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The MMA Workout: 5 Reasons You NEED To Start Exercising Like `n Ultimate Fighting Champion

Pascale Day
by Pascale Day Published on 15 June 2016

So you've taken out a gym membership with oh-so good intentions, but before the initial three month contract is even up you're just about ready to quit. Screw the summer bod - the gym is just too damn dull, amirite? But consider this: there is a way you can get fit and have fun. Ladies, let us introduce you to the MMA workout. We spoke to Lanchana Green and Kate Jackson, stars of UFC series The Ultimate Fighter, about why we should totally start training in mixed martial arts.

You learn different disciplines

Mixed martial arts is just that: mixed. A typical MMA workout combines a whole range of combat sports including Muay Thai, boxing, judo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Lanchana says that's what she loves about the sport: "You can push yourself and just focus on the disciplines that involve contact like judo or wrestling, or you an choose some of the drills that are non-contact based". So whether you've got a competitive side or not, there's something in there for everyone. Plus, Kate says that the amount of different combat styles means you are constantly learning new skills and techniques every time you train, making each session incredibly engaging in its own way.

It's a great core body workout

Let's be honest about what we're looking for in a workout, ladies: we want something interesting that's gonna tone us the hell up. Well, the MMA workout ticks all those boxes: "If you are a beginner and looking to start practicing MMA for the first time, then it's a great way to keep fit," enthuses Kate. "Training sessions provide a full body workout," says Lanchana, "MMA workouts improve core body strength and flexibility and suit those looking to tone their arms and figure." So, whilst each individual martial art might focus on a specific part of your body, the 'mixed' part of it brings all of those together to tone your whole body - Lanchana says that whilst boxing tends to focus on upper body strength, the wrestling and jiu-jitsu will work out your lower half.

It isn't as violent as you think!

When you think of MMA, what comes to mind? Super muscley guys tackling each other to the ground, right? And while that wonderful image might be the perfect thing to pop into your head at some points in your day, it's hardly the one you want when you're planning on trying it out yourself. But we come as bearers of great news: Lanchana says the sport isn't as violent as we're all expecting it to be. "That isn't what MMA is about, especially if you're taking it up from a fitness perspective." Yes, the workout often contains contact elements such as sparring, but Lanchana assures us that if you're not feeling confident with that kind of thing, you can always leave that out of your workout until you're feeling a bit more confident with the techniques. MMA is a discipline, but it doesn't need to be a strict one.

It's way more interesting than running on a treadmill

The number one reason that we all skip the gym? Because it's boooooring. It's boring running for an hour. It's boring peddling on a stationary bike and staring at a blank wall. It's oh-so dull working hard on the cross trainer when your only view is the back of someone's head who's working out in front of you. What you need is some variety. A bit of spice to your vanilla sweat sesh. Which is exactly what Kate says you'll get with an MMA workout: "[It's] a really interesting sport. It's not just going to the gym and jumping on a treadmill doing a 30 minute workout. It's engaging and you learn new skills and techniques every day that you train." A typical session can be made up of all kinds of drills, such as shoots, sprawls and takedowns, which Lanchana says helps to keep each workout varied and interesting - so no more nodding off on the exercise bike for you.

It's as intense as you want it to be

Just because others are whacking up the power, doesn't mean you have to as well! See, that's another thing the 'mixed' in MMA stands for: intensity. Different levels of intensity means that you only push yourself as far as you are comfortable with. It's not about wrestling someone to the floor so powerfully that you burst a blood vessel, it's about pushing yourself to your own personal limit. Kate says that these varying levels of intensity means that there's something for everybody: "whether it's building muscle mass [or] helping you maintain a good level of cardiovascular fitness, [MMA] appeals to a wide range of people... You can choose to push yourself hard and focus on the disciplines that involve contact... or you can choose some of the drills that are non-contact based - you pick the level of intensity you wish to train at." That's music to our ears, ladies!

Catch The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia at 3am BST on Thursdays on BT Sport (repeated at 10pm later that same day).

Would you be up for starting an MMA workout? Let us know! @sofeminineUK

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by Pascale Day