There are fashion trends, technology trends and even food trends. Why should fitness be any different? And the latest trend to hit gyms is kickboxing.
Step into any gym of a certain class and repute and you are likely to find people kickboxing as a routine. The trend is being fuelled by a number of factors such as work-related stress or as a part of self-defence activity. With its rising popularity, it's understandable why gyms have started offering kickboxing to their clients.
Navneet Anand, fitness instructor at a Gurgaon-based club, tries to unravel the mystery of this sudden surge in interest in this for exercising by saying, "Kickboxing is a popular form of exercise because it builds speed and confidence, apart from promoting fitness and
As 27-year-old Ankur Srivastava, a software professional for HCL, puts it, "Apart from keeping me fit, it also helps me vent all the pent-up frustrations of the day."
But Rajnish, who runs his own institute for kickboxing and martial arts in Delhi and is considered to be the big daddy of this form of kickboxing, feels that sometimes at gyms people don't use the correct techniques. "This sport is all about using the right techniques as one wrong move can harm your body."
A kickboxing routine lasts for over an hour, and begins with a warm-up exercise for about 10 minutes. Kickboxing helps in toning the muscles and builds strength and endurance. An hour of kickboxing is guaranteed to burn about 600 calories.
The Golds Gym in Mumbai's Napean Sea Road is also a popular place for kickboxing. In Delhi, Talwalkar's has kickboxing while other high-profile gyms like Ozone too have sensed its demand and started kickboxing classes.
It should be said that though kickboxing is the flavour of the season, it does have a number of benefits. Kickboxing helps improve endurance, strength and muscle tone. It also gives better body coordination and balance. It helps in maintaining the body's flexibility like no other form of martial art. "Although forms like tai-chi have more snob value, they aren't as effective as kickboxing," says Rajnish.
The equipment required for kickboxing, such as mitts and knee caps, are provided by the gyms and charges vary. Most gyms charge anywhere from Rs 1,000 per month to Rs 2,500 for the activity. Says Dr Virendra Shevelkar, a fitness consultant at Talwalkar's, "Unlike in other forms of exercising where the body loses tone when you stop, in kickboxing, even if you quit, the muscles retain their tone for a longer period of time." And very few martial art forms help in toning up both arm as well as leg muscles the way kickboxing does.
And, believe it or not, there are other advantages as well. Says Delhi-based fitness expert Dr Gaurav Jain, "People these days are looking for something more than a physical workout and kickboxing improves confidence and self-discipline." It is also an excellent way to release stress by kicking, punching hard or even screaming your lungs out, he adds helpfully.
As with other forms of fitness, to stay fit and lose weight you need a proper nutrition plan in addition to the exercise plan. Another important thing to remember is that diets or workouts cannot be generalised for everyone and should be selected after studying individual need and lifestyle.
For instance, at the Golds Gym, kickboxing comes along with personalised diet plans and tabs are kept on how each individual is coping with the exercise. Says Sunny, kickboxing instructor at Golds, "After each class, the atmosphere is charged up. You can see that people genuinely enjoy these classes."
There is no doubt that modern living is stressful. And stress is catching people at a younger age than before. No wonder the majority of those interested in this are 30 years or younger. Some would say that working off stress in the safe environs of a gym is better than getting involved in a bust-up in the office with the boss.That probably explains why this sport has caught popular imagination. What could be better than a healthy and toned body along with effective stress management for the price of a few kicks.