The world champion mixed martial artist walks you through what it takes to be a top athlete and forge a career as an action-movie star.
TRAIN: As someone who’s dedicated their life to mixed martial arts and judo, what sort of advice would you give to people who are on their own fitness journey?
“How I see it, it’s all about putting in the work and motivation. You have to stay motivated – force yourself to be motivated. To be the best for more than a day or a week, you have to be really driven to sustain that level and that’s difficult. Honestly, you have to make yourself get up and go train, even when you have every reason and excuse in the world not to. To reach your goals you’ve got to put in the hard work required to get there. That sounds simple, but it’s not. You have to be persistent and you have to keep that simple idea in mind at all times.
“You’ve got to put in the hard work required to get there. That goes for anything, if you want to lose weight, start now and just put the work on. And look, every person on the planet feels a bit out of place and awkward when they start, but it’s about having the ability to push through that uncertainty and discomfort at the start. That is something you can use with pretty much everything in life.”
What is a typical day’s training schedule for you?
“It depends, but typically I have two to three workouts a day and they could include wrestling, striking, boxing, running up sand dunes, grappling, strength and conditioning, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and swimming. I don’t lift weights at all. Every muscle people see on my body is for a task. Whenever I want to be able to do a certain move or action, I put the work in until I can. To be honest, I’ve never enjoyed weightlifting because there’s no problem solving. With fighting I’m solving a problem, so I don’t think about being tired.
“For me, what I love about my training schedule is that every day is different, and every week is a little different, too. I have an incredible team and we try to keep my muscles constantly guessing and my mind entertained. There’s no point in training if you’re not having fun. I think I need to be mentally engaged and that’s what makes me want to train longer – and it keeps it interesting. The trick is to make it an enjoyable experience and then motivation is easy to come by – and I really mean that. Embrace the training, because it hurts – and don’t make excuses. I’ve done some great workouts in a hotel room, at the beach, in the gym. You can always do something. Come at it like, ‘What am I doing today – I’m pumped!’ There’s no routine really.”
As a weight-class athlete, walk us through your diet.
“That changes depending on what stage I’m at. I mainly go by the Dolce Diet though. It’s pretty much three meals and two snacks a day, but again, that changes according to what I need at the time. During the day I usually have a high-carb breakfast, so something like oatmeal, which I make with hemp seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, cinnamon and berries – or raisins.
“My lunch is a mix of carbs and protein, then an all-protein dinner. I can have little snacks throughout the day. My diet changes slightly toward the end of my training camp, for the stage when I’m trying to keep my weight on – it does depend. I’m pretty much gluten-free, I don’t eat much bread at all and the only dairy I eat is goat’s cheese and Greek yogurt. Also, its been said to death – but drink as much water as possible. I drink a lot of water throughout the day.”
Find celebrity interviews and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.