T Nation

Pimping Myself Out

Hey guys, I have been a long time avid reader of the site and have had some degree of success in the MMA world. I’m willing to answer any questions you guys may have about my strength & conditioning training, cutting weight, my technical training, sparring, anything else you can think of.

If you are unfamiliar with me, I am a 7x UFC veteran (4-3) over the past 4 years and have garnered Fight of the Night, KO of the Night, and Submission of the Night honors during that time. I also have the best weigh-ins in the fight game, BAR NONE!

=)

-Tom Lawlor

Yeah…right. Tom who???

LOL…just kidding. Great to have you bro…

Good to have you here Tom. One question I have is when you’re in camp preparing for a fight, how many times a week are you sparring and how much time do you really devote to S & C? I’m doing the amateur thing right now and I’m having the hardest time organizing my training so I’m fresh on fight night. Thanks.

I spar twice a week, sometimes 3 depending on the schedule. This isn’t taking in to account the fact that everyday I grapple there is some sort of “live” work being done.

I do S&C work twice a week. Two full body workouts at MBSC usually. I used to do a 3 day program there but it became increasingly hard on me because a) it is over an hour drive for me w/o traffic to the facility and b) I train about 15 sessions a week so one or two extra will sometimes “put me over the edge”.

Thanks for the response Tom, I appreciate it.

Yo Tommy great to have you. How do you personally, manage to keep good muscle mass for your weight class while balancing the rigors of fighter specific training? Everyone’s different but it would be interesting to hear your take on it.

[quote]FrozenNinja wrote:
Yo Tommy great to have you. How do you personally, manage to keep good muscle mass for your weight class while balancing the rigors of fighter specific training? Everyone’s different but it would be interesting to hear your take on it.[/quote]

I try not to over think it really. I rarely count my daily calories, I just eat nutritious foods and try not to overdo it. I wake up and usually have a protein/coffee shake concoction along with vitamins,aminco acid tablet,etc.

I eat the majority of my carbs right after training sessions.

That is about the extent of anything “special” I do as far as nutrition goes. I primarily eat gluten free and get most of my carbs from oatmeal. I do make a lot of desserts using protein powders too.

As far as strength work goes, I think the fact that I only do 2 sessions a week is beneficial to me instead of doing 3 sessions. It allows me more time to recover and I generally look forward to hitting the gym when I do.

If you have more specific questions I can answer them, but it was a pretty broad question.

[quote]FilthyTomLawlor wrote:

If you have more specific questions I can answer them, but it was a pretty broad question.[/quote]

This is related, maybe not more specific:

I have a really hard time balancing what helps me perform great/do well in a particular training session or fight/event/competition versus what works well ‘the rest of the time’.

I posted about this previously, but leading up to my last fight, I took a break from lifting, ate below maintenance (to make weight, and was training a TON: it’s not like I was eating light), but upped my carb intake a lot, especially around training.

My training sessions were great, I really “peaked” pretty well.

The problem is that if I kept that “routine” up year round, I’d be worn out, catabolize all my muscle, and I don’t have to up my carbs much to start getting a “carb gut”.

Long post for a simple question, but where I am now is a mindset that when I’m out of camp, I should train for the “long term” and not worry if my performance isn’t great at the gym every day, and as a fight approaches, do what I did this time: cut calories, increase carbs, cut back lifting…

I feel like the fact that there is a “decision” at all though means I’m doing something wrong. Is it possible to stay lean, energetic and strong all year, or should I look at it as “building excess (size, strength, exe)” then “trimming the fat” starting 4-6 weeks out…

Hope my question(s) made some once of sense…

No that was a perfect response. Thanx!

after your fights how long do you take a break, meaning no grapling,sparring,bjj.boxing ect…especially if
not injuried,5-7 days then resume?

Hey Tom,
This is probably going to be the strangest question, but what sorta cup do you wear? Ive spent so much on cups and they all make it impossible to move without pain in my groin, I really liked the protective feel of the thai cup but after an hour it started to dig in and i cant keep a tight guard or half guard. Can you recommend any?
Really appreciate a response, cheers!

Do you do road work and do you think it’s an important part of a fighters training?
How badly would you have beaten Mayhem Miller?

[quote]bartonmlee wrote:
after your fights how long do you take a break, meaning no grapling,sparring,bjj.boxing ect…especially if
not injuried,5-7 days then resume?[/quote]

This past fight I took off 6 days, which is a LONG time for me.

[quote]Charged wrote:
Hey Tom,
This is probably going to be the strangest question, but what sorta cup do you wear? Ive spent so much on cups and they all make it impossible to move without pain in my groin, I really liked the protective feel of the thai cup but after an hour it started to dig in and i cant keep a tight guard or half guard. Can you recommend any?
Really appreciate a response, cheers![/quote]

Get a steel Shock Doctor. It is what I prefer. Steel Shock Doctor, in a tight jock strap, over compression shorts.

[quote]sardines12 wrote:
Do you do road work and do you think it’s an important part of a fighters training?
How badly would you have beaten Mayhem Miller?[/quote]

I don’t do a lot of road work, but I have done a ton in the past. I do however do sprints on ramped up incline treadmills, treadmill inclined and turned off, and during conditioning medleys.

There was a time in the past I would run 3 miles a day, every day. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with it, people talk about science and everything when it comes to conditioning right? A lot of these people have never been in a wrestling match, mma fight, kickboxing fight,etc.

The mental amount of toughness needed in a combat sport has to be heads and above the amount needed in most other sports, and there is nothing more boring than running 3 miles a day, so it would definitely help with mental toughness.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:

[quote]FilthyTomLawlor wrote:

If you have more specific questions I can answer them, but it was a pretty broad question.[/quote]

This is related, maybe not more specific:

I have a really hard time balancing what helps me perform great/do well in a particular training session or fight/event/competition versus what works well ‘the rest of the time’.

I posted about this previously, but leading up to my last fight, I took a break from lifting, ate below maintenance (to make weight, and was training a TON: it’s not like I was eating light), but upped my carb intake a lot, especially around training.

My training sessions were great, I really “peaked” pretty well.

The problem is that if I kept that “routine” up year round, I’d be worn out, catabolize all my muscle, and I don’t have to up my carbs much to start getting a “carb gut”.

Long post for a simple question, but where I am now is a mindset that when I’m out of camp, I should train for the “long term” and not worry if my performance isn’t great at the gym every day, and as a fight approaches, do what I did this time: cut calories, increase carbs, cut back lifting…

I feel like the fact that there is a “decision” at all though means I’m doing something wrong. Is it possible to stay lean, energetic and strong all year, or should I look at it as “building excess (size, strength, exe)” then “trimming the fat” starting 4-6 weeks out…

Hope my question(s) made some once of sense…[/quote]

Have you tried keeping up that “routine” all year? Or is the assumption you would get a gut based off of speculation?

Also, you said you did a great job of peaking. Well then GREAT! Wasn’t that your goal? To peak and perform at your best during the fight? Then you accomplished that goal and should probably do your best to replicate it in the future.

I train year round, but am I in better shape during some parts of the year? Hell yes I am. Am I in bad shape during parts of the year? Very rarely. You are going to have bad days in the gym, days where you feel like crap, feel like nothing is working, feel like you should call it quits. It happens, it happens all the time. What is important is that you regroup and find a path to success, if it means upping your carbs, if it means taking another session off, if it means beating up teenagers to build up your confidence, then so be it.

The fact that you peaked at the right time means you are doing something right. My boxing coach always says “You only need to be at your best on fight night”. While it my be comforting to beat everyone up every night at the gym it either means A) you are a world champion, or should be or B) you aren’t challenging yourself.

Tom…what kind of restorative/recovery tools do you favor…if any?? Ice baths…ART…etc?

[quote]FilthyTomLawlor wrote:
I spar twice a week, sometimes 3 depending on the schedule. This isn’t taking in to account the fact that everyday I grapple there is some sort of “live” work being done.

I do S&C work twice a week. Two full body workouts at MBSC usually. I used to do a 3 day program there but it became increasingly hard on me because a) it is over an hour drive for me w/o traffic to the facility and b) I train about 15 sessions a week so one or two extra will sometimes “put me over the edge”.[/quote]

How hard do you spar?
1 day light, the other heavy?

Aw yeah, Filthy Tom.

Ok. What are your thoughts on the current state of the takedown game in MMA? You see a lot of guys working the single and double on the cage wall, with mixed success. What do you think is the next step of evolution in that area of the game? Trips and throws? Mixing them into combos the way Cruz and GSP do?
What do you focus on, when training takedown yourself?

How much thought do you put into those weigh ins and entrances?

McCall vs Mighty Mouse II. Who ya got?

I’ve gotta say that it’s pretty fuckin cool that a pro would come on here and answer questions like this. A very cool, very classy thing to do.

slainte Tom.