Fighting Fit

Fighting Fit

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Embrace the suffering to take your fitness to a new level.

Athletes are always looking for ways to take their fitness to the next level. Many times, one of the key components is teaching your mind and body to embrace the suffering experienced during challenging workouts and training sessions. However, suffering during workouts is not about pushing your body to injury—it’s about raising your own personal ceiling and taking your body and mind outside of your comfort zone.

Here are two workouts that will train your muscular system, aerobic energy system, and your anaerobic energy system. Implementing these workouts into your training regimen will enable your body to go longer, harder, and faster before you fatigue.

The Sprint
1. Pushups: 25 reps
2. Sit-ups: 25 reps
3. Burpees: 25 reps
4. Jump Squats: 25 reps
5. Stationary Bike: 6 minutes

Perform exercises 1-4 without resting. Get on a stationary bike and remain seated for 5 minutes, keeping the bike at 100+ RPMs. This is designed to tax your cardiovascular system. For the final minute on the bike, stand up and sprint as fast as you can. This is one circuit.

Your goal is to complete 6 nonstop circuits for a total of 150 repetitions per exercise and 36 minutes of cycling.

The Powerhouse
1. Pushups: 25 reps
2. Sit-ups: 25 reps
3. Burpees: 25 reps
4. Jump Squats: 25 reps
5. Stationary Bike: 6 minutes

Perform exercises 1-4 without resting. Get on a stationary bike and remain seated for 6 minutes, keeping the bike at 70-77 RPMs. Add as much resistance as you can to maintain the prescribed RPMs. Unlike the Sprint Workout, where your goal is 100+ RPMs to work the cardiovascular system, the Powerhouse Workout uses a high amount of resistance and a lower RPMs, which will significantly tax your muscular system (quads, calves, glutes, and hamstrings). This is one circuit.

Your goal is to complete 6 nonstop circuits for a total of 150 repetitions per exercise and 36 minutes of cycling.

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If you are ready to embrace the suffering and take your fitness to the next level, incorporate both of these workouts each week. Replace one of your standard cardiovascular workouts with the Sprint or Powerhouse. The workouts can be done 1-2 times per week. Wear a heart rate monitor during each workout to monitor your progress over time.

Before and after each workout, warm-up and cool down by stretching and riding the stationary bike for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to keep your body fueled and hydrated throughout the circuits.

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Increase your overall punching performance and endurance by utilizing these 3 simple workouts.

By Jason Van Veldhuysen

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You don’t have to look much further than Anderson Silva’s dismantling of Forrest Griffin to see a clear example of what superior striking can do in MMA. But the ability to control entire fights in the striking range, or use effective striking to set up opponents for techniques that favor your overall strategy, doesn’t come easily. Increasing the efficiency of your punching motion is key to giving you the fluidity necessary to raise your striking performance to the next level.

But how do you organize your training to get the maximum benefit and integration of skills for MMA? Part of the answer is style based—it depends on your strengths and what type of fighter you are. A former wrestler like Johny Hendricks will likely take a different approach than a former pro boxer and kickboxer like Anderson Silva. It’s also important to take into account the opponent you are preparing for and where you are headed with your skillset long term. All things being equal, the old saying, “what you put in is what you get out” still applies.

Raise your efficiency, raise your level
Punching is primarily an anaerobic activity—it is an explosive action. From a physiological standpoint, the minute you start throwing punches, you only have a maximum of 15-20 seconds of high quality output before the effectiveness of your punches takes a serious decline. On the heavy bag, a high level amateur boxer can throw about 200 punches per 3-minute round (assuming active footwork and head movement), and depending on the focus of the round, a high level pro can hit upwards of 300 punches per round. Here, we’ll outline a few of these concepts and learn how to apply them in the gym. You don’t have to take the words as gospel, feel free to apply the concepts and make modifications to the specifics as needed.

Maximize your work
Once a fighter learns proper striking technique, the most significant component impacting progress over the long run is the striking work rate. Striking work rate can be broken down into two components:

1) The total number of punches thrown over time or during a given period of time. This aspect of work rate improves technique, speed, and efficiency.

2) The quality of striking, i.e. how hard, fast, and accurate those strikes are.

Your work rate for striking is where quality meets quantity, and is one of the biggest training assets that an MMA fighter can absorb from traditional western boxing. Because MMA training encompasses so many disciplines, it’s imperative that your time spent striking is of the highest quality—there isn’t a moment to waste. Follow the steps outlined below and I am confident they will take your striking to another level.

1.) Train for a high volume of punches to increase efficiency and improve technique

2.) Train for speed endurance and high quality speed to emulate the intensity of combat

3.) Integrate the improvements into your MMA game.

Step three will be taken care of through ‘business as usual’ MMA training. Just ensure that you apply your techniques at full speed and maintain a high work rate. Other than intentional breaks and rest cycles built into your training, your goal is to maintain the new level of output attained through your striking ramp-up.

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Workout 1 – High Volume Punching
The purpose of high volume punching is to educate your muscles to punch properly and efficiently. Studies of elite distance runners in the 1980s showed that runners with higher biomechanical efficiency were able to keep pace with, and even beat counterparts who possessed a higher VO2 max. Simply stated, better technique equals more speed, power, and endurance for a given amount of work, and there is no better way to improve your punching technique than by high volume punching. Through repetition, you are training your muscles and nervous system to “groove” a particular motion. Your body adapts to this motion over time so that it requires fewer resources to execute. Kinetic linking of your whole body and punch trajectory slowly becomes refined. If your striking is not where you want it to be, then take one workout of the week and dedicate it to high volume punching. A good mark for an MMA fighter to shoot for is somewhere between 3000 and 3500 punches in a given workout, including shadowboxing, the heavy bag, and other optional tools such as mitt work and the double-end bag. You don’t need to count each punch yourself—instead you can estimate it based on a few drills and the number of sets you perform.

How to do it:

Stand in front of the heavy bag and throw long range, high quality punches non-stop for one minute. They don’t have to be at an all out pace, just hard and fast enough that you could go a few seconds over the minute before requiring rest. If you don’t make it through the minute, then it’s a clear sign your punch technique and efficiency needs work. How many punches did you count? My guess is that you hit somewhere between 200 and 250 punches. Take a break for 30 seconds and repeat.

Repeat this drill for as many time as it takes to clock 3000 or more punches. Your output per minute will decrease as the time goes on. To remain on the safe side, aim for 20 sets of 1 minute. As the rounds go on you can lengthen the rest up to 1 minute if that helps to maintain your quality of striking. Your main goal is to throw between 3000-3500 punches in this workout.

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Workout 2 – Speed Endurance
Outside of busy and active sparring, speed endurance is the best way to prepare for a fight, as it most closely resembles the pace of a high pressure fight. The rest periods will be short between punch combinations.

How to do it:

For one workout of the week, choose a few 5-8 punch combinations that you have practiced and can throw effectively, then step to the heavy bag or get yourself ready for an intense shadowboxing session. Set your timer for the desired length of time—ideally 5 minutes to simulate a full round. Once the bell goes, throw one of your combinations with full speed and power. As soon as you are finished throwing, move laterally left or right and give yourself just enough time to take one breath, then reset into striking position and throw again at full speed and power. Continue at this pace for the length of the round. Push your output at a high pace to the best of your ability.

Workout 3 – High Quality Speed
This type of training focuses on increasing your maximum speed and power in single bursts of activity. Think of it as the equivalent of the 40-yard dash in football. The goal is to release all-out explosive combinations, where speed, power, and precision harmonize. You are essentially pushing your punch capacity for a single burst of activity.

How to do it:

For one workout of the week choose a few combinations ranging between 5-8 punches and throw them with maximum speed and power. The difference here is that your recovery time between combinations will be longer than the speed endurance workout so you can fully recover. After you throw your combinations, you will move around laterally and relax your whole body. Take anywhere from a 10-15 second break before throwing your next combo. Remember, each release of your combo has to be at maximum speed and power—don’t hold anything back.


Conclusion

The overall focus of this program is to bring your striking to a new level. Your chain is only as strong as its weakest link. By focusing on striking for a set period of time, you will not only enhance this aspect of your game, but you will learn better integration and transition of your other skills. My recommendation is to follow this program for one month. Do each workout once a week for four weeks, totaling 12 striking-focused workouts. Once you have completed one month of training, you can re-assess your striking. As your MMA training progresses, strive to keep your striking at the highest quality, and remember—don’t waste a single punch.

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Plan ahead with these three essentials that will fuel your workouts and ensure your survival in the summer heat.

• Energy on the go

Hectic afternoons can lead to subpar fast food lunches if you haven’t planned ahead. Pack a lunch that doesn’t need to be reheated if you’re going to be on the run, and if you’re trying to stick with lighter summer dishes, try a cold quinoa salad topped with last night’s grilled chicken.

image descQuinoa Salad With Grilled Chicken

Ingredients
• 1 cup quinoa
• 2 tbs. olive oil
• 2 limes, fresh squeezed
• 2-3 mint leaves, chopped
• 2 tbs. cilantro, chopped
• 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
• 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions
Rinse and cook quinoa as directed on package. Place cooked quinoa in a bowl, add remaining ingredients, and toss lightly to combine. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate. For a packed lunch, dice leftover grilled chicken breast and mix with the quinoa.

Nutrition Info: Calories 398; Fat 10g; Protein 42g; Carbs 35g

• Hydration Essentials

With as little as a 2 percent loss of body weight via sweat, your strength, endurance, and cognitive function will start to nosedive, while your perceived sense of exertion will be on the upswing.

For regular day-to-day hydration or for shorter, less intense workouts lasting less than 60 minutes, water is typically sufficient, but If training sessions are longer, intense, or in hot/humid conditions, you’ll want an electrolyte-based sports drink with 6-8 percent carbohydrate and electrolytes. image descThis will provide you with quick-digesting carbs for energy and replace the electrolytes lost in sweat. Products like Gatorade Perform and Gatorade G Natural (for a cleaner ingredient list) are what you’re looking for, as they serve up 50-70 calories, 14-17g of carbs, 110-190mg sodium, and 10-30mg potassium per 8 ounces.

Drink Up

• Pre-Training: Consume 8-16 ounces of water 15-30 minutes before your workout.
• In-Training: Consume 5-12 ounces of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes as tolerated.
• Post-Training: Consume 16-24 ounces of water or sports drink per pound body weight lost due to sweat.

When you don’t need the added carbs of the traditional electrolyte sports drinks for refueling, try low sugar/Stevia sweetened versions such as Gatorade G2 Natural, Ultima Replenisher, and VegaSport Electrolyte Hydrator.

• Sunscreen

A little sun is good for us, as we need Vitamin D, but extended exposure can be dangerous. Choosing the right sunscreen is important to ensure your protection. Here are a few things to avoid and look for before you lotion up.

image desc• Avoid sunscreen in spray or towelette forms. These make it difficult to judge coverage and inhaling sunscreen mist is no beuno.
• Avoid sunscreen containing Oxybenzone or Retinyl Palmitate which have been shown to affect hormone levels and increase the chances of skin damage.
• Avoid sunscreen with super-high SPF (100+): The SPF (sun protection factor) on these products refers to protection against UVB rays that will burn your skin, but it has nothing to do with protection against the deeper penetrating, more dangerous UVA rays. For the best defense, choose a UVB/UVA balanced product with an SPF in the ranges of 30-50, and reapply as directed and often.

For balanced UVB/UVA protection in optimal SPF ranges, check out these FIGHT! approved brands.

• Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sport Stick Sunscreen SPF 30+
• Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen for Active Lifestyles, Tropical SPF 30+
• Badger Sport Sunscreen, Unscented SPF 35
• Badger All-Season Face Stick SPF 35
• Sunology Natural Sunscreen for Face SPF 50

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image descIn this month’s MMA 101, Chris Weidman’s striking coach, Ray Longo, chronicles the standing elbow that Weidman used to derail Mark Munoz’s four-fight win streak and catapult him to a title shot against Anderson Silva.

From watching video of Munoz, we noticed that he was telegraphing his overhand right by leaping into the punch to cover distance. Any time a fighter telegraphs his intention, it allows the opponent to “stop hit” or intercept his movement. Knowing Chris would have a reach advantage, coupled with Munoz’s exaggerated motion, we thought Chris could intercept his punch with a standing elbow.

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1) Chris and Ray square off in orthodox stances.

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2) Chris throws a straight right to get a feel for distance, which Ray parries. Ray begins to counter with a looping overhand right.

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3) As Ray continues to throw the overhand right, Chris slips the punch to the outside, steps in, and delivers a short, right elbow to Ray’s face.

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4) As in the Munoz fight, the elbow rocks Ray, who turns to the inside, giving Chris the opportunity to take his back.

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Lunges are a great unilateral (one-leg) exercise option that can help improve your stance, level changes, directional changes, and punching power. By focusing on the strength and ability of each leg independently, it allows you to “bring up” your weak side and reduce your chance of injury. Add these three lunge variations to your workout regimen to improve the strength and performance of your lower body.

TODD DUFFEE
After a two-year hiatus, heavyweight Todd Duffee returned to the Octagon at UFC 155, earning Knockout of the Night over Phil De Fries. Currently, Duffee is training at American Kickboxing Academy with big boys Cain Velasquez and
Daniel Cormier.

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1. Anterior Leaning Lunge

The anterior leaning lunge provides an eccentric overload stimulus to the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back that can help improve your ability to change levels.

Stand tall and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your side. Step forward with one leg, keeping your front knee bent 20 degrees and your back knee straight. As your front foot hits the ground, simultaneously lean forward by hinging at your hips. Keep your back straight and allow your rear heel to come off the ground. Reverse the motion by stepping backward and returning to a standing position.

Coaching Tips

• Don’t round your back. The anterior (forward) lean should come from hinging at your hip joint.
• Don’t let the dumbbells touch the floor at any point during this exercise.
• Lean your torso forward until it becomes parallel to the floor.
• Keep your back knee straight as you lean into each rep.
• Allow your rear heel to come off the ground as you lean into each rep.

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2. Fighter’s Lunge

The fighter’s lunge creates a reciprocal resistance stimulus by simultaneously strengthening the hip flexors on one side while also working the hip extenders on the other leg. This replicates and improves the force production pattern involved in creating explosive knee strikes.

Stand tall and hold a dumbbell in each hand. The dumbbell in your right hand should be outside of your right hip and the dumbbell in your left hand should be in front of your left thigh. Perform a reverse lunge by stepping backward with your left leg, allowing your left knee to gently touch the ground. As you return back to the standing position, allow your left thigh to meet the center handle of the dumbbell. With the dumbbell against the middle of your left thigh, flex your hip and raise your knee just above 90 degrees to the floor (as throwing a knee strike). Step backward again with your left leg and repeat.

Coaching Tips

• As your rear leg comes forward, the dumbbell should be mid-thigh level as you flex your hip.
• As you flex your hip, lift your knee just above your hip joint before returning your leg back for the next rep.
• Your thigh should gently touch the dumbbell.

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3. Lateral Lunge with Cross-Body Reach

The lateral lunge with cross-body reach helps improve the ability of the glutes to load and explode in a manner that transfers force across the body from one side to the other. This helps improve your ability to change direction and throw powerful strikes.

Stand tall and hold a dumbbell in your left hand by your side. Step out laterally with your right leg, allowing your right knee to bend 20 degrees. Simultaneously shift all your weight to your right leg as you reach your left arm in front of your right foot. Explode out of this position and return to the same starting position.

Coaching Tips

• Hinge at your hip joint and do not round your back as you lean forward and reach across your body.
• Keep both feet pointed straight ahead throughout this exercise.
• Do not take long lateral steps (this is not a stretching exercise).
• It is designed to improve your ability to transfer force across your body.
• Your trailing leg should be straight as you begin each lunge.

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Reps

3-6 reps per leg with each set of lunges.

Sets

3-5 total sets of each lunge variation. Be sure to use 1-2 different lunge variations within a given workout.

Tempo

Lower into each lunge using deliberate control. Explode out of each lunge in a powerful manner while still maintaining solid technique.

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By Tom Barry | westside-barbell.com

Eddie Wineland’s strength and conditioning training is just as unconventional as his appearance. Applied Strength & Conditioning coach Jason Gus carefully utilizes the training principles taught by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell to develop Eddie’s absolute strength, explosive strength, and dynamic muscle endurance. The goal of these five exercises is to develop these strength types by targeting the muscles (hips, lower back, and glutes) that give Eddie his knockout power and his never-ending gas tank.

image desc1. Resistance Band Grappling

Sets: 2-3, Duration: 5 Minutes

This exercise can be used as a warm-up or as a main accessory exercise. It is well known that grappling works the whole body. Adding a resistance band around the waist adds an extra 50 to 200 lbs. of resistance that constantly pulls Eddie backward. This exercise forces him to explode forward in order to overcome band resistance. The band relentlessly forces Eddie to push his hips forward. This will develop isometric strength and dynamic endurance in his hip flexors.

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image desc2. “Gus Grapples” Medicine Ball Drill

Sets: 1, Duration: 5 Minutes

The goal of this exercise is to train Eddie’s overall muscular endurance as well as his ability to recruit his explosive strength at any stage during a fight. To perform correctly, focus on maximal acceleration as you take three steps forward, while simultaneously throwing the medicine ball. It is vital that constant tension is kept on the bands at the start and finish of every movement.

This exercise mimics the central nervous system demands that occur during grappling exchanges against the cage and helps to train Eddie to keep constant forward pressure with his hips. To avoid adaptation, numerous movements with the medicine ball while varying the band tension or changing the ball weight can be implemented (super-set this exercise with sumo deadlifts and your explosive power will go through the roof).

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3. Belt Squat Walk (Westside Style)

Sets: 2-3, Duration: 5 Minutes

This exercise is a tremendous hip and glute developer that provides a carryover to Eddie’s kick and knee power. While standing in a wide stance on the boxes, Eddie will “belt squat walk” by shuffling his weight from his right leg to his left leg while contracting his glutes for five minutes. To add variety, he will perform 10-15 reps of high knee strikes to a pad, or he will squat to parallel and then return to walking until the five minute duration is up. To change up the exercise, Eddie will add stronger bands, heavier kettlebells, or swing the kettlebell in order to focus more on stabilization.

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4. Sled Drag with Pummeling

Sets: 1, Duration: 5 Minutes

This exercise will build up the entire posterior chain while simultaneously building muscle endurance. Attach a sled to a weightlifting belt around your waist and explosively walk forward with long strides. While walking forward, have your training partner pummel with you for one-minute-on and one-minute-off intervals for the five-minute duration. Remember to always keep walking forward, pulling from the heels.

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5. Sled Drag with Atlas Stone Carry

Sets: 10, Duration: 60-Yard Trips

This exercise develops sheer brute force. The awkward position of carrying the atlas stone with a Gable grip presses against the diaphragm, making it hard to breath. This exercise is an incredible conditioning exercise. It will build muscle endurance in addition to developing strength.
Eddie will use a Gable grip (overlap hand grip) around the atlas stone, while pulling his shoulders back and keeping the core of his body tight. He will power-walk forward with a sled for 60 yards and immediately return to where he started.

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Vegetables. We all know we should eat them. Their strong showing of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber help power us through the day in a healthy manner. It’s also hard to argue with the numerous studies that show those who eat vegetables have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

image descEven though you can harness optimal nutrition from your veggies depending on the type you choose and how you prepare them, the full story of nutrient availability begins the moment the veggie is picked. Once this occurs, the clock is ticking. This is one of the many reasons why buying local and seasonal produce is such a good idea—less time in transport from the earth to your kitchen means more nutrients will stayed packed in your produce.

Consuming a good mix of raw and properly cooked veggies is the way to go when it comes to getting your daily intake and retaining the most nutrients. It’s as easy as having a big salad with your lunch and a couple different steamed greens with dinner.

Once it’s time to get cooking, there are a few easy rules that will help keep the maximum amount of nutrition in your vegetables—and in your body.

If you’re not going to consume fresh produce right away, store in an airtight bag in the refrigerator. Avoid chopping and trimming prior to storage to cut down on the surface area exposed to air and unnecessary nutrient losses.

Keep edible skins on when you can, but be sure to scrub them clean to eliminate as much dirt and residue as possible.

Rinse your veggies to clean them, but don’t soak them, as water soluble B vitamins and vitamin C can leech out of the veggies and into the water, eventually just going down the drain.

Cook veggies in their whole form or cut into large chunks (versus small) to reduce exposed surface area (for example, a whole potato will retain more nutrition than a mashed potato).

Minimize when it comes to time, temperature, and amount of liquid used. Longer cook times, higher temperatures, and excess liquid result in a depletion of nutrients. A quick steam minimizes time and temperature, and with a steamer basket or rack, the veggies don’t even touch the water.

If you must submerge your veggies, keep it quick and use as little liquid as possible. Some water soluble vitamins will still be lost in the mix, but if you save that liquid for use in soups or to cook quinoa or rice, you’ll get some of those nutrients back as part of
the entrée.

If you suffer from hypothyroidism or iodine deficiency, eating cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens) in their raw forms may exacerbate your health issues due to their goitrogen (thyroid disrupting) compounds. You don’t have to completely avoid these amazing foods, however, you just need to give them a good steam or stir fry, as cooking helps to minimize their thyroid inhibiting effects.

image descGo Green

Organic Food Bar(TM) Active Greens (organicfoodbar.com) is packed full of organic fruits and veggies, including broccoli, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, and dates. Active Greens is an optimal energy food for athletes who want to add organic fruits and vegetables to their diet—without sacrificing taste.

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image descAthletes can greatly improve their performance and recovery through enhanced nutrient timing—and food is the key. Take your body to a new level of fitness with the proper eating frequency, nutrient timing, balance of macronutrients (carbohydrate/protein/fat), pre-training fuel, in-training fuel, and post-training fuel.

EATING FREQUENCY
Proper eating frequency is one of the major keys to success.

Keep this rule in mind: fuel your body immediately upon waking up in the morning. When you wake up, you are naturally dehydrated and your muscle glycogen stores are low. Glycogen is fuel for your body that’s stored in your muscles and liver. Whether you train in the morning or go to work, your body needs to be fueled and hydrated immediately.

NUTRIENT TIMING
Now that you have fueled your body after waking, you must keep your body properly fueled every 2.5-3.5 hours.

Food is like wood for the fire. The fire inside of your body is your metabolism, and you need to keep it burning hot. More than three hours between eating can lead to a slowdown of your metabolism, decreased energy levels, and a decrease in serotonin levels, which can lead to excessive food cravings and binge eating. Serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood and appetite. When your serotonin levels are low, you can begin to crave unhealthy foods.

image descMACRONUTRIENT COMBINATION

With your body now being fueled frequently throughout the day, it’s time to bridge the gap between eating “healthy” and eating “right.”

Eating healthy is not the key to success—eating right is the key. Eating right means the proper balance of the three macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) at each meal or snack. As a general rule, the balance you are looking to achieve at every meal or snack is 45-60% of calories coming from carbohydrates, 15-30% of calories from protein, and 15-30% of calories from fat. For example, instead of having 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of skim milk for breakfast (oatmeal is healthy, but, it is not “right” because it is only one macronutrient: carbohydrate), add a protein and a fat to make this healthy breakfast “right.” The “healthy breakfast” will give you the following: 344 calories, 78% carbohydrate, 18% protein, and 4% fat. Now make this breakfast “right” with the following changes: 1/3 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of skim milk, and two eggs (the eggs will serve as your protein and fat). This breakfast will give you the following: 429 calories, 55% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 15% fat.

image descPRE-TRAINING FUEL

Make sure you top off the tank before your next workout.

Too often, athletes do not fuel their body properly prior to a morning workout. Many believe working out first thing in the morning without eating is a good way to lose weight. However, not fueling your body prior to a workout will actually inhibit you from changing your body composition, which can lead to decreased performance during the workout. The results is a downward spiral of poor recovery, causing more lackluster workouts in the subsequent days. No matter what time of day you train, pre-training fuel is critical. Feeding your body helps keep your muscle glycogen stores loaded, which will result in high quality performance at each workout. You want to keep your fire stoked.

Feed your body 15-60 minutes before the start of your workout, taking into account that each individual is different in terms of how their digestive system reacts to foods. For most, a solid pre-training fuel source 60 minutes before a workout is fine. Liquid calories prior to a workout are a great choice, especially if you are fueling your body within a short window of time. Smoothies make a great pre-training fuel, as they are easy on the stomach and are quickly digested and absorbed. A pre-workout, high-octane smoothie should contain approximately 55-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% protein, and 20-25% fat.

IN-TRAINING FUEL

image descNow, you must keep the fuel going during your training session.

Depending on the duration and intensity of each workout, calorie consumption and hydration is critical for optimum performance. Fueling during a workout may be a new concept for some athletes. Athletes will often consume water during a workout, but rarely do they consume the necessary calories and electrolytes to help maximize performance. In-training fuel can come from liquids or semi-solids. Liquid fuel can consist of your favorite fluid replacement drink mixed with a maltodextrin powder (complex carbohydrate powder). This mixture is an ideal fuel source, as it will provide your body with calories and electrolytes in a very low viscosity solution. Semi-solid fuel sources, such as energy gels, are easily digested and make a great in-training fuel source. In addition to these calories, your body may also require additional electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) to aid in performance and recovery and prevent cramping. Each individual’s electrolytes needs vary. During training, your body can lose at least one liter of sweat per one hour and 1,000-2,000mg of sodium per hour. If you sweat profusely, consider using electrolyte capsules during training. No matter what your fuel source of choice is, be sure to drink plenty of water.

image descPOST-TRAINING FUEL

Post-workout, your body can become dehydrated and depleted of glycogen. Be sure to reload in order to optimize recovery so you can put together another great effort during your next workout.

Immediately following your workout, consume fuel containing predominantly carbohydrates (this will reload your glycogen) and amino acids (this will assist in muscle recovery/repair). Recovery fuel sources can vary from sports supplements to something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich or a smoothie containing fruit and protein powder (or another protein source such as Greek yogurt). Add some peanut butter to your smoothie for a nice macronutrient balance. A post-workout, high-octane refuel source should contain approximately 55-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% protein, and 20-25% fat.

Use the above Performance Enhanced Nutrient Timing and you will find yourself performing and recovering better than ever from each training session. Remember, a great workout is not about feeling depleted and needing multiple days to recover—rather, you want to string together multiple great workouts by fueling properly to recover quickly for the next scheduled workout.

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By Clay Walker, PhD

HardCore Gym fighter Brian Bowles attacks the Bulldog Circuit in anticipation of his return to the Octagon on May 25 at UFC 160.

MMA fighters tax their entire energy system—both aerobic and anaerobic—while competing and training. In order to reach their peak performance on fight day, fighters need to train both energy systems. One way fighters can reach their maximum anaerobic capacity is through circuit training.

This circuit is designed to increase UFC bantamweight Brian Bowles’ anaerobic threshold by mimicking a fight. Each exercise is timed throughout the circuit. Brian will perform 10 exercises for 30 seconds for a total of five minutes, giving maximum effort on each exercise. Brian will perform each 10-exercise circuit three to five times, resting for one minute after each five-minute circuit. This is repeated twice a week, depending on Brian’s resting heart rate, which can show if he is overtraining.

Brian hasn’t fought since November 2011, so the goal of this circuit is twofold.

1. Get Brian’s heart rate to a maximum level and make sure the maximum level can drop to at least 120 bpm (beats per minute) by the end of the allotted one-minute rest time.

2. Make sure Brian does not overtrain. When Brian’s heart rate ranges from a maximum of 188 bpm at the end of a circuit to 120 bpm at the end of the rest period, his anaerobic threshold is at a maximum and he is ready for fight day.

Brian will perform two circuits a week for five weeks leading up to his fight. He will complete a 10-minute warm-up routine to decrease the possibility of injury during the workout and a cool-down routine that involves static core work and a partner stretching routine.

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1. Airdyne
30 seconds
Brian pumps the Airdyne with his arms and legs as fast as he can.

2. Medicine Ball Slams
30 seconds (minimum 20 reps)
Brian lifts a 20-pound medicine ball over his head and slams it down as hard as possible. He ends the rep in the athletic position so he can lift the ball over head with his legs and core (not his lower back).

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3. Turkish Get-Up
30 seconds (minimum 5 reps)
This exercise is great for core strength development. Brian begins flat on his back with a kettlebell resting on his shoulder. He presses the weight and sits up, making sure the weight is pressed above his head. Brian bridges up and shoots his knee back, bringing his hips under him so he can stand up. The descent of this movement is performed opposite of the ascent, until Brian reaches the starting position. Switch hands and go again.

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4. Shots with Band
30 seconds (minimum 12 reps)
Brian sprints out from the anchor post and shoots a double-leg until the band is extended to maximum length.

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5. Wall Walk
30 seconds (minimum 20 reps)
The wall walk is designed to mimic Brian returning to his feet after being taken down. Brian walks up the wall using his back while holding a 20-pound medicine ball and pressing up with his legs.

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6. Ladder
30 seconds (minimum 2 trips)
Brian performs the “Icky Shuffle” on the ladder drill, keeping square while moving side to side. This will also help improve his footwork.

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7. Double-Leg Shot
30 seconds (minimum 5 reps)
From his fighting stance, Brian lowers his level, shoots a double-leg, elevates his opponent, and drives him to the mat.

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8. Sprawl
30 seconds (minimum 15 reps)
From his fighting stance, Brian sprawls, forcing his hips to the mat. Brian pops to his feet while moving 180 degrees.

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9. Knees
30 seconds (minimum 15 reps)
Brian drives a Muay-Thai-style knee into the bag as quickly as possible, while alternating knees.

10. Airdyne
30 seconds
Brian pumps the Airdyne with his arms and legs as fast as he can.

Clay Walker is a former 11-year veteran of collegiate football strength and conditioning. He has been an MMA strength and conditioning coach since 2007. Clay received his PhD from the University of Georgia in Kinesiology in August 2011.

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Having trained under world champions Manu Ntoh and Duke Roufus, it’s no surprise UFC middleweight Alan Belcher has some powerful kickboxing skills, which he has put to good use in 18 professional wins. In this month’s MMA 101, Alan makes his opponent (Helio Soneca) pay for his striking attempts with a series of rear leg-kick counters that are designed to assault Soneca’s body before landing the final head kick KO. In addition, Alan demonstrates a counter kick to the liver and an offensive push kick. While lead leg-kick counters are quicker to deliver, this MMA 101 focuses on rear leg kick counters that generate more power.

UPPER-BODY KICK

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1. Alan is in a southpaw stance. Helio is in an orthodox stance.
2. Helio throws a left jab, which Alan parries to the inside with his lead right hand.
3. Alan rotates his hips in a whip-like motion and throws a rear left kick to Helio’s upper body. It’s not uncommon for this type of strike to break an opponent’s arm.

INSIDE-LEG KICK

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1. Alan is in a southpaw stance. Helio is in an orthodox stance.
2. Helio throws a left jab, which Alan parries to the inside with his lead right hand.
3. Alan rotates his hips in a whip-like motion and throws a rear left kick to Helio’s inner thigh. Repeated blows will devastate an opponent’s mobility and ability to generate any power in his kicks and punches.

HEAD KICK

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1. Alan is in a southpaw stance. Helio is in an orthodox stance.
2. Helio throws a left jab, which Alan parries to the inside with his lead right hand.
3. Instead of throwing an upper-body kick or an inside-leg kick (which Helio now expects), Alan rotates his hips in a whip-like motion and throws a head kick that lands shin-to-temple.

LIVER KICK

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1. Alan is in a southpaw stance. Helio is in an orthodox stance.
2. Helio leads with a straight right hand.
3. Alan shifts his weight and slips the punch, while countering with a rear left kick to Helio’s unprotected midsection. This kick to the liver is a potential fight-ender.

PUSH KICK

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1. Alan is in a southpaw stance. Helio is in an orthodox stance.
2. Instead of waiting for Helio to initiate, Alan throws a rear push kick by raising his left knee up the middle and extending his leg until the bottom of his foot strikes Helio’s solar plexus. The rear teep is an offensive strike that can knock the breath out of your opponent.

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