5 Key Health Benefits to Martial Arts Training

Participating in physical activity is much more beneficial than a sedentary lifestyle. And as we age, it becomes even more important to incorporate some form of fitness into our daily routine. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, combat chronic diseases, and manage your weight. Regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability, experiencing the outstanding health benefits that martial arts have to offer is a great way to improve your well-being.

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the advantages that martial arts provide in the world of fitness.

Mentally Refreshing

Seeped in ancient traditions, the martial arts have significant mental and spiritual elements that work toward enhancing focus and cultivating better self-control. Filtering energy and cleansing the mind from stress and tension enables martial arts practitioners to feel a sense of balance and tranquility that transcends into their daily lives. If you’re feeling the pressure from work, family, and life, exploring martial arts is an excellent way to release some of the tension.

Sense of Accomplishment

Unlike running on a treadmill or pedaling in a spin class, martial arts involves a series of progressions that define advancement and skill level. Through practice and commitment, martial arts enthusiasts can see themselves advance from novice to expert. Measurement through recognition builds confidence and creates a rewarding environment.

Increase Strength

Pop culture and Hollywood have misled many people into believing that martial arts are strictly about training and fighting. In truth, high-quality martial arts training should include many other attributes such as strength and conditioning. Various techniques are employed that develop strength through calisthenics, which makes martial arts a great way to become stronger without getting bulky.

Overall Stamina

Research shows that the combination of exercise and energy found in martial arts considerably bolsters stamina. Chemicals released in the brain make you feel better, stimulate the immune system and have even demonstrated anti-aging capabilities. 

Flexibility

The soft style routines found in some forms of martial arts dramatically increase flexibility. Training and study of martial arts require an entire range of motion from the body, and that helps with coordination and balance.


There are many forms of martial arts to choose from. Find one that’s right for you and discover the benefits first hand. 

4 Types of Meditation/Visualization for Martial Artists

As more and more research comes out highlighting the importance of a healthy body AND mind, I’d like to highlight four different types of meditation and visualization that can be used by martial artists.

1. Mindfulness  

This is one of the purest forms of meditation, and one of the best ones to start playing with if you are a meditation newbie. To practice this all you have to do is stop for a few moments at any time during the day and focus on being fully present in that moment. You don’t need to change your breathing, just notice it. You don’t have to say anything, or do anything, or be anywhere. Just stop and pay attention. Be present in the moment, for a few minutes.

2. Focused

For a focused meditation, you will need to set your mind to solving a problem, visualizing a goal, or imagining a scenario play out the way you want it to. Athletes stand to benefit the most from an exercise like this (we all remember the Michael Phelps face from the last summer Olympics, don’t we?). 

Martial artists can use this form of meditation also to visualize performing a specific technique, or the way a fight is going to play out. The brain doesn’t recognize the difference very well between imagining you’ve done something and actually doing it. We can capitalize on that and better prepare ourselves for combat by visualizing different scenarios in a fight so that if we ever find ourselves there, it’s not the first time (at least in our minds). Being a step ahead like that will help us not to freeze, and be better prepared to react correctly and quickly.

3. Movement

A movement meditation is when you perform an activity and you are focused solely on the movement. This type of meditation can be simple or complicated. An example of a simple movement meditation would be to pick some pattern to do with your arms and close your eyes while you repeat that pattern (martial artists, imagine doing Hubud Lubud with a partner with your eyes closed).

A complex movement meditation could be something like a form or rolling in Jiu Jitsu. When you are grappling with a partner, you can’t help but be entirely focused and concentrated on this one activity - or you will get choked out pretty quickly. Doing this a couple of times per week works wonders on mental health, stress relief, and overall happiness.

4. Mantra

For this type of meditation, you will need to find a saying, quote, or scripture that you like and spend a few minutes truly soaking it up and internalizing it. Try to understand it, think of how it applies to your life, and say it multiple times throughout the session. One of our favorites is “To Fall Seven Times, To Rise Eight Times. Life Begins Now.”


I recommend starting with the first one, and then slowly trying to integrate some of these different forms of meditation into your martial arts practice, and your life, and see the impact it has on you.

The Underlying Reason We Never Change

We want to eat healthily…but we love good food.

We want to exercise…but we like to be lazy.

We want to quit smoking…but will probably just pick up another cigarette.

We want to quit drinking too much…but enjoy drinking.

We want to save money…but enjoy our lifestyle.

We want to eat more veggies…but chips taste better.

We want to read a book…but we love watching TV.

We want to take care of our planet…but still waste because it’s easy.

We want to live in the moment…but are always looking at our screens.

We want to be happy…but we are satisfied with just okay.

We want to make a change…but are ambivalent to do so.

Think about your own life and all of the things within it that you’d like to change. Do you see both reasons to change and reasons not to? If yes, you are not alone. This ambivalence is widespread for us humans, but the good news is that if you are at this stage, you are at least heading in the right direction.

You can view the steps to making a change as:

1. Someone needs to make a change, but they don’t see why.

2. Someone needs to make a change, and they see why, but also see reasons why things should stay the same.

3. Someone needs to make a change, chooses a path to move in that direction, and follows it (no matter what).

Today we are talking about step 2 - the ambivalence stage. This stage is where people get stuck for a long time trying to make a change. It seems with every step you take in the right direction, you are pulled back towards the other side by seemingly good reasons and arguments on why things should stay the same. We like them that way, and they are comfortable, easy, and enjoyable.

I’m here to tell you that is completely normal. Inside you though, you know that a change needs to happen. You know the lifestyle that you want to curate for yourself and long for it frequently.

When you’re ready to move from step 2 to step 3, you will finally make that change. When you are fed up with being ambivalent, you will pick a path out of your old ways and follow it. You won’t let the talk inside your head bring you back to sustaining the old habits. Until then, expect to remain stuck at the ambivalent stage.

When you are ready, willing, and able to move on, you will go for it. When you go for it, you will slip and fall and take steps backward. That is okay. You need to have an unlimited re-do button that you just hit over and over again (we call this the clean slate policy). You have to! Because if you are actually struggling with ambivalence, even when you finally decide to make a change, you will double back and fail. 

But what am saying you know this already, right? How many times have you tried to ________________? We often make statements like, “I’m not going to eat any more junk food.” But of course, we inevitably eat junk food (sometimes embarrassingly close to when we just swore it off). Without the clean slate policy, we just give up. We assume we aren’t capable of making the change and just quit…until we get fed up with ourselves enough to try again.

So, what have you been longing to change? Are you ready? Are you willing? Are you able? Are you fed up enough to finally say “I’ve had enough” and do something about it? This time, it’s not going to be a start and stop. This time when you decide to make that change, stick with it for life. Go down that path away from the old habit and no matter how many times you fall, get back up and try again.

“To Fall Seven Times. To Rise Eight Times. Life Begins Now.” - Daruma


Towards the end of this year, we will begin accepting both male and females into our nutrition and lifestyle coaching program again. Our next group will start on Monday, January 1, 2018.

Input your name and email address below to be one of the first to receive notification when we begin accepting this next group.

* indicates required

Let Me Tell You About My Greatest Enemy!

In a short period of time, I will be in my mid-sixties.  Age is my greatest enemy, and as anyone my age or older will tell you; the things that once were easy have become a lot more challenging. 

Well, all enemies are the same, whether human, physical, or psychological.  What enemies are, are negative entities in your path of success.  So, how do you get rid of your enemies?  My answer to that is very simple;  simply confront them and defeat them.  Age is no different! 

One of the first things to do on the path of defeating age is not to consider it a factor at all.  I came to the realization, that I was spending more time worrying about the limitations of age than I was on the ways I could overcome it.  Once I got on the right road, I came up with a pretty successful framework for defeating the aging process, and adding to the time I will be able to train.  Here are a few things from the Corrigan master plan:

  1.  Work Backwards – Don’t start by comparing yourself to a 20-year-old.  First, compare yourself to those your own age and see how you fit.   Are you the same as them physically and mentally?  If you are “younger” than them – go lower.    For example, if you truly feel that at your age you are physically and mentally “younger” than someone 5 calendar years younger than you, then that is where you start.  Hold yourself to your “calculated” age standards.  Conversely, if you feel you are much “older” than your age – start there and work your way backward until you are physically and mentally fit as your peers. 
  2. Take care of your body.  Don’t train injured, baby the injuries. Rest.
  3. No Excuses – I hear older Martial Arts students say all the time (including me sometimes!) “at my age…,”  “I used to be able to….,”    “I'll never be able to…,” etc.  These are just excuses and self-limiters.  If you set the bar at 3 inches rather than 3 feet, then that is where you will stay.
  4. Stop trying to use “old man strength” – Listen, all this does is make you tired, and the bane of everyone’s existence.  You don’t have to win all the time to maintain your respectability.  Chances are, if you are “older” then all the young guys respect you, and want to treat you with respect.  Enjoy the respect, and stop hurting them with your desire to beat them.
  5. Supplement your training – Go to the gym, walk, run, move, stretch.
  6. Make time – I have a physician that I go to that has said to me for the last 12 years “ Man, I gotta try that, but I just don’t have the time!”  He is my doctor, but I know for sure that he will take the “dirt nap” before me.  Why? Because he is fat, out of shape, stressed and overworked.  I need to write him a prescription, but he’ll never get it filled. 
  7. Variety.  If you like martial arts, don’t limit what you study.  I often say that I am good at boxing, okay at Jiu Jitsu, excellent at Kali, and great at Kenpo.  Combined, I am satisfied.  The moral of the story is that you might just be training in the aspect that you will never be GREAT in, no matter what age you are. Seek things that you can excel at as well as those that you might just be mediocre in. Besides, variety makes you train differently and with all you got.
  8. Train as much as possible with younger people.  Enjoy their ability and learn from them.  Ask them how they are dominating you.  Learn ways to dominate them using your experience.
  9. Finally....Make martial arts a lifestyle.  That DOES NOT MEAN MAKE IT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!  You have other things, like a family, a job, other hobbies, kids, grandkids, etc.  Make martial arts fit in your life, and use your training to enhance everything else you do.

5 Reasons Martial Arts Training Is The Best Activity for Your Brain and Memory!

A recent Consumer Reports article presented the latest research on keeping our minds sharp, especially as we age. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but notice that each of the five areas discussed could be addressed by being actively involved in a Martial Arts program!

1.    Reducing Stress

Exercise is well known for its ability to aid in the reduction of stress. Add to that the myriad of stress-reducing benefits of the Martial Arts in particular and you have a true stress buster. 

2.    Staying Connected

By this, the authors meant staying connected socially with others. The social aspects of a training class such as a Martial Arts class cannot be underestimated, not to mention Martial Arts classes are fun and engaging, helping you to commit to the long term benefits. 

3.    Feeding the Brain

Consuming a nutritionally-balanced diet is key to any Martial Arts program and your overall healthy lifestyle. The recommendations for maintaining healthy brain function are much the same as for maintaining overall healthy body function: minimizing trans-fat intake, reducing saturated fat intake, and consuming more fish and other foods that contain healthy fats. 

4.    Staying Fit

Physical activity is the best-known way of protecting your brain against aging. The recommendation here is the same as for general health and well-being: at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. Martial Arts training incorporates daily exercise into your routine in a fun and exciting way so that you can stick to it. 

5.    Flexing Brain Muscles

Use it or lose it. The mental aspect of Martial Arts training provides this type of mental stimulation along with a great physical workout. This is something I discuss with our adult students on a very regular basis. Adult students often notice that the martial arts we teach are so technique oriented, cerebral, and detailed that they sometimes have difficulty remembering the techniques. That is exactly why it is so beneficial for you. Using the brain to make the mind and body work together performing a complicated Jiu Jitsu technique, or a long Kata in Kenpo is exactly the kind of workout that your brain needs!

Keep in mind that “aging” doesn’t mean you’re heading toward your 90s. Depending on your lifestyle, aging-related changes in your brain such as memory loss can begin as early as your 20s or 30s. So stay committed to your Martial Arts training. Your mind will thank you for it.

Some people plan on doing crossword puzzles and sudoku to keep their minds working as they age. I for one plan on rolling and practicing my forms/techniques when I’m 90!

Should We Teach Children How to Fight?

When watching kids play, you’ll often see one lose his temper when he doesn’t get his way. The feeling that arises when he doesn’t get his way is completely normal and okay, what we aren’t okay with is the reaction to lash out at the other child in response to that feeling.

Adults aren’t any different. When you watch a sporting event, you’ll often see tempers get the best of the athletes and fights break out during what was supposed to be a game. In some sports, like hockey (one of my family’s favorites!), the fighting aspect may even be encouraged. The crowd goes crazy, and some argue that it even has a place in the game so that the bigger, tougher guys on the team can stand up for the smaller, skill-based players when they take a big hit or are getting roughed up by the opposing team trying to slow them down.

When two kids fight, you’ll often hear the adults say, “they're just kids,” or, “boys will be boys." I'd like to argue, though, that they're just human. Adults and kids alike!

Fighting is a natural part of life, and unfortunately, children may sometimes be put into situations where they need to stand up for themselves or a smaller, weaker child. Teaching them how to fight should be an essential part of their childhood.

However, it is not because we want them to fight.

We teach our kids how to fight so that they don’t have to. When training martial arts, the most important things you learn are how to respect everyone (including your opponent), how to control your actions (even when you are angry), and who you are at your core. How do you respond to stressful scenarios? Do you run? Do you stand up and fight? Do you let your pride get the best of you? How do you walk away from a fight? When should you walk away from a fight?

These questions are all critical for a child to answer for themselves, and martial arts training will help guide them to the answers on their own. No one will sit down and tell them the answers. They have to come to them on their own.

How? Through learning how to fight.

Next Thursday, September 14 we are canceling all of our kids’ classes for the night and holding a free bullying prevention class from 4-6 PM open to the public. We would like all of our youth students ages 6 & up to attend this class and invite some friends to also. 

Our space is limited, so please reserve your spot at the link below (even current students should reserve their place). We encourage parents to attend this class also, as we will talk about some valuable information that you and your children should discuss at home so that you are on the same page when it comes to how they will handle these challenging scenarios that are bound to happen.

CounterBully: More Information and Reserve Your Spot Online - 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/counterbully-seminar-tickets-37441138453

5 Paradigms Adults Believe About Martial Arts

Every adult, no matter their age, gender, or physical limitations, should be training martial arts! Unfortunately, many adults have a mental block that keeps them from even exploring it as a possibility. Let’s break down the different misconceptions:

1. Martial Arts Training is for Kids

Yes and No. Martial Arts is incredible for children! BUT, it is designed for adults. We modify our curriculum quite a bit for children by removing some of the more violent self-defense techniques, highly detailed techniques, and complicated techniques.

Many of us grew up watching the Karate Kid, and that has planted the idea in our brains that Karate is for Kids. Through the years, we have somehow come to believe that martial arts are just another after school activity that we throw our kids into.

But, have you ever wondered what you would do in a fight? Every adult, both men and women, should learn self-defense. This is one of the primary reasons to train. It’s an important reason for kids too, but the character development is most parents’ main concern. For adults - it’s self-defense.

Check out this video from Jocko Willink talking about what arts you should train in (I’ll give you a hint, we teach them all!) to learn self-defense:

2. Martial Arts Training is Like a Kung Fu Movie

At our academy, we teach martial arts such as Kenpo, Jiu Jitsu, and Jeet Kune Do. One of the first responses we get from adults when they hear these names is a funny sound that you might hear Bruce Lee make in a Kung Fu movie.

They can’t imagine themselves making those silly noises and doing a “karate chop.”

Then there’s this guy:

In reality, martial arts training is really normal. Adults from all walks of life come together to learn fighting techniques that could save their lives, get a great workout, and have a lot of fun in the process. The benefits are innumerable and include things like stress-relief, discipline, and focus. Each class you leave as just a little bit better version of the person you walked in as. 

3. Martial Arts Training is Cagefighting

In 1993, the Gracie family from Brazil created the Ultimate Fighting Championship as a way to showcase their family’s art, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, against other martial arts. Royce Gracie dominated the first few UFC events, and two things blew up in the United States - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Many adults have now come to believe that martial arts training is the cage fighting (Mixed Martial Arts) that you see when you are flipping through the channels. While we will teach you the same techniques being used in the cage or boxing ring, it does not mean you take the abuse that a professional fighter does.

There are safe and fun ways of training that will challenge you and develop your skills as a martial artist without getting into a cage. 

We study these events as a way to learn about which techniques are being used most effectively in these rule sets, but we anticipate that 99.99% of our students will never enter the cage to be in a fight!

4. You Need to Be In Shape to Start Training Martial Arts

WRONG! But we understand why you feel that way. Instead of waiting until you are in shape, use martial arts training to help you get in shape! Don’t wait any longer. Just start!

Once you step on the mat, you’ll never look back. You’ll be surrounded by encouraging partners that have been or may currently be in the same stage of their fitness journey as you are. The people you train with will be one of your greatest tools to getting in and staying in shape.

5. You Can’t Train with a Bad _________________ (Fill in the blank - knee, shoulder, back, etc.)

As you get older, you will have injuries, illnesses, and all kinds of things “wrong” with you. We are human, and unfortunately, that means our bodies will slowly break down just like a car. These things shouldn’t hold you back unless you let them.

Modifications can always be made to adapt the training to what you need. If you allow your “bad knee” or whatever it is to keep you from starting something like this, before you know it you will have other bad things due to inactivity and unhappiness.

So, what does martial arts training look like? 

Well, at our Academy it typically starts with a warm up of jogging and various exercises to prepare your body for the lesson planned that day. Then you will spend some time learning the technique that has been scheduled in our curriculum for that day. 

The content might be a self-defense technique versus some of the most common assaults, a traditional martial arts form to develop traits that enhance your skills as a martial artist, or dynamic skills from Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, or the Filipino Martial Arts. 

After training the material for a while, the class usually finishes with some drills to make the technique functional so that you can use it effectively in a fight if necessary. At the advanced stages, this includes sparring drills with partners that will challenge you and protect you at the same time.

Here’s a demonstration I did of some of the techniques taught in the adult curriculum at Progressive Martial Arts Academy. No, they’re not all for kids. No, you don’t have to be in a Kung Fu movie, and no, you don’t have to fight in a cage!

So, if you’re still here reading this and you’ve been on the fence about starting martial arts, take action right now. I mean, RIGHT NOW! If you wait five more seconds, you will come up with a reason not to start now. 

I’m telling you, you won’t regret it. Just start. Take action right now. I’ll even make it easy for you - put your contact info below and I’ll reach out to you about setting up a free private introductory lesson.

Name *
Name

See you on the mat! 

Leave Your Ego at the Door

Any student at Progressive Martial Arts Academy should be familiar with the phrase: “Leave your ego at the door.” We did not coin this phrase but consistently encourage our students to follow it. The thing is - this phrase means much more than what it may seem on the surface. This phrase is an essential component of “the Martial Arts Way of Life” and something that we can all do to grow our sense of true self, become better martial artists, and live more in the moment than ever before.

At first glance, I think most students believe that this phrase is telling them not to be afraid of making mistakes, losing sparring sessions, or admitting weaknesses. They are right, but when you examine it, it means so much more. 

What is an ego?

An ego is something every person develops at an early age that can influence anything from the way we dress to the way we speak and behave in social situations. At a very young age, we realize that people around us expect us to act a certain way, and we learn that certain behaviors cause people to “like” us more so we conform to those expectations and develop a version of ourselves that we “put on” when we leave our homes.

Many times, if you pay attention, you may notice that you might have different egos for when you are with different people. You might speak one way when with family members, another way with friends, and a completely different way with co-workers. That is a classic example of the ego in action.

When you walk onto the mat, we would love for you to leave your ego behind and be your true self. Many factors may make this easier than it would be in other situations - starting with the uniform and the belt. Every student at PMA starts with the same white uniform (gi) and the same rank (white belt). You do not have to think about dressing a certain way to impress anyone or fit in. It doesn’t matter where you come from, who you know, how much money you make, or what your gender, age, or race is - everyone starts at the same rank and has to earn their position in the dojo with hard work, dedication, and consistent training. 

Why Should We Leave Our Ego Behind?

In our academy, we have this phrase (Leave Your Ego at the Door) hanging on the wall; partly because we know it is essential for a student to keep this in mind or they may not make it far in their training. When the ego is not left behind, and emotions are allowed to enter the dojo with you, you are bound to run into issues. 

The martial arts we teach are extremely functional, and you cannot “pretend” to be skilled in them if you are not. For example, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, if someone allows themselves to mistakenly believe they are more skilled at grappling than they are, that they should be able to defeat a particular training partner, or that they have the ability to perform a difficult technique, they will quickly be faced with reality. There is no way to pretend in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that you are what you aren’t.

Bringing any emotion onto the mat can be detrimental to a student’s training experience. We encourage pride, expectations, stress, anger, frustration, sadness, anxiousness, and even positive emotions like happiness and excitement to be left at the door because they can cloud our judgment, decision-making processes, and ability to learn. Doing this can prove to be extremely challenging and something that takes most martial artists years to master but is one of the most defining qualities of martial arts masters around the world from many different arts.

How do we leave it behind?

Start with insecurities, expectations, and self-consciousness. This week in training, avoid coming into class with any expectations for your performance. That includes how quickly you should be able to learn the techniques, or how much you think you already know, who you think you can “beat,” and what you should or shouldn’t be able to do. 

Starting with your words, do not talk about yourself or compare yourself to other students (this already shouldn’t happen because of another martial artist quality - humility), but also include your thoughts. Before, during and after training resist the urge to judge yourself and other students. 

Here are some classic examples of the ego not left behind that you can try to avoid:

Example #1:

"I'm not very good at ________________."

We make statements like this to lower our teacher's or training partner's expectations of our performance. This insecurity will get in the way of your training. At least in our academy, your teachers and training partners will not be disappointed in you for doing your best and falling short of perfection. We will be impressed with you just showing up and training hard!

Example #2:

"Hey, when I caught you in that arm bar, do you remember how I did it?"

If you do something well in training, don't draw attention to it. That is a classic example of the ego in action.  I know you are proud of your accomplishment but drawing attention to it will only make your partner feel sad or angry, and make you look too proud! Again, just show up and train hard!

Example #3:

**Teacher walks by to watch you practice a technique, and because you are a little embarrassed by what you might look like if you mess it up, you stop and ask a question instead of doing the technique.

Your teacher does not expect you to be already able to do the technique, that's why you are in their class! If you try your best and mess it up, your teacher should be embarrassed for not teaching it well enough if anything.

Instead, when the teacher comes by - do the technique to the best of your ability and show them what your best looks like right now. They might make some corrections, or they might be happy with where you are now and move on. Afterwards, if you genuinely do have a question - now ask it.

Example #4:

**Getting angry or frustrated when you don't "win." Or sometimes worse, trying too hard to win.

In our kid's classes, we have "mat chats" from time to time where we talk about "the spirit of competition." The spirit of competition is when everyone is having fun. The nature of competition is that you have to try to win, but when you start letting your desire to win become so important that your partner's well-being or safety are at risk, then you have let your ego get in the way of the training.

Don't be overly happy when you win, and don't be overly frustrated or sad when you lose. After all, we are not opponents in the academy - we are training partners, and we are all co-trainers for each other. 

We are so proud of the culture and training environment we've built at PMA because of rules and mindsets like this. Training in an environment where you are challenged, safe, having fun, and getting better every class is how you set yourself up to train for the rest of your life - which should ultimately always be the goal.


In closing, come to class with a clear mind and empty cup, and you will leave with one of the best training sessions of your life. Hopefully the first of many. Share this post to help eradicate egos from martial arts academies around the world!

How Brittany Lost 38 Pounds and 8% Body Fat This Year

Today, I want to brag on one of our students. I'm a little biased obviously, but very proud, so I'd like to take a minute to brag about my wife, Brittany Corrigan.

For those that don't know, earlier this year she was selected to test for her Black Belt in Kenpo and is now in the preparation phase, but the story I want to tell goes back to last summer.

One year ago, my wife came back to PMA to get back to training after giving birth to our second child, Auggie. Without going too far off on a tangent, let me just give so much credit to women for what they have to go through with pregnancy, childbirth, and the recovery afterward. I know we see some stories about some women snapping right back, but I've seen first hand how difficult it can be (twice!), and all I can say is WOW.

So one year ago, Brittany returned to training at 212 pounds, and at 6 feet tall her body fat was at 38% (yes, she's approved of me giving you all of these numbers!). Today, she is at 174 pounds, and 29% body fat- officially in the first level of healthy body fat percentage for women (read more about the different levels here - http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean-infographic). Best of all, she has done it in what I consider the best possible way - slowly and sustainably.

Brittany didn't go on a diet. In fact, we just finished eating at Chuy's for our date night, and I watched her eat a burrito (slowly and mindfully - more on that later!).

Being a personal trainer and nutrition/lifestyle coach, I could've designed an exercise program and meal plan for her that would have helped her lose the weight and body fat even faster. But since becoming a Precision Nutrition coach a couple of years ago, I know that is not the ideal way.

I've seen it play out so many times, and surely you have too. I look in the mirror and realize I'm not quite in as good of shape as I'd like to be and decide to do something about it. Well, I've heard a lot lately about the ________ diet or this new _____________ workout that people seem to really get great results with. So, I think I'll try that!

A few weeks or months later, assuming I stick with the program, voila! I've lost weight and have gotten in great shape! Well good, I'm glad that's done with, that diet sucked! Or you know, I was getting sick of that workout!

A few months pass by...

I look in the mirror, and huh? I seem to be getting out of shape (maybe even a little worse than last time this happened). But you know what? That program I did last time worked! Let's get back on it!

And repeat...

Most of us have gone through this process, and depending on your age, you may have done it over and over again throughout your life!

So what did Brittany do?

1. Martial Arts Training (2-4x per week)

Last year she got back to her martial arts training 2-4 times per week. This part is essential because finding a hobby like this can help give you a little extra motivation in the nutrition and fitness areas of your life because they will help your performance with your hobby/sport! I say 2-4 because we have two small children and sometimes life interrupts your ideal schedule for the day. It's critical that you consider this, or you can end up letting your whole plan be derailed by your normal life. If you plan a routine to get in shape that doesn't fit into the context of your real life, then it is not going to work. If you just make it work for the short term (90-day program just to get in shape, etc.), then you will go back to where you started before the program when it's finished.

2. Strength Training (3x per week) & Running (1-3x per week)

She does a simple strength training workout I've put together for her that includes body weight, cinder block, and TRX exercises. She does this 3x/week and does a shorter modified version at home if she can't squeeze in the whole thing. In addition to this, she runs 1-3x/week.

3. Nutrition & Lifestyle Habits

She has gone through a year of PN coaching learning habits one at a time that change key areas of her lifestyle but don't require her to adapt something that she cannot maintain.   These habits are things like eating slowly, stopping eating before she's stuffed, balancing her meals correctly, de-stressing, creating a good sleep routine, planning meals, and food prepping for the week. In the coaching program, she's learned about each habit, and built the skills to put them to practice. Best of all, she still gets to enjoy foods that she likes (like that burrito tonight)!

She has done it all in a way that is sustainable, and while she still has high goals for herself over the next few months preparing for her Black Belt test in December, she has adopted the habits that will prepare her for a lifetime of health and happiness.

I am incredibly proud of her, and can't wait to see where she ends up in December, and afterward. After all, Black Belt is just the beginning!

3 Reasons Martial Arts Training is the Perfect Fitness Alternative

Yes, I said perfect. And I mean it!

We all know that exercise is important, and all of the benefits it can give you. We all know that we should eat healthier and move more. In fact, we know too much.

In this information world that we live in, we are knocked all over the place by information that constantly conflicts and contradicts what we were told the day before. This diet and that diet. This new workout plan, and oh, wait, that one isn’t right for you anymore - this one is.

We don’t need any more knowledge though. We need action. Whether you are 4 or 74, martial arts training is an excellent source of exercise, personal discipline, and of course self-defense.

The simple, focused workout provided by high-quality martial arts training has many advantages over a traditional gym membership. So let’s look at three core reasons we believe martial arts training fits perfectly into the modern adult lifestyle.

1. It’s focused.

Every time you come on the mat, your instructor will be leading you through a focused class. Whether it’s a Kenpo class and you are learning to protect yourself versus realistic self-defense situations, or it’s a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, and you are learning techniques to takedown, control, and submit an opponent, the focus is on something other than exercise, and that is reason number one!

2. Exercise is fake.

We seek out exercise because we know we should keep our bodies healthy and strong. But exercise the way we know it didn’t always exist. Our ancestors didn’t go to a building to lift heavy objects up and down to make an isolated muscle on their body get bigger. They didn’t lace up their shoes (they may not have had any!) and go for a jog just to burn some calories. Heck, they were happy to have been able to eat those calories, why in the world would they waste them!?

Their lives just included more movement. They had to walk more, carry more, and just use their bodies more. But as a species, we do a really good job of inventing ways to make our lives easier. This has brought us to a time where the extent of movement for most people is limited to walking from bed to chair to car to chair to car to couch to bed and repeat.

Workout equipment is a modern invention. Martial arts training is the natural way to train - with just your body (we don’t even wear shoes!).

3. It provides the "why" to your exercise and nutrition habits.

Who do you frequently see on the cover of fitness magazines? Most often are professional athletes. This is partly because they are recognizable faces, and fans of these individuals want to be “that guy” so it sells magazines.

The thing to think about though is what is so different about these guys that helps them be in such AMAZING shape? There are tons of answers to that question, and one of the big ones is that they aren’t actually in as good of shape as they appear in the magazine (read more about that here). But athletes are in great shape!

One of the key reasons that they are in good shape is because they have a reason to be. Their athletic performance and career depend on them being in good shape, so that gives them the motivation necessary to make the decisions on a daily basis required to reach and maintain those health and fitness levels.

Martial arts can do that for the average individual. And what's even better, is it's an activity and lifestyle that you can continue for the rest of your life (if you train the right way). Many professional athletes fall way out of shape when their athletic career is over. Your martial arts journey doesn't ever have to be over.

You will be motivated to make better decisions in your daily life to enhance your martial arts ability and raise your potential.


Adults and children have an incredible amount to gain from training martial arts. Most people just haven’t realized yet how beneficial and enjoyable the training can be.

Do you know someone that doesn’t know yet? Share this with them and encourage them to take their first class. At PMA, the first step is a free private introductory lesson. Call us now at (865)481-8901 to set yours up, and you will never look back.

Have you stopped training martial arts for one reason or another? Guess what, it’s happened to almost every great martial artist, but they came back to the mat. Don’t wait another day - get back on the mat today! No excuses, just get up and go. Take the next step necessary to improve your life right now. Not later. I promise this article is done now, so literally right now take that step!