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MMA 101: Overtraining Is A Myth

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Overtraining is a myth. Sorry, but it is. Most people I know who say they are overtrained aren’t putting in enough hours to either a) reach a fitness goal or b) get better at a particular sport in even the loosest definition of an appropriate timeline. The body is an incredibly adaptable complex set of intertwined systems that can take an incredible amount of abuse before it’s pushed past its limits. Overtraining is a word used by people who just need a break. That’s ok, but needing a mental break from the gym is not the same as your body being pushed past its limits. The single largest contributor to people feeling overtrained is the consistent lack of effort put into recovery from training. People aren’t over trained, they’re under recovered. The fun part is the training, that’s the dynamic in your face adrenaline rush that has so many of us darkening the doors of our local gym. Recovery happens at home in the kitchen, on the living room floor, and with your head nestled sweetly on the pillow.

Recovery is as foreign an idea to most combat sports athletes as cardio is to powerlifters. What is recovery? Recovery is time spent away from the gym, repairing the damage you do during training. There are some key components and timelines to keep in mind when trying to recover efficiently. Immediately after class are you cooling down at all? Doing some light drilling, stretching, taking the time to work out the kinks? If you’re not doing that start, soon. Going from a full clip sparring directly to sitting on your ass making bad jokes with your friends is detrimental to your body. Take five minutes to cool down, do a light jog, some slow drilling, just get your body to a relaxed state after the adrenaline hit of hard training.

If you get home and just sit, sweating a stain into your couch? Don’t do that. Take the time before you stop sweating to take a lacrosse ball to your tight muscles, do some yoga, get your body stretched out and muscles relaxed. Then go take a hot shower. The result of hard training is a buildup of lactic acid in your muscles and higher cortisol levels. Not taking the time to get your body back to a relaxed state will result in that oh so common creakiness the next day. That joint stiffness that makes training multiple days in a row a real hassle. Take the time to take care of your muscles.

Sleep is a huge factor in recovering from training. If, after training, you go home and stay up till 1am watching cat videos on YouTube while knowing your alarm is going to go off in five hours, you’re cheating yourself out of quality recovery and repair time. Sleep is when your body can focus on repairing the beating you put it through repeatedly. I know not all of us have the luxury of getting a quality eight hours of sleep a night. Getting as much sleep as you can, as often as you can, is imperative to being injury free. Shut the TV off, turn off your phone, and go the hell to bed. The importance of sleep to proper recovery simply cannot be over stated. Sleep as much as you can as often as you can.

Sleep is super important to maintaining a healthy, not over trained body. But if you’re sleeping a full eight hours and wake up to a nutritious breakfast of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Mountain Dew, you’re essentially throwing away any benefit you gained from that solid eight hours. Stop eating like trash after training. It’s endemic. The people I see who are the most beat up, most hurt, most swollen, are the people that look at a five scoop ice cream sundae as proper recovery fuel. It’s not. Eating the correct whole foods before training (this is dicey if you’re like me and unfortunate things can happen If you eat before training, maybe make sure your lunch is solid and avoid those issues by waiting till after training to eat) and after training. Do a little prep, make sure your fridge is stocked with quality protein sources and good healthy veggies and fruit. You don’t have to be a food weighing psycho or a calorie counting nut bag, just eat clean whole foods after you’re done training.

In order to get better at what you want to do you have to train as much as you can. In order to train as much as you can you have to take care of the meat vehicle that takes the beating of training. Make sure you’re putting as much effort into what you do after training as you do actually training

Anthony Smith On Brock Lesnar, Daniel Cormier, More

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Recently, Anthony Smith was a guest on “Submission Radio” to discuss his upcoming bout with Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night 138.

The two will headline the card from the Moncton Events Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick on October 27.

Below is a transcript of the conversation:

If it’s different fighting Volkan Oezdemir, who isn’t a legend like Rashad Evans or Shogun

“Nah, not really. Honestly, I think that… I know people are gonna think I’m crazy for saying this, but I think that Shogun probably would have beaten Volkan, to be honest with you. Just the way their styles match up with each other. Volkan’s a guy that doesn’t mind taking a step back, and obviously Shogun is a guy that’s going to make sure that he does that.”

On being too old for trash talk and being happy Volkan wasn’t an asshole

“It was cool that he wasn’t an asshole or anything. I know he went through that shit talking with DC a little bit, and to be honest with you, I’m just getting too old for that shit. I don’t want to do it anymore. So, it’s cool to just do my job, you know? And I know a lot of guys in this sport right now are doing the trash talking thing and drawing attention to them like that, I’m just a regular dude and I just figure, I think that I could draw a whole lot more people to me just by doing what I’m doing in the octagon. I think I have a pretty unique ability to make every single fight that I’m in exciting, and it’s not something that I have to think about, that’s just naturally who I am. Just deep down in my soul, that’s just the way that I want to fight. And I can’t (change it). I’ve tried to change it and I just can’t. So, I don’t think that I have to do anything extra other than go in there and fight.”

On Volkan joking that Anthony is stealing his “No Time” gimmick, and if Anthony expects this fight to be over quickly considering his and Volkan’s history of quick finishes

No, I don’t imagine it’s gonna go to a decision at all. And I kind of did feel bad for him for his joke as well. I think he’s kind of in the same position as a lot of those media guys (who aren’t aware of my history). Like, if you really go back, go look at my record. I mean, I’ve probably got over 20 first-round finishes. So, he’s got this “no time” gimmick but I’m the original “no time”. I mean, if that’s the way you want to look at it. I mean, I’ve got more first-round finishes than he’s got fights total. So, I don’t imagine it’s going to go to a decision. I’ve seen a couple of the highlights of the DC fight, I think it will be similar to that. I don’t think he likes pressure that much, and like I said, I don’t know how to fight any other way, it’s just go forward and punch people in the face. It’s kind of what DC did to him kind of from the little bit that I’ve seen of him. I think that Volkan has a bright future ahead of him. I think people like to compare us as far as our rise in the division and how it happened so quickly, but I think I’m a lot more prepared for it than he is. I think that he got to the DC fight a little bit quickly and kind of ended up in deeper water than he expected, and I don’t think that he had the experience to mentally deal with some of the problems that DC brings to the table. And I don’t think it’s a physical thing, I think that’s a mental thing. And I’ve think I’ve been through enough bad situations and I’ve been in enough tough spots, that mentally I’m just gonna be superior to him in there. There’s nothing that he’s gonna throw at me that I haven’t seen before, and I’m not necessarily a hundred percent sure that he can say the same thing.”

On challenging DC to do the right thing for the division

“I think a finish over Oezdemir puts me in line for a title shot. And to be honest with you, I don’t care who it is. I’m not here to challenge DC to a fight. The only thing I challenge DC to do is do the right thing. I think that DC has had a really great career, I think that he’s been a great champion, I think that he’s a stand-up guy for the most part. I think that the UFC and the game as a whole has been good to him, and I expect that and I challenge him to return that back to the game and either sign on the line and put up your title or get out of my way and don’t hold up my journey. Because no one held up his. So that’s what I challenge DC to. I don’t really care who has the title. I don’t care if it’s vacant and I don’t care if I have to pick it up off the ground because he vacates it or if I have to take it off his waste. It literally doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want to fight DC. I’m not chasing DC. I’m chasing the title. And whether I have to fight Gustafsson for the vacant title or I gotta fight DC for it, I promise you it makes no difference to me. I don’t care. The person doesn’t matter.”

On Lesnar getting the title shot with DC after his PED issues in the past

“If Brock Lesnar hadn’t failed his last drug test I wouldn’t have a whole lot of room to stand and say anything, but I don’t think that that’s fair. If that was my division that that was happening in, I’d be pissed. But you know, I’m kind of in a biased position when it comes to the Brock Lesnar thing because Stipe’s my dude, you know? I think Stipe deserves a rematch. I think that he’s the greatest heavyweight champ we’ve ever had. I think that he carried that division on his back for a long time and I think that Stipe had a big part in making that division as exciting as it was and brining the heavyweights back to something that people wanted to watch. Because for a long time no one gave a shit about the heavyweights. So, I think he raised the bar. And once you raise the bar, people try to match it and it brings everybody’s level up. So, with that said, I think that Stipe deserves the rematch, but I don’t blame Daniel for wanting the Brock Lesnar fight.”

“Daniel deserves that. He deserves that big paycheck, that big moment, and that’s hard to argue with, you know, I think that he probably does. At the same time, kind of at what cost? What cost does that come to the integrity of the sport and what’s going on with Stipe.”

Prediction for how he beats Volkan

“I think that it’s another brutal finish. I really do. I think that our styles match up perfectly for me. Volkan’s not shooting takedowns, it’s just not happening. So even if he watches this and decides, ‘alright, I’m gonna take him down because he’s not gonna be expecting it,’ it doesn’t matter because Volkan doesn’t have it in him. Not that he’s not able to, but just his style and his mentality. Volkan’s not shooting any takedowns. So, with the threat of a takedown completely off the table, I don’t think that there’s anyone at 205 that’s gonna win a striking battle with me.”

“I think the first round is gonna probably be a feeling out process. We’re two guys that are swinging hammers, I don’t think either one of us are gonna dive right in right away. I imagine there’s gonna be a feeling out process and we’re gonna be checking each other’s timing and speed and see what everything looks like, and I think that round two I think that we really start letting them fly.”

MMA 101: Finding Sponsors

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Anyone who has reached a higher level in combat sports knows that while there is money to be made, it is only at the very upper echelons of MMA that the big bucks are handed out. In Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu, this is even less true. That leaves up and coming fighters, and many professional ones, with three choices – fund their own training, acquire sponsors to help offset the cost of coaching fees, equipment, travel, and nutrition, or scrape by on money earned from competing professionally. Most fighters find they have to do a combination of all three, and while many would like to acquire more sponsors to ease the financial strain, they’re often unsure of how to go about it. Here are three tips to make the process easier:

Create An Athlete Profile

You can’t expect businesses to know who you are unless you show them. Take a few hours and put together a well-written summary of your accomplishments and goals. Be creative – this isn’t a resume, it’s your chance to showcase who you are as a person and an athlete. Make it multimedia and add photos and even videos, depending on the format you use. Include your social media links, contact information, and any upcoming fights or competitions.

Find Products And Businesses That You Have A Genuine Interest In

No one wants to be solicited by someone who has no knowledge of their product. Start with products you have used and believe in. Start with businesses where you are a frequent customer. When looking for additional sponsors that you don’t have a prior tie to, do you research. What are their products like? Their business? Show them that you’re interested enough to invest the time into learning more about them and how you can help promote their products and business.

Promote Your Current Sponsors

Once you have sponsors, treat them well. How well you promote your current sponsors will show potential sponsors what they can expect from you. Don’t be that athlete who lines up sponsor after sponsor and forgets about them as soon as they’re on board. Your goal is to cultivate long-term relationships with the right sponsors for you, not play a numbers game. The latter may pay off in the beginning, but it’s the former that will support you during your fight career.

MMA 101: Training Logs

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It’s one of the most under-utilized tools in training – the training log. From the hobbyist to the serious fighter, keeping training records can help you improve your training, achieve your goals, and decrease your injury risk. Training logs can be kept in any format. There are several apps available that help you log your training so those records are only a swipe away. You can simply make notes in your phone’s calendar if you don’t feel like spending the time learning a new app. For the old-fashioned, there’s the ever-reliable notebook and pen. Regardless of the format that’s right for you, keeping a log of your training is something you can start today. Training logs can be beneficial in several ways:

Improve Your Training

How many times have you learned a new move that you know was going to work well for you, only to forget it after leaving the gym? Maybe you remember it a week or two later, and have to frantically ask your coach the name of that move he taught on that day, and hope he remembers it. Take the time after training to write down the name of the moves, submissions, or combos you learned, as well as a notes on how they worked for you. Not only will you not forget the name of that perfect move for you, if you make the habit of looking back at your training log every few weeks, you’ll inevitably remember a move or submission you learned that you forgot about, and want to try next time.

Achieve Your Goals

Everyone has heard it – to have a better chance of achieving your goals, write them down. Take some time to write your goals down in your training log (somewhere visible where you can see them daily), and then break them into small, achievable steps. Once a week, take a few moments to note where you’re at in achieving those steps, and to reflect on what you may need to change or where you can do better.

Decrease Your Injury Risk

Injuries are the shadow lurking in the background of every competitor. If you train often, you might not know why your shoulder suddenly is hurting, or where you pushed too hard and strained a muscle. With a good record of your training, you can look back and see that maybe you were repeatedly training left hooks and pinpoint that as the source of your shoulder issues. Perhaps you worked on takedowns more than you realized, and that’s where you strained your hamstring. Being able to figure out the ‘why’ of your injury will help you learn what to avoid in the future or how and when you need to take it easy.

A log helps you train for your next competition and helps you maintain a steady training base between competitions. Nothing sucks more than gearing up for the next throwdown and running into a previous injury you’ve forgotten about, or not knowing what foods you ate last time that hurt/helped maintain weight. You never want to reinvent the wheel. Keeping a training log will help you capitalize on good training techniques and avoid previous errors in training that keep cropping up.

MMA 101: “Hey, This Is Supposed To Be Fun!”

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Heather Clark Dwight Joseph Extreme Couture

If I were to count the number of times this has been said to me, it would take an embarrassingly long amount of time. I am an extremely competitive person and perpetual perfectionist, which can often spell emotional disaster when combined with martial arts. As anyone who trains knows, the path is never a linear line pointing straight up – it’s a roller coaster of hills and dips and sometimes unexpected twists.

We often get caught up in the destination – next belt, pro fighter, winning record – and rightly so. Goals are important and keep us moving forward and motivated to keep coming to class. What we forget is to balance our goals with the enjoyment of training. So many of us started because we thought training looked…wait for it…fun. Sure, there are those who walked into their first fight gym with lofty goals, but also because the path to those goals looked like a hell of a good time.

No one will deny that training can suck. No matter what your goals are in martial arts, like any other goal, achieving them will require that you show up when you’re tired, sore, or just not in the mood. Most of us don’t love donning our gis in 90 degree heat and getting close and sweaty with another person. It’s not always good time to put on your gloves and shin pads after an exhausting, pressure-filled day at the office. Embrace the suck of those days. Show up, get through it, and go home and take a nice hot shower.

Then don’t let those days linger. In certain situations – fight camp, tournament prep – the hard days are going to last long and be frequent, but you should expect that. If you’re not, however, training for a fight or a competition, roll hard, spar well, but keep the fun in it. Drill with teammates and laugh your way through that technique that you are seriously not getting. Get in some light sparring with a partner you trust and make it fun. Roll with your eyes closed. Grab the pads and try some new kicks.

Training is hard. Work hard, embrace the suck, but don’t forget why you started in the first place. It’s a lot easier to get through the hard moments when you make sure you frequently have the good ones. So take responsibility to lighten up every now and then, and have some good times on the mats. After all, this is supposed to be fun!

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