Personal development is king at London’s most challenging gym
Maximizing personal development includes identifying your weaknesses, improving on them and perhaps eradicating them once and for all. It also centers on facing your fears and eliminating any self-doubt.
And whilst beginning a personal development journey can help you become the best you can be, as you begin to realize your talents and reach your full potential, you’ll enjoy success in your home and work lives.
Perhaps you want to learn how to manage stress or improve your health and fitness. Or, you want to find out what makes you truly happy, confident, courageous and calm.
No matter what shape our personal development might take, we all have the power to grow as people – and the ability to change whatever is holding us back.
For most, personal development might include picking up a recommended self-help book, joining a training course, or creating a list of self-improvement action points and goals. And, in our world of instant gratification, where comfort is king, these choices might offer the easiest and quickest of routes.
But what if a growth mindset was achievable via a more challenging, organic and perhaps uncomfortable path?
Combat/mixed martial arts training may not seem an obvious choice in place to kickstart your personal development.
Since I’d heard this fitness method is enjoyed by many London-based professionals battling hectic and stressful lives, I decided to take action, see for myself and step into the ring.
On the surface, this rigorous workout method involves kicking and punching your way to a great physique and healthier body.
I went on to discover that combat/mixed martial arts training can also help calm, strengthen and focus a person’s mind – when it’s practiced regularly and over time.
And whilst it boosts energy, cardiovascular health, and fitness levels, it also builds confidence, improves cognitive skills, balance, endurance and reaction times. Mental strain, self-awareness, and patience are targeted through regular meditation and discipline.
Fight City Gym is an unassuming venue in central London. A short walk from Moorgate station and this gym combines combat disciplines with strength and conditioning training.
The schedule includes Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), Kickboxing, Boxing, Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ), Judo and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Fight City Gym also offers Combat HIIT.
‘Our timetable also includes strength classes that include strength and weights exercises commonly used in fight conditioning programs.’ Explains Dee, a professional trainer at Fight City Gym.
‘Our coaches are active fighters or have competed in the past.’ She tells me.
‘If you haven’t had the experience yourself, it’s very difficult to coach somebody emotionally through their first fight, or understand the sometimes challenging aspects of training.’
The coaches at Fight City Gym focus on building up the body holistically, working on both mental and physical health, week by week in order to develop proper techniques.
But make no mistake, Fight City Gym isn’t the place to try the latest London fitness fad. This is an honest and open, no-frills space with a history of training champions, both male and female, alongside those who’ve come to train hard in their chosen discipline.
Across the spectrum of varied classes, the class participants ability to focus is tangible. The place is bereft of mirrors, night club strobing or loud music, so it’s impossible not to be absorbed within yourself, your opponent and the job at hand.
If your mind does indeed wander, your attention will swiftly be brought back to the present as you find yourself on the receiving end of a calculated attack.
Although many of the classes are male-dominated, they’re not reliant on brute strength, but technique. This means even if you’re petite, there’s still a fighting style for you.
‘More women are seeing the benefits of combat sports and regular training in a safe, controlled and inclusive environment.’ Explains Dee.
‘As a coach and trainer, working with predominantly female clients, an hour spent hitting pads offers fantastic stress relief, especially for women in high-powered jobs.
‘We don’t just train bodies, we train minds.
‘It’s also incredibly empowering and people really face their fears whilst learning about themselves and a new discipline.
‘Many of my clients have come from different backgrounds and most will tell you that learning a martial art has changed their life for the better – myself included.
‘Learning Muay Thai and fighting, for example, has made me a better human being.
‘It teaches patience, humility and the importance of accepting failures, and embracing them as opportunities to learn and grow.
‘Once you’ve had a fight you walk with your head held high and with a new kind of confidence.
‘It puts life into perspective.
‘Just training and not competing is a journey that strengthens your mind, as well as your body.’
If you’re apprehensive about taking the plunge and working on your personal development whilst toughing it out at Fight City Gym, I’d highly recommend taking a friend to try out your first few classes.
But, with full disclosure, you’ll be getting up close and personal with whoever you’re sparring with.
And whilst this part of the training enhances mental focus and is an opportunity for multi-tasking and to calm over-stimulated minds, you’ll feel the full benefits of being focused and challenged through patience and practice.
To maintain a consistent level of mental clarity and to really work on your personal development, it takes dedication and regular attendance at this gym.
‘Obviously, your attendance will depend on your goals.’ Dee tells me.
‘We do encourage hard work, and fighting isn’t easy!
‘Those dreaming of stepping in the ring should be training 5 days per week.
‘Most people start off though with a couple of classes a week and mix this with other classes or sessions in the gym, usually though they ‘get the bug’ and become a regular part of our community.
‘Giving an hour of your day to be brave enough to step out your comfort zone, push yourself physically and mentally, and push through your comfort zones will help you approach other challenges in life with a calmer, more relaxed, natural perspective.
‘That 12-hour round business trip or that upcoming three-hour business meeting might also not seem so long, and you’ll have enough stamina to push through, focus and endure.’
Photography courtesy of Fight City Gym & Shutterstock.com