One of the beautiful things about Mixed Martial Arts is the coming together of several very different Martial Arts disciplines. This generally means that in order to develop into a highly successful MMA fighter, one must dedicate an enormous amount of time to training in all of these different disciplines. Strength and Conditioning can sometimes be an afterthought for Mixed Martial Artists due to time constraints, and the need for recovery rather than adding more training sessions into the training week.
The same can be said of most fight athletes of other disciplines who take their shit seriously. To get to the top, you have got to get the hard work done. This is where a lot of young fighters get into trouble with injuries, adrenal fatigue and a whole lot of other negative repercussions associated with trying to do too much, and recover too little. When you're young and invincible, what is to stop your from adding in a fourth sparring session or a third heavy lifting session per week?
If you haven't run into that brick wall of adrenal fatigue or nervous system shut-down from overtraining, you will have no idea of where your actual training threshold is. I am not suggesting that everyone who reads this should go out and grind themselves into oblivion until their nervous system shuts down, quite the opposite actually.
What I would like to introduce is the concept called “minimum effective dose”, or as the great Luke Leaman from musclenerds.tv refers to it “leastmode”. This will involve measuring the results and outcomes of your training, and actively trying to scale down your training volume to the point where you can achieve better results by doing less. This is not necessarily a “less is more” type of equation, but an attempt to optimise the amount of time you spend stressing your body, so you can effectively fuel and rest your body for optimal recovery and performance.
You will need to keep a detailed training log for subjective feedback, or how you “feel” before and after each workout. For the objective feedback such as how much weight you lifted for how many reps, you will need to record all of that information also - this will be vital information for determining neural function and recovery.
You will need to be as mindful as possible and as discerning as possible when putting all the pieces together. The food you eat will affect how you feel and how you perform, keep a detailed food log.
Work closely with your coaches to determine what is working and what is hindering your performance. Remember, “what you can measure, you can master”.
I want to encourage you to become more in tune with your body and all the factors that help and hinder your performance. Train smarter, don't grind yourself into oblivion, utilise the minimum effective dose.
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