When I first started training at a fight gym, I was completely oblivious to the world of MMA. I spent hours upon hours looking online for information about starting to train at a gym and MMA in general. There were so many questions I couldn’t find the answers to, such as, “How do I find the right gym? What do I need to start training? Are men going to beat me up? Do I need a nut cup?” Through trial and error, I was able to find answers to these questions myself, and as a female, I feel that it is my responsibility to pass on some helpful information to any girl interested in fighting or even just training at a fight gym.
The most important thing one can do is find the right gym. This is key to your success and can be compared to driving a car. Usually people don’t buy a car without test-driving it. The same goes for your gym. This is the place where you’ll be spending hours out of your week, so don’t just jump right into the first gym you can find. Most fight gyms will let you stop by and watch a couple of their training sessions so you can get a general idea of what they do. Being able to come in before actually training is a great advantage because you can assess whether you like the style of teaching or not and you also have the chance to talk to the fighters training there. Getting to know the gym ahead of time will either make or break your decision to go there, so take as much time as you need to decide if that gym is for you.
Another important factor; just because it looks like a good fight gym does not mean it is. Always check the credentials and safety standards of the facility. Every gym should have safety specifications and waivers for you to sign when you begin training. If you deem that the gym is not safe, don’t go there. Also make sure that the people who will be training you have viable experience in this profession. They should be sure of what they are doing and be able to guarantee that they can train you to effectively fight the right way.
Found the Right Gym, Now What?
There are still a few things you need to do before you begin training. Assuming you’re a female, I suggest you find a training partner. In most gyms, the ratio of men to women is pretty large. Some gyms will have other females training, some won’t, so it’s always a good idea to bring a friend with. Also, both of you will be at the same training level as opposed to being paired with someone who has been fighting for quite a while. If you have trouble finding a friend interesting in training, ask the gym if they can find someone to be your partner. Mine was more than happy to set me up with another girl who was new to MMA. Having a friend there will make you feel more comfortable right away also. Starting to train in a room full of experienced guys can feel awkward, so it’s good to have someone you know with you. Eventually as time passes, you’ll get to know a few people there and be able to grapple guys without being self-conscious.
There are a few things you will need to buy to start training. You’ll be using MMA gloves, 16 oz bag gloves, hand wraps, and plenty of other awesome fight gear. You can find all of this online but your gym should be able to provide you with most of the above. You don’t really need to buy any of the above until you know you are sure that you will be training regularly. However, I do recommend buying the following:
Mouth Guard – Fightergirls carries two quality kinds of mouth guards in their store. Practically all mouth guards are custom-fit to your mouth, so it’s not something you can share, or want to share, for that matter.
Hand Wraps are available in the Fightergirls store for $9
Pelvic Protector (female version of a cup)– $7-$15 online. This is not mandatory, but preferred. Some of the submissions you learn require the use of your pelvic area as leverage. Also, being a girl does not make you invincible to pain in the pelvic region. Better safe than sorry.
Compression Shorts – cost varies with each brand. These are also optional, but they are great to wear under your shorts, especially if you don’t want anyone to see what color your skivvies are when you’re working on your guard. Some compression shorts also have pockets to insert your Pelvic Protector.
Fight Shorts – You probably won’t need these right away, but as you become more advanced you’ll want shorts that provide more room for kicks and sparring. Regular basketball shorts work, but fight shorts are more durable and provide a tighter fit. You can wear men’s shorts, but fight shorts made specifically made for women so that there isn’t as much crotch room. Fightergirls has a great selection of fight shorts with different designs, styles, and prices to fit your needs. They are made specifically for women, they are perfect to fight in, and you look good at the same time. Win-win situation.
These are only recommendations, in the end it’s up to you to decide what you do or don’t need, but I have found that having the above has really helped me personally.
Get to It!
The process of getting to the gym probably seems a little lengthy, but trust me, it pays off in the long run. Now it’s up to you to decide whether MMA is something you want to pursue or not. Don’t rush to get in with the more experienced fighters. Make sure you get the basics down, someone will be there to help you. This isn’t a cute little workout, either. You will wake up every morning with sore muscles and you will be pushed to your limit every day. It’s a complete lifestyle change, and totally worth it. So make sure to give 110% every time. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
The Fighter girls store is loaded with workout apparel and gear for females! Fighter girls is the biggest and best company for female MMA and body combat making their products in the USA for quality and comfort that females deserve and desire!