Top Excuses for Not Joining a MMA Gym

by Danielle Steffenhagen

More often than not, introducing the idea of joining a mixed martial arts gym to someone automatically instills terror.

Even just in the act of inviting someone to a mixed martial arts class results in some sort of excuse. Making excuses, otherwise known rationalization, is a defense mechanism that justifies and explains controversial behaviors and feelings.

Let’s look at some of the most common “rationalizations” people have for not joining an MMA gym and why they are unacceptable:

1) I don’t like to fight

Certainly, some people go to an MMA gym to train and spar. However, not every class is going to focus on fighters. In fact, many classes at MMA gyms will focus on the sport as an exercise.

If you want to learn but you don’t want to spar, then don’t spar. Coincidentally, you may even find yourself becoming more comfortable with the idea of sparring the longer you exercise at an MMA gym.

Also, many MMA gyms have some sort of conditioning class that utilizes rigorous training techniques. MMA gyms aren’t all about fighting; they’re about getting in shape.

MMA gym exercise12) I’m too small

You’re never too small. I’m one of the smallest people at my MMA gym, and I make it work. When you train with people bigger than you, you learn how to use your height and weight to your advantage.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, for example, is the perfect discipline for smaller people. It’s known as one of the best forms of self-defense for women because it teaches you to use an opponent’s weight as leverage against them. You will never be excluded from working out because you’re too small.

3) I’m too old

You’re not too old. Different tasks may be more difficult as you age, but exercising is beneficial to your health and can help you live longer. Even if you take it slow, some exercise is better than none at all.

Working on technique can, in itself, be a great exercise, and it’s not something that requires contact. Don’t limit yourself because of your age—you can do great things at any age.

4) I don’t have time

Getting a busy schedule just right can be tough. But, time can’t be your excuse forever. If the class you wanted to go to no longer fits into your schedule, find another class to attend.

It’s easy to say you can’t fit something into your day, but if you really want to exercise, you’ll find a way to do it. If you can’t make middle of the day classes, look for gyms that open early in the day or close later in the evening.

MMA gym exercise25) I hate going alone

Not knowing anyone is one of the hardest things about starting at a new gym. This only lasts for a short while. The more you go, the more friends you’ll make.

MMA gyms are specialized gyms, which means you’ll see a lot of the same people all the time. These people will become your gym family—you have a common goal and a common interest, and if you make attendance a habit, you won’t be alone for long.

6) I’m scared that people will judge me

Often times, inviting a friend to kickboxing class results in the “I’m scared that people will judge me” excuse.

People are often worried because they’ve never done something like kickboxing and that they’ll automatically be judged. This isn’t the case. Everyone is a beginner at some point, and if you always worry about being judged for being new, you’ll never get started.

7) It doesn’t fit with my kids’ schedules

You may think you can’t go to training because you don’t have anywhere to leave your kids, or their school schedules don’t fit in with class, but there are a few ways around this.

You’d be surprised with what you can do—many parents will bring their kids with them. The people at your mixed martial arts gym are probably going to become family, and will be OK with you bringing your children in.

Plus, there are several gyms that have classes specifically for the little ones. Even if you don’t want to bring your kids in, you can probably find early morning or evening class times that fit in with your schedule.

(Danielle Steffenhagen has been a student of mixed martial arts for the better half of a decade and is the editor for Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA, which is taught by Professor Wil Horneff.)

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