What does a fighter look like? Generally a fighter is lean, strong, and muscular.
The general approach to building such a body is to – of course – be a fighter. But there are other paths for those who would rather not get punched in the face regularly. The next best path, if you ask most, would be to treat it like bodybuilding, get strong and build some muscle. Then cut down to a low body fat level.
I would like to propose to you another way to build the body you want. My only requirement is that you start with a decent amount of muscle. Sorry, but this isn’t for the guy who is 5’10 and 120 pounds. So you need some size, just to assure that when you get down to your goal weight, you have muscle, instead of trying to build it during this training cycle.
Now don’t misunderstand that last statement. You may build some muscle during this cycle. But your focus will be on maintaining what you have, while improving conditioning, and endurance. You will train like a fighter trains, minus the actual fight training. You can work the heavy bag if you like, and you can use this same routine to prepare for a fight if need be.
This will be an 8-12 week training cycle. Just like prep for a real fight. But after the cycle, I urge you to go back on a regular strength program, like the strength routine provided here. You will be lifting 3 days a week with some cardio on off days. You will also need to get on a good fat loss diet. Don’t take out all carbs. You will need them as energy for the sessions in the gym.
A Few Diet Guidelines
- Eat 4-6 meals a day
- Eat some protein at every meal
- Eat some fat at every meal (except breakfast, and pre and post training meals)
- Eat carbs only at breakfast, and pre and post training meals
Besides that, you can play with your diet as much as you want. But keep calories slightly under maintenance. No huge cuts… just 250-500 calories under. Do that and you’re good to go diet wise.
Ok. Now then let’s talk training. As I said, you will be lifting 3 times a week. You will also be combining two training programs for some extra “fun”.
To start off each day in the gym, you will be doing my back to basics strength program. Once you finish that, you will take a page out of Randy Couture’s book and do 3-4 complexes.
A complex is similar to circuit training. But instead of using multiple stations, you will use just one bar and weight for all the exercises. Take no rest until you finish the complex. Then rest a few minutes, and go again. The complexes are brutal, but they work.
Back To Basics Strength Program
For this portion of the workout, you will be alternating two different routines and focusing on building strength. Diet is important here. If you can’t gain strength, then try adding more daily calories. You will be focusing on strength gains to help maintain, and possibly build some more muscle, without making huge inroads into your recovery ability.
This should leave you stronger, and you will be happier with your new body. It will perform like a Ferrari instead of a Pinto. Also, you will be using the Reg Park 5×5 protocol. Your warm ups are 5 reps sets, and have an equal jump in weight between them. So if you squat 150 lbs, for instance, your workout may look something like this:
- Set1 – 100 lbsx5
- Set2 – 125 lbsx5
- Sets 3,4,5 -150 lbsx5
When you can do all 5 reps of your last 3 sets with the same weight, increase the weight by 5 lbs on all the sets.
Squat – 5×5
Deadlift – 5×5
Bench press – 5×5
Bent over row – 5×5
Shoulder press – 5×5
Welcome To The Complex
After completing your strength workout, add this little beauty to your workout as a finisher. It may feel like torture now, but you will thank me later.
To perform this complex, load a weight that you could easily handle for your weakest exercise in the complex, and then add 5 lbs each week. This is muscle cardio. It will be like a supercharger in your fat burning engine, while also helping you to become stronger and bigger. In addition, it will help with your day to day conditioning.
Do 3-4 complexes per workout, no more no less. Dig deep, because you will start looking for a reason to quit halfway through the first set.
- Bent rows x8
- Romanian deadlift x8
- Power Clean x8
- Front squat x8
- Military press x8
- Squat x8
Cardio can be whatever you want. Just do about 30 minutes on at least 3 of your off days each week. Have fun, and be ready to look damn good on the beach this summer.