Fighting Fit

Fighting Fit


Deadlift your way to knockout strength

Your full-body explosive strength is fueled by a group of muscles that run down the back of your body from your neck to your ankles, collectively known as the posterior chain. When your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and spinal erector muscles are powerful, so is your entire body.

However, weakness in the posterior chain can diminish how hard you punch, kick, throw, or shoot, because powerful athletic moves require a strong foundation of support. This is where the deadlift comes in.

With all other factors being equal, the guy with the bigger deadlift for three repetitions will usually punch, kick, and throw harder than the other guy. Not only does the deadlift quickly pack muscle and power on your posterior chain, but it also strengthens your grip, lats, upper back, and traps. It’s more than just a posterior chain exercise—it’s a full-body strength builder.

How much should you be able to deadlift? Twice your fighting body weight. So if you cut to 185 pounds to make weight, your one-repetition maximum deadlift should be at least 370 pounds without the assistance of straps, wraps, or a lifting belt—a raw deadlift, in other words. The deadlift is also commonly performed incorrectly. Here’s
how to make it carryover into the cage.

Avoid Weightlifting Belts
Research shows that a belt will do more harm than good. Having a big leather belt cinched around your waist decreases muscle activity throughout your core. Ditch the weightlifting belt and you will strengthen your core muscles.

Deadlift Barefoot
Tennis shoes elevate your heels, which can cause knee injuries. In addition, the lateral support that tennis shoes provide diminish the work your ankle muscles have to do when you are barefoot. By lifting barefoot, you can activate receptors on the bottom of your feet that allow your hips and glutes to contract harder. Another option is to wear Vibram Five Fingers shoes.

Use an Unmixed Grip
It is common to see gym rats grip the barbell with one palm up and the other palm down (mixed grip) to keep the barbell from slipping out of their hands. This is hard on your shoulders and elbows, and it makes you susceptible to bicep tears. Use an unmixed grip and you will build stronger, healthier joints.

Determining Your 3RM
Now that you know the importance of the deadlift, it’s time to determine your current three repetition maximum (3RM). Only perform a one-rep max for testing purposes. Warm-up by jumping rope for three minutes to activate your nervous system and prepare your muscles and joints for activity. Next, perform two sprints of 30-40 yards with 30 seconds of rest between each.

Load an Olympic barbell with a 45-pound plate on each side (135 pounds). Stand with the barbell in front of your shins, and your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed straight ahead. Squat down and grab the bar with an overhand, unmixed grip with your hands just outside of your legs. Drop your hips as far as possible while keeping your heels on the ground. Your lower back should be arched and your eyes should focus on the ground a few feet in front of you.

Take a deep breath, brace your abs as if someone was going to punch you in the stomach, and lift the barbell straight up from the floor with your arms hanging down in front. Pull until your hips and knees are completely straight, with your shoulders pulled back. Squeeze your glutes hard at the top. Exhale.

Inhale, brace your abs, and then push your hips back while keeping your back fl at. Lower the bar to the floor as quickly as possible without dropping it. Repeat for two more reps.

After finishing your first set of three reps, add a 10-pound plate to each side or a 25-pound plate if the load felt very light. Keep adding weight in 10- or 25-pound increments until you reach a load that’s very challenging by the third rep. You should not push yourself too far if you’re new to the exercise. As soon as you can’t maintain an arch in your lower back while lifting, it’s time to stop. It’s better to err on the lighter side when determining your initial 3RM.

Perform the deadlift twice each week, evenly spaced (Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday, or Wednesday/Saturday). Do three sets of three reps (3×3) for each workout. Your first set should be around 80% of your 3RM. If your 3RM is 200 pounds, do your first set with 160 pounds. Your second set is 90% of your original 3RM (180 pounds, in this case). For the third set, add 5 or 10 pounds to your original 200-pound 3RM for each workout. The third set of Monday’s deadlift workout should be with 210 pounds. The third set of Thursday’s workout should be three reps with 220 pounds. As soon as you can’t keep adding 10 pounds to the third set, start adding five pounds each workout (just to the third set).

FREQUENCY: twice each week, evenly spaced
Sets: 3
Reps: 3
Load: 80% of 3RM for set 1. 90% of 3RM for set 2. Original 3RM plus 10 or 20 extra pounds
for set 3.
Rest: 90 seconds between each set
Continue this sequence for four weeks, and then take a full week off from training the deadlift. After a week break, retest your 3RM, and repeat the entire four-week cycle until you reach a double-bodyweight deadlift. You’ll be amazed how much stronger your fighting techniques will become after the first month.

For more information visit or Chad’s book, Huge in a Hurry, which can be found on Amazon or at any major bookstore.


Three recipes to help you enjoy the holiday goodness, guilt free.

Training is all about making adjustments. The same is true when it comes to your diet. Don’t fall in the holiday food trap this season and stuff your face with a bunch of fat-loaded and calorie-laden dishes. By making a few simple adjustments to your grocery list, you can enjoy all the taste without all the torment. Prepare these three tasty dishes instead of their unhealthy counterparts and it will go a long way in helping you win the battle of the bulge this season.


Are you craving apple pies and fruit crisps but don’t want all the fat, calories, and sugar? Try this easy Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Bake. This fighter friendly dish boasts flavors of the season and is packed with protein and antioxidant-rich carbs.

• ½ cup quinoa (uncooked)
• 1 cup water
• ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 tbsp. walnuts or pecans, chopped
• 1½ cups apple, peeled, chopped, and spritzed with lemon juice
• 1 Stevia packet
• pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water and add quinoa. Simmer 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add egg, applesauce, vanilla, sea salt, and cinnamon. Continue simmering for 7 more minutes. Remove from heat and pour into an oven-safe bowl. Top with nuts and chopped apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and place on a cooling rack. Stir apples and nuts into the quinoa and add additional ground cinnamon and 1 packet of Stevia to taste. Serves four.

Nutrition info (per serving)
Calories: 185
Fat: 6.2g
Protein: 7g
Carbs: 25.2g


Spiced Masdhed Sweet PotatoesTired of baked sweet potatoes but don’t want to indulge in sweet potato soufflé? Mash your sweet potatoes with low calorie/low sugar almond milk or coconut milk for a lighter but delicious take on a decadent favorite.

• 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
• ½ cup almond milk or coconut milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1½ tbsp. soy-free or organic coconut oil
• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. nutmeg
• pinch sea salt

Boil sweet potatoes in water until tender (20 minutes). Drain and mash with a potato masher or hand mixer. Add the remaining ingredients, blend well, and serve hot. Serves four.

Nutrition Info (per serving)
Calories: 168
Fat: 4.7g
Protein: 2.3g
Carbs: 29.2g


You don’t get points in the cage for eating your veggies if they’re drowning in butter or topped with so much melted cheese that you can’t even see them. Try this crowd pleasing sage infused carrot dish instead of calorie-packed green bean casserole or creamed spinach.

• 3 cups carrots, diagonally sliced
• 1 tbsp. soy-free Earth Balance or olive oil
• 4 tbsp. water
• ¼ tsp. black pepper
• 1½ tbsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped
• pinch sea salt

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and water. Keep pan partially covered and cook 8-10 minutes or until carrots are almost tender. Add salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with sage. Serves four.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories: 76
Fat: 3.7g
Protein: 0.95g
Carbs: 9.7g


By Tom Barry |

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.


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).


image desc
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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If you’re hitting the gym hard, make sure you strike the sugar balance.

1. Monosaccharides
Also known as simple sugars, monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, and galactose. All carbohydrates consumed in the diet are broken down into monosaccharides to be absorbed by the small intestine.

Most carbohydrates are converted to glucose during digestion.
Travels via the bloodstream to all tissues in your body and will be readily converted to energy.
Glucose not used immediately will be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen (to be accessed during exercise for energy).
When your blood sugar is drawn at the doctor’s office, it’s measuring blood glucose.
It can sometimes be listed as dextrose on food labels.

Naturally occurring sugar in fruits, vegetables, and honey.
Component of table sugar (sucrose) along with glucose.
Can be derived from sugarcane, sugar beets, and corn.
Converted into glucose by the liver prior to being used as fuel.
Plays a vital role in sports nutrition, albeit lesser discussed as much media dialogue is associated with its over-consumption by the general population and links to obesity and other chronic diseases.

Component of milk sugar (lactose) along with glucose.
Less sweet than glucose or fructose.
Component of antigens found on red blood cells that establish blood types.

2. Disaccharides
When monosaccharide molecules join together, they form disaccharides, including sucrose, maltose, and lactose.

Equal parts glucose and fructose.
Commonly known as table sugar.
Once consumed, it’s split into glucose and fructose via sucrose (enzyme).
Found in the stems of sugarcane and roots of sugar beets.
Major sweetening element in confections and desserts.
Has been replaced by high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in many areas of the food industry, especially sodas and junk foods. HFCS is typically 55% fructose and 45% glucose. It’s made my milling corn into corn starch, turning that corn starch into corn syrup (mostly glucose), and then turning some of that glucose into fructose (through the use of enzymes).

Formed from two units of glucose during digestion of starch via the enzyme amylase.
Less sweet than glucose, fructose, or sucrose
Also known as malt sugar.

Naturally occurring milk sugar.
Made up of glucose and galactose.
Broken down via the enzyme lactase.
Those with lactose intolerance have insufficient levels of lactase.

Peak Performance

When it comes to lazy days on the sofa, sugar should be considered your foe. When it comes to energy and exercise, your body will make friends with the sweet stuff, specifically certain members of the monosaccharide clan. With galactose being poorly oxidized for energy during activity, you’re left with glucose and fructose to provide fuel to your working muscles.

To get from the gut to the bloodstream, you’ll need protein transporters to deliver sugars to needed tissues. Glucose and fructose use different transporters, allowing for greater carbohydrate uptake when consumed together (using the same transporter would cause it to become over saturated, negatively affecting how much and how fast the sugars can be absorbed and utilized as energy).

A combined glucose- and fructose-based sports drink or gel formulation (optimal ratio 2:1) will have a more positive effect on performance than just glucose or fructose alone. This preferred ratio has also been shown to increase gastric emptying (rate at which contents leave the stomach), decrease GI distress, spare stored glycogen, and decrease perceived exertion (all positives).

Looking for sports nutrition products containing this glucose and fructose blend? Check out Gatorade 02 Perform and PowerBar Performance Energy Blasts.


The Little Secret of the WEC Merger

In December 2010, Anthony Pettis leapt out of the WEC cage and landed a kick to Benson Henderson’s face. The spectacular “Showtime Kick” highlighted the waning moments of the final fight of the World Extreme Cage fighting organization. The folding of the bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight fighters into the UFV came with a bang. While Zuffa had owned the WEC for years prior, and management had already implemented operational practices from the UFC, most fans may not know about one key difference that the WEC fighters faced.

The biggest questions at the time of the merger focused on whether smaller fighters would be enough of a draw to warrant airtime on MMA’s biggest stage. Stars such as Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo certainly could put on a show and had strong followings, and the WEC’s highlight reel boasted amazing fight-ending knockouts and submissions, all taking place in the vivid, electric blue WEC cage. Despite having fewer marquis stars, the greater threat to the smaller weight classes was the new, full-size UFC Octagon. In the WEC, fighters competed in a 25-foot diameter Octagon. At 30-feet across, the full-size UFC Octagon may not seem quite so huge at only 20% bigger diameter, but that translates into a cavernous 44% increase in Octagon area. That makes the cage in the WEC pretty tight quarters by comparison.

Let’s settle this once and for all. What has been the effect of adding smaller weight classes to the UFC.


Finish rates in the UFC are inherently a scrutinized statistic. People want to see fights finished, and the UFC wants exciting ends to fights for the fans and highlights for future promos. However, the most important variable affecting finish rates is the size of the fighters.

It’s pretty clear that the bigger the fighter, the more fights they finish. This is true across the board in the UFC. Another definite trend is that the mix of finishes changes from predominantly submissions to mostly knockouts with increasing size. This is due to the physics of muscles and striking, not the heart of the fighters. Accounting for the fact that smaller fighters finish less often, did moving into a larger cage have any effect on how these fighters perform?

Fortunately, we have a great way to test this hypothesis. Before the WEC-UFC merger, several weight classes operated in parallel, which meant two different cage sizes. Furthermore, the UFC still uses the smaller cage for The Ultimate Fighter show and TUF Finale events, meaning we can look at finish rates for different events. Let’s look at those three scenarios, all while controlling for fighter size.

The results show that finish rates are higher in smaller cages, and this is true for all the weight classes where we have good data. The spike for the bantamweights is most likely due to the small sample size of bantamweight fighters competing in TUF Finale events, because there have only been 15 of those since the merger. But even more conclusively, we see higher finish rates in all weight classes in the small cage of the WEC and TUF events, including the lightweights and welterweights, who have been around longer and have more total fights to examine.

When put into a smaller cage, even larger UFC weight classes (welterweight and above) finish more fights. They also throw more than 20% more strikes per minute than when they are in the full-size Octagon. Same rules, same division, same matchmaker… just more action. The idea is confirmed: smaller cages result in more finishes.


Smaller fighters fighting in bigger cages could have spelled disaster for the WEC divisions, were it not for the upside to being small: endurance. Most fans know that they can expect two featherweights to maintain a frenzied pace of fighting far more intense than larger fighters, and they can do so for longer periods of time. Like two squirrels wrestling for a nut, they don’t seem to get tired, no matter how wild the fight gets. Look at the new flyweight division as evidence that two little guys can get after it for 15 minutes straight and be exciting the entire time, even without a spectacular KO finish.

How that translates into metrics is clear. Smaller weight classes (flyweight through lightweight) average 16% more significant strikes landed per minute than the larger half of the UFC (welterweights through heavyweights). They do this despite having much longer fights on average due to their lower finish rates. Smaller fighters can push the pace faster and longer than their heavier peers.


A fighter’s career can live or die by the bonus. It can be a windfall payday for a broke fighter, and, perhaps more importantly, it can cement the legacy of their value in the eyes of management. For the moment, let’s use the three Fight Night Bonuses (KO, Submission, and Fight of the Night) as a rough indicator of how exciting fighters are, and let’s look at how the weight classes stack up.

Although it’s still early, it certainly looks like the lighter divisions are holding their own. The flyweight sample size is quite small, and it may return to normal with time. And no one can match the devastating knockouts that occur in the heavyweight division. But overall, bantamweight and featherweight fighters have been putting on more bonus-worthy performances than the UFC’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. The lightweights actually earn bonuses at three times the rate of middleweights. Notably, the middleweights—who have the largest weight difference to the next class up— also have some of the lowest activity pace and bonus metrics of all. Perhaps there’s another insight for the MMA masses—cutting too much weight really does hurt performance.


• Size matters in fighting, and larger fighters finish more often.

• The size of the cage also matters— smaller cages lead to more finishes, but are used less often.

• The lighter WEC weight classes hold their own in the larger UFC Octagon.

• Smaller fighters have a much higher striking pace than larger fighters.

• The lighter weight classes have been holding their own by putting on bonus-worthy fights.


This month, five time World Champion Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, Marcelo Garcia, helps us fine tune the rear naked choke.

The rear naked choke is the ideal submission from the back, but setting and finishing it is always a challenge. If I am able to jam my wrist into my opponent’s neck but he prevents me from grabbing my biceps to lock the rear naked choke, I transition to this alternate finishing grip to end the fight. Tucking my arm under his chin is an opportunity that I cannot waste, and I am content to choke my opponent in any way possible. When you apply this choke, be on the lookout for an opening to lock in the rear naked choke. Threatening one choke will often lead to the other, so be prepared to switch between the two if necessary.


1) I am on Henrique’s back, looking for the rear naked choke.

2) Seeing that his neck is exposed, I wedge the blade of my right wrist under his neck. I attempt to slide my right arm across his neck to set the rear naked choke, but he is resisting.

3) I transition to an alternate back choke by setting the back of my left hand on Henrique’s left shoulder.

4) I clasp my hands together.

5) To finish the choke, I set my left forearm against Henrique’s spine and squeeze my arms as I pull back. If I need to, I can tighten the choke by walking my hands up his shoulder like I was tightening a bolt with a ratchet.


In the first photograph, the gap where my opponent’s neck would be is large. To begin closing the gap, I chop my left hand downward. In the final photograph, you can see that I am squeezing my elbows together to eliminate the last bit of space, but notice the difference in the positioning of my right hand between the second and third photograph. In the third photograph, I am reaching as far beyond my left biceps as I can to tighten my squeeze.

Excerpted from Marcelo Garcia’s book Advanced Jiu-Jitsu Techniques, this technique is one of hundreds that have applications in both pure grappling and MMA competition. Make sure to check out the book and Marcelo Garcia’s website,, where you can see videos of thousands of techniques in both practice and practical use.


Missing training days with the flu or dealing with lingering coughs and congestion have no place in a fighter’s intense training schedule. When you start to feel weak, there are several key supplements to help whip your immune system back into fighting shape. Better yet, keep a supply of supplements at home throughout the fall and winter months, so when you feel something coming on, you have an arsenal of immune enhancers, ready and waiting to attack.


The following products, ranging from antioxidants to natural anti-virals, will create a strong line of defense against the cold and flu viruses. Their abilities to increase the number, activity, efficiency, and effectiveness of your immune enhancing cells will help you knock that virus out cold.


VITAMIN C is a water soluble vitamin found in foods—including citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and kale—that helps maintain bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Look for vitamin C supplements containing added flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds that act as antioxidants and boost vitamin C’s immune enhancing effects.


ECHINACEA is a flower native to North America that is believed to help stimulate the immune system and ward off infection. It should not be taken for long periods of time, and it may cause reactions for people allergic to daisies or ragweed. Dosages differ due to variants in the parts of the plant used and the extraction method, so refer to the manufacturer label or your health care professional for dosing instructions.


VITAMIN D is a fat soluble vitamin that your body makes with the help of sunlight. During fall and winter months, your time in the sun is decreased, and there are very few vitamin D rich foods (cod liver oil, wild salmon, mackerel). Supplementation in the optimal form of gel-cap or liquid based D3 is typically advised. Adequate Intake (AI) recommendations are 200-400 International Units (IU) daily.


ZINC is an immune boosting mineral found in egg yolks, fish, legumes, meats, mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds. It can also be consumed in 15 to 20 mg lozenges, 2 to 3 times daily, as higher dosages can actually start to decrease immune function. And FYI, a little zinc ointment can help prevent diaper rash in babies.


PROBIOTICS are the good bacteria essential to maintaining a healthy gastro intestinal (GI) tract. Many probiotics need to be refrigerated, as they’re live organisms, but some remain shelf stable at up to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Dosage is 1 to 2 caps per day, and each will contain literally billions of live organisms to help keep your GI tract on track.


Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. MMA is a relatively new sport where its coaches have borrowed training strategies from many other areas: karate, boxing, jiujitsu, and wrestling, just to name a few.

But MMA is not like any one sport. It requires a unique training strategy. For example, a guy who develops his conditioning like a boxer will shortchange his performance, come fight day.

My job is to build super athletes. When an athlete hires me to look at his current training and nutrition program I have to figure out what he’s doing wrong. In essence, I’m a problem solver: a guy who has to take out what’s bad and replace it with something good.

With that in mind, these are three of the biggest mistakes that a fighter typically makes, and how to fix them.


Take any two fighters with similar levels of skill and the stronger guy will win. Many coaches, including myself, believe that the reason a male athlete will always beat a female athlete, in any sport, is because the guy is stronger.

But arm curls and leg extensions won’t make you strong, no matter how much weight you use. You must build strength with compound exercises that carryover to the ring or cage. Here’s what you should be able to do:

Pull-ups and Dips: 5 reps with 25% of your body weight attached to a chin/dip belt.

Deadlift: 3 reps with twice your body weight.

If you don’t measure up, pick up a copy of my book, Huge in a Hurry, since it’ll show you how to build strength fast.


Ever since Rocky laced up his running shoes, fighters around the world have spent endless hours pounding the pavement. The problem with jogging for an hour is that it develops the wrong energy system, it’s very hard on your joints, and it develops countless muscle imbalances around your hips. Indeed, jogging will make you weak, sore, and stiff in all the wrong places.

Sprinting, however, is great:

Especially when you make it a total body exercise. Get a 100-pound sandbag, bearhug it, and sprint as hard as you can for 40 yards. Take a quick breather – less than 30 seconds – and do it again. Repeat for 10-15 minutes.


Your body needs plenty of high quality nutrients at the right time to boost performance and recovery. Stepping into a sparring match on an empty stomach is a bad idea. You must have a supply of nutrients already packed into your body to fuel your efforts. One banana and a scoop of whey protein, 30 minutes before you train, will give your body the fuel it needs.

After a hard workout, your muscles are depleted of glycogen, amino acids, and various vitamins and minerals that are necessary for recovery. Furthermore, training acidifies your body, and this slows recovery. One-half cup of organic raisins will provide the necessary carbs, vitamins, and minerals to recharge your body. In addition, raisins are alkaline, which means they neutralize your acidic muscles. Combine raisins with another scoop of whey protein, directly after training, and you’re well on your way to recovery.

Pre-workout (30 minutes before): 1 banana plus one scoop of whey protein.

Post-workout (immediately after): ½ cup of organic raisins and one scoop of whey protein.


Chin-ups are not only a fantastic way to increase the size and strength of your arm and back muscles, but this posture-improving exercise can also predict a lot about your athletic potential.

Chin-ups utilize more upper-body muscles than most exercises, and they are one of the best tools to assess your relative body strength, which illustrates how strong you are for your weight. Chin-ups develop strength and mass in your lat muscles, which helps draw your arms downward and backward. In addition, chin-ups increase the strength of your hands, forearms, biceps, rotator cuffs, pectorals, and abdominals.


Your chin-up ability depends on two things: the strength of your back and arms, and how much you weigh. Adding chin-ups to your training routine while reducing your body fat will dramatically improve your chin-up total. Use this 40-rep chin-up and pull-up workout with three advanced variations to get a cut above your competition.

1. Alternating Grip Chin-Up

Hang from the bar with your elbows extended and your palms facing opposite directions. Bring your chin over the bar. Lower to your original position for two seconds and repeat. Perform 2 sets of 8 reps.

2. Pike Pull-Up

Hang from the bar with your palms facing out, elbows straight, and your legs parallel to the floor. Pull your chin over the bar while maintaining your pike position. Lower to the original position for two seconds and repeat. Perform 2 sets of 6 reps.

3. Arch Back Neutral Grip Chin-Up

Place a rowing handle over the bar and hang from the grips. Pull your chest to your hands so that your head and upper body are parallel to the bar. Lower to the original position for two seconds and repeat. Perform 2 sets of 6 reps.

Douglas Lima will be back in action against Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren on April 14 at Bellator 64. Lima earned his shot at the title by steamrolling Steve Carl, Chris Lozano, and Ben Saunders last year.


There are many good fats out there, but the one that seems to be the heaviest hitter as far as health benefits are concerned is the family of omega-3 fats, which can help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease and reduce inflammation and high blood pressure. Of the omega-3 fats, the most important to human nutrition are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with EPA and DHA having the most benefits. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered essential, as they are vitally necessary to life and health, yet our bodies are unable to produce them internally. Instead, we must consume food sources or supplemental forms of these nutrients.


Food sources of ALA are primarily plant-based, and the healthiest and most available are chia seeds, flaxseeds,walnuts, and some dark green veggies. Food sources of EPA and DHA include fatty/oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, cod, and herring. Even for fish lovers, other than salmon and tuna, that list may be less than appetizing. In addition, we now must deal with the fact that many fish are contaminated with toxins such as mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, which are a group of manufactured organic chemicals banned in the 1970s yet still found in the environment). The safest fish on the list is wild Alaskan salmon, although it typically comes with a pretty hefty price tag.


To make matters a little more interesting, it’s not really just your intake of omega-3 that’s important. The key is the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Omega-6 is another family of polyunsaturated fatty acids considered essential, as our bodies cannot make them. Unlike omega-3, food sources of omega-6 are quite numerous in today’s modern diet. Although that sounds positive, it’s actually quite the opposite. Corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and cottonseed oil are all sources of omega-6 fatty acids and are overabundant in many processed foods. Pick up almost any bag of crackers, chips, or cookies and you will find these oils in the majority of them. With our increased consumption of processed foods, our omega-6 intake has increased. Even though omega-6 fatty acids are needed for favorable health, most of us consume 10 to 30 times more than needed, which throws off the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for optimal health. These excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet can actually promote inflammation, which increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, blood vessel damage, cancer, asthma, and arthritis. The optimal ratio is 1:1 or more realistically 2:1 (with up to 4:1 being shown as acceptable). However, with the average person consuming a ratio of 10:1 and up to 30:1, it’s no surprise that health problems believed to be stemming from heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune issues are on the rise.


For mixed martial artists,the anti-inflammatory properties of essential fatty acids are the greatest benefit. In addition, the fat burning, cardiovascular,and immune boosting properties are advantageous. So, what’s a fighter to do?


The American Heart Association recommend seating two 6-ounce servings of fish per week, particularly fatty fish for EPA and DHA. Taking mercury and other toxins into account, consuming wild Alaskan salmon is your best bet.


It is also a good idea to consume plant sources of ALA. Flax and chia can easily be added to smoothies or oatmeal, walnuts can be eaten as part of a healthy snack, and green veggies can be consumed at every meal.


High quality fish oil capsules are another excellent source of omega-3. However, just as there can be toxins in fresh fish, there can also be toxins in fish oil capsules. Many companies go to great lengths to avoid this, but there are still several things to look for when choosing a fish oil supplement. The manufacturer must have a proven commitment to high quality by having a verified process to purify the fish oils and remove toxins. Independent lab or third-party testing for purity and potency is important. Also, look for a breakdown of EPA and DHA amounts versus just a listing of total omega-3 fatty acid content. Companies with nothing to hide will list this information on the actual bottles or on their websites. Talk to your doctor before starting fish oil supplements, especially if you are allergic to iodine, take medication to lower blood sugar, or use blood thinners.