Traditional activities to keep fit often seem to come with a problem: running and swimming are described by some as uninteresting; racket sports are viewed as elitist; fitness gyms are frequently unaffordable; and just about any activity that takes place in the great outdoors is hampered by the country’s unpredictable weather! An alternative – MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) – is the world’s fastest growing sport and is a combination of several disciplines including judo, Thai boxing, Brazilian Jiu jitsu and boxing. While it may be a relatively new sport that has grown in popularity with the advent of the internet, MMA’s roots can be followed far back in history to the Ancient Olympics and a similar discipline, Pankration – although its infamous danger made it considerably more risky than its modern equivalent!
MMA classes are an ideal way to get into shape and to improve overall fitness. While it involves elements of martial arts, MMA is best viewed as a full workout for the whole body that will push it to new heights, making the sport quite distinct from popular activities such as running and swimming.
A LondonFightFactory MMA class will ensure that every part of the body is given a full workout, unlike other sports that often engage only one set of muscles. Running, for example, is great for cardiac health and toning the legs, but leaves the upper body largely untouched, while swimming tends to build muscle strength in the shoulders and arms. Often, people hoping to get fit express the desire to find an activity that tones the whole body, rather than just one part of it.
MMA, by contrast, is designed not to overlook any part of the body and, by incorporating a range of movements and actions, ensures that a full body workout is achieved. Punching helps to build muscle in the arms and shoulders; kicking strengthens the legs; and grappling and wrestling ensures core muscle strength is in prime condition.
Burns calories rapidly
When it comes to getting fit, calorie-burning is often a non-negotiable, but the rate can be slow in activities such as running or cycling and require dedication to long periods of repetitive exercise. The key to a faster burn rate is an intense session that involves the use of different muscle groups and multiple types of movements, which makes MMA the ideal way to reduce your calorie count quickly.
For example, a 45-minute striking class could dispose of nearly 600 calories, while a similar number would be burned up in a grappling class of the same duration. Because the core muscles are in use throughout the class, the effect on the calorie burn rate is much more marked and will also help to eliminate fat from those difficult-to-shift areas, such as around the waist and on the thighs.
Not just cardio
One of the key advantages MMA classes have over other forms of fitness training is that they fuse the different forms of exercise, so the workout is more effective in developing all-round fitness.
Ordinarily, exercise activities fall into one of three categories: cardio, which strengthens the heart and lungs by pumping blood around the body rapidly and increasing oxygen intake; anaerobic conditioning, which improves performance in short bursts, particularly high intensity training; and metabolic conditioning, which enables muscles to use energy efficiently during short, intense exercises.
MMA classes – which build strength, improve agility and coordination and increase stamina – incorporate all three types of exercise, unlike most other gym-based routines. This means Mixed Martial Arts is far more effective as a means of getting fit and is likely to result improved outcomes more quickly.
Fitness you can engage with
Visit a gym after Christmas and you’ll more than likely be greeted by a swell of fitness-hungry people who have made ambitious plans to get into shape, driven by their New Year resolutions – yet only a month or two later, the numbers will have plummeted. Often this is after gym monotony sets in; to make regular visits to a gym work, commitment and resilience is needed.
MMA classes are designed to be enjoyable and it’s easy to underestimate the importance of having fun while exercising. An activity that becomes monotonous is ineffective as a means of improving fitness because the athlete disengages. MMA involves a wide repertoire of actions, positions and movements, so you must always think ahead about the next step, so the mind is constantly active and engaged. Instructors in classes will set challenges to achieve as well as offering professional advice about aspects you need to improve, so there’s always far more to an MMA session than simply ‘keeping fit’.
A positive mindset for rapid change
A growth mindset is a key element of improving fitness and it is easy to be disheartened if you feel that little progress towards your goals is being made. But because MMA is not just about building body strength and losing weight, it’s more likely that you’ll feel you are achieving right from the start – and in terms of building motivation to keep going, there’s little better than a sense of satisfaction.
Drills in MMA classes – a key element of training that develops key skills and instills the discipline you would expect from martial arts – become easier as you practice. The close working relationship you’ll build with others that is a fundamental part of classes means you’ll receive congratulatory feedback as you achieve small steps – a more powerful punch or a firmer hold, for example. Furthermore, knowing that you’re gaining valuable self-defense skills could boost your confidence, not only in the classes but in other parts of your life.
MMA is the ultimate all-round fitness activity that also develops and hones a repertoire of skills: self-defense, strength, confidence, and positivity. Designed to target every part of the body and to draw upon all three fitness pathways, MMA is a highly effective, enjoyable and engaging way to improve your health and fitness. Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your defense skills or simply build your muscle strength, Mixed Martial Arts is arguably one of the most effective and enjoyable physical activities you can participate in.