Is martial arts better than gym?

Martial Arts vs the gym?

Is martial arts better than the gym?  It depends on what you want to achieve.  If you want to look like a professional body builder, the gym will definitely work best.  Most adults want to get fit and healthy, look good and feel good – for that, both martial arts and the gym will work.  The catch is, they will only work if you go!  This is where martial arts has a big advantage.  Standing on a treadmill will work.  Do it often enough for long enough, and you will get fitter… well as long as you turn it on! 😂.  The problem many people find with treadmills, bikes, aerobics classes etc, is that after a while it becomes pretty boring.  Also, because it’s the sole thing you are doing, you notice every step, so it can be hard to keep up motivation.

In martial arts, while you’ll get fit, you do so through doing other things, that is, you’re kicking a bag, working with a partner, punching, grappling… you’re learning something and doing something engaging, so often you’re really sweating and working, but you don’t tend to notice it because it’s a by-product of what you’re doing.

The other thing which helps many people in martial arts are clear short term goals to work towards, ie belts!  Gradings and new belts give us a goal to work towards in training, ie learn x, y and z, then in 3 months you’ll be able to move to the next level and learn even more cool stuff.  Along with the improvements in knowledge and technique, come improvements in fitness too!  It’s a small thing but it helps with motivation and it’s always nice to get a sense of achievement.

Another positive aspect of martial arts training tends to be the well rounded fitness that it gives people.  In a gym, weights work on strength, aerobics machines and classes on aerobic fitness, and if you do a stretch class, that will work on your flexibility, so to get a really well rounded workout, you almost need to be doing three separate things each time you hit the gym, which takes a lot of time and motivation.  Most martial arts work your whole body –  think about Taekwondo for instance, you’re kicking, moving, blocking, punching, using your core… you’ll also work on skills that build strength, and as anyone knows who’s done sparring or bag work, it’s a great aerobic work out.  While most people who start martial arts aren’t very flexible, it’s also a great way to improve flexibility, which helps everything from a sore back (often caused by tight hamstrings) to stiff necks and shoulders.  Put all together, you can see how martial arts give a pretty complete workout, from strength to balance, agility and flexibility.  Most importantly, it’s also fun!  If it’s not a fun workout, you won’t stick at it or achieve any of the great health benefits that come along with being a healthy weight, fit and flexible. 

The social aspect is important too.  At martial arts classes, you mix with a whole range of different and interesting people, make new friends… why is this important?  It helps to maintain motivation…. vs the gym where you are typically just another face and no one knows or cares whether you are there or not.  A simple text from a friend, hey are you coming to class tonight?… is often enough to get you to class on a day when you’re feeling tired.  It’s also nice when the instructor knows your name and takes an interest in helping you improve.

There is of course another obvious option.  Do both!  At Martial Arts Brisbane we have a fully equipped gym as well as our martial arts training halls offering Taekwondo, Krav Maga and BJJ, but even if you’re not lucky enough to live near us, there is no doubt a gym in your area, and hopefully some great martial arts classes too.

Finally, in this unpredictable world, it’s become even more worthwhile to know how to defend yourself. Martial arts and self-defence skills are something you hope you never ever need, but if you do, it’s good to have them… a yogalates class won’t help, nor will Arnold Schwarzenegger gym arms against a knife!  Imagine how good it would feel if you could stand your ground and show an assailant you’re not afraid. The confidence that comes from feeling fit, healthy and knowing you can defend yourself is invaluable. Our self defence lessons incorporate the best techniques from different martial arts which are simple to learn and yet highly effective when used. These self defence lessons also give you a thorough workout and amp up your fitness quotient as well.

So, is martial arts better than gym?.. we think so, but the best way to make up your own mind is to come and try a class 🙂 

With our Martial Arts Lessons you’ll:


  • Get fitter
  • Become more flexible
  • Become more confident
  • Learn how to stay calm
  • Develop more self-control
  • Learn different techniques
  • And make new friends!!

So come try out one of our classes today!


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