Health + Wellness

Impact MMA looks to tackle the mid-day slump

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Impact MMA has seen a steady increase in their mid-day classes since they first opened 10 years ago. From students to stockbrokers and retirees, the MMA revolution has truly taken root in conservative Singapore.

The early morning or mid-day workout is far more common these days, and its benefits go far beyond battling sleepiness or low-energy at our desks.

Led by Singapore’s first MMA fighter Bruce Loh, and Singapore’s only UFC fighter, Royston Wee, Impact MMA is a gym for professional fighters, aspiring fighters, occasional fighters and those fighting a sedentary lifestyle at work. They are observing a steady stream of professionals and C-suite clients coming in for an afternoon pow wow.

The Active Age spoke with Bruce Loh and Royston Wee, Coaches at Impact MMA to understand more about the mid-day slump and how Impact MMA looks to help their customers with work-day workouts.

The Active Age (AA): Is the midday slump real? Why do you think people feel this way?

Impact MMA: (IMMA): The midday slump is a common term used to describe feeling sluggish in the afternoon, usually experienced after lunch time. Some of the common symptoms include sleepiness, moodiness, and an inability to focus. All of which contribute to an overall decline in productivity.

There are many reasons that people experience the midday slump, such as:

  • Experiencing a carbohydrate crash after a heavy lunchtime meal
  • Inconsistent sleeping patterns
  • High levels of work-life stress

Most importantly, these are often exacerbated by an individual’s lack of activity. As working professionals get carried away by work-related tasks, they become increasingly unmotivated and pre-occupied, and consequently, more averse to integrating physical activity into their routines.

AA:  What are the benefits of integrating a workout into your work day?

IMMA: We often hear people say “I don’t have time to exercise”, but more often than not it is a mental block that is easily overcome once an individual experiences the positive effects of integrating a quick workout into his/her day. It’s all about prioritising your time and managing it well.

We have clients who are professionals from all walks of life, such as businessmen, surgeons, doctors and bankers. However, this does not prevent them from finding the time to exercise and attend training sessions diligently every week, while balancing their work and family time. It is a matter of will and determination.

A quick midday workout will boost your energy levels and increase blood flow to the brain, which sharpens your awareness and overall productivity. In addition, physical activity is an excellent stress reliever and mood enhancer. Our students often tell us that they feel better after a session, as it helps them take their mind off their tasks at work – even if it is just for an hour. They are able to head back to work with greater resolve and focus.

AA:  What are the benefits of martial arts classes, for those looking for a midday workout?

IMMA: Most forms of physical activity will help individuals feel less sluggish during the workday. However, participating in a lunchtime martial arts class provides individuals with the unique concoction of a high-intensity, quick burst workout that incorporates cardio and strength work in an engaging environment.

Lunchtime classes are compressed workouts, which ensure that our students can work up a sweat even when their time is limited.

There are METCON and HIIT classes available in many gyms across Singapore where people can engage in variety of cardio-intensive exercises for half an hour, but it does not present a holistic, multi-level experience like a martial arts class.

Ultimately, a martial arts class trains multiple aspects of a person’s physical and mental health. It incorporates strength and cardio work, coordination and flexibility drills, and even trains your reflexes. Our students also feel that their training sessions are somewhat therapeutic, as they are able to take their mind off work and channel their energy and focus into their workouts. One unique feature of martial arts training apart is that it requires a lot of strategic thinking, which may not be the case for other forms of exercise like lifting weights and yoga classes.

For just a short pocket of time, our students channel their full focus into the martial arts class and the added element of strategy requires a more complex level of focus. Thus, beyond just providing a good workout, martial arts classes provide multi-level engagement, which helps in relieving the stress accumulated from the workday.

Martial arts classes also present a personal challenge, which many of our students love.

With martial arts like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), classes are an ongoing learning journey as students learn new techniques and set incremental goals for themselves. This also trains their dedication, concentration and patience. These classes are also conducted in a group environment, which helps to cultivate one’s own personal development. When our students attend classes during the lunch hour, they know that they are pushing their boundaries by doing something that is physically strenuous. When you are doing something difficult together, this develops a sense of camaraderie and fun, and those positive feelings carry over to the rest of the day.

AA:  How does martial arts training benefit your overall health and wellness?

IMMA: Martial arts training has profound and obvious benefits for a person’s physical health. It incorporates three different types of exercises: aerobic, anaerobic, and metabolic. Martial arts training also involves improving your overall physical fitness through auxiliary exercises such as skipping rope, running, sprints, pull ups, push ups, squats and box jumps.

Taking Muay Thai, BJJ or wrestling classes will bring a whole host of physical benefits, such as:

  • Heightened cardiovascular health
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Quicker reflexes
  • Greater mobility and flexibility
  • Improved strength and power
  • Better stability and coordination
  • Weight loss, when combined with a sensible diet

Martial arts training also enhances an individual’s mental and emotional wellbeing. As mentioned earlier, it is an excellent stress reliever. The cardio work increases blood flow, which helps to fight the effects of stress while taking your mind off your immediate tasks and problems. The classes also involve breathing exercises, and our students are taught breathing techniques to control the breath to better pace themselves – the practice of proper breathing techniques is another stress reliever that benefits an individual’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

Martial arts training also improves your concentration in the workplace. Martial arts training teaches students to develop higher levels of awareness and concentration, especially in a sparring session. When executing a move, we are constantly focusing on what our next steps are and how this will benefit the overall strategy. There are countless moves, techniques and combinations that students learn throughout the course of their training sessions, and each training session requires students to keep focus and be mentally present. This trains the ability to focus and stay calm, which is lacking in today’s fast pace world.

As we live in a developed and fast-paced country, Singaporeans are accustomed to the speed and accessibility of life. However, martial arts and combat sports in general will truly teach you the value of patience and humility. To really learn and become adept at a martial art is a gradual process, as you work your way towards understanding technique and movement. As such, it changes your entire mentality, and challenges you to constantly rethink and appreciate the steps taken to become a better martial artist.

AA:  What type of classes do you have at Impact MMA? Who are these classes best suited for?

IMMA: We offer a range of programmes in all the key disciplines of Muay Thai, BJJ, No-Gi Grappling, Wrestling and Boxing, as well as Mixed Martial Arts training.

Muay Thai uses stand-up striking and clinching techniques, which includes punches, kicks, elbow strikes and knee strikes. It is often considered to be one of the fundamental skill sets for mixed martial artists, as many techniques associated with Muay Thai are found in MMA training. Muay Thai classes are broken up by levels, and suitable for all skill and comfort levels.

BJJ is a grappling technique, which focuses on teaching practitioners how to take opponents to the ground, where they either achieve a dominant position or utilise a submission hold to end the fight. Complementary to the stand-up dominance of Muay Thai, BJJ rounds up a fighter’s ground game in the sport of MMA. BJJ classes are also offered across different levels at Impact MMA.

No-gi grappling is best suited for intermediate level students who are keen to hone their grappling skills. This is usually introduced after the students understand the basic concepts of BJJ.

Wrestling is more suited for advanced martial arts practitioners, because it requires a base-level understanding of two concepts. You have to understand how to manage the distance between your opponent and yourself and you have to also develop an instinct to time your attacks on your opponent. Wrestling incorporates explosive motions to control and manoeuvre an opponent to gain an advantage. Wrestling classes will train you in short bursts of movement and techniques such as takedowns, throws, and pins, which are more technical.

MMA combines the best elements from all of the different martial arts disciplines and allows one to use techniques that best fit the situation, whether opponents are standing up, on the ground in combat. This is usually taught after beginners are able to have a basic grasp of one or more of the disciplines.

AA: How does someone with no martial arts background get started with lessons?

IMMA: The gym’s philosophy is that everyone is welcome and has the ability to pick up martial arts. Many people feel intimidated by the idea of starting a brand-new sport, or even hobby, which is why we have built a very informal family-club setting at Impact MMA.

Individuals of all fitness levels and athletic backgrounds can participate in our classes, and we tailor our teaching methods to suit each student’s comfort level. We generally advise our clients to start with core disciplines like Muay Thai or BJJ, to get their fundamentals right before moving on to MMA training, if they desire.

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