How many calories does boxing burn?
The number of calories you burn from boxing depends on your weight and the intensity and time of the workout.
An estimate is that a 200-pound person burns 525 calories/hour boxing a punching bag, 745 calories/hour sparring, and 1222 calories/hour in a boxing ring. A 150-pound person burns 394 calories/hour boxing a punching bag, 558 calories/hour sparring, and 916 calories/hour in a boxing ring.
Calories burned per minute = (MET x Body Weight in Kg x 3.5) ÷ 200
MET (Metabolic Equivalent Task) is a measurement of an activity’s energy cost. A task with a MET of 1 is the energy a person uses sitting still at room temperature not actively digesting food. A MET 2 task uses twice the energy of a MET 1 task, a MET 3 task uses three times the energy, etc.
Boxing’s MET values are:
- 5.5 for using a punching bag (525 calories/hour for a 200lb person)
- 7.8 for sparring
- 12.8 for boxing in a ring
MET values “do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex, efficiency of movement, geographic and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure for the same activity can be large and the true energy cost for an individual may or may not be close to the stated mean MET level as presented in the Compendium.” (as quoted from the main page of the Compendium of Physical Activities).
A person weighs 180 pounds (81.65kg) and spars (a task that has a MET value of 7.8) for 1 hour (total of 60 minutes).
Calories Burned from sparring (per minute) = (7.8 x 81.65 x 3.5) ÷ 200 = 11.15
Calories Burned from sparring (for 60 minutes) = 11.15 x 60 = 669
Sources and External Resources
- Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS. The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide. Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University. Retrieved May 11, 2015, from the World Wide Web.
- Arizona State University Healthy Lifestyles Research Center – Compendium of Physical Activities – Sports – Provides MET values for sport activities, including boxing.
- Learn about “MET” and the compendium of physical activities from Arizona State University, University or South Carolina, and Wikipedia. There is a summary of general physical activities defined by intensity from the CDC and the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Recommendations on physical activity for health from the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO.
- Find out the health benefits of boxing with “Punch up your exercise routine with fitness boxing” by Harvard Health Publishing, “Boxing: A really intensive workout” by Richard Sharp of The Independent, and “5 Surprising Benefits of Boxing” by Scott Purcell of Man of Many.
- Learn to become a better boxer with “The Art of Boxing: Skills, Drills, and Benefits!” by David Robinson of BodyBuilding.com, “Tips for Your First Fight” by Johnny N of ExpertBoxing.com, and “A beginner’s guide to boxing workouts” by Mercy Livingston of Well+Good.