Everyone associated with martial arts or in fact any physical activity must have been appraised of on more than one occasion to “push your limits”. As a matter of fact I am sure all of us have an inner desire to excel and for that we want to push ourselves to the limit. But are you pushing yourself to the extent of your breaking point? That is the question that one needs to ask oneself. For those of us involved in body building or weight training, they must have an idea that muscle doesn’t grow when you are exercising, but rather it is the rest phase in which new fibers sprout or the existing ones hypertrophy or grow larger. This is as simple as an action reaction theory. You apply weight or stretch the muscle fibers and as a reaction they outgrow to provide for the additional stretch that is applied on them. Nothing more, nothing less –just plain physics.
Ok, as now as you have a rough idea of where we are headed with this we need to be sure on what we call as fatigue. MMA puts a lot of stress on the body and is way more than the average workout that we would be doing in any gym. MMA or any martial arts for that matter, be it Karate, Taekwondo , Kick boxing or Judo, involves repetition of fast paced moves executed with speed, accuracy and power. The net result is a coordinated body with the downside of increased fatigue or stress over the different ligaments, muscles, tendons. The brief period of soreness following a session is the result of acid building up in the muscles. The signs of fatigue maybe restlessness, less desire to work out or a depressed persona. In case any of this comes up, just take a break. Formulate your training period along with your instructor based on the defined rest periods in between. Undertaking warm up and cool downs cannot be emphasized more.
Before you begin your training, understand that MMA requires explosive bursts of energy. For the average guy, having a strict 9-5 routine with no prior fitness regimen this will take some time to develop. Work on your cardio first, i.e. running and jogging and “get into shape”. You won’t become the lean, mean, fighting machine overnight. Just have a look at the best names of our industry viz MMA, these guys spent years training and now you see the end product of years of struggle. Go one step at a time.
Get into shape, start by having a regular fitness regimen, cross fit, strength training, whatever you feel like. Ask your instructor to take you through the paces. In case you are above 40 it is always prudent to get evaluated and ask your doc if you can take up the sport. You don’t need to be fighting competitively; keeping in shape is also one of MMAs biggest goals.
So train according to your stamina and take it easy.
This article has been written by Dr. Arshad Beg who is a surgical registrar specializing in General Surgery. He works at Liaquat National Hospital Karachi and has a keen interest in MMA.
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