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In the Ring


Mixed martial arts hold the key to fitness for Shawn Gayton.


Shawn Gayton, gym owner and head instructor at Mid City Martial Arts Academy, grew up in Cut Off, Louisiana, and has always had a love of martial arts. He came to the Crescent City to attend the University of New Orleans, while seeking out some sort of opportunity. He just didn’t know what that opportunity would be. But as soon as he found Brazilian jiu jitsu and began practicing mixed martial arts at age 23, he knew immediately that he wanted to make a career out of it.

Gayton opened Mid City MMA in 2013 with the help of friends and family. “The gym offers Brazilian jiu jitsu, no gi jiu jitsu, striking (boxing, kickboxing, etc.), wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu kids classes,” Gayton says. “Mid City MMA has multiple successful pro and amateur MMA fighters, two of whom are close to the highest level. We have multiple high-level grappling and Brazilian jiu jitsu competitors, as well as wrestling coaches with combined 50+ years of experience. But most importantly, we are all tolerant, open minded, successful humans that come from all walks of life, but we all have the same goal of being a little bit better when we walk through the door and onto the mats. We consistently facilitate a fun, comfortable, safe and friendly learning experience.”

For his personal fitness routine, Gayton makes it a goal to get 40 to 50 live rounds of grappling each week and five to 10 rounds of live sparring each week. In addition to time in the gym, he includes at least four to eight miles of outdoor running each week. When he can, he also likes to incorporate long boarding and kayaking to break up his routine.

And when it comes to what he enjoys most about his profession? “I get to do what I love most with the people I care about every single day,” he says.



“I like to set many types of goals and write them down somewhere so I am able to see and read them regularly,” Gayton says. “These goals range from daily to weekly to yearly, as well as both personal and professional. It is a challenge to keep goals realistic, while still pushing your own boundaries and comfort zone. But like everything else, it just takes consistency. This really helps me embrace both my successes and failures as valuable lessons.”


“I try to keep my carbs and sugars in check, while keeping a nutrient-dense diet, but it is a challenge in this city,” Gayton says. “I feel like I manage my weight best and get my best personal performance when I consume a diet of high fat, moderate protein and low carbs. I also practice intermittent fasting consistently to help me stay disciplined.”


“Macy Chiasson came to us right around the time I opened the gym,” Gayton says. “At the time, Macy had a 1-1 amateur MMA record, limited technical knowledge and unlimited potential. Throughout the years, she has put in an incredible amount of hard work and determination. In a relatively short period of time, she has worked her way up to hold an undefeated record as a professional fighter who is now a cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 28.”


“Be open-minded; find a balance between what you want and what’s best for [you],” Gayton says.