So, you have packed on some weight over the years, and fell out of shape, and into bad health habits. You are not happy with it all, and now you are hoping to take off the pounds.
But here lies the dilemma: typical exercise methods such as running, biking and lifting weights, individually or all together, doesn’t hold your interest long enough to help you with your ultimate goal of losing weight and getting healthy.
Well, why not try something a little unconventional like Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training? You know, boxing, karate, grappling — blended with other traditional forms of exercise — to burn calories, and get you in shape without causing ghastly boredom.
The key to losing weight in any type of exercise program is to create a calorie deficit — less in, more out. Simple enough, right?
The more energy you burn, the more calories you will use. Thusly, as long as you are monitoring your nutritional calorie intake, you will end up with a negative calorie balance over the long haul, resulting in your desired weight loss, in most cases.
An MMA session gym session will surely burn a decent amount of calories while teaching you how to defend yourself, an important added bonus to any exercise regimen, to say the least. Factor in the fact that you now know how to better kick ass, and you will be even happier with yourself in the long run.
A typical MMA training interval will provide you with a full body workout, which usually includes warmup, get loose calisthenics, strength training, cardiovascular work and skill set practice that has you pushing and moving another person usually around your size.
This will burn a good measure of calories. In fact, up to 500 calories in a 160-pound person practicing for an hour, according to several MMA sites. That is a positive motivating factor any way you slice it.
Also, the added takeaway is that you will benefit long after the workout is over, as your body keeps burning calories a few hours after the MMA session has concluded.
Plus, the muscle you build, while it weighs more than adipose tissue (fat), is much more efficient in incinerating those annoying calories.
Because of the amount of cardiovascular activity conducted during an MMA session, and the muscle you build, health experts believe you can even burn anywhere from 600 to 2000 calories daily. But that depends on many factors, so just focus on putting the work in and performing the tasks with proper form.
So, which form of martial/fighting arts should you try? That’s a good question. How about as many as possible. There’s no limit if you are up to it. This will prevent you from getting bored, and you could cut down on the repetitive, overuse injuries (shin splints, plantar fasciitis, frozen shoulder, to name a few) you might see in running and lifting weights everyday.
Boxing and Muay Thai Kickboxing
Boxing will give your body more of a great cardio and upper body workout one day while a Muay Thai Kickboxing class the next day will have you using your knees and legs a little more. But it will still provide you with the heart-pumping workout you need in order to burn your fuel reserves, not to mention strengthen your core muscle group to support your lower back and improve stability.
Plus, you will be utilizing the larger muscles (legs, glutes, hips) of your body. The result is burning more calories while you rest your upper body for its next workout.
Cardio Kickboxing is an instructor-led class in which movements of punches, kicks, and knee strikes are set to fast-paced music. This type of training is full of fun and can burn a ton of calories in a single 30- or 60-minute class. As a matter of fact, cardio kickboxing can burn between 350 and 450 calories per hour.
Additionally, it works all the major muscle groups, and can improve flexibility, balance, and coordination, and may also help you build faster reflexes. Plus, break a sweat worthy of the movie Flashdance. I know you saw that great 1980s movie, so go ahead, and be that maniac you so desperately want to be.
The good thing about Cardio Kickboxing is that can be either low impact for beginners or high impact for people who are in better shape, sans any lower body maladies.
Either way, you will get fit and lose weight with consistent participation over a period of time.
As the UFC and other MMA fight leagues are gaining popularity, more and more martial art classes are catering to teaching the ancient art of grappling (wrestling). Many martial artists believe (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) that most fights will eventually end on the ground, with your well being hanging in the balance.
While you will surely learn to better defend yourself, think of all those calories being used up in the process while you are working to a new healthier, slimmer, better version of yourself.
Just HIIT It
If you haven’t heard of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), it might be beneficial to you when it comes to getting in shape and losing weight. HITT is a training technique that involves intense bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by varied periods of low-intensity active rest, or complete rest.
HIIT is used in running training, as a person will engage in an all out sprint for a predetermined amount of time, followed by periods of jogging before sprinting at high speeds again.
Additionally, I use HIIT when jumping rope. Not only am I building my explosiveness, I am also working on my agility while burning hundreds of calories.
Hey, it is used in boxing training for many good reasons.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a form of martial arts that involves an element of a HIIT style of workout — fastest to slowest movements. Plus, you will build functional, real life movements that can be practiced by most anyone, no matter the age or size of the person. And it will benefit your everyday life.
Hey, not to mention, BJJ will improve the discipline and humanity every person should strive to achieve, in my opinion. .
How Often Should I Practice MMA for Weight Loss?
I am glad you asked this important question. Each person is different depending upon their age, personal goals, and current health status.
For instance, if you want to lose more weight, and you are in your early twenties, then you might train four to five days per week, perhaps even more. Feel that out for yourself as you start, and then progress.
But if you are in your mid thirties to mid forties and older, you should tailor your workouts accordingly.
Moreover, If you have pre existing injuries (bad shoulder, cranky back) and other health concerns (high blood pressure and high cholesterol), you might start out with three days per week, and work your way up to more as you get into better condition.
I hope this makes sense to you.
Nutrition for MMA
Since you will be engaging is consistent MMA workouts to lose weight and get in tiptop shape, I recommend clean eating, in which you will consume whole, unprocessed foods and drinks at most meals.
These foods and drinks include (organic, antibiotic-free, if possible) lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsweetened dairy, nuts and seeds, while drinking plenty of water and seltzer, flavored if your prefer, for a little added taste.
Coffee is fine by me, as I either drink it black or add almond milk to it, instead of regular milk because of the seed’s less caloric content and the more health benefits it offers.
But be careful with sweeteners such as Equal and Sweet’N Low; they are artificial, and should be used with the knowledge that they might make increase your appetite, according to several studies.
The foods and drinks you should cut down on, or completely eliminate from your diet, include: meals made with processed sugars and starches (white flour in bread and cookies, and candy), salt/sodium, alcohol, any type of soda, hydrogenated fats and most other saturated fats.
It’s a good idea to include some “good fats” in your diet such as extra virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil, hemp seed oil, and adovado oil. But it is also important to remember that one gram of fat equals nine calories.
Therefore, use the healthier fats in moderation when it comes to weight loss.
I believe it is best to prepare most of your meals at home so you know what is going into your food, for the most part.
You know your body best, and should press forward when everything else starts to fall into place. But please check with your doctor first if you have any health concerns and questions before beginning any kind of exercise and nutrition program for weight loss and better overall health.