Choosing an MMA gym is ultra exciting … but can also be daunting, especially if you’re a beginner!
Often, it can seem like there are almost too many options. Some gyms are straight-up fitness oriented, while some specialize more in one area, like jiu jitsu. This is why it’s super important to know your focus before you truly begin your search.
A few questions to help you dial that in:
• Are you looking more for training MMA for fitness/physique reasons, rather than technique?
• Are you looking to train to fight professionally?
• Are you “weaker” in one area, such as ground grappling, and would like more emphasis on this area at your gym?
The tips below will help you choose the right gym for your needs.
What Should You Look For In An MMA Gym?
First things first: know that most MMA gyms will let you take a free class to experience the training before you sign up, so take full advantage of this on your search.
Having a quality instructor is THE most important aspect of a gym.
What is their background? Do they have competition experience? What have they achieved (belts)? While it’s not necessary for an instructor to be a former fighter, it’s best they have a solid understanding of what goes into a competition or a fight.
If they do have experience, what arena is it in? This is where if the instructor was formally a jiu jitsu master, you’d be in good hands if you want to strengthen up this area.
Equally importantly, how do they treat their students? You want an instructor that is both encouraging, yet can push you through stressful times and be honest with you. Take a few classes and see if your personality meshes with the coach before committing.
Teammates and Level of Fighters
For sparring and grappling purposes, you want to make sure that you have teammates that are in roughly the same weight class as you, otherwise sparring will be difficult. Check out the variety of trainees.
In line with this, you also want to make sure you’re in the right mix. For instance: if you’re a professional with 15 fights and your teammates are mostly beginners, you’ve likely hit the wrong mix! After all, practicing grappling may become extremely difficult if you are grappling with a beginner who is unable to challenge you.
Gym culture is uber important for mindset and inspiration, so you want to know the culture you’re walking in to before you commit. Look around and notice: is there a lot of competition (and the tension that comes with it) in the air, or does everyone encourage each other and offer advice? Training as a whole is stressful, and the last thing you want to add is more stress in the form of stressful teammates or the wrong culture.
Obviously, this one is important, and most MMA gyms should have everything you need if they’re a quality gym. However, keep your eyes peeled and try out a free session to make sure it’s fully loaded.
Fit and Fight Ready: The Train-Anywhere Option
If your options are limited in your area when it comes to finding a good MMA gym, don’t worry: there is another, pretty badass option.
One of the foundational reasons I created the Fit and Fight Ready Course is so that anyone, anywhere can have access to high-level MMA training! The course is designed to improve your technique and physique, while learning methods I personally use in my own training.
This is an awesome option if in-person training isn’t feasible or available right now, so check it out: