How to choose an MMA gym that is right for you

The H.I.T. Squad is an example of a gym that has everything you need.
The H.I.T. Squad is an example of a gym that has everything you need.

When the average person is searching for a gym to join there are factors to take into consideration. How big is the facility? What hours are they open? Do they offer classes I will like? And (whether you admit it or not) what are my chances of picking up a girl / guy?

These are all valid questions, but let’s face it, a treadmill is a treadmill and an aerobics class is an aerobics class. Granted, every now then you will hear about an amazing instructor that can make a spin class “fun for all,” but for the most part you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to the standard gym.

However, when your interest is in becoming a mixed martial artist the decision becomes a lot more important.

The launch of the UFC sparked an unprecedented interest in the sport of MMA that has grown exponentially since its beginning in 1993. And now that it is a $275 million business everyone wants a piece wherever they can get it.

This results in every Tom, Dick and Harry with business sense opening a gym where followers can spend money and feel as though they are truly a “fighter.”

So how does someone who has an actual desire to train and learn the art differentiate the “wanna-be’s” from the high quality gyms? Here are a few tips that might help you in your pursuit.

For starters, do your research. Do a Google or Yahoo search on MMA gyms in your area and read reviews on the top results. Also, a good website to check out is They list their recommended top 20 gyms in any area.

Then ask around. Find other people with a true interest in the sport or who have been training for awhile and get their opinions. Keep in mind what is important about training to you, though.

Do you want to focus on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai or boxing? Are you looking for a gym that trains a lot of females? Maybe strength and conditioning is what you want to work on.

Whatever it is, be sure the gym you are considering can offer you the best in that department.

After you’ve narrowed your search, go visit the gyms. Check out the facilities and form your own opinion. Is it clean? Do they have proper and/or adequate amounts of equipment? How many people go there? What classes do they offer and is their schedule conducive to yours?

These are all things to take into consideration and help you make sure you get the best training possible.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, you should evaluate the staff and weigh that against your budget.

Being that Las Vegas is the hub of this multi-million dollar industry, those of us here have a wealth of talent at our disposal. A budding mixed martial artist should take full advantage of this. Investigate the trainers and owners of your potential gym and find out what their background is. These, after all, are going to be the people that make or break your career.

For instance, UFC Hall of Famer, Randy Couture, is obviously an authority in the MMA arena so his gym (Xtreme Couture) is clearly going to be stocked with top trainers. However, the price for those top trainers may be more than you are willing or able to pay.

IMFC, on the other hand, is a fairly new Las Vegas MMA gym that also has great trainers but at a is not as expensive to join. Mark “The Hyena” Beecher whose trainees include UFC fighters such as Forrest Griffin, Martin Kampman, along with Bobby Chiodini who works one-on-one with the current light heavyweight champion boxer Chad Dawson, are just a couple of the skilled instructors this gym can offer you.

Not every gym will have a big name fighter teaching there. In fact, few gyms in the world have a name like Randy Couture attached to it. Hence, the more costly fees. However, most quality gyms will have someone teaching there who at least has some connection with a well known fighter.

If you don’t recognize the names all you have to do is a little research to appreciate the extent of their expertise. And in addition to training ability, the exposure that comes from working with people already active in the business can only boost your career potential. Be sure to keep that in mind when you’re researching the staff.

Finding the gym that meets your needs is a key component to becoming the mixed martial artist you want to be. Because the MMA industry is booming so quickly you now have more options than ever to choose from. Hopefully these tips will help you pick the right one. Good luck!

By: Elizabeth “Lizard” Kennedy

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