Grown sick of traditional gyms or home workouts? For fitness enthusiasts on the lookout for specialized programs, CrossFit and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are among the top choices considered.
At a quick glance, both promises to give your physical strength a total upgrade. Some class offerings might even lure you in with testimonies on how quickly their program could help you to lose weight and tone your muscles.
But before you sign that enrollment form and pay some hefty fees (you’ll find out how pricey they can be in a bit), allow us to help you decide which program is the best fit for your goals and skill level.
Brace yourself for tonight’s main event *cue in the bell*, CrossFit vs MMA!
Round 1: Target Results
Let’s kick off the match by asking, “what do I get by the end of the program?”
Broad. General. Inclusive. CrossFit was developed by extracting the must-have universal skills from more intense workouts and sports. These include:
- Cardiovascular and respiratory endurance
Straight from the official website itself, CrossFit’s specialty is not specializing. This means that it’s meant to prepare you for anything and everything you might come across – from heroically catching a kid from an accidental fall to simply surviving the climb up three flights of stairs.
Conversely, MMA demands conditioning your body for very specific movements. For instance, improving your strikes require superb hip rotation, upper body pushing, and core bracing on top of solid endurance levels. It also has fixed techniques and predictable match outcomes that you must consider when enhancing your strength and balance.
Bottom line, CrossFit and MMA is a perfect manifestation of choosing between being a jack of all trades or a master of one.
Round 2: Types of Exercises
Instead of giving out different sets of exercises for ripped athletes and struggling oldies, CrossFit classes involve a single workout routine that can be scaled based on a student’s skill level. So while the gym idol is acing barbell squats with 135 pounds of weight plates, beginners are spared some mercy with a lighter load.
Each day will also feature a different physical ability, often mixing up calisthenics moves with equipment-based routines. Often times called, the workout of the day or WOD for short.
As for MMA training, you’ll spend tons of hours making all hell break loose against a punching bag.
Your coach will walk you through some basic hitting techniques (e.g. punches, strikes, hooks, jabs, and kicks) until you’re ready to execute killer combos. You’d also have to learn defensive movements and counterattacks before your first sparring match.
So while CrossFit likes to keep things exciting with daily workout variations, MMA exercises are designed to build your skills up for actual fights.
Round 3: Risk of Injury
CrossFit its often scrutinized for exposing its students to high risks of injury. After all, it’s focused on doing as many repetitions as possible within a given time frame. Drop more pushups. Execute extra squats. Swing that rope faster. Such a quick way to win a free ticket to the clinic, if you ask us.
What’s worse, anyone can be a certified CrossFit trainer with just a thousand dollars and completion of a two-day training. There’s more to coaching than demonstrating perfect execution of workouts, so no one could judge your skepticism before enrolling in a class.
As surprising as it may sound, we’d have to give the crown in terms of safety to MMA. Professional matches can be hella bloody and nerve-wracking, but casual training and practice sessions are generally much safer than CrossFit. Complete warmups. Closely monitored drills. Tailor-fitted programs.
Most classes are administered by coaches who have professional experience in MMA, and that’s on top of passing a rigorous certification process.
So don’t worry, you won’t be recklessly thrown into the ring to fight for your life.
Round 4: Cost to enroll in a class
While you can get into traditional gyms for just $10 to $20, enrolling in specialized fitness programs will drain a lot more from your wallet.
If you’re considering CrossFit, be prepared to pay a monthly subscription of at least $150. MMA gym fees are generally half that, with rates often pegged at $70 per month. However, there are also premium classes whose fees can go up to $200.
Round 5: Mental toughness required
Consistent physical training can do wonders for your body, and in the CrossFit vs MMA battle it is no different, but you will only get as far as your mental toughness will allow.
Training with a cheery group in CrossFit classes is a great fountain of motivation, but it can also trigger anxiety and negative thoughts to many students. Everyone could probably execute the workout of the day flawlessly and gracefully, except you. There could also be physical skills that you just suck at no matter how you try, making it tempting to just skip some classes so you could save yourself from frustration.
As for MMA trainings, your lousy kicks and strikes can be easily noticeable to your coach and your drill partner. When it’s sparring time, beginners would often recite a mental prayer not to be picked for a match at all. Add to that all the weight of lost fights that leave you thinking that you’re nothing but a pitiful weakling.
A strong, stable mental attitude is a must regardless if you’ll choose CrossFit or MMA. It will take auditing your focus, setting clear goals, controlling your self-talk, and managing anxieties to make the most out of each program.
The Final Verdict
MMA will easily be hailed as champ when it comes to less exposure to injury and membership costs.
However, the best judge for the match between CrossFit Vs MMA will be your personal goals and preference. Do you want an upgrade to your general physical abilities, or just focus on endurance, balance, and strength? Will you learn more with a dynamic class, or excel in one-on-one type drills?
We do hope that this guide helped you settle the score between CrossFit and MMA!