In the last 10 years, MMA has exploded in popularity to become one of the world’s highest-regarded sports. With nearly half a billion people interested in its development, it is now a common theme to see regular, everyday people taking up this practice.
And while it is still mostly male-dominated, that hasn’t stopped some seriously deadly femme fatales from gaining prominence: Meisha Tate, Ronda Rousey, and Mackenzie Dern, among others. Additionally, it would be greatly remiss to leave out Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes. Cris has held the belt in all four of the prominent organizations (Strikeforce, UFC, Bellator, and Invicta) and is arguably the G.O.A.T. And Amanda is the second fighter vying for the G.O.A.T distinction, one who had the honour of sending Ronda Rousey into retirement.
With this being said, as a woman training MMA, you may be wondering what you can do to enhance your skills and step it up to reach the next level. In this article, we will go over 8 tips you can get the most out of your training.
1. SET CLEAR GOALS
Saying that you want to “get better at MMA” is great, but what exactly does that mean? Do you want to improve your rear-naked choke? Are you trying to learn how to do a proper armbar? Maybe you want to work on your takedown game? What specifically do you want to get better at with your MMA training?
Vagueness will never command success. Clarity is where your power comes from.
When you’re clear about what technique you’re trying to improve, you can then drill those specific moves until you become competent and comfortable executing them.
So take an inventory of your current abilities and ask yourself what you’d like to improve. Set some goals and ask your instructors for advice and feedback regarding the techniques you’re practicing. This will easily take your training to the next level and will also allow you to get better quicker.
2. RESOLVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH
Setting goals is great, and it’s a necessary first step. However, you can set goals and plan day and night, but it’s absolutely meaningless if you don’t commit yourself by putting your ideas into action.
You must resolve to stick to your plan. And the reason commitment is so important is because it’s not going to be a cakewalk. MMA training — despite being fun and enjoyable — can also be exhausting and grueling at times: You will have days when you’re tired, when your body is sore, when personal problems protrude, etc.
Life has interesting ways of testing our resolve the moment we commit ourselves. So it’s crucial to know beforehand why this is so important to you. Otherwise, hindrances and distractions become valid excuses to not show up to class.
3. SCHEDULE IT
Have a set schedule that you go to the gym every week. Even if you only have 2 or 3 days a week available. Put it on your calendar and commit to those 2 or 3 days.
If you’re coming and going to your gym randomly and periodically, but not really dedicating a specific amount of time each week to train — your improvements will be minimal, if you even make any at all.
MMA is a challenging and complicated sport that requires consistency and dedication. Don’t let this scare you though — unless you plan on becoming a top-tier competitor — you won’t need to sacrifice a normal life to improve.
However, if you want to take your MMA training to the next level, then a set schedule that you can commit to is non-negotiable.
On the opposite end of that spectrum, ensure you give yourself enough time to rest and recover from training. Particularly if you’ve had an arduous week where training was a little more strenuous than usual — allow for a few days of rest before stepping on the mats again.
Having sores, aches, muscle tears, etc, in your body is a good thing, IF, you give it time to recuperate because by doing so, your muscles will come back stronger and more robust.
5. GET AMPLE AMOUNTS OF SLEEP
Your body needs the right amount of sleep each night regardless of what you’re doing. However, this principle becomes amplified when you throw MMA training into the mix. The importance of sleep cannot be underestimated.
This is how your body repairs and restores itself after brutal training sessions. By getting the right amount of sleep every night, you are putting yourself in the best position possible to take your MMA training to the next level and continue making progress. Furthermore, an amazing side effect of MMA training (and physical activity in general) is improved sleep and decreased insomnia.
6. DIET AND NUTRITION
As an athlete (or a human being for that matter), food is the main component that is going to fuel your workouts. It gives you the strength, energy, and stamina to give it your all when you’re in the gym.
And of course, giving a solid training effort every time is what’s going to get you to the next level. Foods like leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine lettuce), eggs, whole grain bread, good quality protein, etc, are what you need to fuel your system with. And these are just a few of the many other foods you should consider adding to your diet to bolster your training.
Furthermore, in addition to providing you with energy for your training sessions, these foods will also make you a happier and healthier person overall — two birds with one stone.
7. MYOFASCIAL RELEASE
Myofascial release utilizes certain tools like foam rollers, curvy-shaped sticks, balls, and even activities like massages to treat muscle stiffness, injury, and other conditions that can take place from training. They can also improve blood flow and circulation, and these benefits coupled with the ones listed above will make for better training sessions and quicker improvements over time. This one cannot be stressed enough, TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY!!!!
8. COLD THERAPY
Cold therapy is a great way to ease muscle pain and help speed up recovery if you pull a limb, hurt a joint, or strain any other body part during training. It could come in the form of a cold shower (there are amazing health benefits to adding, as little as 30 seconds of, cold to the end of your shower such as improved blood circulation, increased metabolism, and a potential antidepressant effect. Caution should, however, be exercised if one has a history of heart disease as the shock of the water could exacerbate those medical issues), an ice bath, or simply just an ice pack placed on the injured area for 20 to 30 minutes.