A New Workout

Twenty years ago Carlson Gracie introduced America to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC. The sport took the country by storm and has expanded to clothing lines, gyms and has knocked boxing almost off the map. But if you take out the violence and fighting you’re left with an intense workout that has people of all ages stepping into the octagon.

Brian Bishop, Jiu-jitsu instructor at the Carlson Gracie gym in Aurora, believes whether you’re four years old or 74, one of the best workouts you can get is training in mixed martial arts (MMA.)

Combining Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, kickboxing, Muay Thai and other techniques, MMA not only whips you into shape, it teaches self-defense.

“I continually see students come in and over a period of six months lose 50 pounds or more and are in the best shape of their life,” said Bishop. “Better than they ever have been before or back to the shape they were in when they were younger.

Naperville resident Aftabur Rahman knew he had to do something about his health after a trip to the doctor proved he was not only pre-diabetic, but he had high cholesterol and high blood sugar. He decided to give MMA a shot and joined Carlson Gracie in September.

“I’ve been back to the doctor since I started and the health turnaround has been vast,” said Rahman. “I got my blood sugar down like 14 points in three months. My cholesterol is much better, I dropped like 30 pounds and my cardio is much better.”

Unlike some workouts, members at Carlson Gracie say the one you get from MMA always keeps you interested.

“It’s a lot more fun,” said Katie Horn. “Engaging instead of just running in one place for hours at a time. You are working every other muscle in your body that you didn’t know you had.”

“You get to switch it up,” said Rahman. “Your body doesn’t get used to just one thing and you never really see that plateau that you might see working out at a conventional gym.”

While there may be several fitness benefits, many still believe it’s a barbaric sport with a goal of harming others. But Bishop says it’s just the opposite.

“We strictly have a policy we don’t teach the bad guys, we do not teach bullies,” said Bishop. “We bring kids in and we really reinforce that this is for safety. This is not something we play with our brothers and sisters or friends.”

Horn even says it takes the aggression out of her.

“Since I’ve been coming here I’ve really been a lot less stressed. It gets the bad day out of me. I can really come home and be relaxed and stress free,” she said.

She also says even though it’s a male dominated sport, there is nothing a girl can’t do that a guy can.

To find out more about the Carlson Gracie team and for membership opportunities you can visit their web site at chicagommatraining.com.

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