Whether you’re an avid fan of martial arts or not, you’ve probably heard of MMA.
And while it may seem like a sport that is only good for teaching people how to fight one another, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
In truth, MMA is incredibly beneficial even if you don’t aspire to compete. To illustrate that, we’ve put together a list of nine amazing benefits of MMA training.
But before we get to the benefits of MMA:
What is MMA?
MMA stands for mixed martial arts and, as its name suggests, is a sport where athletes combine elements of different fighting disciplines. Most notably, mixed martial artists learn various striking and grappling techniques.
In general, martial arts in MMA include Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Through competitions like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) seem chaotic, there are clear and strict guidelines the athletes must adhere to. According to some experts, MMA is safer than boxing.
9 Amazing Benefits of MMA Training
Now, let’s go over the nine most prominent benefits of MMA training:
1. Weight Loss
While many experts have their unique take on weight loss and how to best go about it, we need to cover one fundamental rule: creating and sustaining an energy deficit.
To be in this energy deficit, we need to consume fewer calories than we burn. There are two primary ways to achieve this effect: increase our caloric expenditure through physical activity and decrease our caloric intake.
Nutrition will always play a role in weight loss, but MMA training is fantastic because it offers a significant caloric burn. It’s not uncommon for fighters to burn upwards of 500 to 600 calories in a single training session. This helps with your overall caloric burn and makes it incredibly simple to achieve a caloric deficit and lose weight.
2. A Deep Belief In Yourself
Mixed martial arts are a fantastic way to strengthen your resolve. Though they might seem one dimensional, martial arts push you to your limits and deliver unique benefits.
As a result, you become stronger, and your belief in yourself grows. More importantly, MMA is great because it helps you internalize one simple fact of life:
We reap what we sow. The results you get to achieve from your training are thanks to your discipline and efforts. You get to enjoy them and know that you can make it when you put your mind to something.
3. More Strength and Better Conditioning
Beyond the mental preparation, skills, and ability to read an opponent, martial arts heavily rely on your physical skills and conditioning.
Even if you’re skilled and able to outmaneuver opponents, you might be severely limited by a lack of physical strength. You might also be a fantastic fighter, but if you lack the endurance to go the distance, you’re doomed to lose.
The good news is that you get to develop these characteristics because of the nature of MMA training. Practising simple techniques, sparring with friends, and doing other MMA-specific tasks are often enough to help you develop a base of strength and conditioning.
Besides that, MMA training also has you do strength and endurance-specific training to hone these characteristics. For example, the more you practice grappling, the stronger and more endurant you become. The more you practice striking, the more you develop your power, conditioning, and reflexes.
4. Improved Aerobic and Anaerobic Fitness
Because MMA is such a complex sport, trainees have to develop multiple characteristics at the same time. Specifically, to become a proficient MMA athlete, you need endurance, power, strength, agility, and wit.
You have to work on each characteristic and then learn how to use them together to outmaneuver and defeat your opponents.
On the outside, this offers an obvious benefit: you’re a better fighter. But at a deep and fundamental level, this type of intricate training helps you develop your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. In other words, your body becomes better at producing energy with and without oxygen. As a result, you’re a better athlete, you can handle everyday tasks much more efficiently, and you get to live longer.
5. Mental Strength and Resilience
Sure, practicing martial arts might not seem like the best way to build mental toughness and resilience, but consider this:
Pushing your body to its limits is hard work. While it might seem like professional fighters have mental toughness, preparing yourself physically and mentally takes a great deal of discipline and dedication.
You will have to do many workouts throughout the training process you don’t feel like showing up for and push beyond the perceived fatigue or exhaustion. Little by little, these small efforts add up to significant resilience. You internalize that your perceived limitations are in your head and that you’re capable of doing a lot more.
As a whole, this helps you become mentally tougher and more resilient. You get better at handling problems and hard times, both in the gym and out in the real world.
6. An Improved Ability to Solve Problems Under Pressure
At its core, MMA is about achieving an outcome. From a bird’s eye view, it looks like this:
The objective is to outperform and defeat your opponent, who is likely just as prepared to do the same. When you look at things more deeply, you see that this overarching objective is made up of many small problems:
- Understand their style of fighting
- Find out what strategy they are using against you
- See a pattern in their attacks
- Learn what techniques they are using and find creative ways to counter
And much more. You also need to recognize each small problem on the go and solve it as quickly as possible. Little by little, this shapes you into an effective problem-solver who sees problems quickly and devises plans to solve them on the go.
7. Improved Confidence
We don’t condone the use of specialized MMA training to go out there and look for trouble, especially with people who don’t possess your skills.
But, it’s difficult to deny that dedicated MMA training brings about incredible confidence in your fighting skills. Through the difficulties, long training sessions, defeats, failures, and successes, you expand your perspective and develop a deep trust in yourself and your abilities.
You internalize that you’re capable of a lot if you put your mind to it, and that can be incredibly beneficial in many areas of life.
8. Improved Mental Health And Lower Stress Levels
Improved mental health is one of the most important benefits of MMA.
MMA training (and exercise, as a whole) is a fantastic way to improve your mental health and protect yourself from anxiety, depression, and more.
According to most research, physically-active individuals tend to be much happier, more fulfilled, and less likely to suffer from depression than their sedentary counterparts.
MMA training is terrific because it pushes you hard, leads to a massive release of endorphins, and helps you melt the day’s stress away.
By the end of each workout, you feel happy, fulfilled, and all of your day’s troubles feel like distant memories.
9. MMA Vacation
Who doesn’t love to go on holiday? So why not turn your next holiday into an MMA training camp.
The great thing about MMA holidays is that you get to train martial arts whilst immersing yourself in different cultures.
An increasing number of martial arts gyms around the world are offering training camps for MMA fighters. Popular MMA holiday destinations include Thailand, California and Brazil.
Check out our article on the 5 best MMA holidays for your next trip.
As you can see, the benefits of MMA are far greater than most people imagine. Sure, having superior self-defence skills is important, but the sport dives much deeper.
It shapes up our mental health, makes us more confident, melts our stress, wards off depression, and makes us great at solving problems, especially in high-pressure situations.
Mixed martial arts are also fantastic for boosting your strength, power, endurance, and resilience. Thanks to the fantastic caloric burn, you also get to burn fat more effectively without following bland diets or dull exercise plans.
In essence, MMA is an all-in-one activity that brings physical, emotional, mental, and social benefits.
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