Ladies, congratulations on your decision to take an interest in your health and join an MMA gym! Mixed martial arts can severely change the way women feel about themselves, and how they allow others to treat them. It’s a sport about respect, strength, and courage- three things all women should be well-versed in. There appears to be but only a few ladies that feel comfortable waltzing into a male-dominated facility and getting to work. To curb this stigma, here are a few tips to provide some clarity and make your gym experience less stressful:

  • The guys there are happy you’re there, so don’t feel out of place. You will find a lot less “meatheads” at an MMA gym then at any local fitness club. MMA regulars are usually guys that are at the top of their health game, training for a fight, or respectful about martial arts as a practice and aren’t about to use their one hour on the free mats to harass you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s on the heavy bags, or in a class setting- don’t be shy. You’re paying to get in shape, but to also learn the sport so don’t hesitate to inquire for a quick recap of instructions if you need them. You’ll find a lot of other members male and female will be willing to give you a minute or two of their time to show you a submission, or how to throw a killer hook.
  • Get in a zone! Go into your gym time with a goal and a plan. Wear headphones if you’re not in a class setting, and block everything and everyone else out. If you need to work on submissions, ask the employees in the gym or other members if they would mind practicing with you. Very seldom will someone not happily join you as MMA lovers are very encouraging to others that are just learning.
  • Don’t put on a show if you don’t want attention. Ladies, you know who you are- the girl that comes to the gym with a full coat of makeup on and skimpy gym clothes you know good and well are not made for MMA. If you’re doing it for attention, you’ll certainly get it, but if not then rocking a t-shirt and shorts doesn’t scream “wohoo look at me I’m a girl in a gym”.
  • Be fully aware of your surroundings- you can’t expect to learn to box, hip escape, and work from inside a clinch without getting messy. If you attend gym trainings with the notion that you cannot break a nail, this sport is not for you my dear. You will be moving your body in ways you’re not accustomed to as you’re quintessentially learning the art of self-defense. You won’t be going to work with a black eye, but you will be expected to train and give it all you have.
  • Go big or go home- Don’t ever worry that you’ll hurt your trainer when hitting pads or a bag, that’s the whole point of you being there. Don’t be afraid of hurting someone, (unless you’re trying to!) as most sparring sessions are meant to be light versions of MMA technique. If you don’t physically go through with the moves, you’ll never truly adapt to the skill set one can develop through MMA. Hit those pads like you’re really defending your own life, you’ll not only get better each time, but your body will quickly reward you by looking fierce from all the training!
  • Have a good attitude! Going into this sport is an awesome feeling, be proud of what you’re about to embark on and enjoy the journey. Make friends there if you like, and always be open to learning and observant of others that have mastered MMA as it’s a sport that you can always learn something new from every day.