‘This is your forever body’: UFC stars Forrest Griffin, Chris Weidman share fitness tips


With gyms incorporating mixed martial arts techniques into their routines, two UFC Champions give us some surprisingly simple advice to follow

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that fitness training centres offer as a way to learn self-defence as well as to help athletes — aspiring and professional — to hone their skills. Internationally, UFC: Ultimate Fighting Championship houses the best of talent in the sport. After the recent popularity of editions like UFC 242 and 243 which had wide coverage in India, several gyms are incorporating mixed martial arts techniques into their routines to add a bit of novelty to practice sessions.

Two stars from the championship, Forrest Griffin and Chris Weidman speak fitness, routines and diets to us.

Forrest Griffin is integral to the meteoric rise and success of UFC. He gave up a career in law enforcement to take up mixed martial arts soon after graduating with a degree in Political Science. He featured in MMA reality show The Ultimate Fighter. His fight vs Stephan Bonnar in 2005 was crucial in catapulting UFC to the mainstream and frequently tops the list of most influential fights. He went on to be crowned UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in 2008, retiring from UFC in 2013 after a string of injuries. He has since been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. His career spanned 12 years.

Your career has spanned 12 years. Could you point to one aspect of your fitness that has kept you going through your entire career?

I will give one piece of advice that always keeps me going; get your body moving every day, no matter what. Don’t truly have an off day, just move. Move light and try to get your body moving to break a light sweat.

What is the kind of diet you focus on, and which you’d recommend to other athletes/wrestlers/fighters in the field?

That’s really difficult. Even the word diet makes it difficult. So, I would say it is more about a lifestyle, a way of eating. Personally, I just don’t eat junk and I just don’t late at night, and I am moderate with my alcohol consumption. Eat food, mostly plants, not too much... that’s a Michael Pollan quote.

This isn’t really for athletes, but the thing that I always take away is the less steps between you and your food, the better. Unless you are targeting more specific things, then it gets complicated. There are times you want processed foods because it is easy for your body to access those calories when you need that energy in high-performance scenarios, so basically my advice for diet is going to talk to the experts at the PI (UFC Performance Institute).

What’s the one mistake that modern-day athletes make while training and which they should avoid?

I think sparring when they are tired. They will pre-fatigue themselves before they do their skill work. You don’t want to get hit in the head if you are not at your best.

What is your fitness philosophy and one that all UFC athletes follow?

My fitness philosophy is very different from the UFC fighter fitness philosophy. Mine is to work out in a way that you will be able to sustain for the next 20 years. What I do now is what I want to be able to do when I am 61. My philosophy when I trained was to be 1% better every day.

How do you deal with injuries that come from matches or fitness routines?

Every injury is specific to what has happened, but the advice that I will give is that if you have a lower body injury, to work your upper body out. If you have an upper body injury, work your lower body out. Again, move what is not broken and you will definitely feel better.

Do you have any advice for fitness enthusiasts and athletes?

I have some advice for young fighters. This is your forever body. Realise that what you are doing to your body today you are going to want to try and do tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, so work out accordingly.

Take it from Chris

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Chris Weidman holds an open workout for fans and media at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Chris Weidman holds an open workout for fans and media at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Chris Weidman holds the distinction of beating long-time title-holder Anderson Silva to the UFC Middleweight title. Starting off as a wrestler, Weidman also trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu before taking to Mixed Martial Arts. He made his UFC debut in 2011 and was crowned Middleweight champion in 2013, holding the title for two-and-a-half years before losing in 2015. Injuries forced Weidman to move up weight classes to Light Heavyweight. He is also a Hollywood actor, starring in a few episodes of Kevin James’ sitcom Kevin Can Wait. His tips to athletes:

Your mental and emotional health is more important than your physical health. But your physical health definitely plays a role in your mental and emotional health. So when you hit the gym and work out, you feel better, look better and perform better.

You should have a morning routine and stay disciplined every day. Keep things consistent and get your days started right. Eat clean and try to sweat at least once a day.

A lot of athletes work really hard, but not smart. Seems like they either work hard and not smart, or smart and not hard. So you need to find the balance between both of these.

Find a gym and start working out. Don’t make any excuses. Just grind when nobody else is watching and good things will happen.

(Sony Pictures Sports Network is the official broadcaster of UFC in India)

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:11:00 AM |

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