T Nation

Bodybuilding and Martial Arts


Hey guys !

I train 5 days/week , I LOVE bodybuilding and I can't stop . I don't want to 'lose' what I've gained !

But , I also discovered that I want to do martial arts . I did 4-5 months of BJJ but my session was really hard since I have train hard earlier (gym trainnig)

Imagine , legs day , and later , BJJ...ouch . After that , I'll need 15 hours of sleep ! And I'm sore like...24hrs a day , 7 days a week !! I train hard , I eat good....(I use to want to compete...)

What is the best for me ? And I want to start muay thai , or kickboxing....karate...I still don't know yet , but something like this !!

Thanks !


sorry for my english ! I'm french !


I was actually going to post something similar.

I've decided to jump back into Muay Thai and BJJ training, but I've spent the past two years getting bigger and leaner, and I don't want to lose it.

My strategy so far has been to do my lifting as early in the day as I can when I have technique training in the evening, giving me 5-8 hours (depending on the day) for some sort of recovery. I sort of figure for just practice (like not competing, or getting ready for a match) I don't need to be 100%.

I'm just trying to up my calories to feed the training session, but haven't qualitatively changed my lifting routine.

Any thoughts or advice would be great.


From personal experience- don't grind yourself into the ground. I do BJJ 2-3 times a week, and lift in the days I don't. I do my best to listen to my body and adjust my intensity level accordingly (weights and BJJ). There will be days when you need to tone it down a little.

As for soreness, I found spreading out my volume into an upper/lower split helped a lot.


Genes play the biggest role here, along with your previous athletic career.
If you're a twig, focus on mass building, at least for now.
If you can cope with lots of sports because you enjoyed an extensive athletics education in your youth, that's a big bonus.

If I understand correctly, you priority IS bodybuilding, right?

some thoughts:
if you have trouble gaining mass, it's probably foolish to do so much MA.

weight gainer shakes and calorie dense foods are a must.

a reduction (read: ditch them!) of isolation training and of exercises that cause irritation, inflammation etc is a good idea

BJJ is a good idea because you can play rel. hard without greater health risk like, for instance, with thai boxing. BJJ is also great because it focuses on mobility and fluidity, therefore complements BB very well, which lacks these qualities and can make athlets stiff and awkward.
Thai Boxing + (real) bodybuilding would be nearly pointless, from my experience, without drugs or good genes with superb planning.


Train like a heavy weight fighter...it solves alot. Find a mix between ONE martial art and bodybuilding. If you take one too many at once it won't work. So I suggest finding an MMA gym, or stick to one of the Martial Arts...and weight train accordingly. I used to wieght train Five days a week and train Sanshou 3 days a week. I had two days that were "two-a-days" and One day specifically for Wushu/Sanshou. I found this worked really well, but my nutrition had to be tight.


Before I got sick, I was able to hold 195-200lbs with a body fat of 10%. But I was naturally ectomorphic, which helped me out A LOT. Genetics will def play a role in how you can play this game. You have to temper your expectations tho, cause you can do really well doing both, but knowing your body and keeping nutrition tight is key.


thanks for you advice !

I'll give it a try . I will continue BJJ and see what its good for me . at least , il will be my cardio!


I'm lifting 4 days a week and doing Muay Thai for 2 hours once a week. I know this isn't a full on MMA program (obviously) but how I've structured it is muay thai on wednesday evening, day off thursdays and tuesdays (cardio on those days if need be) and then fri/sat/sun/mon weightlifting.

4 days on the trot is hardgoing, especially when trying to keep lean/lose fat, but it is doable. Just make sure it's a carb up day either the day before or the day of MMA.


its really a exercise of time management.

As you said, use you training as your cardio and use what gym time you have to just lift. Thats what i do, i stick to the big lifts in the gym and my sanshou burns the fat off better then any tread mill ive used in my life!

have fun man!


That's what I've been doing too.

I've also decided (and some people would have said I should do this anyway) not to do more than one BIG lift per session (On my dead-lift day, I used to do light, higher-rep squats, and visa-versa on squat day, now I just do the lift of the day + some cable work.)


LMAO So funny... i do cable work too, i just refuse to admit it in hardcore forums. But cables i always finish off with. the slow reps that gives me a good pump i find helps me recover faster. Also i do tons of shoulder rehab work with cables. i do them in advance so im conditioned. the by product is i have no shoulder injuries. Pains but zero shoulder injuries.


The combat forum ain't hardcore?


it is.. thats why i didnt bring it up unless somebody brings it up first. lol

cables almost always = flaming


In an update to whatever shit I said earlier in this thread, I'm doin pretty well working in boxing and weightlifting.

Keep in mind I'm not competing, so I'm not doing any roadwork- if I was competitive, all this shit would be out the window.

But right now I'm doing DeFranco's WSSB III. I tack on boxing work at the end of the DE leg day (because it's just not a lot of work) and on two days other days when I'm not lifting.

The boxing work I'm doing is 2-3 rounds a piece shadowboxing, on the heavy bag, on the uppercut bag, jumping rope, and using the lighter water bag in the gym that almost works as a halfway point from a double end bag and a heavy bag.

On days I'm lifting I'll do less, but on the other two days I'm doing a full workout.

Keep in mind I am working out alone, so I control the pace of the workout. If I was in a class, I would also probably be doing a little less lifting, but my work capacity is at the point where I can handle more volume than I could previously


Fuck that man. I use cables pretty consistently. You can't do pull throughs or face pulls without them, and I like tricep extensions on them because it's one of the only extension exercises that doesn't murder my elbows.

Don't worry about flaming man. If people really tell you they don't use the cables once in a while they're lying. They're just another tool.


I'm sure a ton of guys in the BB and Powerlifting forum regularly use cables. I don't see why anyone would get flamed for it, short of some elitist newbie jackass saying free-weights are the end all be all of training.

I use them for triceps, nothing else allows me to focus on the muscle.


On a weekly basis I have six or seven BJJ sessions, add two strength training sessions and three conditioning workouts, it comes to roughly 20+ hours of work a week.

That's a shit load of work and although I'm not gaining mass, purposely btw, I can't see why YOU wouldn't be able to do so since your workload properly wont be near as high.

Adding to that, just regulate your calorie intake accordingly.
So if you are stagnating and still want to add mass, just eat more!


Theres a popular MMA forum whos strength section consider cables the mother of all supreme-faggotry. lol

I do cables a lot for my shoulders. i actually do recovery work. I had a friend ruin his shoulder before, in rehab they gave him a routine to help him recover. So i started to do it at the end of my work outs seeing if prevention would work. Thus far, with all the throws ive taken, the clutching, wrestling and grinding of literally 1000+ punches each session. My shoulders are great!

i wish i could share it some how... maybe one day ill film it for my blog. But it really helped me have good shoulders when knees and shoulders tend to always be the nagging injury for most fighters.


Anything with weight attached is good, and cables require more stabilization than the machines half of them probably use.

I never cared what people thought of my workout. The ones who are stronger usually aren't threatened enough to care, and the ones who are weaker obviously don't know enough for me to value their opinions. I'll take technique pointers from guys who put up better numbers than me, but I would usually have to ask for help because they're too busy getting big to worry about what other people are lifting.