You’ve tried power-walking and pilates to shrink your waistline, yoga and meditation to clear your mind…but there are those days, when you just want to throwdown and punch something—anything! For a good, old-school-style sweat that gets the aggression out, why not return to kickboxing? Kickboxing is the quintessential workout for the classic alpha female, who is feisty, passionate, stressed out, and hungry for decompression. The term “kickboxing” is an umbrella term that includes martial arts and certain stand-up combat sports that are based on kicking and punching. Though the sport originated in Japan in the 1960s as a competitive endeavor, and was later adapted by Americans in the 70s, today kickboxing is still regarded as one of the most effective types of daily exercise by people all over the world.

“The beauty of kickboxing is that it is made up of explosive movements, which demand a lot of energy from the body,” says Noel Davis, of Miami’s E.A.T Fitness. “It’s fast so it kicks up the heart rate in all the right ways.”

Some of us have tried it once or twice, others hear the word and go running in the other direction. But if given a fair and consistent chance, kickboxing can be a fabulous way to achieve a fitness breakthrough, by shattering your safe workout routines, such as running or walking, and demanding something more from your body.

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Why you should give it another try:

The Body Benefit: By combining cardiovascular and resistance training in one action-packed, adrenaline-pumping session, you will torch an impressive 600-800 calories in one hour. Burn baby burn.

The Balance Benefit: The exercise demands your full attention, which naturally works on your sense of awareness and focus, and in turn, also sharpens your balance and coordination. You start to become more conscious of both sides of your body, understanding that stance, posture, and gaze are all equal parts of the game.

The Badass Benefit: Because the moves are all based on martial arts motions (jabs, hooks, upper cuts, side kicks and front kicks), you will learn self-defense without even realizing it. When you begin to master the form and technique of such moves, you begin to feel less vulnerable and more like an unstoppable badass.

Today, you can practice kickboxing as part of a class, invest in a trainer who specializes, or simply search the Internet for related videos that can at least show you some of the basics. You certainly do not need a boxing ring, testosterone or a mouth-guard. It can be as hard-core or as low-impact as you want it to be. But rest assured, if you do it consistently, you’re gonna start to feel the kick-ass benefits.