Training Management

Small strategies can lead to big results.

Almost every fighter would like to have less body fat, more muscle, fewer injuries, and extra time to train. However, the roadblock that most athletes run into is how they are managing the processes to gain these results. Training management can lead to the achievement of athletic goals. Whether you are a champion or a challenger, your training management skills can be improved in four areas.

How and where you spend your time can determine your destiny. Athletes often complain that they would achieve their goals if they had more time. There are 168 hours in a week. If eight hours should be spent sleeping each night and around eight hours should be spent working each day, that still allows eight hours every day that are available for amazing things. How are you spending those extra eight hours? If watching television, surfing the internet, texting friends, or lying around the house are filling most of that time, you are wasting your most precious commodity.

Take an inventory this week of where you are spending your free time by keeping a time management journal. If you are not spending the time toward the achievement of your goals, make some simple changes in your schedule.

Fighters also forget to manage their energy throughout the week. Energy management problems are not due to errors in quantity. Instead, it’s the mismanagement of the intensity of training. Simple signs of energy mismanagement are: excessive tiredness and soreness, chronic injuries, decreased desire to train, and weight loss. To avoid these pitfalls, take a hard look at how you apply the intensity of your training.

An energy level evaluation can help you monitor your intensity throughout the week, which can minimize soreness and injuries. For example, if Monday was an intense day that involved upper-body lifting and an intense sparring session, you must recognize that if you are going to train on Tuesday, drilling at a lower intensity is a better choice that will enable your body to recover. In addition, don’t be afraid to take a day off to rest. Although your mind may think in terms of weekly workouts as seven days, your body doesn’t know the difference. The body cares about getting rest.

Athletes usually only pay attention to what they eat, instead of how and when they eat. What you eat is only part of the equation for both weight loss or gain and performance. By understanding the concept of thermodynamics, you will be better able to manage your food intake. Simply put, if you consume more calories than you expend, you are going to gain weight. If you are not managing your calories according to training and non-training days, you are not in control of your weight.

Manage your caloric intake by making sure that you consume fewer calories on non-training days. A good rule of thumb is to take in 500 fewer calories on non-training days. Varying your caloric intake based on expenditure keeps you lean and fit.

If you aren’t healthy, you can’t train. If you can’t train, you can’t be healthy. An injury that has been nagging you for some time can be an indication of poor management. Many athletes ignore small physical issues that eventually become chronic obstacles that hold back progress. Mixed martial artists often have pain, yet they rarely do anything to rehabilitate the areas.

Make an assessment of any area of your body that is bothering you. Many times, the remedy is easier than you think. Shin splints? Use the elliptical instead of the treadmill. Sore back? Hit the pool instead of the pads for a few days. Address minor injuries immediately, so they don’t become major.

For more than a decade, strength and conditioning coach Martin Rooney has prepared hundreds of fighters for the UFC, Pride, ADCC, IFL, and the Olympics, including multiple UFC, Pride FC, and IFL champions. For more information, visit his website:

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