Friday, December 12, 2008

Diet and new videos

One week into Precision Nutrition . So far I feel great. It has been an adjustment; I am more accustomed to a lower carbohydrate diet with more fat (generally ketogenic levels). In addition, I’m more accustomed to fewer meals (usually 4 plus some low carb snacks), as well as a lot less vegetables and fruits (which everyone needs to eat more of). Currently I am eating 5-6 meals a day with a serving of vegetables or fruit with every meal and focusing on whole food (minimally processed). I don’t like very many vegetables so I’ve kept it to broccoli, cauliflower and spinach (trying to stay away from starchy veggies). My first day or two was a little tough since the volume of food was a bit to high for me – I’ve lowered my meal sizes to make it a bit easier (now I don’t feel so full all the time).

Some things I have learned – get your first meal early (don’t put it off, at the very least you’ll be over hungry later and be tempted to snack on bad stuff), keep up prepping food (cook enough brown rice, quinoa, chicken breasts, etc), keep fresh fruit around (just in case you feel the need to snack – better to eat real food than crackers, processed food, etc).

My weight is stable, currently between 160-165. Weight loss is not a goal for me, fat loss, muscle/strength gain and better energy are my goals, so the scale doesn’t tell me that much.

So far Precision Nutrition seems to be a great fighters diet, plenty of complete protein to sustain your muscle, and lots of micronutrients from whole food. I am still using supplements – 3 a day multivitamin, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin D (it is cold and flu season and sun exposure is minimal) as well as plenty of fish oil.

My current supplemental workouts are focused on Rippetoe and Kilgore’s Starting Strength routine because my limit strength is low right now (and I miss focusing on the basic barbell exercises). I am taking a short break from the Crossfit WOD (Workout of the Day) to work on my strength base before going back to the WOD’s.

I am working on a 4 part video series, to be posted on this blog, on using the Heavy Bag as a Training Partner – in other words using it to develop your offense and defensive skills. Pounding away on the bag is a great workout but for fight training you need more than that – you need to train with the bag like it’s a live opponent and not just hit it mindlessly. Most people just use the heavy bag to punch away thinking it’s just a conditioning tool but it can be used for so much more. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Open Training - Boxing

We had our first true open workout, scheduled in advance on the blog. While I know there is interest in the area for training, it was a no show night. As a result I did a solo workout. Finally got the speed bag set back up, in a new spot, so I used that.

Roll Call: Just me tonight.

2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders) – finally able to get 14 consecutive double unders
2 rounds – 5 rope pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 3min/1min (2 rounds)
Speed Bag – hand wraps only
Shadow boxing – with gloves

Grip Work – 54lb. kettlebell pulls with IronWoody Band (performed underhand with the band looped through the kettlebell while standing on a 22” box – grip the band, keep changing hands until the bell reaches hands and reverse going down – 3 sets).
Video below (from Zach Esh).

Unable to use the heavy bag tonight, I broke the attachment off the ceiling over the weekend during another workout (the other bag I’ve been using for groundwork and throws). Both bags will be back up by Wednesday night and ready for Thursday practice.

Thursday we’ll be focusing on Muay Thai work 6-7:30, again all are welcome. Please email or call ahead if you’re going to attend so I that I can prepare enough space to accommodate you.

New videos will be up shortly on using the heavy bag as a live opponent.

(Please post comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Schedule

This week we’ll be hosting open training in the Garage Gym from 6:00 to 7:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. This means, any and all who want to come out we are training these day’s this week we'll welcome you. If you are late we still welcome you but you’ll miss some of the training. I’m still open for other times but you’ll need to call ahead so I can work you into my schedule. Tuesday we’ll focus on boxing fundamentals and Thursday we’ll focus on Muay Thai and kickboxing. Since it’s cold out the garage door will be down but don’t be afraid to knock, we’ll open it to let you in.

As a side note, I’m starting using Precision Nutrition as my guide for a training diet. I’ve read up on John Berard and found his strategies match my goals. More to come on that in future posts.

(Please post comments, questions or suggestions to "Comments" below).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old School Boxing

Here is another standard boxing workout. This one comes via Ringside and John Brown. For the full book from Ringside check out:

Well here's the workout:
  • Warm-up 5 minutes – primarily stretching
  • 3 rounds Shadow Boxing
  • 3-4 Rounds Sparing (twice a week)
  • 3 Rounds Double End Bag
  • 3 Rounds Heavy Bag
  • 3 Rounds Jump Rope
  • 3 Rounds Mitt Work
  • 3 Rounds Speed Bag
  • 20 minutes abs and stretching
In this program rounds are 2 minutes with up to 1 minute rest. If you follow this workout its about 1 hour.
The changes I would suggest are to replace the stretching warm-up with dynamic activities like footwork drill (The Line) and general muscle warm-up like Burpees, Push-ups, Pull-ups, Sqauts etc. Also the end of the workout should consist of similar exercises at a higher intensity, including medicine ball work, powerlifting (as long as its safe, not to tired), etc.

For those working out on your own I would suggest the Slip Line and Maize Bag as substitutions for the Mitt work.
(Please post suggestions, comments, or questions below)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I've made a few changes to the blog (don't worry, all the posts and videos are still here). To make finding things a bit easier I slimmed down my tags to 10:
  1. Boxing (including any boxing training, equipment, techniques, etc.)
  2. Jujitsu (wrestling, judo, catch wrestling, etc)
  3. Conditioning (drills, strength, endurance, supplements to improve conditioning) - really almost all the posts are about conditioning but I only tagged those specific to it.
  4. Health (nutrition, hydration, longevity, exercise in general)
  5. Muay thai (including any kickboxing)
  6. Jujitsu (all grappling training, judo, BJJ, catch wrestling, greco roman wrestling, etc.)
  7. Inspiration (stuff that helps drive you to put more into training)
  8. Video (those I've made as well as others I've posted)
  9. Schedule (when we are meeting)
  10. Misc. (humor, or other things I think you may find interesting - this post is listed under "Misc.")

Hopefully these changes will make it easier to find the information you are looking for.

I continue to get more calls from local people for training: I know that I turn up A LOT on searches for local (Plainfield, Joliet, Aurora, etc) boxing and MMA gym searches. Because of this I’m trying to nail down some consistent training times that would be open to all of you. My schedule is a bit in flux due to patient needs at my office but for all of you interested in training I’m going to post a survey on the blog to find the most convenient times for all of us to meet and train (give me a day or so to figure out how to do it). I’ll post it within the next few days so we can get to work.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Traditional solo boxing workout

Many boxing gyms I’ve trained at had a standard workout that they posted. You followed it or didn’t and did your own thing. Unless you were under the direction of a specific trainer you were usually left to train on your own. Of course, most didn’t know that the trainers were still watching to see who had talent or qualities that they wanted to train – if you didn’t work then you didn’t get any special attention. At least this was how it was in some gyms, others they put you in the ring for some light sparing to see what you had and then decided whether to work with you or put you out on your own. Most boxing gyms I have trained at never had a specific course of training as a new be, except the general “Boxers Workout” posted on a sheet of paper on the wall (some didn’t have that). Many of the gyms I trained at were AC’s, or Athletic Clubs, and charges for membership ranged from $60 a year to $10-20 a month, quite different than the commercial training centers now that charge $100 plus a month for training. But, the commercial gyms now take a more active roll in training, even if it’s less personal.

For my solo training session today I went back to the general “Boxers Workout” format. What’s tried and true is just that. It’s basic, effective and no frills, just hard work with a purpose. I only had about 40 minutes to train so I made the most of it, adding some conditioning drills at the end. Here it is:

  • 2x3min/1min jump-rope (last 30 sec double unders)
  • 2x3min Maize bag
Heavy Bag 3min/1min

  • 1 round jabs only (high, low, doubles, triples)
  • 1 round mid range (jab, cross, hooks, etc)
  • 1 round close quarter with hard punches
  • Kettlebell Swings – 3 rounds of 30sec swing/ 1min rest
  • Wheel rollouts from knees 3 sets of 10
The traditional “Boxers Workout” in many gyms I trained at was:
3 rounds jump-rope
3 rounds shadow boxing
3 rounds speed bag
3 rounds heavy bag (as above)
sit-ups and burpees

I changed it up a bit, I’m re-mounting the speed bag, and due to time constraints I didn’t do shadow boxing.

I hope to have some new videos out soon on a heavy bag tool to improve your defense, the "Bag Stick". This is a great tool for working your defense along with your offense on the bag. It used to be sold by Ringside but they don't seem to make anymore. I'll be showing how to use it as well as how to make yor own.

(Please post questions, comments or suggestions to "Comments" below).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Boxing Conditioning Workout

I’ve been so busy between work, my daughter and my wife that I have missed a lot of workouts recently. As a result I’ve been more irritable, I apologize to my family and friends for this. You’d probably be in a bad mood if you couldn’t do something you loved doing. Today I was finally able to fit in a quick conditioning workout during lunch. My goal: general conditioning, boxing fundamentals, running (I agreed to compete in a 5k the Sunday after Thanksgiving). My workout quick workout today consisted of:
1 minute each, continuous –
  • Single leg hop across line forward and back (switch legs each time back to start)
  • Double leg hop across line sideways
  • Forward crossover step
  • Side crossover step

2 rounds of:

10 pull-ups, 10 dips, Sampson stretch, 10 overhead squats, 10 roman chair situps, 10 back extensions on roman chair

15 minute interval workout running – I used the generic workout on the treadmill (it’s cold here today).

Total time about 30 minutes. It was quick but I kept it intense. When time is short focus on the fundamentals.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad scheduling

Due to repeated scheduling conflicts our practices keep changing around and as a result my posts on here have been infrequent lately. For this I apologize to all who read this blog.

The good news is that I am still up and running: still working my boxing, muay thai and grappling (as much as possible training alone).

As a result I'll be posting more information on solo training for boxing, muay thai and grappling - regarding drills, conditioning and technique. I'm putting together a new video on the "Bag Stick - a lost training tool" as soon as I can rebuild mine. This is a tool I used to use back when Ringside Boxing sold innovative boxing equipment (they still have great stuff and I continue to use it but the tools they offer are more limited now).

I'll close with a great video on training and learning the left hook by a friend of mine in Australia, enjoy and learn:
(Click on the link to see the video).

I'll be posting a regular schedule for open gym training very soon, drop in's are welcome and encouraged. If I'm training alone, all the better. Love to see you here.

(Please post Comments, Questions or Suggestions to "Comments" below)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting back in the game

After a layoff from formal workouts the past few weeks, due to schedule conflicts, we are back at it. We only had an hour today so we knuckled down and got right into it. Our focus was on boxing fundamentals.

Roll Call: Tony (Mike is still MIA)

1x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 2min/30sec 2 circuits
  • Maize ball
  • Rope line

Glove Drills rounds were run continuously, 1 minute for each person as the aggressor (2 minutes work) followed by 1 minute rest.
  • Jab defense (2 rounds) – aggressor throws single jabs while moving around and defender catches, or slips jab and returns with single punch (jab high or low, cross high or low, body hook either side, etc). Focus is on correct defense as well as a quick return (same with the following drills).
  • Cross defense (1 round)– aggressor throws single cross to head and defender rolls with cross or slips and returns with single punch (cross, lead hook, low jab, body hook, etc.).
  • Jab cross defense (1 round) – aggressor throws jab cross and defender catches, slips, rolls etc and returns with single punch (cross, lead hook, low jab, body hook, etc.).
Body impact conditioning: 2x1minute rounds of body punches with gloves on (opponent stands with hands on head, punching only as hard as your opponent can take). We do this to learn how to take body punches as well as condition the midsection – no punches to solar plexus and less force when punching the floating ribs. I'll be posting a video on this very soon, so stay tuned.

We didn’t have a lot of time but were able to focus on the fundamentals and got a great workout. It’s great to be back in action.

I’ll be resuming my local fight gym review next week with Jab Fitness.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to “Comments” below)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Workout time

It's short notice, but we have a workout scheduled for Monday (11/3/08) at 1pm. Hope to see you all there. We are back up and running again after a short layoff due to schedule conflicts.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Here's something different

I ran across this on youtube and had to share it.

This is definitely wacky stuff. Both people are tethered to the table and tied to the other person by the hand. Supposedly you can win by pinning the hand (arm wrestling) or knocking them out. This "sport" was started by one the people who started the original "Ultimate Fighting Championship". If you want more info or videos on this craziness check out

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Quick update on my Beta-alanine experiment. Due to a few injuries that I experienced during my three week trial I was unable to complete the full trial (I couldn't train or go all out while injured). I will offer a few insights into taking Beta-alanine:
  1. Its easier to take the full dose all at once (not divided throughout the day.
  2. The tingling sensation can be very annoying and may interfere with training.

My first few days I followed the recommendation of taking multiple small doses throughout the day to minimize the tingling sensation - didn't work (pills I had were 800mg) and I had the tingling feeling all day which made me rather irratable. When I changed to taking the full dose all at once - the tingling level was the same but only lasted a few hours as opposed to all day long.

While the tingling sensation is harmless it is annoying and may take your focus away from training or possibly during a fight.

I will be trying this supplement again in the future to give it a fair trial.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Basic mat work

We are taking a step back in grappling and working primarily on position and transitions in positioning to get a better foundation. It is easy to over reach and immediately go for your final aim, in this case submissions. I appreciate the traditional Brazilian Jui Jitsu (BJJ) approach of learning positions, transitions and finally submissions (position before submission). A solid foundation is essential in any pursuit, building a house on shaky ground only leads to disaster. With that in mind we are working the basics to start, not that we won’t address the basic joint locks but our emphasis will be learning how to move and where to move to (positions and transitions).
After further searching I found a few videos that address these areas and we’ll be using the basic exercises presented in these videos (the initial video I posted is fantastic but too advanced right now, we’ll have to work up to the drills they presented). Most of this information I know but haven’t seen presented as actual drills – and they do an excellent job.

Roll Call: Tony

2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Our main focus today was on basic matt work as follows:
Upper position
Knee to chest (stomach) side to side with transition across/over body
  1. Knee to chest (stomach) switching knees, staying on same side
  2. Knee to chest (stomach) transition to mount, side to side
  3. Knee to chest (stomach) circle other leg over head, switch to opposite knee
  4. Mount – pop up – arm-bar
  5. Standing guard pass to knee to chest
Working hip movement
  • Supine hip slide out (in mount or guard)
  • Wall hip slide out
  • Sit out drill

Position transitions

  • Side Control with bottom position working hip slide out to attain guard
  • Mount with bottom position working hip slide out to attain guard

I’m putting off my final Beta-alanine “Fran” test until Tuesday (sorry), I still have enough left to continue taking it until then and I want an open day to do the test.

(Please post comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Boxing, Muay thai, and ground basics

We are continuing our basic/introductory training in ground fighting. My experience in teaching groundfighting is limited and as a result I'm learning as much about teaching it as Tony is in learning the basics. As a result I'll be including more warmup drills emphasizing movement on the ground starting with our next workout on Saturday.

Roll Call: Tony

1x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions
Continuous 1 min rounds

  • Single leg forward hop
  • Double leg side hop
  • Forward crossover
  • Hip twist
Defense Circuit 2min/30sec (2 each)

  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
Shadow Boxing 2min/1min

  • Boxing
  • Muay Thai
Heavy Bag 2min/1min
Hands only

  • Straight punches (high and low jab and cross)
  • Working to inside, emphasis on close quarter punching

Hands and feet

  • Thai kicks, singles and doubles
  • Punch then kick, kick then punch combinations

Mat Work

Standing under hook drill 2x1min/30sec

Mount: basic locks

  • Arm bar side to side. Start with drill on floor then with opponent. Side to side 10each
  • Figure 4 (Americana). Side to side, 15 each side.

Guard: basic locks

I had planned on working the arm bar in the guard but didn't want information overload. The sit up drill we used for the kimura was simply performing the setup for the kimura (trapping the wrist, sit-up and reach over to your own wrist, back down and repeat on opposite side).

The warmup drills we'll be incorporating involve some of the ones in the following video:(Post comments, questions or suggestions to "Comments" below)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thursday practice

We'll be holding a workout Thursday morning starting between 8:30 and 9:00 am. We'll start with boxing and Muay Thai and move onto introductory grappling work on the new mat's.

I'll be doing my final "Fran" test for the Beta Alanine experiment on Saturday (10/11/08). I missed a number of days due to injuries and want a good test (injury free).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back in action

Due to scheduling conflicts with trainees we have been off for the past few weeks. In addition to a few shoulder/neck injuries of mine – the first after doing heavy double and triple thai kicks on the bag and a week later doing heavy push jerks at the gym.

Our first workout back was fairly light and technique based. We worked primarily on the bob and weave and some basic grappling techniques on the new mats.

Roll Call: Tony


  • 1x3min jump rope

  • 2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 2min/1min (2 circuits)

  • Maize ball

  • Rope line

Shadow Boxing 2min/1min

  • Boxing

  • Muay Thai


Continuous 1 min rounds (2 circuits each person)

  • Jab cross – left hook – bob and weave cross hook

  • Jab cross – right hook – bob and weave hook cross

  • Jab cross - alternating hooks – bob and weave return


Stand up- Greco Roman Under Hook Drill

Mount - Introduction to:

  • Basic arm bar

  • Figure 4 arm bar

On our next practice we will work some more basic grappling techniques - from the mount and the guard. This is in addition, of course, to our standard boxing and muay thai.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to "comments" below)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Mats

Finally, we've got mats. I lucked out a few days ago while looking through Craigs List (hoping I might find a Concept II rower) and came across a listing for wrestling mats - lucky me. We've been looking into mats for awhile and had decided on Zebra Mats, which would have cost around $500 for a 10x15 area (minimum order). The mats I found on Craigs List were 11x11, a little smaller but about half the price and no shipping to worry about.

We are going to start up some basic drills and technique practice for ground fighting during our next workout.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The insane training schedule of a pro Muay Thai gym.

I’ve had some questions recently about training in Thailand, a lofty but worthwhile goal. In the past, 10 years ago, I had a few training partners that went every year or so and they loved it. As result, I recently decided to look into training routines and costs for training over there, the first gym I thought of is Kaewsamrit Gym .

Morning Session 6 a.m.
  • 10-12 kilometer run.
  • Pad session 3-4 (5 minute) rounds with one round focusing on boxing and elbows only.
  • Bag work 4 (5 minute) rounds
  • 30 minutes of clinch and knee work
  • general conditioning work such as pull-ups, 300 sit-ups
  • light warm down (I’m not to sure what they consider light)
  • 10 a.m. morning meal followed by rest period

Afternoon Session 3 p.m
  • skipping for 30 minutes
  • Pad work with trainer 5-6 (5 minute rounds) with 1-2 rounds focusing on boxing and elbows only.
  • Bagwork 5 rounds of 5 minute duration
  • Technical sparing 3 rounds of 5 minute duration
  • 30 minutes of Clinch and knee work
  • light jog of 2-3 kilometers
  • 300 knees on heavy bag and 100 kicks
  • general conditioning work such as pull-ups and 300 sit-ups.
  • Followed by light warm down.
They post at the end of the routine that “This is routine followed by the top Thai boxers in the gym and foreign students are not expected to reach this level straight away and are given time to build up to a level comfortable for them”.

The cost for training at Kaewsamrit is about 30 US dollars a day for the first 15 days. Pretty inexpensive for the hour of training.

Youtube Videos of Kaewsamrit

(Post comments, suggestions or question at "Comments" below)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Crossfit Will County

Today I visited Crossfit Will County since they had an open house and I thought it would be a good excuse to stop by. Luckily the open house was during the only time today that it wasn’t raining. While Crossfit Will County (CFWC) is not a fighting gym I do feel Crossfit is the best approach for general conditioning for fighters and just to illustrate my point there was a wrestler and MMA competitor at the open house.

CFWC is owned and operated by John and Shannon Edmondson, and their affiliate is the only one in this area of Illinois (the next closest is in St. Charles) and I’m lucky enough to be fairly close to them. I first met John and Shannon earlier this year before they got certified and became an affiliate – John put me through a brutal workout consisting of 5 rounds of ring dips, tire flips, kettlebell swings (and 2 other exercises that I can’t remember since I can’t find my workout log for the first part of this year) – it wasn’t my first Crossfit workout but it was my first with another Crossfitter.

At the open house John did a great job of introducing the concepts and approach of Crossfit: fitness defined as “Increased work capacity over broad time and modal domains”, and Crossfit’s approach to attaining this fitness “Constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity”.

After introducing the concepts they put some lucky people through some abbreviated, but still tough, workouts. The first one was consisted of continuous 1 minute rounds of: rowing (on concept II rower), push press, air squats and ketttlebell swings followed by a 1 minute rest and repeated. The other mini workout I missed but know included Turkish Getups and Burpee’s.

If you want to greatly improve your conditioning, (enabling you to fight harder and longer), I encourage you to check out Crossfit Will County, you won’t be sorry.

To learn more about Crossfit check out What is Crossfit?.

For another brief review of the CFWC check out Trinity Training Group‘s blog.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below)

Friday, September 12, 2008


Beta-alanine is a promising supplement for combat athletes, the research is encouraging but not a lot has been published so far. I am intrigued by beta-alanine and its potential for improving high intensity workouts, especially work capacity and that is the reason for this experiment. If it is able to significantly improve work capacity, by delaying fatique, it would certainly increase fighting capacity. As a result, I decided to be my own guinea pig. My experiment will run for 3 ½ weeks (limited by my supply of beta-alanine). To test whether it is effective at improving work capacity I’m using a benchmark workout from Crossfit –Fran which consists of back to back sets of Pull-ups and Thrusters at 21, 15, 9 reps per set and done for time. I did “Fran” this morning using 75 pounds for Thrusters and started supplements after the workout. After my 25 day trial I will perform Fran again and compare times. My diet and training will be no different than it is currently (low/reduced carb diet, and workouts of boxing, muay thai and Crossfit).

My supplements over the next 3 ½ weeks will be as follows:
4800mg/day, day’s 1-7
3200mg/day, day’s 8-25
10g/day, day’s 1-7
5g/day, day’s 8-25

This is purely a “Case Study” since I’m the only subject and I’m not controlling for every conceivable factor (knowing I’m on the supplement I may push harder than usual and over train or just be more vigilant about my training and diet). It’ll be interesting to see the results.

Baseline “Fran” from this morning: 9:40 minutes
I’ll post final results on October 8th – after performing “Fran” again.

If you have any possitive or negative experience with beta-alanine and fight training share by posting to "Comments" below.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I made my first visit to a local fight gym Combat-Do last Tuesday evening. I first heard about this gym from a neighbor friend of mine who is a High School wrestler – his wrestling club was using their mats for practice on the weekends. He gave me a big thumbs up about Master Bob and the grappling training at the school – that was enough to make me want to check it out. At that time, the location was new and it took me a few trips over searching for the address to find it (the location didn’t have its own phone number at the time). After finding the location I had to find out when they held classes – they didn’t list their Plainfield location until earlier this summer (I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had just called the Cicero phone number). Well, it’s taken me awhile but I finally got there last week for an evening MMA class.

Workout: Combat-Do is owned and run by Master Bob Schirmer a very experienced and dedicated instructor. I originally set out just to contact the school but missed everyone at lunchtime and after calling and reaching Master Bob I was set to come in at 6:30 for the MMA class. I have heard many good things about Master Bob by word of mouth and he lived up to all of it. He runs a tough class; we did literally hundreds of push-ups, sit-ups and flutter kicks. General conditioning also consisted of sprint work interspersed with push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, jumping jacks, etc. So, without a question you will get an amazing workout.

Trainers: The class I was in was run by Master Bob so I can certainly state that instruction was excellent. Other people who helped out the class at points were also effective and attentive instructors.

Equipment: The school has a boxing ring, MMA Cage, wrestling mats (that’s where the workout I attended was held) in addition to hanging thai heavy bags, focus mitts, thai pads, kicking pads, a large tire for flipping and sledgehammer work, etc. All in all a very well equipped gym.

Type of Fighting: Combat-Do does not focus exclusively on stand up or grappling, they train both but there is a concentration on grappling (jujitsu/judo etc.) at least in the MMA class I was in. In addition to conditioning a good portion of my workout consisted of low and high thai kicks on kicking pads, stand up Greco Roman wrestling drills, and Jiu-Jitsu throws and submissions.

Sparring: While we didn’t do any sparring in the class I was in they do spar at the gym (hence the ring and cage).

Competition: Not only do they encourage competition in judo/jujitsu (which is easier to enter into at my age group – there are enough competitors that age and experience level allows you to be matched with people of the same level of experience) but they also host competitions annually or semiannually the Combat-Do Fighting Challenge and the Midwest Jiu-Jitsu Tournament (which are both being held this month). The video below is from Combat-Do Fighting Challenge 9:

Cost for training: For MMA training costs range from $150 to $175 a month, which is comparable to other gyms I have been to. This covers you for any and all classes that you attend at either location as well as open gym time for training. If you have more than one family member training additional members are discounted.

In addition to MMA classes they also offer Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing and children’s classes (outside of training with me, this is where I really want my daughter Callie train).

If you live in Plainfield or Cicero this is a group you can really learn a lot from, I wholeheartedly recommend Combat-Do and intend on working out there in the future when my schedule allows it.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to “comments” below)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Local gyms and upcoming posts

I’ve been away for a bit, both literally and figuratively, but I’m back and set to make up for it this week. Some upcoming things to look for:
  • Reviews of local gyms and trainers
  • New videos on focus mitt training and glove drills
In and around Plainfield we have a number of gyms that focus on fighting (boxing, kickboxing and grappling) and I’m set to visit them all and give you some information on their training methods, how they run workouts, open gym time (important if you want to work technique or conditioning outside of class using the gyms equipment), what their focus is (stand up, ground, competition, conditioning etc.) as well as information on their fees.
In reading my reviews I will be using the following list for giving you information on the gyms I visit:
  1. A great workout/conditioning
  2. Trainer’s – good instructors
  3. Equipment – what they use to train. While this isn’t a pre-requisite for a good gym (many great gyms produce great fighters with minimal equipment) it is something that many people look for.
  4. Type of fighting: Stand-up fighting- boxing, kickboxing, Grappling – wrestling, jui-jitsu, judo, etc.
  5. Sparring – contact, light contact, non-contact, stand up, grappling
  6. Competition – do they host competitions, train fighters for competition, competitive fighters train at the gym
  7. Price: while there are inexpensive gyms most offer training at a premium price (you pay for the experience of the instructors). Schools that run strictly conditioning and those training competitive fighters run from as low as $30 up to $200 a month
Most gyms are able to fulfill #1 on the list above (workout/conditioning). While my concentration is preparation for fighting and I feel preparing for competition (whether you actually compete or not) is important since this is the best preparation for real combat – I know that many others prefer a different approach so I will strive to be clear in my reviews as to what different gyms offer.

If you wish me to feature your gym or training group please contact me via email (available at my "About Me" link on the side bar.
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boxing and Kettlebells

Sunday morning boxing workout. We continued our focus on developing the bob and weave counter against hooks. Our planned workout was to have more mitt drills as well as some limited sparing (lead hand punches only) but Tony's shoulder started to act up after the third round of mitt drills. After some soft tissue work on Tony's shoulder we finished with a review of the kettlebell swing - a fanstatic exercise for all athletes (whether done with a kettlebell or a dumbell). I provide some usefull links for learning this exercise at the end of the post.

Roll Call: Tony

2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 3min/1min (2 circuits)
  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
  • Rack
Line work (1 minute rounds run continuously)
  • Forward step with alternating slip (slip to left with left foor step and to the right with right step)
  • Single leg hop forward and back (going across the line)
  • Double leg hop sideways (heels together hoping forward and back across the line moving sideways)
  • Hip/shoulder twist (hands on hips, full twist so elbow faces forward)
Shadow Boxing
1 x 3min round each
  • Boxing
  • Thai boxing
Mitts/Pads (2min/1min)

  • Quick response jab cross defending against jab
    We used Bas Ruttens jab defense drill adapted to focus mitts.
  • Bob and weave lead hook after jab cross – return with cross hook
  • Bob and weave rear hook after jab cross – return with hook cross
  • Review KB swing. The Kettle Bell Swing is an excellent exercise once you have learned it but proper form is difficult to learn and teach. I have neglected teaching this recently due to “so little time but so much to teach”. You may think, why should I learn this exercise but it teaches powerful hip drive that translates into harder punches and kicks (your power comes from your hips and legs whenever you throw a hard punch or kick and practice with the swing, dumbbell or kettlebell, develops this). In addition, high repetition interval swings are great for building stamina and endurance. A great resource for learning the Swing can be found at Perform Betters website under their Training Zone tab followed by their Kettlebell tab. Don’t forget, you can use a dumbbell for learning and performing this exercise (though, I feel it is easier to learn with a kettlebell due to holding it palm down). Anthony DiLuglio offers great instruction under “Swing Exercise Video’s 1-3” as well as “Kettlebell Training Clinic – Swing Part’s 1-3”

  • Crossfit WOD weighted pull-ups 7x1 (I had Tony sit this out to save his shoulder)

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

A show to watch

Reality TV is not really my thing. I saw the end of season one of survivor years ago and was appalled by the scheming and underhandedness that was rewarded and was immediately turned off the whole idea. With that said, there are a few reality shows that I do like enough to watch on occasion – The Biggest Loser, The Contender, Ultimate Fighter and now The Contender Asia. These are all reality shows that actually endeavor to inspire people to reach for a higher level of health and illustrate the struggles inherent in getting there. They can all get a bit overly dramatic with people playing to the camera, the silly Challenges etc. but these few I think offer some positive messages to people. I haven’t watched much of any of these shows but did watch a recent episode of The Contender Asia yesterday – who can resist a show on Muay Thai. I liked how the fighters were presented, real people (trained fighters) with a goal of being great fighters having worked hard to get there. The contestants are all experienced fighters in Muay Thai and come from many diverse ethnic and national backgrounds.
Below is their promo video:

My main goal in watching any of these shows is to gain insight into training regimens, techniques and what motivates people to become champions as well as what they’ll do to get there.

For “Stand Up” fighting I feel that Western Boxing and Muay Thai are the best for fighters getting into the ring. The Contender Asia is a good illustration of the dedication and sacrifice needed to become a great fighter and you can see some great training techniques that you can take and use as well as some good fights to watch, it is broadcast on Versus.

The Ultimate Weapon is one other show I like for its illustration of different fighting styles and how they train (they also have some good Muay Thai footage, see below).

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Age and Training

This video comes straight from Ross Enamait, I saw it on his blog and was so impressed I had to share it with everyone here.

So many times I here people say they are just to old to do this stuff, either going to the gym or working out at home. “Oh I’m just to old”, “I can’t do that kind of training anymore” are the types of refrains I hear almost daily along with “You must be crazy to do that stuff at your age” (I’m 41 now – 9 years younger than this women when she started training). I have only competed in one marathon – the infamous Chicago Marathon of 2007 where firemen forced me off the course with firehouses at the 22 mile mark due to the race being cancelled because of the hot weather. A marathon is nothing in comparison to an Iron Man Triathlon. Watch this video and be ready to put aside all your excuses for not training due to your age.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Why I like training baseball and softball players

Baseball players, especially hitters show amazing rotational power. Take note of how baseball players generate batting power, this is the same as how you develop punching power – get your whole body behind the punch. The hips and legs are the key to power in throwing strong punches. Baseball and softball players know this because when you hit a ball with the bat you are using your hips and legs for power. For a great example of this watch:

Watch how the leg and hips move first, then the shoulder and finally the bat. That is how a power punch is thrown – the hand or fist is essentially the end of a whip that begins with the feet.
Jack Dempsey is thought by many to be one of the hardest punchers in boxing and much of his power came from working as a lumberjack. His work as a lumberjack gave him tremendous rotational strength and power for hook punches (hip rotation and power is easily seen in hooks but applies to all power punches: straight right, power jabs even uppercuts). Old school boxing training involved actually chopping down trees, not realistic now but there are way’s to emulate this.
Rotational throws with medicine ball

You can perform this exercise as a partner exercise (what I use since I don’t have a concrete or cinderblock wall). It’s not as fast but you can vary it with distance between partners (the further away the harder you have to throw but the longer the time) as well as weight of the ball.
Tornado ball

It may not look like a lot of hip torque but you’ve got to try it to feel it.
Sledgehammer training
Sledgehammer or bat training on a tire (a bat on a heavy bag is bad idea – I’ve tried it and the bag breaks down to fast, save your bag for punching)

Looks like the hammer was to heavy but I hope you get the idea.
The following video is another is another illustration (the video is rotated 90 degrees but again, I hope you get the general idea),

These are potential supplemental drills to hitting the bag. In the end bag work is best (if your time is limited spend it on actual technique training) but these other training methods can provide you with the “feel” – how it feels to develop power through the hips and leg for rotation so that you know how it should feel when you punch the bag.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Quick Muay Thai Day

We started at 8:45 this morning for our Muay Thai focus day. The weather has finally shifted back so we had a wonderful, sunny with 80% humidity, morning workout. I’m not what I’d consider a morning person but looked forward to the challenge. This morning’s workout was fast paced due to time pressure (I needed to get my daughter to school, then get showered and changed to get into work before my first patient).

The first round of our warm-up was jump-rope (3min), all other rounds following that were 2 min with a 30 second rest which we ran continuously. We had a few short breaks for introduction to technique for some new combinations. In the end, we finished on time, 45 minutes.

  • Jump-rope 1 (3min) round – last 30sec doubles
  • Thai footwork – up and back with most of the weight on rear foot 1 (2min/30sec) round
  • Hop back and forward 1 (2min/30sec) round
  • Shadow boxing thai kick 1 round with full spin 1 (2min/30) rounds
  • Hop back against rear kick to knee 1 (2min/30sec) round each
  • Pads evade rear thai – return rear thai 1 (2min/30sec) round each
  • Front kick (foot jab) on pads 1 (2min/30sec) round each
  • 1-2-3 R and L kicks on pads (alternate after each series) 1 (2min.30sec) round each
  • Front kick (foot jab) defense (scoop) 1 (2min/30sec) round each
  • Pads front kick (foot jab) defense – return rear kick after scoop 1 (2min/30sec) round each

The challenge in many of these workouts is to keep it intense (the easier part), and fun (if it isn’t interesting only the most dedicated want to do it), all the while working on technique (you can have a super hard workout but without a focus on technique you may as well be doing Tae Bo – not to knock people doing Tae Bo but their focus is purely on conditioning while ours is on fighting).

In this workout we did a general warm-up, then some technique warm-up followed by application. We then continued by working on the elements of skill following with working its application. We also mixed in some direct technique/conditioning. The general focus of this workout was obviously on Muay Thai Training – but more than that it was on the fundamentals, technique, combinations and defense with counters. Conditioning (strength, power, endurance, agility – in this case) was automatically built into this workout.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bob and Weave

We had just a short practice today due to my having to get back to office and my wife doing a photo shoot. As a result it was a focused practice, boxing basics with a focus on developing the bob and weave.

The Bob and Weave is an integral defensive technique in boxing and MMA (in MMA it can be used as an entry technique for a leg pick or takedown or just simply a punch evasion like in boxing). While it is a seemingly simple technique, putting it into practice in the ring is a different story. Work on the slip line to ingrain body mechanics helps tremendously and mitt and glove drills assist in putting it into context (defending against an actual attack – which is much less predictable than simply bobbing and weaving under the line). One of the common errors I see with trainers in training the bob and weave is that when they throw hooks with the mitts they “aim to miss” – going above where the trainees head was (or even still is) or angling the hook upward making it easier to get under. I feel it is essential that you “keep it honest” – hook to the jaw or ear level, the trainee should keep their hands up since their gloves should catch the blow if they don’t bob under. If your trainee fails to bob under they should be covered up and catch the blow on their glove, if they fail to bob under and you still sail the mitt over their head you have done them a disservice (they think they did it correctly and they’ll get nailed for real in the ring as a result). When I have my trainees hold mitts for me I always test them every a few times each round by failing to bob down – if they still miss they aren’t “keeping it honest”.

Roll Call: Tony

Quick 1 round warm-up consisting of 3 continuous 1 minute rounds of:
  • Forward single leg hop going across the line up and back, switching foot with after each return to start.
  • Double leg hop facing line going across line and back and traveling up and back down the line.
  • Shoulder/hip twist in stance going up and back down the line.
    (for a video illustratio to these drills please refer to The Evaluation Line.)

Defense Circuit 3min/30sec
Maize ball – hung from 8 feet
Rope line
The Rack (see last post for a video link for this)

Mitts 3min/1min rounds
Working on the bob and weave
Bob under left hook
  • Under left hook followed with cross hook return
  • Jab cross – bob under left hook – return with cross hook cross
Bob under right hook
  • Started with bob and weave under right hook and returning left hook cross, progressed to throwing jab cross left hook – bob and weave under right hook – return left hook cross left hook
Alternating left and right hook
  • Working off the jab cross hook - holder throws either right or left hook and defender returns as above (cross hook or hook cross).
Tony is new to holding the mitts so I settled for practicing the defense for left and right hook in separate rounds only (skipped the last round of alternating right and left hooks).

This was a bare bones workout but we were able to accomplish what we needed to in the short time we had. We have another abbreviated workout scheduled for Friday morning (around 8 or 9am) but with a focus on muay thai instead.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Short on Time?

When you are short on time it is important to make the best use of what time you do have. This past week has been a tough one, my daughter has been ill the whole week which has lead to little sleep or free time for me. Even though my workouts have been cut shorter as a result I was able to film and edit the video for the Slip Line (while my daughter was sleeping actually).

To top off the week yesterday’s scheduled workout was a bit of a bust – Tony and Mike were unable to make it due to work and as a result I had to settle for a solo workout. I didn’t have a lot of time so I kept it brief and focused on essentials. When time is tight you need to focus on your goals, for Saturday my goals were to work on basic defensive skills along with strength endurance (think work capacity or general physical preparedness). With this in mind I did the workout below:

Basic Defensive Skills
1x3min round each of

  • Maize bag
  • Slip Line
  • Rack – I’ll be posting more on this tool later but for an introduction click on the following link Kenny Weldon's Rack
Strength Endurance
The strength endurance barbell complex I performed comes from Zack Esh.
3 rounds of 5 reps per exercise:

  • Hang clean and push press
  • Back Squat
  • Dead Lift
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift
  • Bent over Rows
Below is a video of this complex:

The objective is to perform the exercises quickly without putting the bar down between exercises. I did this with 85 pounds resting 1 minute between complexes.

If you are short on time look to focus on the essentials of what you want to accomplish - what are your goals for your workout (specific skill development, cardiovascular, strength, power, agility, etc.). Once you know your goal it is much easier to cut to the chase and focus your work on that.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Next practice

Saturday 8/16 at 8:30am. Yeah, I know its early but that's the only time that open for Saturday.

Slip Line

Finally finished the video on using the Slip Line.

The Slip Line (or Rope Line, as I refer to it in our workouts) is a great and inexpensive tool for working on footwork, slipping, the bob and weave etc. All you really need is a rope or string and something to tie it to and you're ready to go.
I routinely use the Slip Line and Maize Bag as part of our warmup in every practice and encourage everyone to use the same tools at home. The Maize Bag and Slip Line are excellent tools to use on your day's off from the gym, just work 1-3 rounds of each and when you get back to the gym you'll be sharper.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Great weather

A great night for training – cool with little humidity, this is a respite from the summer heat that probably won’t last long, what better way to enjoy it than training. We rescheduled yesterdays training for this evening.

Roll Call:
Tony, Mike

2 rounds on the line

  • 1min Forward hop single leg alternate (hop forward crossing back and forth on the line, switch legs after each up and back)
  • 1min Side hop 2 legs (face the line, keeping heels together hop forward and back across the line moving up and down the line)
  • 1min Forward and back with hip twist
  • 1min rest
These agility drills come from Kenny Weldon, its been a while since we’ve used them so I decided to make them part of the warm-up. You can see a video of these drills at

2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 8 ring push-ups, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 3min/1min (2 circuits)
Maize ball
Rope line
Speed bag

Heavy bag
Thai round kicks 4 x 30sec rounds of double’s, switching legs each round with a 30sec rest between each round.

Glove Drills
2 Round Robins (first time one person aggressor and the other defender, switch next round) 1:30min rounds

  • 3 way jab
  • Double jab
  • Jab cross
Following this we worked on developing the right hook. This began with positioning – turned toward right with weight over the right foot. From that position we worked on the hip twist and weight shift by practicing with hands on hips and elbows out, starting in the above position left elbow faces opponent, twist from the hips and shift weight over to left foot – end with right elbow facing opponent. We did this for ½ round followed by working it on the bag and mitts with the actual punch to develop a feel for it.

Next practice I hope to have a “rack” made to practice footwork with the jab – don’t know what a “rack” is check out
My only change may be spacing it further from the wall – I like everyone to be able to get full extension on the jab.

(Please post questions, comments or suggestions to “comments” below)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Next Practice

Sunday 8/10 at 11:00am.

Hot training

Tuesday Aug. 5: 6-8pm

Our last workout (Saturday) was cancelled at the last minute but we made up for it on Tuesday night with some hard training. Hot night - heat index was 93.

Roll Call: Mike and Tony

2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
2 rounds – 10 rope pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions, 10 overhead squats

Defense Circuit 2min/1min (2 circuits)
Maize ball - first round hung from 10' second from 8'
Rope line
Speed bag

Heavy bag
4 rounds - Thai kicks doubles 30sec work/30sec rest - alternate leg each work round, total 1 minute work each leg.

Glove Drills
Round Robin drills (3 people working) - 1:30 minute rounds, alternate person each round - each person worked offense and defense for 1 round with the other 2 people for each drill.
  • 3 way jab
  • Double jab
  • Jab cross
Punch out on the heavy bag
4 rounds 30sec work/ 30sec rest each

Mike did a great job making use of his reach and controlling distance in the glove drills

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Next Practice

Next practice is scheduled for Saturday 8/2 at 11:00am.
Come join us!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fun with the Heavy Bag

We were a bit hurried today due to Mike being called into work after arriving here. As a result we cut the workout down a little while still covering the skills that we set out to cover (mainly working on round kicks with attention to doubles). Mike had to leave before the “Finisher” so I completed it on my own – the bag carry was a bit tough due to sweat making it slippery (had to squeeze harder as a result).

Roll Call: Mike


2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)

2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 hip extensions (I changes the name of this to more accurately represent the exercise – back is kept in neutral and the hips extend – lumbar muscle work is more isometric/stabilizing)


3 rounds (continous)

  • 1min agility ladder
  • 1min footwork with round and foot jab kicks

Defense Circuit 3min/1min (1 circuit)

  • Maize ball
  • Rope line (I'll have the video on the basics for this up within the week)
  • Speed bag

Heavy Bag 2min/1min (1 round each leg)

Double thai kicks (bag hung low) – 2 kicks thrown as fast and hard as you can separated by touching foot to ground

Thai Pads 2min/1min

Double kick work w/foot jab

Glove Drills

  • Low line kick defense (leg block)
  • Mid line kick defense angling away from kick
  • Mid line kick defense cut kick


4 rounds Bag carry- bear hug 30sec work/30sec rest
After last 30sec rest followed with
4 rounds Bag throw - alternating shoulders 30sec work/30sec rest

You can see an example of the drills used in today’s “Finisher” in the video at the start of this post.

(Please post questions, comments or suggestions to "comments" below)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Maize Bag

Everyone is out on vacation this week and I’m left to train by myself. As a result I thought it would be a great idea to do a few videos on what I feel is the best equipment training to keep you sharp when you have to train alone. Everyone is familiar with the heavy bag (I would hope) and so I won’t cover that now. Instead, I’ll cover two drills that we use in almost every workout in the gym here – Maize (or slip) bag and the Rope Line. Today I’ll be showing the Maize bag. I’m not really sure where I first saw this used but with all the different boxing gyms I’ve trained at I can say it is not a standard piece of equipment, even though it is simple and cheap to construct (I even made one out of a sandwich bag, some sand and a piece of string when I was on vacation with my parents back in High School).

When training by your self you’re training is generally limited – shadow boxing, bag work, and general conditioning, which are all things you should be doing while training solo (or in the gym). When solo I like to also be able to practice my timing, being aware of distance and especially defensive skills. The Maize bag fits the bill for these things.

The Maize bag is simply a bag, hung from a chord or string, that swings back and forth allowing you to practice slipping, maintaining distance etc. The one I use in this video is made from an old Speed Bag filled with beans (to give it some weight).

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The IronMan Triathlon is a true test of endurance and perseverance. This father and son team present an amazing example of this.

Following is IronMan’s video of this father son teams journey to the race and their amazing accomplishment.

Hot and humid glove workout

Friday 7/19/08, 6pm (a hot an humid evening that really pushed our conditioning)

Another video for everyone who wonders how we actully train.

Roll Call: Tony

Warm-up: 3min jump-rope followed by -

3 rounds of

  • 10 sprawls
  • 10 situps
  • 10 pushups

Defense Circuit 2min/1min (2 circuits)

  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
  • Speed bag

Shadow Boxing 2x3min/1min

Glove Drills 3min/1min

  • Jab
  • Double Jab
  • Jab Cross

These rounds were split in half, Tony on offense for 1/2 and me on offense for 1/2.

Offense Circuit 3min/1min (1 circuit)

  • Heavy Bag hands
  • Heavy Bag hands and feet
  • Top and Bottom bag

Glove Drills 3min/1min

  • Low line kicks
  • Jab cross hook rear kick – counter

Rounds split in half like earlier glove drills.

Ring Rows and Thrusters
21, 15, 9 reps

(Please post comments, suggestions or questions to"Comments" below)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Staying Hydrated

If you want your workouts to be more enjoyable (easier) and perform at your best you will need to stay hydrated. A loss of just 5% of your body weight in sweat is enough to significantly decrease your performance (that works out to 7.5 lbs for a 150 pound person). Even a loss of 2% (3lbs for a 150 pound person) can result in a reduction in your performance, as well as placing greater stress on your heart. In addition, all of us remember the Gatorade advertisements stating that thirst is a poor guide for hydration.

Maintaining hydration is especially important when engaging in longer duration exercise in hot weather (greater than an hour) or even high intensity exercise for a shorter period of time. These are just guidelines – the harder you exercise the greater the sweat loss and the more you need to drink (water and electrolytes). Electrolyte replacement is especially important if you are a salty sweater (do you get white salt stains on your cloth’s? – then you need to replace more electrolytes, especially sodium).

The first step in staying hydrated during exercise is to stay hydrated during the rest of the day. As a minimum you should be drinking a half-gallon of water (or at least total fluid – not counting alcohol) over the course of the day. If needed, you can flavor water with sugar free drink mixes or mix juice half and half with water. Drinking flavored water has repeatedly been found to increase fluid intake (most of us can down a glass of juice or other beverage faster and with greater ease than the same volume of plain water). PowerBar now makes an electrolyte drink mix that is a good low carb alternative for the electrolytes that you loose in sweating (think Gatorade without the sugar). Chilling your drinks also helps increase consumption, especially on hot days.

It is actually better to drink small amounts over the whole day instead of drinking all your water in just a few sittings – this is because too much water at once just results in more of it being lost in urination.

I make it a practice to keep 32 and 16oz refillable bottles of water in my refrigerator at home and the office. Anything larger than that becomes warm before I can drink the whole thing (some people I know use just use 8 oz bottles).

Hydration during workouts:

Prior to your workout

  • When to eat – any meal should be eaten at least 2 hours before your workout, to soon before your workout and you could end up with cramps, nausea or worse vomiting. What you eat is something you’ll have to experiment with, as a general rule eat something light and easy to digest. – you will want to experiment with what you can eat before your workouts to find out what you can tolerate.
  • About 2 hours before your workout drink 17oz of water or sports drink.
  • Weigh your self as soon before your workout as possible and record it!
During your workout

  • Aim for about 8 ounces every 20 minutes. You may need to adjust this depending on weight lost during previous workouts as well as your opportunity to drink during your workout (between rounds have a bottle handy that you can drink from with your gloves on).
  • On workouts longer than one hour you also need to pay attention to electrolytes and carbohydrate.

Sports drink guidelines:

  • Max of 15g of carbohydrates per 8 ounces (any more and absorption slows down)
  • 70mg Sodium per 8 ounces
  • After your workout

Weigh yourself at the end of your workout and compare to pre workout weight.

If you have maintained hydration you should weigh the same, if you weigh less after a long workout you didn’t drink enough to keep up with fluid loss (you aren’t going to lose pounds of fat in one workout). To replace fluid loss you will need to drink 23 ounces of water for each pound lost (eat some salty snacks with the water or consume a sports drink that has sodium).

If you want more detailed information on hydration during exercise I encourage you to follow the links below:

American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand: Exercise and Fluid Replacement

National Athletic Trainers Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes

Gatorade Sports Science Institute

(Please post comments, suggestions or questions to “Comments” below)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Video

For the first time we have actual video footage of our workout (had to use a Kodak Easy Share C613 to shoot it). It was a challenge, the camera kept turning itself off (I think I can correct that now), and a neighbor’s dog wanted to come in and play in the middle of out warm-up and then I found that instead of recording in avi format it recorded in mov format (not supported by Windows Movie Maker), finally after a few hours of work I figured how to convert and edit the video, just keep in mind that this is our first attempt and some of the really good stuff didn’t get recorded.
A couple of notes: you’ll notice in the warm-up that Mike makes a few errors, that I’ll correct next practice, knees to far forward in the overhead squat, not enough extension in the GHD sit-up and not full ROM in the pull-up. If it wasn’t for the video I might continue to miss these since I’m working at the same time as him.

Roll Call: Mike (Tony was stranded and couldn’t make it)


  • 2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
  • 2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 1 round 3min/1min

  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
  • Speed bag

Shadow Boxing 3min/1min

  • 2 rounds

Glove Drills 3min/1min (each round was split so one worked offense and the other defense for half a round)

  • 3 way jab
  • Jab cross – slip to right with cross hook counter
  • Jab cross – slip to left with hook cross counter

Low line kick block and counter

  • Right low line kick with block followed by right kick
  • Left low line kick with block followed be left kick
  • Either kick followed by counter as above


4 rounds of 30sec punch out on bag followed by 30 seconds rest.

(Please post comments, questions or suggestions to "Comments" below)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gloves, Gloves, Gloves

Our focus last night was on using the boxing skills we have learned so far in actual sparing – but first we did lots of rounds of glove drills to sharpen everything up.

Roll Call: Tony

800 meter run – 400 forward, 400 meters backwards
2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Shadow Boxing 3min/1min
2 rounds boxing/thai boxing

Glove Drills 3min/1min
Each of the below rounds was split in half so each person worked as aggressor.
  • 2 rounds 3 way jab – this is a jab catch/slip drill (aggressor jabs, defender evades and jabs back followed by aggressor countering with another jab).
  • Jab cross – slip inside return cross hook
  • Jab cross – slip outside return hook cross
  • 2 rounds Jab cross – either slip and return cross hook or hook cross
  • 2 rounds in-fighting - toe to toe work aggressor throws hooks, uppercuts, etc defender works on covering and absorbing punches. We used a 1 foot square taped on the floor and we both had to keep our right foot in the entire round.

Our final rounds were done with both sides working offense and defense at same time.

  • In fighting – both sides punching and defending
  • Working on covering up on the inside – keeping chin tucked behind shoulder, head tucked behind opponents shoulder and moving side to side.
  • 2 rounds free sparing

Tony did great with the free sparing – remained relaxed and kept moving and punching. Next we need to work on lengthening combinations and working more on the in and out (short attacks followed by moving out effectively).

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sled intro

We had a bit of a late start today but still put in a solid 2 hours of training. We are continuing to include some ground fighting basics in the workout to keep things a bit more rounded. Today was a bit of a mix between skill and conditioning emphasis since we haven’t all worked together for about a week.

Roll call: Tony and Mike

2x3min Jump-rope
2 Rounds of: 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 OH squats, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions

Footwork/agility 3 circuits of 1min rounds

  • Sprawl – from squared feet at start and work in throwing combination to a sudden sprawl.
  • Ground drill – on back, bridge up and roll to side control, kick leg through to kesa-gutami, roll onto back and repeat. This is a basic flow drill performed as shadow wrestling.
  • Shoulder Roll – this is presenting a challenge to Tony and Mike since it is a new skill and different from anything else we have done
Defense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
  • Rope Line
  • Maize ball – 1st round 10’ 2nd round 8’
  • Speed bag
Shadow boxing 3min/1min
2 rounds

Mitts/Top and Bottom Bag 2min/1min
  • 4 way hook
  • Slip jab and return with round kick (outside slip return right, inside slip return left)
Alternating rounds with top and bottom bag

Glove Drills
  • Jab – round robin, switch each minute (everyone had a round of offense and a round of defense with everyone else)
  • Jab Cross - round robin, switch each minute (everyone had a round of offense and a round of defense with everyone else)
The focus for these two drill was developing a clean defense and working on firing back after a block or evasion.

3 rounds
Sled pull hand over hand to you with 150lbs in sled (50 foot pull each round)
KB swing 20 (using 16kilo)
Med ball throw supine single hand throw 10 each (4.4lb ball, throw as high as possible)

Thursday, July 3, 2008


On Tuesday only Tony could make it practice and he was wiped from training at the firehouse. Because of this I scaled down the workout a bit (no finisher) and due to my having a patient due at my office we had to cut the workout a but short. As a result of these factors our workout was more skill based, with the focus on grappling basics

Roll Call: Tony
3 rounds of:
10 jumping jacks
10 sprawls
10 pushups

Footwork agility
Ground drill - solo drill focusing on pushing off an opponent in the mount to cross control
Shoulder Roll - see prior video, this took some time to get right

Ground work
Worked on getting the Kimura or "chicken wing" from the guard position.
Worked on getting the arm bar from the mount
Worked on the escaping the mount position

This was workout was only about an hour but served as an introduction to some of the basic ground techniques.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Ceiling Fan

Fridays practice was postponed due to Tony and Mike being way to tired today from training and work at their respective firehouses. We were going to do a workout in the park due to a new driveway being put in by the garage but Mike did stick around and put in my new ceiling fan which will help keep workouts more bearable as it keeps getting hotter outside.
Due to our missed workout I did a scaled down version of the CrossFit WOD for today. I didn't do the 800meter runs because of my Mortens Neuroma in my right foot. The first picture above is of the setup I used to do the WOD, took me just over 16 minutes and I was smoked (probably due in part to my not getting it done until 9:30 at night).

The second picture is the setup I used for todays short workout - sled dragging and pulling. I attached my 20 foot rope to a winter sled and loaded it up with 90 pounds and did 6 sets of hand over hand pulls toward me (facing the sled) alternated with 6 sets of dragging it back to the starting position. After the sled work I immediately did 3 farmers walks with the 45 pound plates about 80 feet each. This was my first experience with a sled so I didn't push it to hard. I think I'll need to use about double the weight for the hand over hand pulls next time.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Skill Day

We introduced some new skills and drills with todays practice, specifically the sprawl, body surfing, and 4 way hook drill. Since we are working toward incorporating some basic ground fighting and introduced a basic defense against takedowns (a sprawl) as well as some introduction to moving around once on the ground (body surfing).

Roll Call: Tony and Mike

Warmup – 2x3min/1min jumprope
2 rounds of - 10 pullups, 8 ring push ups, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats with PVC pipe, 10 back extensions, 10 GHD situps
1:10 rounds 3 times (10 sec used for change over to next station)
Basic sprawl – we did the straight sprawl and back up more or less from a wrestling stance instead of a kickboxing stance

Body surf drill – we used a medicine ball for this today, a physio ball is more comfortable and that’s what we’ll be using next time. We focused on just rotating around ball.

Shadow boxing
Rest for 1:10 between circuits

Defense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
Maize ball (1st round 10’, 2nd round 8’)
Speed bag
Rope line

Shadow Boxing 2 rounds of 3min/1min

Mitt drills 2min/1min 2 circuits

  • 4 way hook – left low hook, right low hook, left high hook, right high hook. After each hook the holder throws the boxer returns with 2 punches (left hook and cross or cross and left hook).
  • Top and bottom bag

Glove Drills 2 round Robin’s for each of below each segment 1:10min (so each person had roughly 4 min of each drill ½ on defense and ½ offense)

  • Jab defense – slips, or catch
  • Jab cross defense – slips, catch, shoulder roll, or cover
  • High low – one person can jab high and the other can jab low (limited sparing)

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Great workout on Saturday, our conditioning focus day. We did some new drills: box, mirror and a different take on pad training. Thankfully the weather has been cool since the ceiling fan isn’t up just yet. We were able to keep things rolling the entire time so no rest except between rounds.
Roll Call: Tony, Mike
Warm-up: 2x3min/1min jump-rope (last 30sec double under’s for each round)
2 rounds of 10 pullups, 3 ring dips, 10 overhead squats with PVC pipe, hip stretch, 10 GHD situps, 10 back extensions
Box drill 3min (2 steps forward, 2 steps to right, 2 steps back, 2 steps left – keeping it alive with punches, slips, bob and weave)
Mirror Drill 1:10 rounds 2 round robins (one person moves and the other follows maintaining distance entire round – each person worked with the other 2 as both follower and initiator)
Defense Circuit 2x3min/1min
Maize ball (1 round bag hung from 10’ next round from 8’)
Rope Line
Speed bag
Shadow Boxing 2x3min/1min
Anything goes for both rounds (we did do some focus on the foot jab and distance though)
Thai Pads 1x3min/1min
We alternated (Tony and Mike) lead foot jabs for 1st ½ round and the 2nd half we did foot jab thai round kick. This was something different, just to make it fun and mix things up.
Offense Circuit 2x3min/1min
Heavy bag hands
Heavy bag hands and feet
Top and bottom bag
We did the “Big Wheel” routine with a basket ball performing 4 reps of each move 2 times per set and completed 3 rounds. A video of this can be found at
I would have used a light medicine ball but I have those at the office and not at my home gym.
Next week’s skill workout we’ll be adding the front roll and the sprawl as we start introducing some of the basics of moving to the ground for fighting.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Workout change

We are going more live in our workouts now, meaning more contact and reaction drills. Thursday we focused more on technique, this Saturday will be a greater focus on conditioning. Up to this point we have been alternating practices focusing more strictly on boxing with those focused more on Thai Boxing but since Mike and Tony now have the fundamentals down rather well we have shifted to more merging both together and will alternate a skill focused day with a conditioning focus day.

Roll call: Tony, Mike

Warm-up: 2x3min/1min jump rope
2 rounds of 10 pull ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats with PVC pipe, 10 GHD situps, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
Maize ball – first round with long chain (longer swing time), second with short chain (fast swing)

Rope line – greater focus on pivoting off line and back in

Shadow Boxing 3min/1min

  • Round 1 – focus on kicks
  • Round 2 – hand, foot, and hand and foot combinations as well as defense
Offense circuit 3min/1min
  • Heavy bag – hands only
  • Heavy bag – hand and foot
  • Top and Bottom bag – jab, double jab, jab cross, as well as slips and circling footwork
Glove Drills (worked in round robin fashion with 1:30min rounds – by finish each person completed 2 3min rounds with a 1:30 rest)
Jab defense – working catch and slips with a focus on counter attacking

Focus mitts 3min/1min
Alternated Mike and Tony hitting the mitts so each did 2 rounds, off rounds spent on the speed bag (they were given a choice of bags to work and both wanted to work the speed bag since we haven’t spent as much time using it).

3 Rounds of:
10 Pull-ups
10 Burpees (no one likes these but they are a fantastic exercise)
wait time between stations was spent on jump rope.

The weather has held out well this week (fairly cool) but I’m sure that will change soon enough so I’m happy to say that we’ll be putting up a ceiling fan in the garage gym (it’s not air conditioning but it’ll certainly make it more bearable – thank you Laura for the thoughtful Father’s day present).
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