T Nation

Holding New Weight

I used to compete in MMA/bjj/muay thai, but it has been a few years. Since then I have put on about 20lbs of quality mass, and now I am getting the opportunity to fight again. How could I go about maintaining my new mass while improving my conditioning for MMA and not being so ridiculously sore that I can’t move in practice?

any tips?

It’s really just fundamentals. Keep a daily (or more frequent) check on your weight. Log all of your caloric intake. Wind sprints, jumprope, sparring rounds with multiple partners, road work, rowing machine sprints to work on wind. If your weight dips, up your intake. I always did a banana for extra carbs, avocado or almond butter for protein/fat. But I’m a cheap mofo. You obviously know how to add weight, just do your wind work and modify your caloric intake (especially peri workout) to make sure you keep it.

Obviously, stay well hydrated to keep your water from throwing everything off. You’d be amazed what proper hydration will do for endurance.

Oh, I also like swimming for wind. Makes you breathe better. But if you don’t already swim well it’s probably not worth learning for fighting.

just eat??

Seriously you will literally not lose an ounce of mass unless you are literally starving yourself, and even then people apparently dont lose shit until their body fat stores reach dangerously low levels.

I think muscle loss is completely overblown and is a by product of people getting advice from guys who are using steroids.

Guarantee you won’t lose a thing. I’m so confident in that statement that if I had the means I would place you a $500 bet.

Unless of course your newfound mass is the product of steroid use and you’re coming off or you’re underestimating how much of your new size isnt just water and glycogen.

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
just eat??

Seriously you will literally not lose an ounce of mass unless you are literally starving yourself, and even then people apparently dont lose shit until their body fat stores reach dangerously low levels.

I think muscle loss is completely overblown and is a by product of people getting advice from guys who are using steroids.

Guarantee you won’t lose a thing. I’m so confident in that statement that if I had the means I would place you a $500 bet.

Unless of course your newfound mass is the product of steroid use and you’re coming off or you’re underestimating how much of your new size isnt just water and glycogen.[/quote]

or fat.

Weightlifters seriously seem to underestimate exactly what it is to lean and fit. I don’t really give a shit what the bodybuilding forum says, a guy who is 180lbs lean is a pretty big dude.

If you’re shredded, not juicing and have put on quality mass over a sensible period of time, then just eat enough that the scales stay still.

There have been times where I’ve cut for a fight on a fraction of what I usually eat, only to weigh in a day or two after a fight at my normal weight, with muscle measurements the same as before the cut. Real valuable mass stays on, I know plenty of jacked heavyweights, fat mass, water and glycogen cuts off pretty quickly.

no steroids, muscle mass put on over about 2 years since I quit fighting. I just had a feeling that muscle i put on via 4-5 days lifting a week would like to disappear as soon as I can’t manage 4-5 days of heavy lifting and switch to way more conditioning work. maybe im just paranoid.

ps im not a fatass

Eat and I reckon you should be fine. If maintaining every last pound is crucial, then I’d guess that 2 days a week of basic lifting might be useful, although there are others here better qualified than me to give advice on this.

If you’ve fought before you’d know what to do or have a team around you that do. Be sure you want to fight at your new weight class. New muscle doesn’t mean better skills or more power if it developed the wrong way. Sometimes a guy who is still your weight class but looks lanky will drop your ego to the gutter… just what he does with his body as opposed what you hope to do with your body. There is a difference. 2 years is a long time but hey I did 4 lol

[quote]humble wrote:
If you’ve fought before you’d know what to do or have a team around you that do. Be sure you want to fight at your new weight class. New muscle doesn’t mean better skills or more power if it developed the wrong way. Sometimes a guy who is still your weight class but looks lanky will drop your ego to the gutter… just what he does with his body as opposed what you hope to do with your body. There is a difference. 2 years is a long time but hey I did 4 lol[/quote]

I fought as an amateur before, and my old team and school has dissolved since i quit. So i don’t have any of that. I can fight at my new weight, i know the weight doesn’t mean i am better, but I sparred with some old sparring partners and I haven’t lost hand speed, and I hit harder. My cardio just isn’t what it used to be.

[quote]EllisUFC wrote:
I can fight at my new weight[/quote]

How much weight were you cutting before to make weight?

[quote]MWP wrote:

[quote]EllisUFC wrote:
I can fight at my new weight[/quote]

How much weight were you cutting before to make weight?
[/quote]

I had cut from 165 to 155 before and 175 to 165, so usually 10 lbs. now i walk around about 190-195,

[quote]EllisUFC wrote:

[quote]MWP wrote:

[quote]EllisUFC wrote:
I can fight at my new weight[/quote]

How much weight were you cutting before to make weight?
[/quote]

I had cut from 165 to 155 before and 175 to 165, so usually 10 lbs. now i walk around about 190-195, [/quote]

What weight class are you trying to fight in if you walk at 190? I think 10 pounds over is pretty typical for most of the guys that I have trained with. Most of it is a water cut and they are right back to their weight after weigh-ins. Seen some pretty intense weight cuts but those are brutal and it seems like what suffers the most is your gas.

How tall are you? You probably won’t lose any noticeable muscle getting back into MMA, it would just be hard to gain more.

I really don’t think monstrous weight cuts give the advantage some people think it does. I’d rather feel like myself and give up a few pounds than to be the bigger fighter but feel like a dehydrated pile of dog shit.

probably plan to fight at 185 middle weight first, and im 5’10

Nice work.

Keep training the same.
til strength work or sport/skill work interferes with the other
or recovery goes into the shitter.

How old are you?
sadly age plays a bigger part of recovery then Id like to admit.

plan on some aggressive recovery Ice epsom salt baths, PVC and LX ball
and ice baths - all help.

[quote]kmcnyc wrote:
Nice work.

Keep training the same.
til strength work or sport/skill work interferes with the other
or recovery goes into the shitter.

How old are you?
sadly age plays a bigger part of recovery then Id like to admit.

plan on some aggressive recovery Ice epsom salt baths, PVC and LX ball
and ice baths - all help.

[/quote]
Thanks

im 25 years old.

Already on the epsom salt baths, foam rolling and lacrosse balling. Ice when I need to.

so far my weight is about the same maybe slightly lower hovering at 189-191 , lifting 2-3 times a week. don’t feel like im as lean though, maybe just a high carb and beer day haha

Ok, here is my take on things. My perspective is from coaching both athletes and physique competitors at the amateur and a couple at the pro ranks (although no names really. you could say the only recognizable name I trained for an appreciable time was Dave Rickels). This is stuff I have noticed with them and also things I have learned for myself.

SOAP BOX

  1. Fighters, by and large, are fucking miserably terrible at supplementing. Either they don’t do any supplements (good frigging gravy that’s like 20+ year old nutrition methods there), or they waste money on BS (understandable with salespeople and internet BS).

SUPPLEMENT. Supplement supplement supplement your workout. Damn it if I had only one thing to say that you remember burn this into your brain! Supplement ALL YOUR WORKOUTS. ALL. Weights, sparring, cardio, technical fight work, everything.

Let me ask you a question: what is the most energetically demanding time of your entire day? That’s right, the workout period. Unless you do construction work or something.

Supplementing your workouts with protein and carbs, and creatine or beta-alanine is essential. It is the very first fucking thing I make people do when I coach them and the very last thing I drop when I have control of their weight cutting. It’s that important. Guidelines are very simple for starters: no fancy shit, just get liquid protein and carbs down–whey protein and gatorade powder. If you can do more $, then go for Surge workout fuel as your carb source and whatever whey protein you want, or do the whole Biotest shebang. I personally feel strongly about them & use MAG-10/workout fuel but it’s all about your budget and what you feel comfy with. Just don’t waste money on super pre-workout amp formulas instead of the basics if money is tight. Fuel is not caffeine, it’s protein and carbs.

Guidelines are as follows: weights–35g protein, 60-80 g carbs, add creatine or beta-alanine if you have 'em. Cardio 30+ to 60 minutes–15-20g protein, 30-45g carbs. Cardio in the 30 minute area you can just do 10-15g protein and 25-30g carbs. Sparring gets the same treatment as weights because it is so intense, possibly adjusted down 5g or so on the low end of the range. Technical work is dependent on how much it drains you and how much time it takes. Start at about the upper end of the 30+ min to 60 min cardio guideline and adjust upwards.

Drink it in 1/3rds. 1/3 about 20 minutes before your warm-up, 2/3 spread during training and finish any leftovers in the 10 minutes or so following training. Usually mix in about a liter or a bit more of water. This probably seems like a ton, but this would be a minimum for me personally for somebody trying to keep weight up while adding in a lot of cardio and conditioning work. THAT SAID–if you feel like you’re getting pudgy and soft back off food during the rest of your day. If you’re still getting soft, back of on the amounts of stuff during workouts. Honestly though, I’ve never seen it be a problem for anybody I’ve trained or myself–usually it’s something else making you pudgy haha!

Contrary to my respected friend Aussie Davo, it is in fact possible for you to lose muscle even if you aren’t starving yourself. More importantly and a bigger worry, however, is the “fuel tank” gets depleted and you lose water and glycogen you could put to good use in training. Muscle loss is dependent on a number of things but most importantly how long you have been able to maintain your current heavier weight.

Supplement. Please. Aids recovery, kills soreness, keeps weight up and helps it not to fluctuate. win/win/winning.

  1. Your strength training isn’t talked about in your original post so hard to say what the set-up is, but get a mix of power exercises and strength exercises in there, and don’t train like a bodybuilder. Avoid drop sets, isolation work (unless it is helping to rehab or correct an imbalance), and don’t go to failure. Going to failure is probably the biggest thing: leave something in the hole every time every set. Still try to improve, but never miss a repetition. In other words, train within your limits and focus on strength and power, as well as unilateral leg work for balance and flexibility. You can have a finisher in there or something, but don’t make the bulk of your strength workouts like that. If you keep getting sore I would drop your finisher before you drop any of the meat of your s&c program.

Do not emphasize the lowering/eccentric portion of lifts. That shit is responsible for making you sore along with failure and drop set training.

  1. Keep food intake up. Simple but overlooked :). But everybody else has hit on this already lol.

/SOAP BOX