Being a member of the prestigious Evolve Fight Team is no easy task. A group of Asia’s most decorated professional fighters, they are World Champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Boxing, Wrestling, No-Gi Grappling and more. This elite team is lead by US Olympic Wrestler Heath Sims, who is also responsible for developing the hardcore training programs that work to unleash the potential in these fighters.
As a former coach to MMA legend Dan Henderson, Heath knows exactly what it takes for a fighter to gain success in the cage. Here are his 10 Rules for Peak Performance:
1) Sleep 7-8 hours per day.
Studies show that lack of sleep contributes to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure and weakened immune system. By having enough sleep, your body will release the hormone that boosts muscle mass and repairs cells and tissues. This is especially helpful for athletes who want to get stronger and prevent future injuries.
2) Eat clean and healthy. Plan your meals according to your training schedule.
There’s no doubt that having a nutritious meal has many benefits. According to Heath, what you eat and when you eat has a direct effect on your performance. Heath recommends eating more lean proteins, good carbs (brown rice, quinoa) and fats, fruits and vegetables. “If you’re going to eat carbs, make sure you have it during the day instead of at night,” adds Heath.
3) Train hard 6 days a week, rest 1 day.
“You need some time to recover from all that hard work you’ve done,” Heath advises. Give your tired body a chance to rest, at least once a week. Rest is critical for muscle recovery, allowing muscle tissue to repair and replenish. Although hard training is essential, there is no need to push your body to the brink of exhaustion.
4) Surround yourself with people who make you better inside and outside of the training room.
Being surrounded by people who inspire and uplift will motivate you to perform better. Your teammates should make you feel like you are capable of achieving anything, sending out positive vibes and revealing good intentions. Heath tells Evolve Daily, “Your team is like your second family. They should always be there for you, no matter what.”
5) Vary the intensity and structure of your training sessions to stay fresh and motivated.
“If you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, you’re going to get bored quickly,” explains Heath. He suggests changing your training sessions every now and then to shock your body, making it work harder and stimulate different muscle groups. You’ll also prevent repetitive strain injury, which is caused by doing lots of repetitive motions. By doing so, you’ll be able to give overused muscles a chance to rest and recover.
6) Work on your flexibility 2-3 times a week.
Whether it’s through attending a yoga class or stretching at your own time, flexibility is an essential component to success in martial arts. “Having good flexibility could make the all the difference in your MMA game,” states Heath. “It will give you a better guard for BJJ and help your high kicks in Muay Thai.”
Start with stretching before and after training, for at least 15 minutes. Make sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, concentrating on your shoulders and legs. For many martial artists, these are the tightest areas and are the most prone to injury.
7) Perform strength and conditioning workouts 2 times a week.
Strength and conditioning workouts have been proven to have a direct effect on the athletic abilities of MMA fighters. The more body strength one has, the more power he or she will have in his or her punches, takedowns, kicks and elbows. The better conditioned a fighter is, the more endurance and agility he or she will have as well. “Strength and conditioning workouts will drain you physically and mentally,” says Heath. “If you can survive them, you can survive anything.”
8) Spend quiet time alone or meditate 15 minutes a day.
Life can get chaotic, and coupled with a hectic training schedule, it could lead to stress and exhaustion. For MMA fighters, the inability to deal with the thoughts and feelings that they may experience during training – frustration, exhaustion, anger, and jealousy may one day lead to negative consequences. Through meditation, or simply just spending quiet time analyzing your thoughts, you can experience the stillness and peace that you need.
9) Follow a daily visualization program.
Visualization is an important aspect of martial arts. It works by picturing yourself in a positive scenario, achieving your desired results. By believing that you can achieve your goals, and visualizing that you’ve already achieved them, you are already one step closer than when you were doubting yourself. According to Heath, we reflect what we think. “If we think negative thoughts all the time, nothing will happen,” he says.
10) Dedicate time to recovery and rehab daily (ice baths, stretching, massage, myofascial release).
As mentioned in #3, you should always dedicate time for recovery in order for your body to recover from the stress from your training. However, recovery and rehab should be done on a daily basis as well, especially if you want to train the next day. Heath suggests ice baths, stretching, massage after training and myofascial release before training. Ice baths and massage both help remove the lactic acid buildup in your muscles and promote blood flow. Mysofascial release, on the other hand, focuses on relieving tension in the muscles caused by shortness and tightness. Heath recommends using a foam roller to work on your problem areas before training.
Even if you aren’t an elite athlete, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t follow these 10 simple rules. If you’re planning on becoming the next ONE FC superstar, you should incorporate these tips in your training routine right away!