivation for losing weight, and motivation is one of the main things in achieving it.

Some studies have even suggested that Thai Chi could help improve the quality of your sleep.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu has many varieties of stiles, but most of them are focusing on striking your opponent fast and strong.

If you ever wanted to look like and fight like Bruce Lee, then Kung Fu is the right martial art for you.

Kung Fu training is typically fast-paced, with combinations of strikes, kicks, and blocks. Practitioners, just as Bruce Lee, are well known for having beautiful form, so it may be up your ally if you want to lose weight and build muscles.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a fast and aggressive martial art that combines offensive and defensive moves simultaneously.

During Krav Maga training, you are in constant movement, as you try to protect yourself, and try to anticipate your opponent’s next move, which leads to burning more calories, losing weight, and building your muscles, in one of the most fun ways.


The main difference between Judo and other martial arts from this list (except wrestling) is that it doesn’t use strikes but instead focuses on throwings.

That means Judo is actually a very good combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. As we said before, most of your weight loss will be from a change in diet, but Judo will condition you for strength and endurance, and build your muscles the right way.

On the other hand, Judo is great for building mentality, so if you enjoy it, and want to be good Judoka, you will say no to bad food and do whatever needs to be done to achieve your goals.


Ok, wrestlers are known for cutting much weight 24 hours before their competitions, but here we will not be talking about that kind of weight loss.

Wrestling is one of the toughest martial arts in the world, and it burns many calories while training (220 pounds person losses more than 600 calories per hour).

Also, its training is very hard and builds big muscles, needed for its combat sport.

It needs to be said, wrestling is a very competitive sport, it is included in the Olympics, and if you want to be good at it, you will have to sacrifice a lot. We have written an article about connections between Wrestling and Football, and in it, we wrote about how tough wrestling is probably even tougher than football.


Boxing, probably with wrestling ana MMA, is one of the best martial arts from this list for building muscles and losing weight. But, unlike wrestling, it offers much more variety, which makes it more fun, and in that way not so hard for training.

It is competitive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can train at home while punching the bag, and you can even shadowbox, and loose weight.

Boxing really offers you a variety of ways to lose weight and build muscles, and you can check how boxing compares with running for building cardio and burning calories.


MMA is probably our most favorite martial art for losing weight and building muscles.

If we told you that boxing is a fun way of losing weight and building muscles, then MMA is much more than that.

It combines every martial art in its training, which makes it the best combat sport for burning calories, losing weight and building muscles while learning some of the best martial arts in the process.

We wrote in detail 5 step process (with Infographic) on how to lose weight with MMA. Be sure to check it out.

Conclusion – Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight And Build Muscles?

As you can see above, martial arts can definitely help you lose your weight and build your muscles, but, for losing weight especially, you need to address your diet firstly.

No matter how much you exercise, you can always eat more, and bring more calories in your body then you can spend. It can become even more of a problem with hard training.

You are burning more calories, and your body is maybe not used to it, and it needs food, which sometimes can lead to eating even more, and gaining weight while doing it. You have to be extra careful about it and have a good motivation to take care of what you eat.

On the other hand, hard training will surely build your muscles, some martial arts more than others, but with every martial art from our list, you will not go wrong.

Try to look at what suits you best, and enjoy while doing it, that is the best receipt for your success in losing weight and building muscles.

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