Let’s face it: going to the gym is a drag. First, a menial task like getting off the couch escalates into an inner debate. Then, convincing oneself that it’s worth the ten-minute drive leads to trivial obstacles like deciding on a Pandora station. And after summoning enough energy to walk in, you realize that you don’t know where to start.
Working out won’t produce results without a strategy, and hiring a trainer, or taking a fitness class, is an underwhelming experience. Unfortunately, traditional gyms don’t do much to change this perception and mixed martial arts academies are taking advantage.
Individuals looking for physically and mentally demanding exercises are turning to MMA for guidance. Sure, cross fit sheds pounds and boost one’s self-esteem in short periods of time, but MMA classes offer long-term benefits. They build strength, stamina, and confidence while interacting with people looking for a similar rush.
The New Year brings plenty of half-baked resolutions, but changing your workout regimen is one that satisfies beyond simply working out. Here are five reasons for switching over to an MMA gym in 2014.
5) Exciting classes
Distance running and weight lifting is repetitive and not suited for everyone. With dozens of options, including Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, and varying Yoga classes, you will never feel de-motivated in an MMA gym.
“MMA is the fastest growing sport,” said Keith Dewald, dietician and certified trainer at UFC Gym in Costa Mesa, Calif. “I think the way people are today, they are desensitized to media and sports. They need a more explosive kind of training and entertainment.”
Classes are engaging and create interest by watching others practice. The hour-long session are timed so you get an adrenaline rush with feeling burned out.
4) Develops discipline
Mastering a combat sport takes time and patience. While that isn’t everyone’s goal, disciplining oneself is a universal lesson. Classes teach the importance of discipline to the mind and body, which can be applied to everyday activities. Keeping calm under pressure, sticking to schedules, and learning from mistakes make your training sessions better and improve other areas of your life.
3) Teaches children to defend against bullying
MMA offers more than physical benefits. According to Dewald, it builds self-esteem and prepares students to deal with bullies.
“Like myself, I know a lot of these guys here were bullied,” Dewald said. “I think they’re fine starting between 4 and 12 years old because they’re just hitting a bag. It’s cool if they learn how to spar but only with a trainer, because kids get emotional and it’s hard on young minds.”
According to stopbullying.gov, a federal government website in association with the U.S. Department of Education, 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s were perpetrated by students who were bullied. Most gyms don’t let children grapple with each other while still teaching non-violent forms of self-defense.
2) Release pent up aggression
Nothing is more satisfying than unleashing your fury after a bad day at the office. Releasing pent up anger in the controlled environment of a Kickboxing or Boxing class benefits one’s mental health and may avert violence outside of the gym. After an hour of punching and kicking the hell out of a boxing bag, you won’t have the energy to be angry or stressed.
1) Creates new respect for professional fighters
It’s easy to sit in front of a television and second-guess a fighter’s performance, but one can’t truly appreciate their hard work without training in their shoes. MMA classes break down striking and grappling techniques for students to dissect. Above all, you will earn respect for people around you while building respect for yourself.