Jocelyn Lybarger, a Phoenix mother, fights hard in the gym and in the Mixed Martial Arts cage

GLENDALE, AZ - She's a wife. She's a mother.

She's also one of the toughest women in the Valley.

Jocelyn Lybarger was looking for the perfect workout routine when she discovered the world of mixed martial arts training. Fast forward six years later and she's now a professional MMA fighter, rising to fame in a sport typically dominated by men. 

Mixed martial arts fighting is unlike any other sport: Two combatants go head-to-head inside a steel cage. There they unleash a combination of devastating moves, from kick-boxing and wrestling to jujitsu. The last man (or woman) standing is declared the winner.

Lybarger got her first real taste of MMA fighting at "The Lab" in Glendale. Fresh out of college, she and her sister were looking for something that would give their workouts a boost.

"We were doing the normal gym thing, running on the treadmill, lifting weights, stuff like that," said Lybarger.

But they wanted something more. A friend then invited the sisters to martial arts class and their workouts soon went to a whole new level. 

The warm up alone roped them in. 

"Jill and I could not jump rope for a minute straight," she said.

Considering the goal was to jump rope for five solid minutes, she realized there was no turning back. "That's what got us to the gym every day, to master jump roping for five minutes."

Once she built her strength and stamina, she began training in Muay Thai. Originally taught as a military combat technique, it's now taught in classes that anyone can take - something that more and more Valley women are doing every day. 

 "It's like kickboxing, but you can throw elbows and knees," she said.

 Soon she was working out like it was her only job.

She finally turned pro debuting on the women's professional - MMA circuit. She beat her opponent handily. Now MMA fighting has become her career.

 With her sights set on being the best, Lybarger trains twice a day, five days a week, at The Lab. But she's not the only woman taking part in the high-intensity aerobic training sessions that burn four hundred to a thousand calories per hour. And the results can be impressive. Not only do the women become trained in self-defense, they also sculpt their bodies, resulting in smaller waists, toned arms, legs and hips.   

The key to it all of it is commitment. 

"If you have a good work ethic and want to work your butt off then anyone can do it," says Jocelyn. "Just like I tell my girls, you can do anything. It doesn't matter."

The most popular classes for women at "The Lab" are kick-boxing and cardio training. They offer a variety of programs geared to beginners all the way to MMA professionals. They also a variety of children's classes. 

For more information on MMA workouts and exercise classes visit The Lab website.

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