Martial Arts VS. The Gym

Martial Arts VS. The Gym

gyms kelowna

why you should train martial arts instead of going to the gym

Why should you train Martial Arts instead of going to the gym?

Most people struggle going to the gym (and if they don’t struggle we call those people the overachievers, but we all know deep in their souls there are some days they don’t want to go to the gym either). The question comes up, why do we go to the gym? For the healthier lifestyle, to compliment our attempts in eating healthier, to lose weight, gain muscles, enjoy the endorphin rush, feel accomplished from our workout, social time with a friend, to say we went to the gym today, selfie pictures, have a chance to show off that new workout shirt, pump our new playlist – whatever the reasons may be. 

Going to to the gym is great for exactly those reasons above.

But the question remains in the back of our minds, what is the difference between going to the gym for a workout or training in Martial Arts (Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai would be our targeted martial arts that will be discussed today, as these are the ones we offer at our Academy). 


Below are five reasons why we enjoy training martial arts instead of going to the gym:


1.The martial art journey entails so much more than just a workout. 

In this journey we are challenged the minute we step on those mats. Feeling like a baby jazelle (baby giraffe and gazelle combined), we putter around the mats losing our balance and not sure which way to move our hips as we learn this new art. We came for potentially fitness and self-defence, and once we arrive we realize we will be learning so much more. As challenging as the physical aspect is, we quickly discover the mental aspect requires even more out of us.

2. We are pushed far past our limits, or what we thought our limits are. 

There is a magic that happens on the mats. When we are the gym we push ourselves until it hurts. When we are on the mats smashing pads with our partners or having a legendary wrestle we move harder, go longer, and go stronger. We can feel our heart rate is ten times higher than it should be and we could potentially die any second from the intensity and excitement. But we keep going until the round is done. 


  1. So we don’t let our training partner down. 
  2. 2. So we don’t let ourselves down. We need to prove to ourselves that we can do it. And we rise to the occasion. 

3. We have to be present

We live in a busy world with phones, ipads, TV’s, emails, texts, work, family, finances, busyness – You get the idea. There is always so much going on at one time, all the time. Our attention is diverted from one thing to the next (for some of us even on two things at once). We weren’t wired for this. 

Being on the mats, and having to be focused and present gives us a break from this crazy world around us. We have to be present, if our focus diverts for one second we will miss an important detail in the instruction, or during hitting pads or sparring you might lose an opportunity or get caught. You have to be 100% focused and present the entire class.

4. Stress Relief

The human race created all these smart phones and systems so that we be more efficient and get more work done in a short amount of time. Good theory. Actually what has happened is people try to fit more work in a smaller amount of time, or even worse they are working all the time. As if work, home life, and or relationships wasn’t enough stress, we can be reached all the time, 24/7. We never get a break. Being on the mats allows us to leave our phones in our bags (actually, you are not allowed to bring your phone on the mats), and focus on yourself, your training, and your growth. Being around good, positive people (because everyone is super happy to be on the mats, or if they aren’t right away they will be after they start hitting some pads. Because, let’s be honest, everyone knows hitting pads is some of the best therapy). These activities release endorphins, these endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euhoric”. That feeling, known as a “runners high,” can be accomplished by a positive outlet and energizing outlook on life. 

5. We end up going to the gym anyways

After training Martial Arts  for awhile, we find that we are looking for ways off the mats to improve our performance on the mats. We might find ourselves going to the gym to cross train, prevent injury, or even build some extra strength, we might go for runs to improve our cardio so we last longer on the mats. We might start practicing yoga to help with our flexibility. We will for sure start eating healthier. When our system is pushed to such positive extremes and we train so hard we naturally navigate to healthier eating so we feel better on the mats during training. So we can train harder, last longer, and do better. 

6 (bonus reason) Martial Arts are just so much more badass. We all know it, we all admit it. Just make sure you pick the right type of martial arts. We choose too teach, train, and live Muay Thai Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because they are the two most applicable martial arts for more reasons that just self-defence. They teach what works, and why. On the mats its a workout and learning an art, on the street it’s the best form of self-defence you’ll ever meet.

These reasons above barely scratch the surface of the potential that Martial Arts Training can do for you. In our Academy we train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing – very application martial arts to every day life. In self defence, in building confidence, in living the healthier lifestyle. 

We have an amazing culture of students and instructors, no ego allowed. Only hard training and driving each other to be better in positive ways. We don’t believe in smashing new people that come in the door, after all – every single one of our students, training partners and instructors were once a new person walking in the door. We teach them, encourage them and help them learn in a safe and structured environment because they too – will become our training partners soon enough. Then one day they will not be the new student anymore, but they will be the one helping the next newest student. And the beautiful cycle continues. 

It’s not just about changing just your body to be healthier, fitter, stronger. It’s about changing your life. Learning a new skill, challenging yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, investing in yourself in a new and powerful way, and the most important is having fun while learning while building life long relationships. 

Life can be serious and it can be hard, training doesn’t have to be. 

Want to be a badass?

Click here to inquire about your free class today!

Womens only Muay Thai Kickboxing 

Fundamental Co-Ed Muay Thai Kickboxing

Fundamental Jiu-Jiu  


Written by Sarah Draht over a good cup of coffee