How to Choose the Right MMA Gym

How to Choose the Right MMA Gym for You? (6 Things to Know)

Finding a good MMA gym can have a huge impact on whether you continue practicing for years or quit in three weeks.

Here are some of the things to look out for, when choosing the right MMA gym for your needs. Even MMA gyms are not “one size fits all”, there are different kinds of gyms for different kinds of people.

The determining factors are location, instructors, and competitiveness of the gym, along with some basic stuff such as equipment and hygiene of the MMA gym.

Let’s take a better look at what exactly to look out for when choosing the best MMA gym for you.

1. Location of the MMA gym

The first and one of the most important criteria when it comes to choosing an MMA gym is the location of the gym.

There might be the world’s best MMA gym 100 miles away from your home. However, if you signed up for that, how long do you think you would continue driving 200 miles just to attend one class, 3 times a week?

I think not many people would continue doing that.

Therefore, look for the best possible gym that is as close to your home, or workplace as possible. This way you can make sure the barrier to continue practicing is as low as possible.

By choosing a gym that is not far away, you will have one less excuse not to go to the gym.

Even though there are valid reasons as well to skip MMA class, by choosing a gym that is near your home you eliminate one excuse to go by.

2. Legitimacy of the instructors

The next thing that matters a lot when it comes to choosing the right gym is the instructors. Good instructors will keep you motivated and make the most out of your time spent training.

Bad instructors will make you unmotivated and make you want to quit, even if the problem was not in MMA in general. Bad instructors can make you quit martial arts for good, because of one bad experience.

Do your research carefully when choosing the gym and reading about the instructors.

Look out if they have some merits from competitions. Go through the gym’s Facebook, Instagram, and Google pages, if they have any reviews and how the atmosphere looks in general.

Of course, you won’t get the big picture from social media pages, but they can give you some basic background information.

The best way to get to know the instructor is to go for the free trial lesson at the gym. Interview the instructor(s) as well as other practitioners.

Here are things to look out for in an MMA instructor.

3. Equipment and facilities

The next thing that matters is the equipment the gym has and the facility it’s located in. If you want to get the best equipment and facilities, that usually means higher monthly fees for training.

If money is not an issue for you, great. Find the newest gym with the best equipment that also fills in other criteria as well.

On the other hand, the price of the gym is not always a guarantee of quality. Even older facilities with older equipment can make it up with great instructors and other pratitioners.

As long as the facility itself is in decent condition and has good air conditioning, that should be fine.

4. How competitive the gym is

The next thing to look out for is how competitive the gym is. This comes down to personal preferences. If you want to just casually practice martial arts, signing up for UFC gym might not be the best option.

On the other hand, if UFC is your goal, look for the most competitive gyms around you, where other people have similar goals. The atmosphere and your fellow practitioners matter a lot when it comes to competitive training.

Ask people what they think about the gym and what are their goals when it comes to MMA. If more people answer it’s mostly a hobby or for self-defense, that is the less competitive gym.

The instructor can also answer that question. Keep in mind that even if the gym is less competitive, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad gym where people don’t try.

5. Hygiene and cleanliness of the gym

Hygiene is a really important aspect when it comes to martial arts. You will be in each other’s skins and your face might get rubbed against the floor.

In situations like that, I would only wish that the floor was as clean as it could be, as well as my fellow practitioners took good care of their personal hygiene.

This is one of those things you will only find out about visiting the gym in person. Social media pictures seldom give a full image of the hygiene standards of the gym.

Sure, every gym will have the rule to shower before practice and always to wash your clothes after practice. However, following those rules is a whole different thing.

6. Cost and cancellation policy

Price is a more determining factor for some than others. However, if you are going to pay more for the gym, you want it to be worth the money as well.

If you are new to martial arts and are just “testing the waters”, signing up for a year-long agreement with the gym might not be the best thing to do.

That might become really expensive, especially if after a month you realize that this martial art is not the best for you.

Most MMA gyms have one to three times introduction sessions, with no commitment and no fee. Use the free visits before signing up for anything, especially for longer agreements.

The cancellation policies and prices differ between gyms a lot. Make sure to compare those as well, if you have options.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, there are a lot of things to look out for when choosing an MMA gym.

For some people, the decision is easy, if they live in a smaller city. There might not be a lot of MMA gyms available, in which case, you only have to determine whether that gym is good enough for you.

In larger cities where there are a lot of gyms to choose from, make sure to do your research well enough and test out at least a few different gyms before signing up for long contracts.

There has also been some debate about whether you should call your MMA gym a dojo or not. You can find a full post on what to call your MMA gym here.

In a good MMA gym, you are more likely to stick to the training. Here are the most common reasons people quit MMA.

Hopefully this can help you to find the best MMA gym for you.

Have a wonderful day!

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