Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting into shape with MMA

I'll admit it. I have absolutely no discipline when it comes to working out. I'm the guy who walks around the gym for 5 minutes, does 10 reps then walks around for another 5 minutes. Then I get on the treadmill and walk at a pace that's barely fast enough to get me to break a sweat for 20 minutes while I watch Fox News. When I have a partner things are a lot better. It's easy to stay motivated when you're competing with someone. Unfortunately, I've never had much luck with finding a workout partner that lasted more than a week or two. Then I had my kid. At that point my workout sessions went from half assed to non existent. Waking up, going to work, coming home then taking off again to go to the gym wasn't sitting well with the wifey.

So for the last couple of years I've been doing basically nothing. I guess that walking my dog burns a few calories. I keep the beer in the basement so that when I want to go grab one I have to take the stairs. I still eat better than most people. That's probably the only thing that saved me from getting ridiculously obese. A couple of weeks ago I tipped the scale at 220. That was sort of the benchmark in my head that I had set when I knew I wasn't going to be able to do much to stay in shape.

Luckily, a friend of mine had just started coaching at a new MMA gym not far from my house. He invited me down to check things out. I went in for my free class and was instantly hooked. From 6-9:30 we get our asses kicked every night Mon - Fri. The schedule works out pretty well for me. So far I've managed to get in about 3-4 nights of training per week. That's plenty. It's brutal, it's humbling and it's great training. What better way to stay in shape than to learn how to fight?

What I like about these classes is that they're done as a group. You're not really competing with anyone but you don't want to fall behind, either. The last thing that you want is to be the loser who can't hang. It really makes me push myself a lot harder than I would if I were working out alone. After just a couple of weeks I can already feel a huge difference. I think that this is something that I'll be sticking with for a while.

It's expensive. Expect to pay $100-$150 a month to train at a quality MMA gym. Most of the "real" MMA gyms will make you sign up and pay for specific classes on a schedule. You train in the classes that you pay for. More classes cost more money. Some gyms let you pay for x nights of classes per week and others book you for a certain class at a certain time on a certain night. Some gyms have a punch card option. You show up to a class and they punch your card. With some gyms, you pay a flat membership fee and you get to go to as many classes as you want. That's how my gym is set up and it's really the only way that I'd want to roll. If you find a really good, smaller MMA gym you can usually work out a deal with the owner. Don't be afraid to try and negotiate.

Training MMA regularly is the best workout that I've ever had for a lot of reasons. First of all I actually like doing it. It's very hard work and I can't imagine how many calories it burns. You actually learn how to defend yourself in the process of staying in shape. There's so much to learn that I don't see it ever getting boring. You also get to punch people in the face. That's fun. Basically, you're always active and you're always learning new things. It's worth the money if you find a good gym.

3 comments:

millenniumfly said...

That's quite an expense to pay per month. Do you really feel it's the expectation other's have that you be there to train or--perhaps as likely--the money you have to spend monthly to go that motivates you? Heck, those dues are double my family Y-membership and I despise paying those! Good luck sticking with it. There's nothing like being in shape... that and being the baddest dude in the room. :)

The Urban Survivalist said...

It's the atmosphere and quality of training that makes it worthwhile and makes me want to keep going back. It's really nothing like the local Y or any other traditional gym. It's more like a team training together. And yes, when you know you can handle yourself it puts a different perspective on life.

Chris said...

I agree. The atmosphere makes or breaks the experience. The self-defense applications are wonderful, but the mental benefits might be even better. After a hard workout, your problems seem a lot smaller and the answers a lot clearer. I had to cut back a bit on training after the kids came along, but I'll always be involved in martial arts.