It’s not a proper summer without long days at the beach, lake, river, or your neighborhood pool. However, the season tends to creep up on even the best of us. Although the water and weather are perfect, the beach bodies we promised ourselves on New Years are lagging behind. In an effort to take advantage of “shirtless summer” we spend hours running on treadmills, doing sit-ups, and trying to eat healthier.
Let’s face it though, treadmills and sit-ups get incredibly boring after a week. It’s hard to keep up with a routine that you dread doing, and it’s all too easy to make an excuse to skip your workout. The key is to change it up and add in some workouts that are both intense and exciting. Wrestling and grappling sports are by far some of the best options to consider.
Why You Should Change Up Your Workouts
If you’re serious about your fitness, then you should constantly change-up your workouts. Boredom aside, you body also tends to plateau if you stick to the same exercise routine week after week and month after month.
This is because your body’s first directive is to conserve energy. Every time that you repeat an exercise or workout, your body finds a more efficient (less fat-burning) way to do it. While this is great when it comes to sports, it’s not going to help you lose those last few pounds that you’re desperately trying to get rid of.
Why You Should Try Wrestling
You can combat these plateaus by changing up your workout routine and adding some fun new exercises and sports. Traditionally, combat sports were more serious. If you were wrestling, boxing, grappling, or doing karate, you were doing it for competition. Nowadays, though, sports like wrestling and grappling are just as common among those who just want to workout and have a good time doing it.
The first reason is that wrestling is fun. When two friends or strangers face each other on the mat, there’s a competitive vibe that makes a 30-minute workout seem like 10 minutes of pure fun. Wrestling is a sport that requires both mental aptitude and physical conditioning, so it keeps you focused, and pushes your body to its limit every time.
The second reason to try wrestling is that it’s a full-body workout. Not only is it a great source of high-intensity interval cardio, but it works all of the muscles in your body from your neck all the way down to your feet. Grappling forces you to utilize all of the strength and leverage in your body to overcome your opponent, and the added incentive of personal victory ensures that you’re never putting in sub-par effort.Finally, wrestling is a great way to get out any stress, tension, or aggressive energy without actually hurting yourself or others. Not to say that you can’t get injured while wrestling, but in a controlled environment with proper safety gear the chances of substantial injury are slim.
Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training
Above, we mentioned that wrestling is a great form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). While some of you may have heard of this before, let’s take a minute to break down exactly what it is and why it’s one of the best ways to shred fat and pack on muscle. Wrestling is a great example of HIIT training, as you’ll be exerting yourself for quick, intense matches, with short periods of down time in between.
The concept of HIIT is short bursts of high-intensity cardio that push your heart rate between 70% and 90% of its maximum, followed by short rest periods which reduce your heart rate to around 60% of its maximum. In traditional cardio, you’ll keep your heart rate around 65% of its maximum for a duration of 20-30 minutes. While this is good for building endurance, it’s not the best option if you’re trying to burn fat quickly.
When you push your body to 90% of its maximum heart rate, even if it’s just for a short interval, you’re increasing the amount of oxygen flowing through your veins, and using a huge amount of energy (fat stores and carbohydrates) all at once. By following up with short rest periods, you’re keeping your body in a state of constant cardio with peaks that are sure to blow through any plateau. In addition, your body will continue to burn extra fat for up to an hour after you finish.
Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers
HIIT targets your fast-twitch muscle fibers. These are the fibers that are responsible for quick, explosive movements. Look at the difference between Olympic sprinters and marathon runners. The sprinters are packed full of lean explosive muscle, whereas the marathon runners have very little muscle and maintain a light frame to increase endurance. The moral of the story is; building up fast-twitch muscle fibers makes you look a lot better without a shirt.
What Do I Need to Start Wrestling/Grappling?
Now that you know a little bit more about wrestling, HIIT, and how they can help you charge through boredom and plateaus, let’s take a look at some of the gear that you’ll need to start out with.
Visits to the dentist are incredibly expensive. If this isn’t enough incentive to wear a mouth guard, think about how much uglier that you would look missing your front teeth. Even the most shredded six-pack isn’t enough to make up for that. A mouth guard costs $10. Buy one.
Proper Wrestling Shoes
It’s important to pick up a pair of official wrestling shoes before you start grappling. While some gyms will allow you to go barefoot or wear socks, a pair of wrestling shoes will give you a considerable advantage. Your sweaty feet and slippery socks will glide over the surface of the mat and you’ll find yourself slipping left and right, losing both your footing and every match against your opponent who does have proper wrestling shoes.
Final Fitness Tips
There you have it! If shredding fat and packing on some fresh muscle isn’t enough to motivate you to try wrestling, then the amount of fun that will certainly do it. Look around your local area and try to find a wrestling or MMA gym where you can take classes, spar, and hone your skills. While you may not become the next WWE superstar overnight, your confidence will certainly match it!