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Principles of Fitness

“If you were there once … you’ll get there quicker the next time.”

If you are experiencing a plateau or feel you’ve hit a wall with your training program you might want to think about a few things, the Principles of Fitness.

1)  Principle of Progressive Overload:  The operative word here is “progressive.”  In order to force your body to respond and adapt to a stimulus, activity or workout, you must gradually overload the body.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body is the same.  You should focus on the exercises you do, your form, your reps (count), the weight you use, and your speed (faster/slower).  Since I know that you are serious about your training goals, you are keeping a daily log of your workouts.  Refer to what you did last time and change it up!

2)  Principle of Specificity:  Quite simply stated, you get good at what you practice.  Have you heard of the SAID Principle?  SAID is an acronym for, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.  The human body will make specific adaptations based on current activity or stressors in order to make that task easier to handle in the future.  Simply put, the more you do something, the better you will perform at that task.

3)  Principle of individual Variation (Individualization):   Individuals will respond differently to the same stimulus.  This is because we are all different;  age, genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, training age, sleep, gender, hormones, disease, medications.  We are all a bit different, however, everyone responds to exercise.  Adding variety to your exercises will ensure you will continually develop and adapt.  This means you will continue to make gains.  So, change things up every once in awhile in order to continue progression.

4)  FITT Principle:  These are what you should consider when planning and implementing your training program; Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.

Frequency is how often.  Intensity is how difficult based on your individual ability.  Time is the duration.  And Type is the mode of exercise, or your goal.  Some people prefer to add “E” (FITTE) with E representing enjoyment also.

5)  Principle of Priority:  Before you start, prioritize what is important to you.

Mixed Martial Arts & Performance Enhancing Drugs

Part VII:

There is a bounty of ergogenic aids available to athletes and exercise enthusiasts. These range from commonly known steroids, creatine (monohydrate), and other supplements to ergogenically designed clothing like Olympic swim suits or strong-man body suits. Ergogenic aids are often mentioned in the discussions of health and beg the issue of competitive morality. The usual argument is whether or not the ergogenic aid inappropriately or unfairly enhances the athlete’s performance, or described in one word, cheating. There are other risks of course which include a myriad of health related issues, acute, temporary or chronic and lifetime side affects which accompany using ergogenic aids.

Creatine is commonly used because of its relatively convenient availability at supplement and health food stores. It’s not uncommon to find high school athletes loading up on creatine cocktails for the hopeful benefit of increased muscle mass, endurance, strength and fast recovery. Martial artists specifically benefit from using creatine for the fact that creatine is thought to enhance high-intensity bursts of strength and facilitate quick recovery as well as promote the stamina needed for repetitious explosive moves. “Creatine is allowed by the International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and professional sports. However, the NCAA no longer allows colleges and universities to supply creatine to their students with school funds. Students are permitted to buy creatine on their own and the NCAA has no plans to ban creatine unless medical evidence indicates that it is harmful. With current testing methods, detection of supplemental creatine use would not be possible.” (Creatine, 2011) However, creatine is suspected for causing nausea, cramping, and an increased load on the kidneys.

A creatine supplementation and health variables study was conducted by Appalachian State University, headed by BK Schilling with the purpose of discerning the long-term effects of creatine as a supplement to include specifically the side effects, and training benefits. 26 athletes were studied and tested (blood) as well as questioned on their dietary habits, creatine supplementation, medical history, training history, and perceived effects of supplementation. General body fat composition as well as blood pressure and resting heart rate were recorded for each participant. It was found within this group that the expected gender differences were present. It also concluded that muscle injury, cramps, or other side effects were no more prevalent using creatine than without. It was concluded with this study that long-term creatine supplementation does not result in adverse health effects. PMID: 11224803 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Another over-the-counter performance-enhancing drug is dehydroepiandrosterone which is commonly known as DHEA. It is used in place of steroids and has many of the same side effects as steroids such as heart and liver damage. DHEA substances are converted in the body into anabolic steroids. (Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the testosterone hormone.) The goal of using DHEA is usually the same as using steroids, to gain muscle mass or to increase strength.

Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic by Dr. K. Dhatariya, MBBS, MRCP(UK), MSC, and K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, PHD have performed research to find evidence of positive results in lab rats. However, lab rats are not the best subjects to correlate results or assume humans will have similar results because rats, unlike humans, do not produce DHEA endogenously (internally). Here is an abstract from Dr. Dhatariya’s research:

“Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated ester are found in high concentrations in the plasma; however, their role in normal human physiology, other than as pre-cursors for sex hormones, remains incompletely defined. Studies of rodent models have shown that these hormones have beneficial effects on a wide variety of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, immune function, atherosclerosis, and many of the disorders associated with normal aging. However, rodents are not the best models to study the actions of these hormones because they have very little endogenous DHEA; thus, the doses given to these animals are usually suprapharmacological. Human studies have been performcd to determine the potential beneficial effects of DHEA replacement in persons with low DHEA levels. Results have been conflicting. Human studies suggest a potential role for DHEA replacement in persons who have undergone adrenalectomy and possibly in the aging population. However, long-term studies assessing the benefits vs adverse effects must be done before DHEA replacement can be recommended…” (DHEA, 2011)

Whatever you may take from the information in this article, the truth of the matter is that supplements are not necessary for an athlete who trains diligently and consumes a healthy diet (specific to those mentioned in this article; beef, cod, salmon, and herring). Supplements and drugs may provide a temporary increase in performance but only proper training and diet will yield sustained athletic performance. The ethical matter of cheating is also to be considered and not to be redundant, the use and abuse of supplements can lead to serious health issues and death.


Schilling BK, Stone MH, Utter A, et al. Creatine supplementation and health variables: a retrospective study. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001;33:183-8.

“Creatine.” National Library of Medicine. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) Studies – NADF.” Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“ – Creatine Truths And Myths. – AnimalPak.” – The Future Of Bodybuilding! Huge Bodybuilding Site. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“Performance-enhancing Drugs and Teen Athletes.” Tween and Teen Health. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“Ergogenic Aids – Performance Enhancing Drugs – Supplements.” Sports
Medicine, Sports Performance, Sports Injury – Information About Sports Injuries and Workouts for Athletes. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.

Mixed Martial Arts 2-Day Meal Plan Example

Part VI:
Day 1 shows a typical daily diet for days when our athlete is in training.
Day 2 shows a typical daily diet for days when our athlete is not in training.

Included is a nutritional analysis of a general but typical on/off training diet for our athlete. Attachments included are for each day, a daily menu featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks based on a rough estimate that our athlete needs at least 3000 calories consumed on training days. When not training, the caloric intake can be reasonably reduced up to 1000 calories. However, since our athlete has a metabolism that is usually always amped up, even on rest days, we want to ensure adequate calories are consumed. If our athlete is hungry, nutritious snacks are provided for consumption. There are several additional reports included which show the details of the chosen foods, the “next step” advising how to ensure adequate daily intake of a healthy variety of foods, a weekly average and a weekly menu (which only on Day two will it show more than one day.) These reports were generated by submitting our athlete’s food items into the “’s” on line software which provides a food analysis and then generates corresponding reports (described just now). These reports are provided as verification that our meal plans meet the government’s dietary standards for our level of activity of our sport and our athlete’s age, height and weight.

DAY 1:
Plain Yogurt, fat free
Cinnamon Toast
Blueberry Muffin
Orange Juice, V-8, water

Bean Salad
Meat Lasagna
Garlic Bread
Milk, fat free

Carrot Salad
Bean Soup
Baked Chicken Breast w/cooked tomatoes, onions
Black Eyed Peas
Corn on the Cob
Baked Sweet Potato

Trail Mix, Snack Mix, Raisins, Apple, Banana, Water

DAY 2:
Plain Yogurt, fat free
Whole Wheat English Muffin w/fruit preserves
Cream of Wheat
Orange Juice, V-8, water

2 Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Mixed Salad Greens w/low calorie dressing
Peas and Carrots
Milk, fat free

Raw Spinach Salad w/Italian dressing
Baked Salmon w/sautéed green peppers & onions
Lentil Soup
Cooked Asparagus on the side

Raisins, Apple, Banana, Water

Our daily diet attempts to emphasize grains; the effort is to make half of the grains whole. Some days snacks are whole grain crackers or air popped popcorn. White bread has been replaced with whole grain bread as well as brown rice instead of white rice. Oatmeal for breakfast provides plenty of sustainable energy. At lunch time, whole grains are mixed into some dishes, such as barley in vegetable soup or in casseroles. When preparing salads, pre-washed bags of salad greens, baby carrots or grape tomatoes are mixed together.

Our athlete enjoys eating more fruits and so much of the snacking may be an apple, banana, or strawberries. Even at breakfast cereal is enjoyed with bananas or peaches. If a desert is desired, baked apples, pears, or a refreshing fruit salad is eaten.

At lunch, fruits like tangerines, bananas, or grapes are available to eat. Salmon is often accompanied with mango chutney. Since our athlete is focused on explosive and repetitious muscle contractions, fruits with more potassium, such as bananas, prunes, dried apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice are the fruits of choice.

Milk is usually on the table for most meals and not only provides protein but calcium-rich. For breakfast we use fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water in oatmeal and hot cereals for the calcium and vitamin D. Right after a workout, a fruit and yogurt smoothie in the blended with ice helps in recovery. Our soups sometimes are topped with shredded low-fat cheeses.

Meats are lean in this diet and dry beans or peas are included as part of the meal. Salads are topped with garbanzo or kidney beans for they are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Copper, and a very good source of Folate and Manganese.

Since it is quite easy to get foods with oils, the effort is to limit the intake of oils. We use oils high in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats, such as canola, corn, cottonseed, olive, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil. A few oils, including coconut oil and palm kernel oil, are high in saturated fats and for nutritional purposes should be thought of as solid fats.

The training consists of true mixed martial arts training; going from gym to gym training with the best boxers, wrestlers, jiu jitsu experts as well as strength and conditioning sessions. Our fighting athlete will recuperate better and feel better eating 3 complimentary meals each day. Eating well contributes significantly to recovery, an increased immune system, sharper mental process, and to an overall positive disposition. Water is sipped throughout the day and at about 15 minute intervals during workouts. Fruits and vegetables are eaten at every meal and available for snacking. Our athlete will go no longer than 3-4 hours without eating, and always a lean protein. Carbohydrates and starches are emphasized after workouts/training session with side fruits and vegetable. Fats are limited to include olive oil, fish oil, and flax seed oil. Our athlete does not consume any supplements at this time for it seems they are not needed. In the past, before our athlete was placed on a strict diet plan, our athlete used caffeine, creatine and sodium bicarbonate in an attempt to enhance performance during workouts and competition. Our athlete reports positive performance results from their use. However, our athlete reports negative after-affects to include sleeplessness, irritability, acne breakouts and a feeling of extreme nausea after or during workouts. The following Old Dominion University report reviews the nutritional ergogenic aids thought to enhance performance and affect energy metabolism:

J Sports Sci. 1995 Summer;13 Spec No:S63-74.
Nutritional ergogenics in athletics. Williams MH.
Human Performance Laboratory, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0196, USA.

Nutritional ergogenic aids may be theorized to improve performance in athletics in a variety of ways, primarily by enhancing energy efficiency, energy control or energy production. Athletes have utilized almost every nutrient possible, ranging from amino acids to zinc, as well as numerous purported nutritional substances, such as ginseng, in attempts to enhance physical performance. This review focuses primarily on nutritional ergogenic aids thought to enhance performance by favorably affecting energy metabolism. Although most purported nutritional ergogenic aids have not been shown to enhance physical performance in well-trained, well-nourished athletes, some reliable scientific data support an ergogenic efficacy of several substances, including caffeine, creatine and sodium bicarbonate, but additional research is needed to evaluate their potential for enhancing performance in specific athletics events.
PMID: 8897322 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

References: – United States Department of Agriculture – Home. Web. 08 Feb. 2011..

Chasiotis D. Role of cyclic AMP and inorganic phosphate in the regulation of muscle glycogenolysis during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1988;20:545-550.
Kreider, Richard, PhD, Phosphate Supplementation in Exercise and Sport, Department of Human Movement Sciences and Education, The University of Memphis, 2001.

Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.
Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.

Mixed Martial Arts – Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat Recommendations

Mixed martial artists who are training regularly must have good nutrition and that means the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat in their diet. Messing with the right percentages will cost the fighter strength, speed and stamina. The wrong mix can mean more than a bad training day, it can mean a hospital visit because you got a broken arm, choked out, pummeled or all three by the other guy who has been dieting and training right. So how important is it to get it right?

The correct percentage of carbohydrate, protein and fat in the mixed martial artist’s diet varies among the athletes. Each athlete will have a different nutrient and caloric demand depending on their metabolism, training and various other factors. There are accepted equations which have been developed to help calculate the right mix. One method is the ole BMR, Body Mass Index. In our example we have an athlete who is 30 years old, male, 70” in height and 170 pounds. BMR for this athlete is calculated by using this formula (for men):

BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )

After plugging in our athlete’s variables we get a BMR total of 1810.1. This recommends that our athlete consume a total of 1810.1 calories a day. Well, if you’re someone who’s ever trained you’re thinking what I’m thinking, “You mean total per meal, right?” Well, for athletes we need to continue on with our calculations. The Harris Benedict Equation uses your BMR multiplied by an activity factor to calculate a person’s total caloric need as so:

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

Using our athlete’s BMR of 1810.1 multiplied 1.9 times we now come up with something more sustainable for a total daily caloric intake; 3439.19. With this our athlete will have the energy to crank out a decent training session. These numbers and calculations should not be considered the end-all but rather a soft suggestion, or a starting place. The athlete should raise or lower their caloric intake appropriately to suit their individual exercise routine and the bottom line, pay attention to what their body demands.

Now that we have a total caloric intake we can begin to solve for our unknown percentages, carbohydrate, fats and protein. We can start by calculating the amount of protein needed for our athlete. Research has concluded for aerobic, endurance and strength athletes, a protein intake of 1.5 to 2.0 g/kg of body weight is ideal. (Baechle, 2000, p. 234) Using this figure we convert our 170 pounds into kilograms (170 / 2.2= 77.27) and then multiply times 2.0 (77.27 * 2.0 = 154.54) with the resultant of 154.54 gm protein per day, or 618.16 calories per day. (Protein has a caloric value of 4 calories per gram; 618.16 / 3439.19 = .1797) This reveals to us that of the 3439.19 total daily calories, about 18% of our athletes calories should come from good sources of protein. (This means vegans and vegetarians may need more.)

Our calculations here are supported well according to Sharon Howard, R.D., M.S., C.D.E. FADA, “The protein goal is about 12 to 20 percent of total calorie intake. Moderate exercisers need additional 10 percent protein above the RDA, and athletes in training may need 25 to 50 percent more than the RDA.” The research suggests that a majority of athletes will intake around 27% of their calories from fat, but athletes should not reduce their fat intake to less than 20% of their daily caloric intake in order to spare the amount of carbohydrates converted to energy during high-intensity workouts. The fat available as an energy source will also spare the protein needed to be used for muscle repair. (Howard, 1999)

Okay, now if you’re following closely you’re already aware the remaining calories belong to the carbohydrates; roughly 60 percent. Carbohydrates are vital to sport performance to the extent that carbohydrates are said to be the most important source of energy for the body. The nervous system is also reliant on carbohydrates for the level of glucose in the blood is important to the proper function of nerve cells since nerve cells do not store carbohydrates. And, we all need carbohydrates to have enough energy to metabolize fat, not just athletes. However, the intensity of the sport or the activity level will dictate the demand for carbohydrates. The relationship is directly proportionate, the more intense the sport or activity, the more carbohydrates are needed. (Fink, 2006)

Carbohydrates are primarily metabolized as shown in the illustration below. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen within the muscles. Oxygen is the primary ingredient of metabolism and during athletic activity, especially prolonged and strenuous activity, oxygen uptake is increased naturally (we breathe faster). Carbohydrates are the energy source of choice, but the carbohydrate stores are limited. For our athlete’s hour plus workout, fat supplies are relatively unlimited but the conversion rate (into usable energy) is much slower. This is why our bodies must use a mixture of carbohydrates and fats to fuel intense activity. Much like a novice SCUBA diver eats up the oxygen in their tank, an untrained athlete quickly use up their carbohydrate stores. Our athlete hits the veritable “wall” many athletes talk about. This infamous “wall” may very well be the depletion of readily available carbohydrate and therefore muscle glycogen will be exhausted.


Glycolysis is how energy (ATP) for use by the body is made. It includes the numerous steps and chemical reactions illustrated above. Since glycolysis doesn’t use oxygen it can be considered the first step in aerobic and anaerobic energy processes.

A positive protein balance within the muscles is term an anabolic state. When not performing rigorous activity the synthesis of protein will be greater than the breakdown of protein. The part of metabolism which provides the energy and components needed for anabolic (building) reactions is termed catabolism. Catabolic reactions are those which occur in order to break down proteins into their components or into usable components. Referring to proteins, these smaller components are termed enzymes. The enzymes act to release the energy in the citric acid cycle and the electron transport chain. (illustrated above) The process in a general description is this; Protein broken down into amino acids, into the co-enzyme Acetyl CoA, next the Citrc Acid Cycle releases NADH to be acted upon in the process of Oxidative Phosphorylation to produce the energy molecule ATP.

Niacin is a B complex vitamin involved in the body’s energy production process. Niacin is a component of two coenzymes: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+). These coenzymes are involved in the transfer of hydrogen ions in the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. During aerobic exercise, D+ can accept a hydrogen ion and become NADH, carrying high energy electrons to the electron transport chain for the production of ATP. In anaerobic metabolism, NADH is responsible for transferring hydrogen to pyruvate to form lactate during the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy. (Fink, 2006, p. 158)

During day to day activity the primary means of energy production is considered aerobic. This means that the primary source of energy is fats and carbohydrates. Protein can be used as an energy source but the body prefers to use carbohydrates and fats for energy production. At rest about 70% of the ATP our bodies is derived from fats and during high-intensity workouts 100% is derived from carbohydrates. If we continue to sustain the high-intensity activity our body will gradually shift back to using fats for energy. (This process is usually most efficient in well-trained endurance athletes.) The triglycerides stored within the fat cells is broken down through an enzymatic process called oxidation and then fatty acids are released into the blood stream to be taken up by the muscles. The fatty acids are broken down inside the cells by beta oxidation and the resultant is the co-enzyme acetyl CoA, described earlier. The acetyl CoA enters the Krebs Cycle [citric acid cycle] and the energy releasing process occurs as described above. (Baechle, 2000, p. 80)

Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.
Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.
Higdon, Jane. “Vitamin B12.” Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, Mar. 2003. Web. 20 Jan. 2011. .
“Fuel Your Workout: Exercisers Who Eat before They Work out Have More Energy and Stand to Burn More Fat | Muscle & Fitness/Hers | Find Articles at BNET.” Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. .

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Eating and Exercise: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Workouts –” Mayo Clinic. 18 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. .
“Carbohydrates – What Should You Eat? – The Nutrition Source – Harvard School of Public Health.” Harvard School of Public Health – HSPH. Web. 28 Dec. 2010. .

“What Are The Benefits Of Folic Acid Vitamins? | LIVESTRONG.COM.” LIVESTRONG.COM – Health, Fitness, Lifestyle | LIVESTRONG.COM. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. .
Nelson, Jennifer, and Katherine Zeratsky. “Milk Joins the Roster of Sports Drinks.” Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Mayo Clinic, 27 Feb. 2010. Web. 28 Dec. 2010. . – United States Department of Agriculture – Home. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. .
Smith, Jimmy. “The Definitive Guide To MMA Dieting and MMA Nutrition | Physique Formula,Six Pack Diet, Skinny Guy Diet, Jimmy Smith Training.” Six Pack Diet |Six Pack Ab Workout|Bodybuilding Routine| Jimmy Smith. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. .
“Harris Benedict Equation.” BMI Calculator. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. .
“BMR Calculator.” BMI Calculator. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. .
Howard, Sharon. “ TRAININGROOM – Protein Nutrition for Athletes.” ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Web. 25 Jan. 2011. .
Tipton KD, Rasmussen BB, Miller S, et al. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic esponse of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol. 2001;281: E197–E206.

Wiles J, Woodward R, Bird SR. Effect of pre-exercise protein ingestion upon VO2, R and perceived exertion during treadmill running. Brit J Sports Med. 1991;25(1):26–30.

Sample Mixed Martial Arts Workout:

Mixed martial art fighters must have a varied exercise training program. It is due to the nature of the sport. Hand to hand combat with skilled technicians in fighting styles representing the entire world and world cultures. The fighters need strength to explode. The fighters need stamina to last many explosions. This means an intelligent combination of conditioning training and strength training, as well as training techniques similar to plyometric exercise, kettle bell exercises and body-weight exercises. There should not be just one routine, not one regimen, never a duplicated training session.

Here is a 5-day training example from

Sample Mixed Martial Arts Workout:

Day 1:
Power Clean – 3 sets of 3 reps warm up, then 3 to 5 sets of 3 reps with a work weight, about 80% of a 1RM.
Bench Press – (medium to heavy day)- (if med)- 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps warm up then 3 sets of 5 with a work weight. (if heavy)- work up over six sets of 5 to 6 reps to limit set of 3 to 5 reps on the last set. A rule of thumb puts a limit triple at about 90% of one’s 1RM.
Squat – (light speed day)- one warm up set of 10 reps. Then 5 sets of 5 reps with no more than 65% and no more than 60 seconds rest between sets. Start with 60% . Apply 100% effort on every rep and do each rep as fast as possible.

Day 2: Rest

Day 3:
One Power Clean followed by 3 Military Presses followed by 2 Push Presses for 5 reps total per set – 3 warm up sets, then 3 sets of 5 reps with a work weight.
Deadlift – warm up- 10 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps. Either keep adding weight and go for strength, or you can use the same weight at your last warmup set and do that for 3-4 sets and for 3-4 reps. If you continue to add weight, continue to pyramid up until you reach 1 rep.
NOTE: Because squats and deadlifts overlap the working of a lot of the same muscles, squats are not recommended the same day as deadlifts.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5:
Bent Row – 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps warm up, then 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps with a work weight.
Squat – (medium to heavy day) same formula as BP on Day 1.
Bench Press – (light speed day) same formula as Squat on Day 1.

Proper endurance training spares muscle and liver glycogen stores by ensuring maximum utilization of fat as a fuel source. In order to burn fat, carbohydrates must be present. In exercise lasting longer than 60 minutes it is necessary to ingest a carbohydrate source during exercise. In doing so, the athlete’s aerobic endurance performance and stamina will be improved. Also, it has been seen that the better trained athlete’s body will be more efficiently conditioned to utilize more fat as a fuel source. Many coaches often follow a successful athlete’s training program. This is not a safe practice for each athlete is a different body on a different level than any other. The coach should carefully consider their athlete’s strengths and weaknesses and design an individualized training regime. (Baechle, 2000, p. 498)

Any training program should employ a gradual increase in intensity or stated differently, it should be progressive from low to high. This includes individual training sessions as well as training programs; once a week and then 2-3 times a week. Plyometric, speed, agility, speed, and aerobic endurance exercise training are no exception to safety and common sense.


Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.

“MMA Strength Workout – Strength Training for Mixed Martial Arts.” Martial Arts Fighting Techniques and Training – Web. 11 Jan. 2011. .

Aerobic and Anaerobic Systems for Mixed Martial Artists

In order to create the energy needed for any activity carbohydrates need to be broken down by the body through the process of glycolysis. Carbohydrates may be broken down via aerobic or anaerobic means. Glycolysis is used for both aerobic and anaerobic activity. Activity is classified as aerobic when the energy demand is relatively low with sufficient levels of oxygen present. In anaerobic activity the energy demand is considered to be relatively high with low oxygen availability. (Glycolysis is not dependent on the presence of oxygen.) (Baechle, 2000, 76, 141, 500-505) Anaerobic activities are primarily supported by carbohydrates. During a surge of activity like a sprint, or boxer’s flurry, carbohydrates are the only macronutrients that are able to be metabolized quick enough to provide energy for the activity. The anaerobic breakdown of glucose to lactic acid provides the energy for sprinting. (Fink, 2006)

Mixed martial arts training consists of an infinite number of training methods. There are a few that are more standard or common not only to martial arts but to all athletes. These training types are long/slow distance (LSD), pace/tempo, repetition and Fartlek. These 4 training types are considered to be aerobic endurance training methods each with varying frequency, duration, and intensity. The aerobic system is the primary source of energy while a body is at rest and during light activity. The primary fuel for the aerobic system is carbohydrates and fats. As activity intensifies the body prefers carbohydrates over other sources. (Baechle, 2000, 80)

Quite often in matched activity like martial arts fighting, each opponent attempts to overwhelm the other through a flurry of activity and techniques. This is quite similar to sprinting drills. During an all-out sprint or flurry, 100% of the energy is derived from carbohydrates. (Baechle, 2000, 80) Muscular fatigue is experienced under conditions of an inadequate oxygen supply combined with high concentrations of lactic acid. The higher lactic acid leads to a higher hydrogen ion concentration each seemingly inhibiting the glycolytic reactions. This eventually leads to muscle failure. (Baechle, 2000, 76)

A martial artist will often begin a fighting match looking like they just finished a 5 round bout. This is due to a full and complete warm up. This warm up is more than the 5-12 minute warm up most of us practice. The fighter needs to be at the peak of their strength and speed potential upon entering the field of battle. Oxygen consumption increases significantly upon the onset of [increased] activity. The rate of breathing increases until the demand for oxygen is equivalent to the supply. While there is an imbalance between supply and demand of oxygen the body must utilize the anaerobic mechanisms. A fighter is better “protected” if the imbalance is rectified prior to beginning the bout. This is because the fighter will depend less on the anaerobic system and utilize the aerobic system more. Anaerobic system is the workhorse when exercise increases or is prolonged. The first initial surge, about 30-60 seconds is fueled by the anaerobic system. After that, the aerobic system takes over as the primary energy supplying workhorse. When a fighter has conditioned both systems to operate at max capacity, many fast and furious rounds may be fought. (Baechle, 2000, 86)

As a martial artist fights with an opponent it is important to utilize the flurry to overwhelm and dominate an opponent. However, the danger and risk of “emptying the tank” can be all too real. If not conditioned properly a dominating fighter can quickly become a defeated warrior face down on the field of battle. A martial artist often has amazing cardiovascular endurance. This is usually a byproduct of repetitious practice of techniques and maneuvers. Also a martial artist will purposely train for endurance in an attempt to keep their body from using the anaerobic energy system as a primary source of energy. Increased stamina (VO2 max) will surely help a fighter win his bout. When a fighter realizes they are without air and without energy that fighter has been defeated from within. (Baechle, 2000, 140-153)

“A person’s greatest asset becomes their greatest weakness when overextended.” — Jesse Harshbarger


Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.

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