Friday, February 15, 2008

Conditioning Consistency Wins!

I’ve said it several times before that I may be knowledgeable in matters of fitness but I’m not an expert. So, therefore, I’m not going to claim that everything I say is true. Sometimes, I’m going to state a theory and I’m not going to trot around saying that it is a fact yet. This is one of those times.

I’m a huge fight fan. I regularly watch MMA and boxing matches. Lately, it’s become popular to have behind-the-scenes shows where they show the preparation and training of the fighters to promote the impending fight. This has been the topic of many magazine articles as well. Many of the fighters training is best described as severe. Here are some of the recent examples I’ve come across:

1. Jeff Monson trained with a gentleman named Juan Carlos Santana. His intense regimen of isometrics, weight training, sled training, band workouts, and truck pushing prior to his title shot against Tim Sylvia would fatigue him so much that Santana would rehydrate him intravenously with a mild baking soda solution in order to reduce his pH so he could continue training despite the lactic acid build-up.

2. Vanderlei Silva recently moved to Las Vegas with his crew of trainers. His conditioning involved doing all his 2 hour strength training an conditioning with a weight vest, his nose plugged and breathing through a snorkel.

3. Tito Ortiz is renowned for intense, Spartan training. His training is so intense that he doesn’t consider it a training effective unless someone gets nauseated to the point of vomiting.

What do these fighters have in common? I’ve seen them all get fatigued in the fights they trained so hard to win. All of them trained to not get tired. So what’s going on here? I have two thoughts about it. One is that these people are both overtraining and not recovering from the abuse they undergo. The other is that they don’t stay in good shape when they’re not training. I think that they are both linked.

It’s common for fighters to gain a lot of weight in between bouts. Tito Ortiz is the most obvious example. He probably gains at least 30 pounds in between bouts. Felix Trinidad fought as a welterweight (147 lbs) while walking around at 180 lbs. Phil Baroni gains almost 40 lbs between bouts. Fernando Vargas would enter camp having to drop 8-12 lbs a week. So, these fighters have to drop severe amounts of weight in a short period of time, sometimes in the span of only a month. They drop as much as weight as possible so they have as much size advantage over their opponents. What they end up with is weakened body, unable to finish what they started.

Not every fighter does this. The next time you see Bernard Hopkins and Randy Couture, look at how good their conditioning is between bouts. Bernard Hopkins admits that he cheats a little in between training but he doesn’t go above 5 or 10 lbs above his fighting weight and he is 80% in condition for a fight at all times. Randy Couture routinely trains fighters when he isn’t training himself. So, he stays in good shape at all times. It’s interesting to note that both of these fighters are defying father time and are at the top level in their sports in their mid-40’s.

They definitely show that consistency in conditioning is far superior to rushing yourself into shape. It obviously shows the beating that the body takes. It’s amazing that people can push their bodies to those kind of limits. It has some training but not to get into proper condition. Staying in shape at all times trumps rushing the process.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Massive, quick changes to that extent, 8-12 lbs a week? I can't see how that would be good at all! I've read plenty of times that even obese people should lose about 1-2 lbs a week, that's just ridiculous!