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Five MMA training tips for beginners

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If you're new to MMA or any martial art, it can be difficult to know where or how to start. Follow these five beginner tips as you get started so you can feel more confident about your MMA training:

1. Find the right gym

As a beginner, it's very important that you feel comfortable in your training environment and with the coaching staff helping you. Before you join any type of gym or training facility, take some time to do research. Find classes that let you sit in and watch or maybe even participate once or twice. At minimum you should be able to do a "trial month". This important decision becomes the foundation for the rest of your training. Don't be shy about trying several places - it's going to make a HUGE difference in your training!

2. Train with proper equipment

Safety and protection are very important in MMA. Before you begin training you should have a groin guard (if you're a male), a mouth guard, a pair of MMA gloves, and MMA shorts. Make sure that the MMA shorts and gloves you choose fit comfortably in training. Many people also find a rash guard helpful for a number of reasons.

3. Stretch

Many MMA fighters focus solely on strength, but martial arts require both strength and flexibility. A thorough warm-up before your workout and stretching afterwards will greatly improve flexibility and prevent injury. Try not to speed through the process either; stretching should be slow and controlled movements. That "stretch before your workout" thing is pretty old school now since most modern research says it actually INCREASES the likelihood of injuries! But 8th grade PE class habits die hard for some people (and schools)!

4. Take care of your body during off hours

Building strength and improving doesn't just come from hours spent at the gym. It also depends greatly on what you do when you're not in training. When you get enough rest and sleep, your body can feel rejuvenated for your next workout. You will also want to pay attention to what you eat. There are almost as many diets to choose from as there are blogs! But keep it simple - no junk food, reduce salt and sugar, skip the soda and keep the alcohol "moderate". Sticking with "the rule of 5" isn't a bad idea either (don't eat anything with more than 5 ingredients on the label).

5. Know your ability and limitations

People training in MMA often like to push through the pain and tiredness, but if it gets to the point where you're learning bad habits or getting injured, it's better to take a break. Proper form is important in any skill and when the body is tired, it is easy to let these techniques slip and become hurt. Not to mention you're just going to reinforce BAD habits at that point.

In the end: find a good school, eat well, sleep well, wear the right equipment and stop when you're going too far.

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