MMA is a fantastic sport for people of all ages. If you’re like most people who are interested in trying out MMA, you might be a bit intimidated by the process. Rest assured, this is completely normal and that, at Alliance Gym, we’re accustomed to helping people get past their nerves. Still, the following are some helpful hints to keep in mind when you first start.

Be Patient

Most people aren’t naturals when it comes to MMA, especially if they never did any kind of martial arts as a kid.

A lot of what you learn will seem counterintuitive at first. It will take time for your mind and body to sync up and really learn a lot of the basics.

Again, this is to be expected. Have fun with it nonetheless. If you can force yourself to be patient, keep realistic goals and continue to show up, you’ll all of a sudden notice yourself moving past sticking points with ease.

Work on Your Endurance

Go for long runs, do sprints and jump rope to work up your cardio. Knock out high reps of body squats and burpees. These exercises will help you train longer and stay in fights when your opponent’s body begins to break down.

Spar, Spar, Spar

Nothing can replace the importance of regular sparring practice. For one thing, while the exercises we mentioned above are great, practicing what you’ll actually be doing in the ring or cage is ideal. You’re literally performing the movements you’ll be using as a fighter.

Regular sparring also helps you gain control over your nerves. Everyone is nervous the first time they square off against an opponent. A lot of great fighters have even admitted that the fear never truly goes away. By regularly sparring, though, you’ll definitely get better at dealing with them.

Compete Whenever Possible

Once you’ve been given clearance to compete, you should look for every opportunity to do so. It doesn’t necessarily have to be MMA either. You can find boxing matches, Muay Thai smokers and submission competitions every month.

This will have the same effect as regular sparring sessions as far as your nerves are concerned. However, knowing you have an upcoming competition will also ensure you’re always showing up to practice and giving it your all with a goal in mind.

Take Care of Your Body

MMA is going to ask a lot of you. Fortunately, it will give a lot back in return, both physically and mentally.

Still, you need to take care of your body or eventually it will give out on you—this is true at any age.

Working out is important, but make sure you’re getting enough sleep too. Drink lots of water throughout the day or you’ll begin cramping up at practice. Stretch in the morning and right before training. Eat a balanced diet that has plenty of protein and healthy carbs, and begin ditching guilty pleasures that don’t provide the fuel your body needs.

If you really commit, MMA can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. To begin, keep the above tips in mind and you’ll have a much easier time.