I find that there is many benefits of training in combat sports instead of going to a regular gym. Not only do you get fit and feel great you get many added benefits.
- It’s not boring – You have a clear focus and you find that the time flies at the same time that you are getting a total body workout, both for the muscles and the heart and lungs. This is opposed to the gym where you are just moving on the spot and clock watching or moving from machine to boring machine focusing on each specific muscle group. I’ve done way too much of this in the past, although in fairness to myself I always used football or other sports as a more effective and enjoyable way to workout due to the focus and distraction elements described above. You are not aware that you are really having a workout because you are in the moment and focusing on competition.
- It trains the mind as well as the body – Instead of just running on the spot or sitting there like a vegetable doing a bicep curl you are instead learning techniques requiring precise coordination. You are also learning strategy when competing against an opponent, you are taking in to account both your own and your opponents strengths and weaknesses in order to be successful. Notably this is particularly important with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I know if I had the chance to realise my perfect place to train it would be a large open mat area with a few bags, not somewhere overloaded with heavy gym machinery clutter.
- Competition – Generally any good martial arts instructor will encourage their students to compete. By doing this you will be given the incentive, motivation and drive to prepare to succeed. It can give you that drive to get fit, keep fit and get fitter and be successful in competition.
- Camaraderie – Most MMA clubs have great camaraderie between members and it’s possible to make friendships whilst training, sparring or competing. When you push both yourself and others to the limit you gain a great deal of respect for team mates and opponents and also yourself.
- It gives you confidence in other areas of your life.
- You learn Self-defense – As an added bonus you’ll learn how to defend yourself out on the street as an added extra to keeping fit and healthy.