Which is Better: Going to the Gym or Training MMA?

It’s always time to get in the best shape of your life, but there are so many ways to get a good workout that it can be challenging to decide what will work best for you. If you’ve thought about MMA, you’ve probably wondered about the differences between mixed martial arts training and gyms. 

Which is Better: Going to the Gym or Training MMA?

Gym training is better than MMA if you want to look good, build strength using equipment, and need a convenient option for working out. Training MMA is suitable for people looking for a goal-oriented, social environment that teaches practical skills, but MMA gyms can be more difficult to come by.

Read on for a comparison of the pros and cons of joining a gym and taking up MMA training.

Pros and Cons of Joining a Gym

When people want to get in shape, they join a gym. Gyms have a wide array of equipment, and sometimes, they have trainers, pools, and workout classes to get you pumped about gaining muscle tone.

However, most gyms cater to people who want to look good- why else do you think there are so many mirrors and scales at a gym? 

The pros of joining a gym include access to plenty of machines, equipment, and personal trainers, as well as convenient opening times. The cons of joining a gym include the additional membership costs, the focus on aesthetics, and how easy it can be to lose motivation. 

Pros of Joining a Gym

  1. You’ve Access to Plenty of Machines and Equipment

If you want to try your hand at some new workout techniques like rowing, spinning, running, lifting weights, climbing stairs, or swimming laps, the gym is the place to go. 

With hundreds of different machines, weightlifting gear, and activities to do, there is always something new to learn at the gym. 

  1. You’ve Access to Personal Trainers

Most gyms offer personal training sessions and consultations, and they almost always have a professional personal trainer on hand. 

Asking for help from a personal trainer is an excellent idea, whether you hope to perfect your workout techniques or want to learn a new routine that targets specific areas of your body. 

  1. Gyms Have Convenient Opening Times

Many people join a gym because they know that they can go whenever they want. Most gyms are open late at night and early in the morning, making it easy for you to find a workout time that fits your schedule.

So, if you have a hectic schedule and don’t have time to join an MMA class, going to the gym might be your best bet. 

Cons of Joining a Gym

  1. There Are Additional Membership Costs

Although standard gyms may have plenty of equipment, workout classes, and personal trainers, you might have to pay additional fees to use them. 

When you join a gym, make sure you ask about what is included in your membership package. More often than not, you will have to pay steep add-on fees for personal trainers, pool access, and classes. 

  1. Gyms Focus on Aesthetics

Most people who go to the gym want to look fit. If you wish to improve your strength, tone your muscles, or lose the love handles, gyms are the way to go. 

However, many people feel uncomfortable going to the gym with such a superficial environment or feel intimidated by other members.

  1. It’s Easy to Lose Motivation

If you have ever used a treadmill or mechanical bike, you know that working out can sometimes feel pointless. 

Whether you are lifting weights or doing cardio, the gym is just there to help you get stronger. You will often only use the skills you perfect during your workouts when you return to the gym. 

There isn’t anyone to hold you accountable at the gym, so you will have to discipline yourself to keep coming back and make the most out of your workout. It’s easy to put off your exercise when you have a gym membership, which often leads to unused benefits. 

Pros and Cons of Training MMA

MMA teaches you functional skills while you get stronger. You may not look as muscular and ripped right away if you pick MMA, but you will learn defensive tactics and work with other people and trainers while getting a great workout. 

The pros of training MMA include hands-on trainers and classes, a lively social environment, and how the discipline teaches functional skills. The cons of training MMA can include the potential to get injured, less use of equipment, and the lack of available gyms or classes. 

Pros of Training MMA 

  1. MMA Offers Hands-On Trainers and Classes

MMA teachers and trainers are dedicated to their art, and they want to help you learn from them. Unlike gyms, MMA classes are led by a trainer who will work with and develop a relationship with you. 

Trainers are usually at the gym all day to help you and lead you through fun, exciting workouts, and they want to see you succeed. 

  1. It’s a Lively Social Environment

In MMA, you can’t spar alone. That means that you will meet new people, make friends, and work with other people and trainers at the MMA gym. 

It’s hard to lose motivation when you have a support group and a trainer to help you. Nothing is better than getting the encouragement you need to get in shape and perfect a new technique. 

  1. MMA Teaches Functional Skills

If you often get bored by aimlessly running on a treadmill, lifting cold pointless weights, or biking in a dark room, try MMA. 

MMA gives you a full-body workout and gets your adrenaline pumping. Still, it also teaches you practical skills, improves your balance, and educates you on fighting styles from around the world.

You won’t even notice how hard your body is working while you are on the floor since you will always work towards a clear and practical goal. 

Cons of Training MMA

  1. MMA Training Can Cause Potential Injuries

MMA is a fighting sport, so you should expect to take some punches in class. Usually, unless you are training to be a professional fighter, you won’t get hurt much, but there is a chance that someone will make a mistake and hit a little too hard. 

Luckily, though, you will be using protective gear like cups, mouthguards, and helmets just in case, but if you don’t feel like risking it, you may want to opt for an average gym. 

  1. It Uses Less Equipment

In MMA, you will use your body’s weight to work out, so you won’t use treadmills or weights as much as at a standard gym. Most MMA gyms have weights, punching bags, and some other basic equipment, but for the most part, you shouldn’t expect to use the gear too much. 

So, if you are partial to using workout machines like ellipticals, stair climbers, and stationary bikes, MMA might not be best for you. 

  1. It Sometimes Lacks Available Gyms or Classes

In some areas, you might not be able to find an MMA gym. They are far less common than standard gyms, so you may have to commute to get to the nearest martial arts studio. Having to drive long distances might not fit into your schedule, which could make or break the experience for you. 

Are UFC Gyms Worth It?

UFC gyms are ideal for beginner MMA fighters. Most of their classes are small, and they usually offer many different types of group classes, including boxing, BJJ, MMA, and fitness, every week.

They also provide plenty of equipment for bodybuilding, making them different from most private MMA studios. 

UFC gyms are worth it if you’re interested in learning martial arts. They will give you everything you need to decide what style of fighting is best for you and provide you with an engaging workout environment. 

Final Thoughts

Gyms offer more variety and an aesthetic-based approach to exercise, MMA training teaches you new, practical self-defense skills in a community-based gym.

However, because gyms are more readily available, in terms of locations and opening times, than MMA facilities, they’re probably a more desirable option if you have a busy schedule. 

Interested in MMA? Check Out My Recommendations

Looking For Gear To Use When You Train?
If you are interested in training MMA, here is some of the gear I recommend:
Best Mouth Guard
Best MMA Gloves
Best Groin Protection
Best Rashguard
Want To Learn To Fight, But Don’t Want To Go In Person?
CoachTube has online training videos for Wrestling, Boxing, MMA and more. And best part is you can do it all from your home allowing you to go at your own pace. Check them out here.
Interested In Training Other MMA Fighters?
Click here to check out the MMA Conditioning Association and see what you need to become an MMA conditioning coach and begin training fighters.


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