She’s getting ahead of the curve — according to personal trainer Ricky Lundell. The power lifter and jiu-jitsu champ thinks singer Demi Lovato is one of the biggest (and smartest) celebs out there right now embracing the multifaceted workout that is Brazilian jiu-jitsu. When Life & Style spoke with him exclusively, he gave us some insight into why the exercise is so inspiring and motivating to so many big names and faces in Hollywood.

“She’s one of several celebs right now who are finding the beautiful art of jiu-jitsu and empowering themselves while they stay fit, while they stay beautiful, while they stay lean, they’re working their minds,” the trainer and author of One Percent Better Every Day revealed to Life & Style. “They’re finding out that they’re powerful enough as a 120lb girl to actually submit and subdue a 250lb man who has been working out his entire life.”

For those who didn’t already know, jiu-jitsu isn’t just about throwing punches. “It’s like a human chess game. It’s a game of leverage, it’s a game of body mechanics, it’s a game of intelligence,” Ricky explained. “It’s not just power for power. It’s all leverage and proper conditioning, except you have to use your mind to outwit the other person.” So what exactly goes down when you’re sparring? Well, a bunch of things happen, actually.

“You have this physical battle taking place, that’s one part of the battle. It’s almost like a Rocky movie,” he detailed. “After conditioning comes to an end, then you start the mental battle. It’s almost like playing poker. ‘I think I have this move’ or ‘I think I can’ and your brain starts to decide whether or not you can beat this person, and you start to set up traps for this person.”

Though intellect is a huge part of training in jiu-jitsu, it isn’t the only thing that will secure your victory during a match. There’s something else you need — and it’s super important.

“Then, there’s the next part where the physical body is very tired and then your emotional side starts to take over and that’s when you start saying ‘I don’t know if I can anymore.’ Well, when those two shut down, that’s when you start to build your willpower, your soul, your spirit,” he explained. “And that part comes into play — that decides whether you’re going to keep going or not. The only way to really strengthen the spirit is, you have to weaken the body and weaken the mind. The spirit then steps in and has to take control.”

It makes total sense why Demi is loving the soul-searching workout right now: “It’s a crazy, empowering, and beautiful thing.”