T Nation

Looking to Get Started


I'm really nervous about making my first post on these boards. My friend talks highly of this place, and so I can't think of anywhere else to turn.

With that said, I did some searching around and couldn't find answers to what I was exactly asking, but I've been on enough message boards to know that stupid questions are a terrible way to start off on the right foot... So I'm hoping I don't come off too stupid.

So since last September I've been trying to lose weight. I am 5'8" and at the time I was about 220 pounds. Very little muscle. I was a fat dood. Presently I am 200 pounds and although I'm still fat, I've gotten more healthy and in much better shape. I am not done.

I have been having trouble at this point finding the motivation I need and although I've always been a fan of MMA matches, I only just recently found out how much I actually love the sport. I'm beginning to believe that this could be my motivation.

I don't aspire to be in the UFC, but I'd love to do some local tournaments in my area in the future. You know people who say they want to run a marathon and they use that as their driving force? Well, I want to say I fight in an MMA tournament.

At 5'8" I'm pretty short, so I imagine the welterweight class would be my best fit. That's a 170 weight limit.

Should I lose weight and build once I reach a certain weight, and if so, what weight should I try to lose to before I add muscle? On top of that, what are some exercises and workouts that'll help with endurance and strength?

I will be looking to train on my fighting technique after I am at the fitness I want to be so I am not too worried about that aspect presently.

Are there any articles on this site that I may have missed which would help me? Are there any other sites I should look to for further information and help on this type of thing?

Again, I'm sorry if there's a post that answers all these things that I missed, but I take this really seriously and I would like to start off on the right foot and with the best information tuned to my exact questions and needs. Hopefully this isn't too stupid, and I plan on taking part around these boards so I won't just disappear after this!

Thanks a lot for any help you can give!


the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

I will preface my advice by saying I am coming from the opposite side to you. I am a tall skinny guy that has to work my arse off to put on weight. I've come up from 70kg to 86kg over the last 6-7 months based on changing my eating and working like crazy.

I do have experience of working with fat dudes though. I am currently an assistant instructer at a BJJ and MMA school. I also help to organise MMA events (we have one tonight for anyone in the Leon, Mexico area.)

What I would say to you is that if you want to fight in an MMA comp then your MMA (BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling) training is the thing that will take the longest to get up to speed.

You could get down from your current 200 to 185 in a few months but it is going to take longer than that to get your skills up to scratch. I have no idea from your post what your current Martial Arts experience is, but that is where your focus needs to be.

Also, one of the best ways that you are going to start shedding the lard and putting on some muscle is your MMA training. You are doing a hardcore workout but not even thinking about it that way because you are enjoying it.

I have seen guys get into BJJ and shed 20-30 pounds in a few months just from the excercise without any other training regime (they also got the eating plan sorted.)

I'm rambling on here so will try to wrap this up with a couple of bullets.

  1. Get a copy of grapplers nutrition by John Beradi. (it's an e-book, if you are having problems finding a copy, PM me.)

  2. Find a good gym that has grappling and striking (or a combination of gyms) check a few out, find one that has the right feel for your personality. (if you don't know any gyms in your area, post here and I am sure that people will help you out.)

  3. For workout protocols there are a number of ways to go, given that you are saying currently that you have no real fitness base you might want to do Starting Strength for 12 weeks then move onto something more specific. I have no idea from your posts what your current skill level is at the basic lifts. Ideally you need to find someone that can coach you. Beware there are lots of shit personal trainers in gyms.

Putting some muscle on your frame will cause your body to need to burn more calories even when you are just sitting watching TV. This will help you to shed fat. More complicated plans are for further down the line. Doing a weights regime with the right intensity coupled with your Martial Arts training is all the cardio you need at the moment.


extremely good advice.


HIIT. It does a body good...melt the fat right off of you.


Burpees. Gets you in fighting shape fast.


Begin MMA training, from the good base you've built above.


I agree, start skills training now and let it work the fat off you, and check out Berardi. I lost 35 pounds of fat just following Berardi's 7 Habits, which you'll find on this site. Good luck and keep us posted!


Agree with Miss Parker, Berardi's 7 Rules are amazing. In fact, reading that article plus The Athlete Diet, which I think is available on T-Nation and is certainly on Berardi's site, basically sorted all my dietary needs. COuld have saved me years of reading and research! I'm too much of a newb to comment on the rest of your queries, but Cockney Blue's advice sounds spot on to me.


Wow, thanks a lot for the very indepth response!

I guess I'll need to start thinking about which gym I want to join over the summer (IE: Once my University exams end in about 4 weeks).

I wasn't able to find Berardi's book, but I'll shoot you a PM and see where you think I should look.

I failed to mention that I do have some Martial Arts training. It's very little, and it was several years ago, but I was in Karate for a year or maybe a little more. If I'm remembering correctly, I progressed to Orange before stopping. So I do have at least a small background in theory behind some of this stuff. Hopefully that'll help me out a bit!

Thanks a lot. I will definitely add these to my workouts!


There's some debate on the merits of this. If someone learns a skill when they are relatively fatter/slower/more sluggish, the neural pattern will differ when they are in shape. This is one reason many athletes work on GPP during the off-season before commencing skill training. That also allows more time to be devoted to getting stronger, leaner, faster (sans the time devoted to the art itself).

Then again, skill will often trump conditioning, unless the differences in conditioning are huge.


Buy a +100 pound punching and stand.
Train on it every day.


what you are talking about is a top level athlete focussing on improving attributes in the off season. It's the same as a fighter, they are not going to appreciably improve their strength during a 12 week training camp for a fight, they need to do this first.

For the OP we are talking about a totally separate situation. He lacks skills and condition. The skills will take him a long time to obtain and the training for the skills will also help his condition. Therefore he needs to start the skills training ASAP.


Have to agree with Cockney...besides, most camps nowadays have weights and such co-located, so he'll get his lifting and conditioning done at the same time. Theoretically speaking, of course.


Have to agree with Cockney...besides, most camps nowadays have weights and such co-located, so he'll get his lifting and conditioning done at the same time. Theoretically speaking, of course.


I'd have to agree with Cockney...besides, most camps nowadays have weights and such co-located, so he'll get his lifting and conditioning done at the same time. Theoretically speaking, of course.


I'm sorry to tell you that your orange belt in Karate from many years ago will do you no good. You should be taking classes in bjj/judo/boxing/thai boxing/wrestling/full contact karate or general mma before you even think about fighting mma.

It's good to have a dream, but until you actually get punched in the face in a sparring session or feel out grappling, you're not going to know if you like it.

I've been training for about 10 years off and on ... since the explosion of the sport into the mainstream I see so many people come in because they want to be "Ultimate Fighters" ... which is a fine goal to have, even if you want to do a local tournament/show ... the problem is most of them think they can do it cause they saw it on tv and once the rubber hits the road they quit.

So I'm saying try out some classes first to see if you even like it.


I think you maybe you mis-interpreted what I was saying. :stuck_out_tongue:

I was just saying that I have an idea of the types of training involved in some MMA and I have an idea of throwing punches and kicks. In no way do I think this gives me a large base to work off of, but it does give me a small base of knowledge, and that was merely all I was trying to convey, lol.

Anyway, I have no dream of being the "Ultimate Fighter". I do some wrestling in the summer with my friends because it's fun. I know this doesn't give me a great knowledge of the sport or anything, but I do know I enjoy that sort of competition.

This is really just a goal for me to aspire to with my exercising. I want to get in better shape and do some training, and then have my face beat in at a local tournament (I'm being very simplistic and sarcastic here, haha).

I mean, I will take this seriously, and it'll be---most likely---a couple years before I enter into a tournament. I just want to say I put the time in to learn and tried it. You know how some people use Marathons as a way to to aspire to something and motivate them? That's essentially my goal with the MMA.


That's cool to use it as motivation ... just make sure to hook up with a decent gym with qualified instructors who won't blow smoke up your ass. I'm not too familiar with MMA/BJJ schoos in PEI, are there a lot of schools out there?

Here in Toronto there's tons of choice.


There are not many, but it's getting a little bit better. I'm going to spend the next few months scouting out places and trying to get in better shape. At that point I'll commit to the place I think is best!

I know right now the place is having trouble getting tournaments going on the Island because we're like ten years behind the times. Everyone has to go to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia to have tournaments and shit