Sunday, October 9, 2011

A New Intensity

This week begins a focus change. For the past few months, I've been focused on leaning out and developing my striking game (for both boxing and MMA). I've dropped weight and some of that hard abdominal fat that we males tend to acquire over time. This is partially due to my wife's spectacular management of my combined desires to eat well and eat healthy. Her food blog, Stuff I Make My Husband documents some of this. In addition, my trainer and coach Daniel Hurtado de Mendoza has been another major part. His conditioning workouts are...well, hellish. In the early days, it was not uncommon to throw-up a couple times in mid workout. These days, I'm much better, I now just collapse in gelatinous muscle failure and a pool of my own sweat before he yells at me to get back on the burpees. Somehow, he motivates me to do so, even when the body tells me that there is nothing left (and hasn't been for a long time). Add to that regular 5k leisurely runs and two-a-day striking classes, and you get the gist of the last three months.

I'm not saying that I'm where I want to be, but that I am where I need to be to begin the next phase of training. For me right now, that means more Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling, a 10k progression aimed at performance over longer distances, and back on the weights. I'm teaching again, so my schedule isn't as open as it was over the summer, but that just means managing time better and getting up earlier to fit in runs before MMA striking and BJJ in the mornings. I dropped down to 175 for my recent boxing fight. I am now ok with gaining a bit of muscle weight. I want to stay within striking distance of that 175 (in case a good fight opportunity arises), but I'd like to be the strongest most explosive 170 pounder that I can be in the coming months. My thinking is 185 is a good lean waling around weight. I can drop as I approach any possible contests, and finish off down near 170 if/when I decide to take my first amateur MMA fight.

So the training looks like, MMA striking two mornings a week followed by a BJJ or wrestling class. Sparring with the MMA guys twice a week in the evenings before training with the boxers (2-3 times weekly). A private striking session once a week. A night wrestling or BJJ class once or twice a week. That pretty much wraps up Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, Erica and I have a repeating indoor climbing date. Basically, from 8 or 9-midnight we tackle bouldering problems at an indoor gym with a live DJ. Sundays are for coach's conditioning class. That leaves Saturday as a rest day (meaning I only run). Somehow, I need to squeeze in 2 days a week of deadlifts, squats, push-presses, pull-ups etc. Looking for that space in the calendar now. I'll probably make one heavy and the other explosive. Monday-Thursday and Saturday, get up early and do Hal Higdon's intermediate 10k progression. I change up the weekend and take off running on Friday and do the longer Sunday runs on Saturday. I assume that the suffering pit of despair that is Coach Danny's Sunday class satisfies the Saturday cross-training component.

I know that it looks like there is little room for recovery, and you'd be right. This phase is all about push harder than I think is possible, feed my body enough to deal with it, and sleep the sleep of the dead. During my boxing fight, I realized that I was hitting my oxygen utilization ceiling. That being said, I also realized that I could keep punching the whole time. The main reason that I was feeling the gas was the strangeness of my first fight. I determined after that fight that I wanted to go harder, more explosively than any opponent and to be able to do it longer than made sense. After watching Anthony Pettis fight Clay Guida, I was inspired that it could be done much better than most of us want to admit. A lot of it is mental. But no matter physical or mental or both, it takes work to build it. And I want to build it. Plus, I want that explosiveness that is a game changer in the late minutes. Thusly, this new training scenario.

Wish me luck...