It’s time to get fit like an MMA fighter

Thanks to the unstoppable rise of the UFC, 2017 is the year of MMA fitness.

January 11, 2017

There is such a plethora of ways to get fit today that half the battle is picking which type of workout to commit to.

Long seen as a violent sport unfit for a commercial audience, mixed martial arts has become a billion dollar business heralded for its physical and mental benefits, thanks largely to the rise of the UFC and its now famous fighters like Conor McGregor.

For some professional advice, we went to Dubai-based professional MMA fighter, and a former international karate gold medallist, Rafat Shawe. He told us how and why MMA training should be your new fitness regime this year. 

The MMA way

MMA is a fantastic way of keeping in shape as it offers a full body workout. What people don’t realise is that in addition to the specific martial arts skills you need to learn, the level of cardio fitness you need to do MMA is very high.

The martial arts side of things offers up so many benefits too. MMA workouts incorporate strength, aerobic and metabolic conditioning and you get endurance, strength, agility, power, and so much more from an MMA class. 

Regardless of whether you want to train in MMA to fight or just to get fit, the physical benefits you get from it are huge.  

What type of training is it exactly?

Many of the new fitness workouts today often include key elements taken from martial arts based training because of its effectiveness. MMA can be classed as a type of HIIT training as it maximizes the amount of calories burned by combining a number of different techniques and methods of training. It offers a mix of cardio and resistance training that will help you lose fat and gain muscle.

Is it only a physical workout?

MMA is about more than just physical fitness, it also teaches you great discipline and focus. Mental training is very important – you have to work hard to be in the right frame of mind all the time. Never under-estimate the mental game – many people serious about MMA have struggled with this element. 

But it’s still a violent sport, right?

MMA and UFC are extremely popular right now and I think in 10 years or so we may see MMA take over from boxing as the most popular combat sport. It is becoming mainstream and we're seeing men and women alike enjoy it. Very few seem deterred by the violence!

However, just because you do MMA training does not mean that you have to fight or get violent. Many people do MMA based training but never actually step into a cage or go into combat with someone. It’s a personal choice whether to go down the competitive route and train to fight or just use MMA techniques as a means of keeping fit. 


Rafat Shawe takes classes at James and Alex dance studio, Media City, Dubai and also runs bootcamps and personal training at other locations.