It’s been 6 years since the summer I started seriously investing time into my fitness. In the first 4 years, I developed and settled into a personal routine I kept up all through college. Looking back, I realized I settled into a rut - one specific mentality and set of fitness principles that I didn’t care to research further or refine.
Now that I’m deciding to compete in an MMA event where my fitness will be one of the definitive factors driving a win over my opponent, I’ve totally reworked my diet and workout routines. Lots of hours researching, in the gym, and at my MMA school has changed me. I feel stronger, quicker on my feet in sparring, and way more energetic, even at the end of my MMA 1.5 hour workouts. Plus I look great!
This post is aimed at people like me, an average fitness hobbyist that has a personal routine, done some research, and works out 5-15 hours a week.
5 major changes really made a difference:
Easy days in hardcore training
When you should be taking it light to keep the training hard.
Here’s a concept that is new for me and interesting from Sifu Jason (look him up, MD/PhD candidate who also is an awesome fighter) – there are days, even in a hardcore fighter’s training regimen, to take your workout easy. Here’s some thoughts on when to notch your pace down for training and how to get a great workout immediately afterwards.
More on where it applies:
225 squats, 150 pushups, and 150 crunches in 15 minutes… without killing yourself
This is a drill that our grappling coach Dave showed us yesterday to warm up. It’s simple, effective, and can be done in a hotel room. Afterwards, I had slightly sore thighs, but I think overall it wasn’t too bad of a cardio workout.
- Set up 15 one minute rounds with a timer/smartphone.
- At the start of each minute, rep out 15 squats.
- Then drop immediately into 10 pushups.
- Roll over and rep out 10 crunches.
- Stand up and lightly jog in place until the next minute starts. If you do quick but proper form on the above 3 sets, you should have 10-15 seconds of break
Repeat 14 times. Remember to breathe!
More on proper form:
Martial artist, not sadist
I recently ended a phone call with my GF of 2 years with a pretty long discussion on what it’s like to be passionate about full contact martial arts, perhaps sparked when she read the quote “Pain is candy”. It’s been puzzling her for a while now - she knows I’m not a sadist, but doesn’t get why I get such a thrill out of an activity whose basic goal is to hurt others.
Talking to her let me air out my thoughts (which is really the best way for me to think), and I think I’ve settled on why - it’s because, at its core, practicing martial arts at any contact level and in any context is about mastering yourself. The painful parts just come with the context.
Hard to take that seriously with pics like this floating out there, huh?
A photo from the U.S. Grappling Pendergrass competition months back. Jason, to the far right of the photo, is our kwoon’s head master. I’m in the blue rashguard, 2nd from right, got 1st for my weight in Novice, having only grappled for 3 or so months at that time. The guy who looks like a Highlander to my right, Austin, took the Novice 1st place for Absolutes (with no weight divisions) and regularly kills me in grappling. Ivan wrestled for 1st place in his Beginner division as well. Neil is to Austin’s right. You can see the corner of Shun’s head - he’s one of our fighters wanting to go pro soon. Garrett, the youngest guy, took first for his age group. Our grappling coach Dave is at the far left of the photo.
Neil in his latest fight, shortly before taking the guy into his guard with a perfect guillotine that would end the match.
That’s me in the gray towards the back of the picture, orange sash. The brown belt, Neil, is currently 2/1/0 in the cage now and gearing up for his Kajukenbo black belt - the Hispanic guy behind him, Ivan, is 1/0/1. This was the first time Sifu Jason had ever seen one of every Kajukenbo rank - white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown and black. It’s super fun sparring those guys and everyone else in class.
TKFMMA = Tactical Kung Fu and Mixed Martial Arts
This tumblr will focus on two areas that I’ve been passionate about since middle school - active fitness and martial arts. The two have obvious synergies, and I want to capture the points they share with all the insight my short 24 years of life has to offer.
Looking forward to writing!