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MFC’s Smilin’ Sam Alvey Weighs In on Fitness: MMA Fun for Everyone

MFC's Smilin' Sam Alvey Weighs In on Fitness:

MMA Fun for Everyone

Mixed Martial Arts is a challenging sport. It is mentally and physically draining, requires hard work, dedication and sacrifice. And the matches between fighters while often extremely technical and requiring hours of intense training, are brutal and not for the faint of heart.


However, as the acceptance of MMA as a sport continues to grow, we have been seeing more and more gyms pop up bearing MMA in their listed services and even full blown MMA training gyms appealing to the masses.

Though increasingly popular, Mixed Martial Arts continues to be an intense sport and you may be asking yourself what does MMA have to do with physical fitness for me?


I recently had the opportunity to interview Smilin’ Sam Alvey, Middleweight Champion of the MFC.

1-sam alveySmilin’ Sam currently holds a record of 21-4-2, with his next bout and first title defense scheduled for tomorrow night, May 9th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at the Shaw Convention Centre.

Sam hasn’t always been a fighter. Aside from doing a bit of wrestling in high school, he only started training in martial arts a little over 6 years ago.

After discovering he had some natural talent for fighting and with a few amateur fights behind him, he landed his first professional fighting contract with King of the Cage.

Now, with 27 fights already under his belt and 3 more scheduled in the next two months, Sam’s professional fighting career has been keeping him more than busy.

But when he isn’t battling it out in the cage or preparing for his next fight, Sam can be found at Dan Henderson’s Athletic Fitness Center, helping people from all walks improve their physical fitness.


Sam has been working as a personal trainer for just about 10 years, starting in his junior year of high school with a certificate from ACE. He began teaching MMA shortly after discovering his natural aptitude for it and currently teaches amateur and professional fighters as well as the general public.

He has since combined his knowledge and experiences from the two into the fitness training programs he teaches at DHAFC. Sam offers personal training, one-on-one training for fighters, group fitness classes, adult Pankration, and even a program for kids MMA.

He is a talented fighter, dedicated and hard-working, and his work ethic extends into his job as a trainer. He definitely lives up to his nickname, always wearing his famous smile, but when it is time to train he takes his job seriously and will motivate you to do the same.

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Sam is a family man devoted to his wife, McKey and daughter, Reagan, and his love for teaching and working with children shines through while coaching the kids MMA classes. He is both firm and gentle and deeply cares for his students and their overall well-being.

This can be seen in the way he works to help not only the students in his kids classes succeed, but also in the time he dedicates to each of the members in his adult classes.

I asked Sam if the training he teaches in his fitness classes is similar to the training his fighters go through, to which he responded,

“It is hard to do anything intensely for 15 minutes and when you are fighting you are put in the most uncomfortable positions possible and still have to be able to perform. So while training to be a fighter does require peak physical fitness, it is also A LOT of mental training. The training I teach to people in the fitness classes is based on their personal goals and is a lot more functional and less strict than how I train the fighters.”

Along with the Kids MMA program, and the newly added Adult Pankration classes at DHAFC, Sam runs a class called Quest Ultimate Fitness.

One of the most popular classes offered there, Quest Ultimate Fitness is a group class that incorporates a mix of functional fitness movements, circuit training, and a bit of punching and kicking. These fast-paced, high-intensity classes utilize movements that promote muscle development, burn fat, and are scalable to all fitness levels.

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But most importantly, this type of training works.  According to Smilin’ Sam,

“Training in these types of classes is one of the best things because it keeps your mind occupied, and is easier than just running long distances. We work out in a group setting that is not super strict, but is effective, and people continue to come because it is more fun.”

As anyone who has ever started a new fitness routine knows; you will only get your desired results if you actually continue to do it.

Having a class environment that is different than what you are normally accustomed to, teaches you how to use your body in new ways, and provides a fun way to get together with friends and burn some calories is a sure way to achieve the results you want without feeling like you have to work as hard to get them.

You will likely find multiple gym locations near you offering classes such as kickboxing, introduction to boxing or MMA, and even Jiu-Jitsu wrestling.

These classes are usually open to everyone, done in a group setting, very physically challenging, and a whole lot of fun.  So, while MMA may not be for everyone, a group-based fitness class with a bit of MMA flair could be just the thing you need to kick your training up a notch.

Be sure to catch Smilin’ Sam Alvey as he defends his Middleweight Title against Wes Swofford at MFC 40 tomorrow night, airing live on AXS TV. You can follow Sam on Twitter: @SmilenSam.


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