A significant impediment to people thinking about trying martial arts is their current physical state. It’s easy to dispense with the idea of beginning martial arts because every martial arts practitioner seems sculpted by some deity. However, martial arts is also an activity for us mere mortals.

You do not need to be in shape to begin martial arts. Martial arts forms don’t require peak fitness from beginners and should help improve your fitness levels. As you gain more experience in martial arts, your body will get fitter in the process.

This piece will explain why you shouldn’t be concerned about your fitness before starting martial arts. It will also detail how martial arts help you get in shape.

Why Fitness Doesn’t Matter Before Beginning Martial Arts

Traditional martial arts were designed to prepare people for war. Naturally, the recruits were diverse, with varying fitness levels; by the time training was over, the trainees were hardened warriors ready for military service.

In today’s age, people rarely train in martial arts to fight wars (though self-defense might be a reason you are considering studying the arts). Nevertheless, you can draw inspiration from the recruits who trained in traditional martial arts.

Fitness didn’t matter back then, and it doesn’t matter now: simply sign up for a martial arts school and start your training. The teacher will consider your fitness when crafting your training regimen.

Depending on your fitness level, you will likely struggle during the first martial arts sessions as you get used to the activity.

Martial arts forms like judo and wrestling are energy-intensive and will leave you winded as your body acclimatizes to the demands of the martial art form.

Even less intensive forms like boxing might leave you out of breath during the initial sessions. The trick is to attend classes regularly: if you remain committed to the martial arts, you’ll gradually improve your stamina and overall health.

How Martial Arts Help Improve Fitness

Martial arts have many benefits, including improving fitness and agility. Most pro martial arts practitioners are incredibly fit, with constant training helping them maintain peak fitness levels.

martial arts help improve fitness

With enough training and consistency, you too can get fit through martial arts.

High-Intensity Activity Burns Fat and Calories

The fitness journey almost always involves fat burning and calorie control. Martial arts training combines various exercises that burn fat and improve your metabolic rate.

You can expect to torch between 400 to 800 calories per hour, depending on your chosen martial art form. You must stick to your trainer’s advice to get the maximum weight-loss benefits from martial arts.

Each martial art form works the participant’s body differently as they gain more experience. Incorporating more exercises into your routine other than the ones suggested by your teacher might affect your performance in the martial art you chose.

Understanding that any martial art form you choose will whip you into shape is crucial. Whether it’s boxing—that’ll burn about 400 calories an hour—or judo, which can help you lose double that amount, martial arts will improve your fitness.

The food you consume also fits into the calorie conversation. Healthy foods that provide long-lasting energy will help improve your performance and boost your health.

Martial arts teachers know the best foods to accompany the training. Heed their advice and reap the fitness benefits of martial arts.

Regular Movement Improves Cardiovascular Health

Martial arts increase your heart rate, improving your heart’s health. The heart needs regular exercise, and by pushing it through martial arts, you strengthen it and your cardiovascular system.

Furthermore, martial arts reduce your chances of contracting hypertension. By improving heart health, martial arts improve the efficiency of blood flow, reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

Regular exercise through martial arts also reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol—one of the contributors to heart disease—in your body. Furthermore, regularly working out helps shrink cholesterol-carrying protein, making it less harmful to the heart.

Cardiovascular health is also tied to mental health, which martial arts help improve. Martial arts have a strong mental element, as strategy contributes to success just as much as fitness.

Martial arts help improve concentration and reduce stress, boosting the participants’ overall health.

The Novelty of Martial Arts Keeps Motivation High

One of the reasons people abandon fitness regimens is the monotony of some exercises. Running, skipping rope, and lifting weights can get boring quite quickly.

It helps to be motivated to exercise before you start, especially after a long day at work. Martial arts keep you hooked by teaching you something new every day.

Even martial arts masters with years of experience constantly learn and invent new techniques. You are guaranteed new experiences as you learn more about martial arts, which should motivate you to keep going.

Ultimately, discipline matters more than motivation. However, it doesn’t hurt to be motivated to improve your martial arts skills constantly.

The Group Dynamic Helps Improve Motivation

Sometimes the stresses of life impact our discipline and motivation for certain activities. The vagaries of life can demotivate and drive you away from your fitness plan.

At such points, we need people to drag us back on track—kicking and screaming, if necessary. A major benefit of martial arts is that you’ll always have people in your corner to motivate you.

Martial arts are not solo activities; they often require at least two participants. Therefore, you are rarely alone when training.

the group dynamic helps improve motivation

Your partners, who often double-up as opponents, will drag you off your couch and onto your training mat. Sometimes, you’ll be the one to return the favor, which can be incredibly fulfilling.

Together, you’ll push each other to reach your individual fitness goals.


Your fitness level shouldn’t deter you from beginning martial arts. It doesn’t matter how unfit or unhealthy you are; martial arts has a place for everyone.

Martial arts help improve fitness by burning calories and improving the body’s metabolism and mental health. The diet changes one makes to perform at optimum levels also improve a trainee’s health.

You might struggle to deal with martial arts demands due to fitness, but if you persist, your body will adapt and get healthier.