T Nation

Gains/Martial Arts

I just started bumping up martial arts to about 5/6 times a week and I am wondering if this is going to decrease my gains due to some sort of increase in cortisol or something along those lines. I am just getting back into shape, after coming off a pretty serious illness… and I am missing, very much, missing the way I used to be and I don’t want to waste any time getting there. I don’t think the calories are a problem, or a diet breakdown, I am just a bit worried that somehow that extra hour a day of martial arts is going to screw me up hormonally… or for some reason besides caloric expenditure. Thanks.

There are a couple of questions to ask: What martial art do you do?

If it is something like TKD or Jun Fan or Karate, you should have no problem. These are great for flexibility and conditioning, and shouldn’t affect your weight workouts TOO much.

If you do a grappling art like BJJ or Pancreation, or Shoot wrestling, then you might have some problems.

I know from experience as I recently took up BJJ and Combat Submission Wrestling as well as my usual FMA. I dropped all weight workouts for the first two weeks as I was too beat up, and my conditioning was not up to par. Now, I am at 3 workouts a week, and am feeling fine. If you are a grappler, you might want to focus on maximal strength and explosive strength. You should be getting a lot of endurance from free rolling.

-Fireplug

Actually I have this question myself as I’m trying to go up a weight class or two…

I train Boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ 5 nights a week and lift 4x a week, westside conjugate style.

I’ll be doing no conditioning other than some GPP when I feel I need it.

Unless a tourney comes around that I need to take advantage off, then i’ll cut out all lifting for a while and stick to weighted intervals and the like.

I’m making gains now, my nutrition is up to par, but now that i’m training seriously again I’m going to need to up the calories exponentially.

Any thoughts?

[quote]fireplug52 wrote:
There are a couple of questions to ask: What martial art do you do?

If it is something like TKD or Jun Fan or Karate, you should have no problem. These are great for flexibility and conditioning, and shouldn’t affect your weight workouts TOO much.

If you do a grappling art like BJJ or Pancreation, or Shoot wrestling, then you might have some problems.

I know from experience as I recently took up BJJ and Combat Submission Wrestling as well as my usual FMA. I dropped all weight workouts for the first two weeks as I was too beat up, and my conditioning was not up to par. Now, I am at 3 workouts a week, and am feeling fine. If you are a grappler, you might want to focus on maximal strength and explosive strength. You should be getting a lot of endurance from free rolling.

-Fireplug[/quote]

Thanks Fireplug… actually it’s both Chen style Tai Chi – which is significantly more intense than the typical Tai Chi and also Karate. The Karate was what I was more worried about. Thanks again.
-Tantalos

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
Actually I have this question myself as I’m trying to go up a weight class or two…

I train Boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ 5 nights a week and lift 4x a week, westside conjugate style.

I’ll be doing no conditioning other than some GPP when I feel I need it.

Unless a tourney comes around that I need to take advantage off, then i’ll cut out all lifting for a while and stick to weighted intervals and the like.

I’m making gains now, my nutrition is up to par, but now that i’m training seriously again I’m going to need to up the calories exponentially.

Any thoughts?[/quote]

Hey Xen,

You shouldn’t really need to do any GPP with a program like that. A couple of years ago when I was doing something similar - grappling about 10 hours a week, boxing 3 hours a week and 4 weights workouts, and I went from 225lbs to 265lbs in about 18 months.

As long as your recovery is up to scratch, is can be done. All weight days were do with heavy weights (mainly 6x6 if I remember), but not to failure. I was eating everything in sight and was going through about a kilo of protein powder a week.

The big thing is to listen to your body. If you get niggling injuries that won’t go away, or are starting to dread going to workouts, have a week off and you’ll come back a fair bit stronger and more focused.

[quote]tantalos wrote:
I just started bumping up martial arts to about 5/6 times a week and I am wondering if this is going to decrease my gains due to some sort of increase in cortisol or something along those lines. I am just getting back into shape, after coming off a pretty serious illness…[/quote]

If you’re coming back from injury or illness, most would agree to pace yourself and slowly get back into it. 6nights a week is way too much at first, especially if you’re lifting weights on top of that. I think that’s too much, but only you know how you’re feeling and how intense the classes are. Twice a week + 3weight sessions is what i would suggest. If you get sick again from overtraining, you’ll never get to where you want to be.

I train 4 nights a week BJJ and about 4 times a week with weights. Cardio twice a week. Anymore than that and I think I’d go backwards pretty quick. There’s only so much time in the day and it’s a feat of scheduling to make sure workouts are far enough apart that residual fatigue doesn’t cut into the next one.