Lungevity: Combat cardio for a new generation of fighters

It's Fitness Friday once again Maniacs and if you recall last week's column we covered some great exercises that closely resemble the kind of physical exertion you would experience in a real mixed martial arts bout.

We may have rocked your upper and lower body with those routines, but don't get too relaxed because we're only halfway there.

In order to become a complete fighter (or at least be in shape like one), our training must also focus heavily on aerobic and anaerobic endurance to balance your training and sculpt you into a complete fighter.

Combat sports falls under the anaerobic umbrella because it requires a great deal of power output in a short period of time. The energy is quickly available, but short term energy stores are rapidly depleted, lactic acid builds up and exercise soon comes to a halt.

Once the production of lactate (lactic acid) by the anaerobic system is greater than its removal, lactate begins to accumulate in the bloodstream and the body must return to a state of rest to recover.

How do you know when you’ve reached your anaerobic threshold? When you’re out of breath! When the energy supplied by your breathing is insufficient to sustain your activity, you have reached your anaerobic threshold.

This is why so many mixed martial arts fighters falter as they go deeper into a fight. They may have excellent aerobic endurance, but their body is not conditioned for the quick bursts of power that only anaerobic endurance can provide.

The key is to find a balance between aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. Instead of getting on the treadmill and running a steady pace, use the incline and speed adjustments to your advantage.

Most treadmills have an option that will allow you to randomly increase speeds and change levels during your run. This is an excellent way to develop combat cardio and stay out of the comfort zone.

The exercise bike also has similar features.

And don't be afraid to try different machines. Maybe on certain days you hit the Stairmaster or cross-trainer to help with cardio confusion. And don't forget, when you hit it, hit it hard!

It's imperative that your training includes interval work consisting of a repeated series of short, high intensity bursts with alternating rest periods. Constantly changing levels and speeds to mimic the frequent stopping and starting of close range combat is the only way to prepare for three or even five rounds inside the cage.

Unless of course you’re "elusive" enough to avoid contact altogether.

Unfortunately none of this training will be of benefit without proper nutrition. Most of us consider proper nutrition to be a good, healthy diet with not a lot of sugar and saturated fats. However for the competitive athlete, that’s not enough!

Following an intense workout, the body goes through a process known as catabolism, the breaking down of muscle tissue to supply glutamine and other amino acid compounds to other parts of the body.

As a defense mechanism, your body is designed to cannibalize itself starting with muscle tissue to get the nutrients it needs, effectively reversing everything you’ve worked for in your time at the gym. As far as muscle growth is concerned, you can’t rob Peter to pay Paul.

Now you can either provide your body with the nutrients it needs (like Branch Chain Amino Acids) or just sit back and let it feast on the muscle tissue you’ve worked so hard to grow.

Our goal as athletes in the recovery phase of our training is anabolism, the process where our muscles repair themselves, effectively adding strength and size in response to the stress of training. The most effective way to accomplish that process is by consuming post-workout recovery supplements within one hour after training.

In addition, a comprehensive supplement plan will allow you to spread your protein consumption throughout the day so you don’t have to walk around the office with a grilled chicken breast stuffed in your pocket.

Nutritional supplements have never been more affordable, and once again the good folks over at Feel It! Nutrition are breaking the hearts of competitors nationwide in an effort to bring you the supplements you need for yourself or that athletic loved who thinks a can of Red Bull and a Zagnut bar is all you need.

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Don’t worry about trying to figure out which supplements are going to help you maintain your current fitness goals. The Feel It! Nutrition experts have already done the research for you and assembled some of the most comprehensive stacks available to help you achieve almost any fitness goal.

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See you at the gym!

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