Martial Arts Nutrition

UFC Fighter Frank Mir’s MMA Diet and MMA Workouts for Powering Up His MMA Techniques

Frank Mir is one of the most compelling UFC heavyweights for a number of reasons, not the least of which is, after the motorcycle accident he had in 2004, he wasn’t supposed to be alive. With his twice-fractured femur and ripped knee ligaments, he also wasn’t supposed to walk again, to fight again or to win again. Yet he’s done all those things and more — perhaps the most noteworthy of which was defeating Brock Lesnar at the UFC 81 in 2008. No obstacle that landed in Frank Mir’s path seemed to matter. His life serves as a textbook example of Friedrich Nietzsche’s most famous saying: “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.”


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MMA workouts and enhance your MMA techniques:
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An examination of Frank Mir’s fight life — specifically, his MMA diet, MMA techniques and MMA workouts — can help martial artists like you improve your own MMA diet, MMA techniques and MMA workouts for a better body, better fighting and a better life overall.

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Enjoy Training to Improve Your MMA Techniques

“I’m constantly in the gym because I enjoy being a martial artist,” Frank Mir says. “Who doesn’t love to go to the gym and train if you’re into martial arts? I spend two or three days a year in an octagon with millions of people watching, and that provides me with the chance to be at the gym every other day, hanging out with my family and friends and doing what I love most.”

The Dangers of Overtraining During MMA Workouts

If you get hurt in your MMA workouts or preparing stronger MMA techniques for a big fight, chances are you’ll have to wait months for another shot. Frank Mir found that out the hard way when a shoulder injury prevented him from facing Antoni Hardonk on April 5, 2007. He wasn’t able to meet him in the octagon until August 25 — some four and a half months later.

Get the Best Martial Arts Training and MMA Techniques Coaching From Top Instructors

Frank Mir has a top-notch team that puts him through the necessary paces during his MMA workouts and training to power up his MMA techniques. He hones his wrestling skills with Mike Whitehead and Ricky Landell. Robert Drysdale has been his Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach for years. He credits Jimmy Gifford for helping him develop his boxing ability and footwork. Shawn Yarborough and Peter Pinter, one of Mark DellaGrotte’s head instructors, push him on the finer points of muay Thai. These pieces of MMA techniques training work synergistically, he says. “It’s not like I listen to one guy for half an hour by himself. All five or six guys are standing there at the same time, and whenever I enter an area of their expertise, they offer input.”

Perform Anaerobic Exercises in Your MMA Workouts

“I’m not a big proponent of heavyweights going out for a jog,” Frank Mir says. “I’ve just never been a believer in building up cardio for a fight. Fighting is very anaerobic, so that’s the type of training I do.”

Focus on Resistance Training Exercises During MMA Workouts

Frank Mir hits the free weights three to four times a week as part of his MMA workouts to strengthen his MMA techniques. “I believe they build more stabilizing muscles and balance than machines do,” he says. “You want to build up to intensely physical exercises. The more intense, the better it’ll be for you.”

Deploy Combat-Conditioning Exercises During MMA Workouts

Frank Mir says he lifts heavy during his MMA workouts for one reason: to get stronger doing movements he’ll need to perform MMA techniques in a fight. “Weighted pull-ups, for example, use muscles you’ll use in a grappling match,” he says. Similarly, he recommends jump squats to train your legs in a way that will benefit you in combat.


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Frank Mir doesn’t do specialized exercises like the biceps curl during his MMA workouts. “My biceps get exercised because I’m pulling things,” he says of his process of preparation for more powerful MMA techniques. “I grip onto something, I do a bent-over row, a power lift or a weighted pull-up. My biceps are getting trained inadvertently — that’s the natural way to do it. The body was designed through evolution to pull, push and lift things. That’s much more natural, and that’s the movement you’re going to use in a fight.”…

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Having a stronger, better-conditioned body will boost your performance regardless of which martial arts style you practice.

That’s why it makes sense to look at MMA fighters — who are some of the best-conditioned athletes on the planet — for ways to help you enhance your physical output.

In this new FREE Guide from BlackBeltMag.com — The MMA Diet: How to Fuel Your Tank for Better Execution of MMA Techniques and Self-Defense Moves — full-time MMA conditioning and fighting coach Morné Swanepoel shows you:

An MMA diet can yield stronger MMA techniques and self-defense moves.

  • a five-week plan to cleansing your body for peak performance
  • how MMA fighters’ training programs bolster endurance, explosiveness and power
  • how activity timing factors into the type of diet and exercises best suited for conditioning
  • how knowing your specific training goals can shape a sustainable diet and exercise
  • how having the will to win doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have the will to prepare
  • how different training environments stress the body
  • how activity variety stimulates different parts of your physique
  • why it’s important to always think “full body” in terms of conditioning
  • recommended reading, including a look at Frank Mir’s MMA diet plan

… and MUCH MORE!

How Sen No Rikyu Used the Japanese Tea Ceremony for Samurai Training

I’ve sat in the tiny space of Tai’an, the tea hut in Kyoto, Japan, that was among the last places Sen no Rikyu performed the Japanese tea ceremony. His descendants, more than 400 years later, continue to carry on the art. Sitting alone in that shadowy two-mat space where he once sat, I felt the weight of history. It was as enormous as the universe.

Before Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), Japanese tea ceremonies were an exercise in opulence, conducted in fancy halls with gilded bowls, a chance to show off one’s wealthy and chic style. Sen no Rikyu fundamentally changed the art. He prepared tea and shared it with a few guests, sometimes just one on one, in simple, rustic huts, with plain implements: rough ceramic bowls, bamboo scoops and whisks. Under his guidance, the Japanese tea ceremony became devoted to the quiet, the subtle, the unpretentious. Instead of a grand party, it became a way to understand how quickly life passes and how host and guest can communicate beyond words and learn fundamental truths about each other. Under Sen no Rikyu, the ceremony became chado, the way of tea.

Chado flourished during Japan’s centuries-long civil war, the age of the samurai. You may have read that the warrior class embraced it because it offered a moment of peace and contemplation amid the chaos of battle. That’s mostly nonsense. The samurai studied chado because it was a concentrated form of the interactions, on and off the battlefield, that gave them critical insight into life. It wasn’t an escape from their everyday lives; it was, and remains, a direct confrontation with life.

All this may seem odd, comparing the serenity of the tea ceremony with the chaos and violence of the battlefield. Sen no Rikyu, however, spent his entire career around samurai. He understood their world. Some of his students, like Nobunaga Oda and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, were ruthless and coldblooded strategists. Rikyu knew, as did his warrior followers, that budo, the martial ways, were no different from the way of tea in that at their heart, they were ways of learning to deal with others and of facing the inevitability of death.

Ichi go, ichi e is a core value of chado and budo. “One encounter; one chance.” If you make a mistake on the battlefield, you must move on. You live or die with it. There aren’t any do-overs. If you make a mistake in the intricacies of chado, the same is true. It’s impossible to do a perfect tea ceremony. Things will always go wrong. It isn’t in the perfection of the movements that we find the worth of chado; it’s in how well we can integrate our mistakes in such a way that the process continues. Combat, of course, is no different.

“Prepare for rain” was one of Sen no Rikyu’s rules. The unexpected is always expected. Rain—along with countless other elements—can change the way our guests arrive for tea. Unexpected developments must also be considered in a fight. The lessons samurai learned in dealing with them in the tea hut were reflected in their adventures on the battlefield. Doing chado, they weren’t indulging in quiet contemplation, escaping from the rigors of martial strategy; they were polishing strategy.

“Boil water and make tea,” Sen no Rikyu replied when asked the secret of chado. Sounds simple, but watch the elaborate motions and rituals of even the most informal of Japanese tea ceremonies (there are more than 400 “kata,” called temae, in chado) and you’ll find it hard to believe. It looks a lot more complex. In truth, chado, like budo, is an eliminative process. Chado forms are about getting rid of unnecessary movements. Just like beginners in a karate dojo who fidget and waste energy with poor body mechanics, beginning tea students lack the ability to focus, to simplify, to do what’s necessary to get the job done and nothing more. In budo or chado, it’s the expert who can reduce the complex to the artfully simple.

Sen no Rikyu’s relationship with his most famous student, the warlord Hideyoshi, was particularly challenging. Hideyoshi was flamboyant and volatile. He regarded Sen no Rikyu as his teacher, probably the only one he ever had. At the same time, he was jealous of Sen no Rikyu and resented the master’s expertise and calm, implacable demeanor. In a fit of anger, Hideyoshi claimed to have been insulted by Sen no Rikyu and ordered him to commit suicide in 1591.

You may still be skeptical that chado has anything to do with the way of the warrior. Maybe you’re right. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note how Sen no Rikyu died. He held a final tea ceremony and wrote a farewell poem. Then he requested a dagger. It was brought in on a tray. …

Will Natural Energy Boosters Improve Your Martial Arts Training?

Success in the martial arts hinges on a number of attributes: cardiovascular capability, endurance, strength, balance, speed and agility, to name a few. One thing they all have in common is energy.

If you’re a professional martial artist, you need to sustain your energy level over long training sessions and in competition. If you’re a recreational practitioner, you need nearly as much energy to last through work or school and still function in the dojo. Energy determines what you can do and how well you can do it. That explains why so many food products and supplements claim they will energize you.


Download this FREE Guide to starting an MMA diet to fuel your
MMA workouts and enhance your MMA techniques:
The MMA Diet: How to Fuel Your Tank for Better Execution of
MMA Techniques and Self-Defense Moves


Martial Arts Training Challenges

To derive maximum benefit from an energy enhancer, you need to understand why your energy level fluctuates. Boosters in a bottle work in tandem with your lifestyle, helping you more efficiently use your current energy reserves. They work indiscriminately, however, which means they can optimize healthy habits or exaggerate the “crash and burn” that often accompanies an unhealthy routine. Therefore, before you choose a quick fix from the counter of a convenience store, it’s best to identify the basis for the chronic energy drain that’s making you look for an easy solution.

One of the biggest factors that can affect your energy level is lifestyle. If you hit the dojo after work, you’re asking your body to do much more than the average person. Simply consuming an energy drink might not provide enough additional fuel to compensate for the steady depletion. If you suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness, poor diet or irregular eating patterns, your body won’t store energy as efficiently at it should. If you train full time, you might be subject to additional negatives, including lethargy that results from overtraining, reduced caloric intake when cutting weight, dehydration, mental stress and insufficient sleep. Any one of them can put a big drain on your system; combine them and you’re guaranteed to have problems.

Martial Arts Training Log

The best way to recharge is to make qualitative changes to your lifestyle. Begin by creating a martial arts training log in which you track everything that saps your energy during the day. Note all that you do in the dojo and the gym, as well as stressors you’re subject to, foods you eat, how much and how well you sleep, and so on. If you’re a pro fighter, also monitor your fluid intake, mealtimes and recovery periods. With a little analysis, you’ll be able to identify patterns that relate lifestyle habits to physical output.

Once you isolate the agents that are limiting you and take measures to remedy them, you can think about energy boosters. There are several on the market that can help kick your body into high gear.

Natural Energy Boosters

What makes energy enhancers work? Most of the good ones contain B-complex vitamins, enzymes and minerals your body uses every day. The idea is, if you consume extra, it will ensure that you’re getting enough to oxidize nutrients, bolster your immunity and maintain your alertness.

Before buying a picker-upper, you might want to try a couple of overlooked energizers. Water is the first one. Even slight dehydration can significantly degrade your performance. Green tea is another. Studies have shown it can increase metabolism, heighten awareness and work as an antioxidant. Perhaps most important of all is “eating clean.” Consuming low-glycemic carbohydrates will help you produce energy at a steady rate, thus avoiding peaks and valleys that can affect your workouts.…

Martial Arts Training Tips for Cutting Weight

Sports nutrition not only enables you to stoke your furnace with the best energy-boosting and recovery-enhancing food, but it also gives you the tools to understand the inner workings of your physiology, including how to achieve optimal body composition. Why is that important? Because at some point in your life, you may have to cut weight—perhaps to make weight at a martial arts tournament or just to shape up for the summer. The worst thing about cutting weight is, when it’s required, it often has to be done quickly. You need to take pains to do it right so you maintain the strength and stamina you worked so hard to build.

As soon as you learn that need to lose weight, you should start eating and training for that goal. Forget sweatsuits and saunas—they serve a purpose only on the day of the weigh-in because all they do is decrease the amount of water in your body. Unchecked, even partial dehydration can lead to exhaustion and weakness. Likewise, forget fasting. Blindly cutting your caloric intake can leave you feeling drained and unable to perform the way you normally do.

For healthy weight loss, don’t restrict your food intake to the point at which you’re no longer getting enough nutrients. You need fuel to function. Instead of cutting out your energy source, you should refine it by cutting out “empty calorie” foods. Example: Replace a serving of French fries with vegetables. Small adjustments like this can help you trim the excess while keeping muscle and energy levels intact. How is that possible? Because fat has approximately twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates and protein.

Your next step is to boost your metabolism, which means teaching your body to consistently use the food you eat to produce energy. That will make you burn more calories for longer periods, which leads to weight loss. Bonus: It will also help you maintain the energy you need to train hard without risking neuromuscular damage.

In part, your metabolism is determined by your age and genetics, which means there’s only so much you can do to alter it. However, metabolism is also dependant on your exertion level and the frequency with which you eat. As a martial artist, you train regularly. If you need to cut weight, you can always up the frequency of your workouts. Obviously, you can adjust your daily food intake. If your schedule permits, consider eating six times a day: two or three smaller snacks in addition to three or four well-portioned, nutritious meals. The last thing you want to do is skip meals because it will have the opposite effect—it will tell your body it needs to conserve energy and hold onto fat.

When you’re planning your meals, try to combine protein with complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. If you’re having trouble making six meals a day, consider cutting your three large meals in half. Instead of stuffing yourself at breakfast or dinner, split those meals so you can eat every three to four hours. A snack can be a serving of fruit or nuts, a nutritional drink or an energy bar. Just keep track of the calorie count so you can shoot for 100 to 400 calories per snack.

Cutting weight is a lot like martial arts training: It’s not easy, but when it’s approached in a proven, scientific way, the benefits far outweigh the effort you put in.…