Whether you train in boxing, MMA or any other martial art, it’s an ongoing process of improvement, learning new skills and improving your instincts and fitness. Whether you train as a hobby every now and then or it’s your full time career, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training.
When you develop the fighting mindset, it can easily get to a point where you’re focusing so much and putting so much time and energy in that you end up overtraining or burning out. While training hard undeniably has its benefits, you need to make sure you’re training smart.
Creating a Schedule
The first thing you can do is get your training schedule sorted. If your training mostly revolves around different classes, then you’ll probably be a bit more restricted here.
The first thing you need to work out is what training you need to fit in, and how much time you can fit into your week. You can then start to work out a good schedule, keeping some of the more intensive sessions such as strength training away from each other if possible. Take a look at our Basic Fighter Strength Training Program for ideas on strength work as well as an example schedule for reference.
Mixing Up Your Training Partners
When training it almost goes without saying that better training partners will force you to work harder and be more technical when sparring. Making sure that your training partners are technically sound and in shape means that they are more likely to push you harder and force you to improve your game.
At the same time though it’s important not to get too attached to the same training partners, even if they are the best around. The problem is that you can end up getting too used to your opponents reacting in the same ways, and in a fight you’re going up against somebody you will likely have never spent time with, who could fight completely differently. When you train with a wider pool of people, both better and worse than yourself, you improve your adaptability.
Not only that, but it sometimes ends up being the less advanced fighters who have that un-natural rhythm, or who have a different way of doing things. They’re often the ones who crack you with the shots you didn’t expect. If every now and then you mix it up and train with new people, you’ll end up becoming a more rounded fighter with an answer to everything your opponent throws at you.
Having High Quality Gear
The gear you use can have a big impact on your training, so it’s important to know that you have the right tools for the job.
If your gear isn’t giving you the right support or protection, it can easily lead to injuries which you’ll have to work around for a while, or promote bad habits to compensate for the gear’s problems. Even on a more basic level, comfortable gear can make you almost forget it’s there, while less comfortable gear can irritate you and detract from your ability to focus completely on your training.
Dehydration is a performance killer. Lack of fluid in the body has been consistently linked to muscle fatigue, increased chance of head trauma and various other issues, so you really need to make sure you’re giving your body the water it needs.
Ideally, most of your water intake should be in the lead up to your training, especially considering how much the body sweats from intensive training. It’s still important to drink during sessions to keep you going as well as afterwards to replenish your hydration levels.
For those who want to reach their peak levels of fitness, food should be a vital part of your lifestyle. Eating right is essential to help you perform at your peak and to aid in effective recovery.
There are numerous diets for getting your health in the right place, for example the Dolce diet, the Paleo diet, or even going vegan, all of which have their own benefits, although for anybody who isn’t quite that dedicated, simply following a good balanced diets without too many unhealthy foods is a great start. Getting the right amount of protein to improve your muscle growth is also important. If you’re trying to increase your protein, you might appreciate our guide to the Top 10 High Protein Foods You Need To Be Eating.
Giving Yourself Enough Recovery Time
It’s absolutely essential to factor in some recovery time in to your weekly plan, to give your body a chance to rest and recuperate. Overtraining leads to injuries, lack of motivation, and can prevent you from training at your best. If you’re training most days of the week, it’s a good idea to get in at least one day of rest. Short periods of active rest thrown in to your week as well can also be a great way to ensure peak performance.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is something many fighters forget about. There’s a mentality that you can get in those extra rounds while your opponent sleeps, but in reality sleep is just as vital as training.
As well as giving your body a tiny bit of rest each day, sleep is needed so that you can focus and concentrate. Training for fighters is different from most sports, because of how incredibly fast paced it is, with hundreds of actions and reactions in each round of a fight. A focused mind also improves your ability to learn and improve, so why would you not take care of it?
A tired mind that lacks concentration, which can lead to injuries that could have been prevented if only you got a good night’s sleep.