Want to Train Like an MMA Fighter?
Posted on 04 October 2016
When you’re an athlete, finding the perfect workout isn’t a matter of having more fun at the gym or testing out the latest craze—it has a direct impact on whether you win or lose. For mixed martial artist Paige VanZant, one of the rising stars of Ultimate Fighting Championship, fitness makes all the difference. As one of the most visible personalities in her field VanZant follows in the footsteps of stars like Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano. With a million followers on Instagram, a newly inked contract with IMG and her matches becoming worldwide trends on social, VanZant is the latest MMA star to leverage her success into influence far beyond sports. Known for her aggressive fighting style, VanZant spends her days engaged in intense training and her regimen is anything but typical. “Every day is different it depends on what day of the week it is,” says VanZant, fresh off her knockout win against Bec Rawlings. “We have lots of classes, wrestling, jujitsu. I do a lot of Pilates, yoga, CrossFit as well. I also try to include one relaxing workout through the week like hiking.”
Keeping her workouts stimulating also means utilizing skills garnered from her first love: dance. She studied hip-hop, jazz, and ballet in her parents’ studio for years before her MMA career, and even when she isn’t getting a perfect score on Dancing With the Stars, which she competed in earlier this year, the added knowledge is beneficial. “I was able to pick up techniques very quickly, and it makes you very disciplined,” VanZant says. “It also helps with balance, coordination, and flexibility.”
Once it’s time to get into the ring, though, VanZant’s routine changes accordingly. “When I gear up for a fight I try to cut out a lot of the fun outdoorsy workouts and do a lot more training in the gym,” she says. “I do more cardio, and I run a lot if I can. I do a lot more sparring and more combat throughout the week.” And while she admits that all that practice can get to feel monotonous, “living this lifestyle, you have to make a lot of sacrifices,” she says. “People don’t always realize what we put our bodies through, so getting a win after all that is done is an unreal experience.”
Of course, most people aren’t going to take home a title as a result of their commitment to fitness. For the average person, however, there are still plenty of takeaways to be gleaned from VanZant’s vigorous routine, which she shares glimpses of on Instagram. She suggests balancing an art form like jujitsu with relaxing pastimes like yoga or Pilates and the occasional indulgence (cookie butter remains a favorite treat), and believes that even the small changes count for something. “Just taking a cardio kickboxing class [can be helpful]. You can go into a gym and it’s all cardio-based and you get to learn a little bit of self-defense as well,” VanZant says. “When I started MMA, I got into the best shape of my life.”
Original article can be found here.