Frequently Asked Questions/Recommended Reading Materials
Note: This is currently under construction. I will be adding things as I have time
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should my diet look like?
A: Read this. Donít worry about smaller details until youíve got this much handled:
Q: I want to lose weight, what foods should I choose?
A: Read these: http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/...aneating_1.htm
Q: I want to gain muscle without fat, what should I do?
Q: I want to lose fat and gain muscle, how can I do this?
A: It is horribly inefficient to try and do both at the same time. To lose weight you need a calorie deficit and to gain muscle you need a caloric excess. You canít have both of those at the same time, so work on losing the body fat and then move to gaining lean muscle.
Q: I live in a dorm and canít cook my meals. What should I do?
A: Read this: http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/...chooldays2.htm
Q: What should I do Post Workout and why is it so important?
A: Read this: http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/...importance.htm
Q: I am just getting started what supplements should I take?
A: Unless you are a professional/amatuer athlete, there is no need for many of the products out there. Supplements will only give you about a 10% improvement, so look at your diet and training before dropping $100 on an unproven supplement. These however are the basics for anybody:
- A Multivitamin or Greens Drink: take as directed (generally once a day)
- Microfiltered Enteric Encoated Fish Oil: Take 3-9 grams per day (6 is typical)
- Creatine Monohydrate or Ethyl Ester: Take 5 grams per day (3 grams for CEE). Loading is not neccisary but will speed things up
- A Post Workout Drink (See links below for more info)
- A Casein containing protein (Milk Protein Isolate, a blend, etc): Use this when taking protein other than PWO. Also take before bed.
- ZMA - Although this is not neccisary, many people are defient in Zinc and Magnesium even when eating a proper diet.
Strength Training (Limit Strength):
Q: Why not just use machines instead of free weights?
A: Machines require no stabilisation of the weight and will often force an unnatural path of motion, that can lead to injuries. Compound freeweight movements are infinetly superior to machines, especially those that are used for isolation movements. Machines do have uses for rehabilitation and correcting some imbalances, but the majority of your routine should be done on freeweights.
Q: Won’t lifting heavy things make me really slow and inflexible?
A: NO! This is an ancient piece of nonsense that seems to never die, weights will actually make you quicker and if allied with a good stretching program will actually make you more flexible.
Q: Why do so many of your links seem to be aimed at powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters, surely this isn’t what I want to help my MMA training?
A: Powerlifters and weightlifters are experts at being strong; these guys know an amazing amount about how to train for an incredible level of relative strength. We don’t advise you follow the training routine of a powerlifter, as you have to also complete hours of technique training, sparring and conditioning work each week, but you can learn a lot on how to train for strength from these people. You look to bjj and boxing for elements of your training, yet neither of these arts will make a complete mma fighter, pretty much the same principle.
Q: What kind of routine should I follow?
A: There are many routines that can help you develop strength, here are a few of the ones that are commonly used by our members:
Three day Pull/Press/Squat split:
5x5 routine: http://www.eclipsegym.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57
Twenty rep squats: http://www.ironworkout.com/20_rep_squat.htm
Q: What’s periodization and how do I do it?
A: Periodization is how you manage the weights you lift each workout, here are three links to different approaches to it.
Linear Periodization -
Conjugated Periodization (Westside Method) -
Undulating Periodizatoin -
Q: What do I need to make a home gym?
A: Your main purchases should be: Power Rack, Bench, Bar & Weights or Dumbell Handles & Weights. After those items are purchased there are a ton of other items that can be added but those should be you first priorities.
Q: I’ve heard a lot of people mention kettlebells, what are they and are they worth getting?
A: Kettlebells are an alternative to a dumbbell, they have the handle placed away from the centre of the weight and this means they handle differently from a conventional DB. They can place a higher emphasis on grip and wrist strength and require greater coordination than doing the same movement with a DB.
They are much more expensive than a normal weight set and a lot of people argue that although there are benefits to their use they are not worth the ridiculous prices charged for them. Nor do they deserve the hype which surrounds them. To sum up these are a useful tool but are not the super, ultimate, all-singing, all-dancing solution to all your problem that some people claim they are. A much cheaper alternative is to make your own kettlebell or a sandbag for extremely cheap and use those instead. This article talks about the hype that surrounds them – http://ejmas.com/pt/ptart_brennan_0103.htm
Q: This Equipment is expensive. Can I just make my own stuff?
A: Sure check this link out for starters:
A: Well, you train your grip. There are different types of grip strength and you should work them all if you want a truely powerful grip.
First off, don't buy a set of those cheap plastic grippers at the sport store. Instead buy a set of Captains of Crush grippers . Start with a Trainer and #1. Another option are the Heavy Grippers available on the Internet/Ebay. They are cheaper and will still work well.
This is the ability to grab ahold of something and keep ahold of it, it is especially important in BJJ/Wrestling. Some good exercises for this are: deadlifts/farmers walks/cleans with think handled barbells/dumbells, Pinching a pair of plates together and holding them, and pullups while grabbing a towel or gi.
Your grip won't do you any good without some solid forearm strength to go along with it. Two of the best exercises for this are the wrist roller and levering a sledgehammer. Sledgehammer levering involves holding the hammer upright at arms length and then leaning it back towards you face until it touches you on the nose, twist it back upright using only your wrist strength. Do the same thing only leaning the hammer away from you. Not only does it work the hell out of your forearms, you'll look cool while doing it.
Strength Training (Muscular Endurance):
Q: What is Muscular Endurance and why is it important?
A: Muscular Endurace, usually measured by one's lactic acid threshold, is a persons ability to use strength over a period of time. For example this is why wrestling "cardio" is different from running "cardio".
Q: How do I improve my muscular endurance/lactic acid threshold?
A: You need to do exercises that will cause a buildup of lactic acid (strength based exercises) and do them for an exended period of time. Some examples are:
* Sprints/Sled Dragging
See Complexes and Burpees below (I need to reorganize some of this stuff)
Q: I weigh 500 lbs. and I'm 5 feet tall, how do I lose weight?
A: The simple answer I give to people who ask this is to eat less/better and move more. Try to find forms of exercise that you enjoy and will stick with so that you'll stay consistent with your exercise. In terms of diet, check out our diet and supplements forum for general ideas on how to improve your diet to help with your weight loss.
Q: What is LSD?
A: The LSD we refer to here means Long Slow Distance/Duration. Basically this type of training is done for longer sessions at a much lower intensity. This helps increase over all cardiovascular fitness and efficiency and will also accustom you to handling the stressors of exercise. After a significant amount of time is put into building your aerobic *base,* you can diversify your training more and incorporate higher intensity methods. For more info on this, click here:
Q: What is Interval Training?
A: Interval training is where you incorporate short periods of high intensity effort alternated with brief rest periods. A good example is the Tabata method where you would go hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, you would continue to go like this for 4 minutes. It's best to vary your work to rest ratios to keep things fresh.
Here's a good place to start to get an idea of interval training
Q: What are Burpees?
A: The Burpee is the ultimate bodyweight conditioning tool
Q: I need to make weight for a fight how should I do it?
A: Since I have never cut weight for competition, I am not comfortable answering this one. However if interested I know of a few pro fighters on another forum who have cut weight and I can send you their direction.
Q: Is X amount of mile spent biking the same as Y amount mile running?
A: No. When the mechanics of a certain exercise differ from those of another you will have VERY little carryover. This is specificity at it's finest. This is why you may know guys who have great running endurance but gas out during MMA training and vice versa. Because of this, the best way to get more stamina for a given activity is to do that activity.
We've all read that quote by Pedro Rizzo:
Q: What are Complexes?
A: Complexes are performing two or more exercises in a sequence with the same load. You complete all your reps with one movement first, then complete all your reps with the next movement. Example: When combining a squat with an overhead press, perform 5 reps of squats first, then 5 reps of overhead press without dropping the bar.
Here's a good article on complexes. And here's a video of Randy Couture's complex/circuit.
Q: What's a good stretching routine?
A: Here's a great stretching tutorial.
Q: My shins hurt from running on pavement, why?
A: Run on grass and buy good running shoes and this won't be nearly as much of an issue.
Here are some interesting links for you guys to check out.
The Time Course of Training Adaptations
Heart Rate Calculator
Huge Stretching Tutorial
The Running Man (SPRINTS)
Sprints Build Endurance
Interview With Dr. Pat O'Shea (Interval Training)
Map My Run
Fasted Cardio Roundtable
Couch To 5K Running Program
Running for Starters
Energy Systems Training For MMA
Aerobic Base Training (Thanks Revok)
Cardio Roundtable Part 1
Cardio Roundtable Part 2
HIIT vs. LSD (PDF)
Ross' Burpee Article
7 Conditioning Secrets of Successful Combat Athletes
Increasing the speed and quality of recovery is vital for achieving maximum gains in all facets of training. Muscles, joints, and connective tissues need to repair and re-energise, as does the central nervous system (CNS).
Q: What should I eat to recover better?
A: First and foremost, it is important to give your body all the nutrients it needs to recover with a good diet and supplementation. The following supplements may be helpful:
* Protein (whey powder throughout the day, whey/casein mixture before bed)
* Glutamine (an important amino for muscle repair)
* Glucosamine (assists in the repair of joints and connective tissues)
* Antioxidants (reduces muscle damage if taken immediately after exercise)
Q: Should I just lay around on my off days?
A: Contrary to popular belief, total rest is sub-optimal for the recovery of muscles. It is better to lightly exercise or stimulate them to increase the blood flow to the area – this will ensure that the required nutrients are readily available (and toxins are removed) and will encourage faster recovery. Studies have shown that 20 minutes of light/moderate cardio after heavy lifting will reduce lactic acid buildup by 90%.
Q: What else can I do to recover faster/ not hurt?
Some or all of the following are recommended:
- Take contrast baths/showers (as hot as bearable for 2 minutes, then as cold as possible repeated three – five times)
- Active recovery (light exercise such as moderate cardio, bodyweight resistance, etc)
- Massage the sore muscles
- Do some stretches to increase your blood flow
- Get more sleep (8+ hours per night)
Q: What is Overtraining?
A: Overtraining can affect the CNS, the muscles, or usually both. A good workout plan will go a long way towards avoiding overtraining but it is still important to be able to recognise it and act accordingly when necessary.
If the signs are missed or ignored, the manifestation of overtraining will become obvious in the form of reduced workout quality. You will probably fail to complete the last reps or sets of the very first exercise. At this point you should consider just stretching off and going home. Certainly the most you should do is a very light workout preferably on safe machines using less fatigued muscle groups.
Q: What are the signs of Overtraining?
Early signs of overtraining onset include:
- Bad mood
- Poor sleep
- Mental or physical fatigue
- Increased recovery time (especially soreness and stiffness)
- Small injuries
Q: What should I do if I overtrain?
Take between 1 and 2 weeks off from heavy training, focusing instead on active recovery/cardio, skill training, and possibly lightly training neglected muscle groups (such as rotator cuff, calfs, neck). When you feel good again, go back and eclipse all your records.
* Ross Enamit - Infinite Intensity
* John Berardi - Grapplers Guide to Nutrition/Gourmet Nutrition/ Precision Nutrition
* Bas Rutten MMA Workout
* Mastery of Hand Strength - Brookfield
Credits: This FAQ is a combination of original work from myself and other posters and portions taken from other forums. Thanks to Hypergit, SmashiusClay(sherdog), Sonny(sherdog) and anyone else involved.
This will be a living document that will grow as I find new resources or people suggest things to add. So if you want something added just ask.
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