Getting Started in Combat Sports

By Active Club

There is a code I have found to be true in life. It goes ‘Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.’ If one of your lifestyle choices is constant self-improvement you will find yourself making the hard choice quite often. One of the hard choices that gives the most bang for your buck is to make physical fitness a priority in your life. Of course, in the beginning this can be a daunting venture. The first-time walking into most gyms can be a shock to the senses. Bright florescent lighting, the slight smell of sweat, the loud clanging of metal against metal or the boom as weights are dropped to the floor. Not to mention the fact the place is full of strangers that all seem to know what they are doing. It takes courage and commitment to incorporate the gym into your life. Especially in the beginning. It is a guarantee though, if you make it a habit, it will pay you dividends for life.

To get past the initial intimidation factor just keep a few things in mind. First, no matter how far along someone is on their journey with physical fitness they all started at the same point. The bottom. No one starts out lifting with huge delts or a deadlift that shakes the floor. It’s just not possible. Any great bodybuilder or strongman you see started out with minimal weight on the bar and a physique they wanted to change. Yes, there may be some huge monsters where you are going to train but it took them years to get there. In my experience they are usually the nicest and most helpful guys in the gym so don’t feel intimidated by them. In fact, no one working out there is spending that much time thinking about what you’re doing in the gym. They might see you doing something incorrectly but the next second, they have moved on and are back to their own workout.  Shake the feeling that people are watching or judging you in the gym, it’s not true or worth the mental energy.

I will admit being a beginner isn’t always fun. To look on the bright side you will probably grow and improve faster as a beginner than at many other points in your life. Remember that with all forms of training, it is a marathon not a sprint. You are in this for the long haul. Keep competing against yourself and challenging yourself. If you keep this up and stay positive one day you will be one of the best or strongest in the gym.

To help with feeling self-conscious in the gym and to maximize your time there go with a plan. You don’t want to wander around the gym looking lost. Use the internet and other resources to plan out your workouts and decide what exercises you will be doing. You can even look up the proper way to perform each exercise, so you look like you know what you’re doing.

Another way to make the transition into making the gym a habit is to go with a friend. You will feel more comfortable with the crowd, and you can help motivate each other along the way. Remember though if your partner starts skipping work outs that’s no excuse for you to quit. Ultimately physical fitness in an individual endeavor. Don’t let an outside influence stop you from meeting your true potential.

All this work in the gym will pay off a million times over. If you start lifting before you go to a MMA or boxing gym you will have the advantage of looking intimidating before you even have to throw a punch. Being new at a fight gym is great and you should enjoy the experience as much as you can. First do not think you are the odd man out when you’re new. The average MMA or boxing gym has an extremely high turnover in clientele. It is the norm for new people to be there. Even your average fight gym probably has new people showing up on a weekly basis. It is also completely normal for people to have no clue what they are doing there. Everyone joined that gym for the same reason; to learn. It is great being the new guy at a fight gym because you usually get more attention from the instructor. Take advantage of that and seek out as much knowledge as you can if people are willing to share it. Every tidbit you learn can help you improve in some way. Give it your all, soak up all the knowledge you can and enjoy geeking out on your new discipline.

“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

–          Socrates

So yes, it is easy to see how beginning your journey into physical fitness could be uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it be even more uncomfortable grow old and never have pushed yourself to your greatest potential? It would also be very uncomfortable to find yourself in a conflict wishing too late you had spent your days strengthening your body and sharpening your skills. A beautiful healthy body has been bestowed upon you. To not push it to the limits of its capabilities would be awful. It would be like buying a super car and never driving over 40 mph. At the end of the day the hard choices are the best choices. Push through the discomfort and start training.