Looking to improve your physical fitness? You should know, martial arts classes give you more benefits than traditional workouts at a gym.
Reasons to choose MMA training over traditional gym workouts
This article will explore some of the reasons you should sign up for MMA training instead of sticking to a monotonous gym workout to reach your fitness goals.
1) Gives you an intense workout
Training at the gym and lifting weights is child’s play compared to MMA training when burning calories. You might burn up to 150 calories for every hour spent lifting weights or about 400 calories after running for an hour.
MMA training gives you an intense mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises that burn up to 1000 calories for every hour spent on the mat. Advanced MMA students often spend up to two hours during each training session, burning close to 2000 calories.
That makes it a lot easier to reach your fitness goals as far as weight and fat loss are concerned. The average person needs about 2000 calories each day, and a caloric deficit is needed to burn fat and lose weight. Burning 1000 to 2000 calories at the gym makes it significantly easier to end each day with a caloric deficit.
Even students who aren’t concerned with losing weight or burning fat are often shocked at how MMA training transforms their bodies, even when they haven’t made any changes to their diet. Eating an appropriate diet only makes it easier to reach your fitness goals.
2) More fun than gym workouts
Working out at the gym has its uses. It provides more benefits if your fitness goal is to gain muscle mass, and it’s a more effective way to improve your overall strength. It just doesn’t force you to use as many calories as learning MMA does.
Traditional gym workouts tend to get boring over time. You might find yourself performing the same exercises over and over again until you lose all motivation to go work out.
Things are entirely different when you sign up for MMA classes. Boredom is never a factor since no two classes are ever the same. The techniques, warmups, and drills you perform during each class are unique, and you never know what to expect heading into each session. If anything, you’re more likely to find yourself looking forward to your next training session.
A fitness routine is only effective if you can stick to it for a while. MMA training gives you a fun hobby that just happens to give you lots of physical benefits. You might walk into the gym with your fitness goals in mind, but improving as a mixed martial artist will eventually become your new goal.
3) Gives you incredible full-body workouts
MMA training incorporates different combat styles like Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which gives you a full-body workout.
MMA training targets your core in a way few other activities can replicate. Your body becomes stronger and more toned, and it’s the functional type of strength. MMA training teaches your body to perform at a high level even when fatigue creeps in.
Those are not the only physical benefits you get from training MMA. It also improves your flexibility, coordination, balance, endurance, reflexes, and cardiovascular health. The improved fitness you gain from training MMA will allow you to get more out of your gym workouts.
4) Improved confidence
MMA is the closest thing to real fights as far as martial arts is concerned. Untrained people often seem to think of fighting ability as something you’re born with, but those who have trained know better. Sure, some people might have physical abilities that give them an edge over others in a fight, but there’s more to combat than that.
Anyone can be an incredible fighter. It’s a matter of training, not something you’re born with. The best street fighters in the world would lose against subpar professional MMA fighters.
This reality becomes apparent when you start training mixed martial arts. As a newbie, you’ll probably lose most of your sparring matches, and your form might be subpar when throwing techniques. Over time, your form sharpens, and you might start getting the best of your training partners.
You’ll eventually find yourself executing techniques you’ve seen professionals use in world-class MMA organisations like ONE Championship against resisting opponents, and you’ll realise you’ve become a force to be reckoned with. The improvements you’ve made on the mat will make you feel great about yourself, and knowing you can effectively defend yourself if the need ever arises will give you a confidence boost. You might even decide to give local amateur MMA circuits a try someday.
5) In-built support system
Making new friends is part of learning mixed martial arts. You get to interact with people from all walks of life, and lifelong bonds can be made. Your training partners serve as a support system that keeps you motivated during classes.
Unlike a workout buddy, who can end up flaking on you, your training partners will always be at the dojo whenever you go train. Sure, your favourite training partner might not be there on some days, but you’ll have many others to train, converse, and enjoy the class with.
6) Improved problem-solving skills
Working out in the gym won’t improve your analytical skills regardless of how hard you go at it, but training mixed martial arts will.
What happens when two equally skilled fighters in the same weight class square off? The fighter who makes the better decision when strikes start flying often walks away with the victory. That’s where the term “fight IQ” comes from. It’s the ability to make crucial decisions while dealing with fatigue and an opponent trying to harm you.
Martial arts are about paying attention to the little details so you can react appropriately to your opponent’s attacks. The more you train, the better you become at problem-solving in stressful situations.
MMA training and weight training should go together
MMA training gives you a better workout than traditional gym workouts, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your weight training routine. A sport-specific lifting program can improve your performance during MMA classes, and lifting weights helps build bigger muscles.
This article, "6 Reasons Why An MMA Training Session Is Better Than A Gym Workout", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.