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Will MMA Help You Lose Weight?

by
author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.

Treadmills and barbells are tools to help you lose weight, but they lack the excitement of mixed martial arts, in which you use full-body moves to burn calories, build strength and improve range of motion.

In practice, MMA is full-contact. You strike and grapple, using techniques from a variety of martial arts and combat sports. Training enlists your whole body and requires minimal equipment, so it's doable without an expensive gym membership.

MMA training helps you burn more calories, so — as long as you still take in necessary nutrients and avoid overindulging — you'll start to slim down.

Winning at Weight Loss

Although many hormonal and metabolic factors come into play, the process of weight loss can be boiled down to the simple equation of calories in versus calories out. Make calories out, from physical activity, exceed calories in from food and drink,and you lose weight. Any activity that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time will help you burn calories — MMA included.

Read More: MMA Diet Plan and Workout

Complement your MMA workouts with a healthy, portion-controlled diet that contains ample lean protein, veggies and whole grains and you'll be well on your way to a slimmer you.

A Unique Way to Exercise

MMA requires you get up and down from the floor quickly, punch and kick, defend hits and absorb impact. Training for these skills involves basic calisthenics — think dozens of push-ups and pull-ups — heavy lifts, interval cardio and technique drills.

The calisthenics and heavy lifts provide the strength development important to the sport, but also helps you build lean muscle mass. A greater amount of lean muscle means you burn more calories naturally — when you're working out and when you're not. This makes it easier to lose weight. Plus, muscle makes your physique look taut and lean.

MMA fighting requires stamina and quick bursts of power. Interval training, on a treadmill or track, is an effective way to kick up your cardiovascular performance to make you most effective against your opponent in the cage.

This training serves a dual purpose, too. It turns on fat-burning processes in your body so it's easier to lose weight. Research shows that interval training is superior to steady-state exercise when it comes to fat loss. Plus, interval training is efficient, so long sessions aren't required. Thus, you have more time for fighting technique practice and development.

Read More: 14 Moves to Build the Strength and Stamina of an MMA Fighter

Mental Focus

It's easy to lose interest and get bored when your only purpose during a workout is to burn calories. MMA replaces this monotony with moves that constantly challenge your body to move in new ways.

Plus, zoning out in the cage or on the training floor just isn't possible, lest you want to fail at fighting. Your senses are on overdrive and you're so busy analyzing your moves and the counter moves of your opponent, that you almost forget you're exercising.

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