The amount of fighters that exist today versus 20 years ago is staggering. As the talent pool grows, it forces the athletes to improve or they risk being weeded out. The days of just being a tough bar brawler are gone. Today’s MMA champions are evolving into 24/7 athletes, like the NBA and NFL, where off season training, nutrition, and recovery are becoming vital to their success. Here are 9 tips that will get your training for MMA on track, helping you to perform at your maximum when fight day comes.
9 Ways to Get Your MMA Training on Track
MMA Training Tip #1: Get a Plan of Attack.
You’ve got to plan your training. Write down your goals, your priorities, your responsibilities (work, spouse, kids, etc), talk to all parties (spouse, coaches, etc.) involved and then organize your week. This takes some trial and error, but proactively attacking your week versus simply reacting to it always leads to learning and improvement.
MMA Training Tip #2: Commit to It.
Taking the time to set goals and make a plan is one thing. Applying it, walking it out, and making it happen is another beast. Life will always throw challenges your way. Make sure to take the time to assess “why” you are training so hard, otherwise, little distractions will knock you off course. It may be easy to stay focused if you have a fight schedule, but how consistent are you with nothing set?
MMA Training Tip #3: Get in the Gym.
Strength and conditioning is essential, but beware! Not all workouts are created equal. Make sure to find a good coach that can help you develop a plan that fits your needs, schedule, and helps you reach your goals. It doesn’t matter if you can bench press a house or throw 300 lbs over your head 100 times. MMA requires mobility, stability, strength, speed, and power that can be maintained over time and in a variety of positions. It is a unique set of demands that most programs never address completely.
MMA Training Tip #4: Take Time OFF.
Stress (training, workouts, etc) breaks the body down. You become stronger and build back up during times of rest. Taking time off is vital for your body and mind! Being fresh and prepared for one workout a day is more beneficial than forcing three and not retaining anything and performing like crap. Take a day or two off every week and at least one week off after a fight.
MMA Training Tip #5: Get 8-9 Hours of Sleep.
Your body does amazing things when you sleep well. If you are not sleeping, then make this the highest priority. Sleeping allows your body to repair itself. I know you’ve heard it a million times, but make it happen.
MMA Training Tip #6: Start Tracking What You Eat.
Food is fuel, period. Feed your body good fuel and it will perform better. Stronger bones, quicker muscle recovery, strength, reduced inflammation, higher energy levels, and many other benefits come from eating healthier. One of the easiest ways to change your eating is to become conscious of everything that goes in your mouth. I’m not a psychologist, but somehow writing it down makes you see the difference between what you thought you were doing and what you were actually doing. Write it down!
MMA Training Tip #7: Do Some Type of Myofascial Release.
Foam rollers, massage, ART, sticks, balls, etc. are all amazing tools that will help you reduce soreness, avoid injury, recover quicker, perform at a higher level, and just feel better. These are life savers, so if you don’t use them, start! And if you don’t know how to use them, figure it out quickly, because these will save you from years of unneeded misery.
MMA Training Tip #8: Ice it Down.
If you strain a joint, muscle, or just have a very intense workout, take the time to ice down afterwards. Could be a simple ice pack for 20 minutes or as intense as an ice bath. Ice is one of the most underrated fixes on the planet.
MMA Training Tip #9: Try Contrast Showers.
Contrast showers are basically 1 minute of hot water, followed by 30 seconds of cold water, repeating 5-10 times. Initially it is a shock, but you go numb after a couple cycles. This is great for increasing blood flow and speeding recovery.
MMA is a raw sport that is evolving into an incredible chess match of mind, body, and will. It is sport and competition in its purest form. It is exciting to watch the sport evolve and is rewarding to help young athletes chase and achieve their dreams. I truly hope that this information helps you get more out of your training and enables you to perform at a higher level.