Article

UFC Fit: Gilbert's Guide to Pushing Yourself

Hoping to achieve new fitness goals? Follow these steps from The Ultimate Fighter season 20 coach Gilbert Melendez, who's also the former Strikeforce lightweight champion and head coach at San Francisco's El Nino MMA Training Center.
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez is a veteran of mixed martial arts, a top UFC lightweight contender and the last man to hold Strikeforce's 155-pound title. Now getting ready for his coaching stint on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter against the man he will fight next - UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, the California native has a few tips for you to achieve your personal fitness goals.

GET YOUR MIND IN THE GAME

That “win or go home” mentality is what pushes top-tier athletes like El Nino to reach — and retain — success in such a competitive arena. For MMA newcomers and hopefuls, simply tapping into the type of unwavering self-motivation Melendez displays is an ideal starting point.

“Self-motivation is an important part of reaching new limits in training," adds Andy Hennebelle, NASM-CPT, CSCS, USAW, a strength coach at the UFC Gym in Corona, Calif. “Our bodies adapt to the resistances we put upon them. The most important aspect of training is pushing limits, going beyond the last benchmark, and setting new personal bests.”

BUDDY UP
“Anxiety builds and things break — mentally and physically — if [a fighter] is not in shape. Get a partner and run. Run stairs. Run sprints. People who don't train with a partner tend to slip out easier. That extra push a partner gives helps. Like, I can't say no to Jake Shields when he tells me to do extra [drills]. Or I'm not going to say no when my standup coach tells me to run. I just do it.”

ROTATE YOUR EXPERTISE
“Get on a 12-week cycle where you’re working on your strength, power, and speed. Do four weeks of Olympic lifts. Then do four weeks of kettle bell Olympic lift training with lighter weights and higher reps. And finally, do four weeks of agility training to work on speed. That’s a good start.”

HIT IT UP

“It’s too simple to say you should work on just one thing, but when you’re getting started, work the [heavy] bag. Get your punch count up and focus on your form. A habit I sometimes see in younger fighters is that they put too much stress on sparring and grappling.”
 
FUEL THE MACHINE
“Make it easy on yourself by shopping at places like Whole Foods, or somewhere that offers high-quality foods. Also, maximize food with calories. Think about it — a slice of bread is 100 calories, but so is a bowl of beans. I’m going with the beans as the healthier and more filling option.”
Saturday, September 20
7PM
NZST
Saitama, Japan

Media

Recent
Vice Japan brings us a profile of two fighters at crossroads in their fighting careers: Yoshihiro Akiyama and Kiichi Kunimoto. Both have encountered major challenges as they’ve trained in Japan, preparing for the biggest fight of their respective careers.
17/09/2014
Check out the weigh-in before Joanne Calderwood and Emily Kagan go to war tonight on an all-new episode of The Ultimate Fighter.
17/09/2014
UFC Lightweight contender Myles Jury talks about his upcoming co-main event vs Takanori Gomi in Japan, his undefeated record, physical therapy, and how he prepares mentally.
17/09/2014
Check out Joanne Calderwood's practice highlights as she prepares for her bout against Emily Kagan! Watch a new episode of The Ultimate Fighter every Wednesday on FOX Sports 1!
16/09/2014