Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Festivus

Happy Festivus, ya'll. My toe foot is feeling better but I have the most brutal dry cough. Because of my illness, multiple Christmas gatherings with family, and the fact taht my sister and best friend (two different people) are visiting from London this week equals me not going to the gym. The New Year marks the one-third mark of this project and I feel like I only recently figured out where I am headed and what I need to do. I'm stronger, faster, and have more endurance than I did three months ago. Conversely, my body is breaking down and I feel like the more I learn the more I realize I don't know.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Woo-eee! Walkin' sucks! The picture below fails to accurately illustrate the bruising, swelling, and weird grey hue of the skin on my toes, but it's a start. I'm icing my dogs right now and I am calling in broken to my Shok and Throwbacks workouts tomorrow. Today's non-sequiter: I need to work on getting no less than seven hours of sleep each night.

Diet 8 a.m. Strawberries and pineapple. 12:45 p.m. Two slices of cheese pizza, two breadsticks, soda. 7 p.m. Chicken breast over black beans and rice, steamed vegetables, water. Busy at work the last two days, my eating has been less than ideal. Work in progress.

Conditioning Nada.

Skills Nada.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I outweigh Chris Frayer by 100 pounds, but the dude goes hard. We started drilling takedowns and since I A) stopped wrestling after 8th grade, and B) can't finish a takedown for fear of re-breaking my hand, was sticking to single and double-legs. On his first turn, dude flips me with some crazy shit that carried all my weight across my right pinkie toe. I heard all my toes crack and they felt hyperextended. I hobbled home and took this picture, which doesn't look nearly as bad as it feels.

Diet 5:30 a.m. Strawberries and pineapple. 10:30 a.m. Grapes and water. 12:30 p.m. PB&J, chips, carrots, two cookies. 4 p.m. Banana, peanuts and water. 7 p.m. A couple pieces of frozen pizza, steamed vegetables, water. I got really parched during the workout tonight. Need to drink more water.

Conditioning I think we did some shit called the Bearclaw today at Shok? It was a combination clean & jerk, military press, and deep squat, seven sets of seven. It was 16 minutes of extreme discomfort, and it took me a solid 15 minutes afterwards to recover well enough to limp home. I got back in bed for an hour and felt much better. Of course, the Throwbacks workout is physically draining as well.

Skills Got a lot of good work in with the Thai clinch with a guy whose name escapes me. If you watch Franklin vs. Silva II, there is a look of total desperation in Rich's eyes when gets caught in the clinch. There is something totally frustrating and demoralizing about someone controlling your head (and thus your entire body), hitting you at will. It's way more frustrating than anything I have encountered in Jiu Jitsu, but its similar because like BJJ, the Thai clinch can be used effectively by a small guy with good technique on a bigger guy with greater strength.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am joining the YMCA on Friday. I've been going as Amanda's guest, but that gravy train skidded to a halt. Once I'm bonafied, certified, and fortified over there I'm going to start doing my cardio there on my off days so my schedule will look something like this:

Monday AM Shok - Strength & Conditioning PM Throwbacks - MMA/Muay Thai

Tuesday AM YMCA - Cardio

Wednesday AM Shok - Strength & Conditioning PM Throwbacks - MMA/Muay Thai

Thursday AM YMCA - Cardio

Friday AM Shok - Strength & Conditioning PM Throwbacks - MMA/Muay Thai

Saturday AM Shok - Strength & Conditioning / YMCA - Cardio PM Self Defense Systems - Sparring

Sunday AM or PM YMCA - Cardio

Of course this isn't a hard and fast schedule - work, life, etc, will require adjustments, but if I can maintain 80% of this week in week out I will be in good shape come summer.

Diet 7:30 a.m. Fruit salad, 1/3 of an omelette, water. 11:15 a.m. Chicken sandwich, chips, two cookies, water. 5 p.m. Side salad with peanuts, banana, water.

Conditioning Off day.

Skills See above.

Monday, Dec. 17

Back at Shok Fitness for the long haul. I needed to take a few weeks off for my mental, physical, and financial health, but now I am back to morning workouts at there. Already a little sore from the Saturday morning workout, this morning just about killed me. We did three sets of a 400 meter row, 25 wall balls, 20 pushups, 15 kettlebell swings, and 10 sumo deadlifts for time. Twenty-six minutes later I felt like all my organs were going to burst. Of course, an hour later I feel like gold. Well, except for the fact that it hurts to turn my next or life my arms above parallel with my shoulders. The pain increased throughout the day so I decided to pass on my Throwbacks workout in favor of R&R.

We had dinner with an old friend of mine and her husband who we hadn't seen since August. She told me it looked like I'd lost weight. Since I've actually gained weight this fall, it's good to know that I'm slowly getting leaner.

Diet 5:30 a.m. Yogurt and strawberries. Water. Noon Two slices of pizza, two breadsticks, water. 5 p.m. Pineapple chunks, two cookies. 9 p.m. Fried ravioli, Italian wedding soup, Chicken Involtine, water. Not even going to describe it but it was delish.

Conditionin Morning workout at Shok.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday and Tuesday


I interviewed Duke Roufus today for my next FIGHT! story. We were talking about the growth of MMA compared to other "hot" sports and how splintering in the industry could have serious consequences. "Where's beach volleyball now?," he said.

Diet8 a.m. Big bowl of fruit salad, water, green tea. 10 a.m. Banana, water. Noon Chili, bread, water. 6 p.m. Two Taco Bell burritos, water.

Conditioning I had to work late today so I just went to the YMCA with Amanda and did an hour of cardio.

Skills Nada.


I did round-robin grappling in the cage with Johhny Rees, Dominic, and a guy I just met. After that I went two five-minute rounds with Dom, one with Pat and another with this kid Will. By the end of the first round I was done but I kept pushing as best I could. I learned that you can survive chokes for a long time if they aren't sunk in all the way. I also learned that pain comes in infinite forms in MMA. Like the pain of a guy grining his knee into your thigh or arm while passing your guard, or that guy's shoulder smashing your nose for thirty seconds straight, or falling face first into the cage. I was pretty gassed but I kept working for 20 minutes, which would have been unthinkable two months ago.

Diet 8 a.m. Big bowl of fruit, water. Noon Curried chickpeas, rice, a piece of bread, water. 4 p.m. A cup of yogurt, banana, water. 6:15 p.m. Granola bar, Gatorade. 7:15 p.m. Pizza, steamed vegetables, water.

Conditioning Lots o' rollin'.

Skills Started working on basic submission defense. Other than that I just got my ass kicked, picked myself up, and got my ass kicked again.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I covered an amateur MMA event last weekend for my job and one of the fighters told me, "It makes me feel like I can do something." Now even though a lot of the fights on the card looked like two retards fuckin' a doorknob, I respect the guys for gettting in there and bangin'. I was trying to come up with reasons not to go to the gym tonight as I left work but I knew I'd only be cheating myself. Work is really running me down lately, making me question my ability or value in a professional capacity. But fight training acts as a counterbalance, reminding me that I dictate my value as a human being by the work I put into improving myself and those around me. I knew if I simply showed up at the gym I would get a little bit closer to my goal and feel better in the process. Mission accomplished.

Diet 8 a.m.Super hungry this morning. Two pieces of sausage, two scrambled eggs, a big bowl of fruit. Noon Chicken sandwich, chips, carrots, a couple homemade cookies, water. 4 p.m. Banana, water. 9 p.m. PB&J, some Mac & Cheese, water.

Conditioning Light 60-minute MMA workout.

Skills Worked takedowns and rolled a bit with Chris Lytle. He'd catch me, explain it, catch me, explain it. I need A LOT of mat time just to be able to defend, let alone work submissions.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First snow of the year

It's beautiful outside, but its possible that I'm more upbeat than usual because I skipped my CrossFit workout this morning. After Monday's CrossFit and MMA workouts Monday and Tuesday, my legs feel like someone beat them with baseball bats. I need recovery time. I would be harder on myself but it wasn't too long ago that I could hardly make it through an hour at Throwbacks. Now I'm trying to do two-a-days. I also want to rest up today so that I can make it through two more morning workouts and two or three more afternoon workouts this week.I didn't go to Throwbacks tonight because I had to interview Din Thomas for a story to be published in FIGHT! Magazine. Super nice guy.

Diet7:30 a.m. Big bowl of fruit: apple, pineapple, strawberry, grapes. 10:30 a.m. Banana, water. 1 p.m. Jambalaya, greens, water.6 p.m. PB&J, chips, carrots, chicken noodle soup, water.
Conditioning Didn't even condition my hair today.
Skills Nada.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My ass hurts...

My ass hurts. It's a strange thought to have while driving down the road. My legs were so sore I almost bailed on the workout tonight but decided to push through it. Gotta get tough sometime. I worked on takedowns with Jake O'Brien for a while before doing three rounds of MMA sparring with Pat, Dominic, and Jake. After simply trying to stay aggressive for nine minutes I have even more respect for guys who can do this for 15, 20, 25 minutes and still stand up under their own power. One hundred pushups later I was completely thrashed.

I weighed in at 259 tonight. Weight loss isn't my primary goal right now. I am eating to keep up a workload that is a great deal larger than what I am used to and trying to do so healthfully, breaking old bad habits along the way. I have a long way to go and approximately nine months to do it in. The funny thing about the human body is that my weight and composition haven't changed much at all yet my strength and endurance are vastly improved.

Diet Noon Pizza, breadsticks, water. 4 p.m. Chicken sandwich, chips, water. 7:30 p.m. Amanda's dad and brother wanted us to meet them for dinner. Pizza again, water again. Ugh. Tomorrow I eat right, no excuses.

Conditioning Light rolling, three rounds of three minute MMA sparring in the cage.

Skills It's hard to tell what you're learning when you don't know anything.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Watch the haaaaaaaaaaand....

Amanda shook me awake at 6 a.m. and told me to get my ass to the gym. Yes, ma'am. I was in the middle of a bizarre dream that involved old school chums, Montreal, Donkey Kong-style elevators and escalators, and a tub of protein powder that was labeled "Anabolic Steroids." I told my mom it was to help with recovery time. Weird.

So I get to the gym and it's just me and Jeff. I warm up and he asks me how hard I want to work. There is no right answer to that question so I just shrug. It was a real doozy, see below for details. Work sucked, bitched about it to my dad over lunch, and left at 4 p.m. to head to Throwbacks.

It's fucking COLD at the gym. 52 degrees to be precise. I walk out onto the mat in a thermal long sleeve and knit hat. Pat asks me if I am going fishing, and I decide that I am going to market thermal shirts as a rash guard for guys who don't want to spend $30 on Underarmor or Sprawl or some shit. "Lumberjack rash guards." Anyway, I think I am done fifteen minutes into the session. My legs are gone, but I push through it only to encounter Trying-to-Impress-Us Guy.

Shirtless, weak tats, whack attitude, knee spars with his hands down because he's Billy Fuckin' Badass. Well buddy, I am fat and slow and I don't want to be here right now but I am not going to eat a bunch of too-hard knees from your stupid ass, so here's a bunch of sharp elbows in your thighs. Oh, lookee that, not throwing your knees so hard now, are you. Douche.

I spent the last twenty minutes rolling and felling bad about it until the last three minute round, except for the two times I reversed my partner and landed on my right hand. My legs are tooooooooast.

Diet 8 a.m. Two sausage patties, two scrambled eggs, water. Noon Bacon cheeseburger, chips, soda. 7 p.m. Jambalaya, water. Needs to be better.
Conditioning Wall balls at Shok Fitness. 800 meter row, 20 wall balls (deep squat before throwing a 20# ball over your head), 600 meter row, 40 wall balls, 400 meter row, 60 wall balls, 200 meter row, 80 wall balls. It was 25 minutes of hell. I felt like my heart was going to explode.
Skills Grappling is still a mystery to me. I can learn techniques, but my mind goes blank when I grapple. It'll take time.

Pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm in a funk. My boss' last day is tomorrow. She got me into my current position and became one of my best friends in the process. I slept in today and didn't take food to work because we've been going out to lunch. My hips are so damn sore from my Throwbacks workouts that I was walking like an old man all day.

Diet 9 a.m. Half a bottle of Gatorade. Noon Two slices of pizza, two breadsticks, soda. 7 p.m. Qdoba burrito, soda.

I feel gross. SURPRISE!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just keep moving.

Bomber, in his infinite wisdom, decided that it was better for me to wake up to his intermittent barking between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. than it was to get a solid night's sleep before heading to Shok fitness. Slept in and ate like crap today but I was feeling ok. Last night's workout thrashed my hips and abs. In months or years past I would have packed it in for the night but I figure if I just kee moving it will be ok. I am starting to accept a higher level of discomfort than I was previously willing to.

Diet 9 a.m. Soda. Noon Some kind of fancy Peppercorn Chicken Fajita sandwich, chips, pickle. 7 p.m. Wendy's burger, fries, soda. 9:30 p.m. Small serving of leftover home made Kung Pao chicken and water. This was a "failing to plan is planning to fail" kind of day.

Conditioning Shadow boxing - three days in a row, my back and shoulders are SORE.

Skills Worked on takedowns and pummeling with Jake O'Brien. This is what I love about these guys - a former Big Ten wrestler and UFC veteran is showing me three different finishes off single leg and double leg takedowns. Not begrudgingly, not because Pat is making him work with the n00b, but because he's fucking nice. Answers questions, doesn't make me feel like an idiot, and suggests things that might work for me as a short heavyweight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"When you get mad you do fine because your mind stops fucking with you," Pat McPherson says. I'm super frustrated at work right now and it was good to blow off steam at Throwbacks. I worked my left hand a lot - jabs, double jabs, combinations off the jab, jab jab jab jab jibba jabba. My left is going to be superhuman when I get my right hand back from the Land of Brokenness.

I felt tight going in and was worried about not having enough recovery time, but I think I will be ok with doing MMA workouts Mon/Tues/Weds for a while before stepping it up to four nights a week. We'll see how I fare after another CrossFit and MMA workout tomorrow.

I have been worrying that a year isn't enough to do what I need to do to prepare for a pro fight but McPherson is confident that if we can get my conditioning in the right place I'll be just fine. He has more faith in my technical ability than I do, but it's nice that at least one of us thinks I'll be ok.

One thing I didn't bargain for is that this project never stops. Every decision I make effects my attitude and health which affects my training which determines my progress. It's too much sometimes and I crash for days, like last week. This is so much more than I bargained for but it's awesome.

Diet 8 a.m.Yogurt cup and water.NoonRoast beef sandwich, chips, Dr. Pepper.4:30 p.m. Grapes.7 p.m.Channa Masala (curried chickpeas), rice, one piece of bread, three small samosas (vegetable fritters). 10:45 p.m. Two pieces of pizza, more water. Hungry hungry.

Conditioning An hour at Throwbacks - MMA punching/takedown drill, double-end bag, heavy bag, ab work.

Skills Boxing drills, worked on coordination and hand speed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back on the Wagon

It's been a long time, I shouldn't-a left you, without a dope blog to step to. Last week was a bit of a clusterfuck.

Amanda brings supergerms home from the rugrats at school and we spent the better part of the week hacking on the couch. I tried to do my Friday workout at Shok but Jeff sent me home. I guess my face kept flushing and draining and my eyes were rolling around a bit. I normally look and feel like shit during CrossFit workouts but this was next-level type ish.

I took Friday off work and rested for most of the weekend. I feel pretty good today and managed to knock out my 6 a.m. workout with both hands. I am still favoring my right - I can't hit anything and I am getting shooting pains around the break - but I can lift stuff and use the hand normally with a little discomfort.

Further complicating my week was this pesky freelance story. None of my sources wanted to respond to me but I finally pulled it together this morning. It will appear in the next issue of FIGHT!. I'm also trying to hammer out a deal to report on MMA for a prominent blog. Hectic.

This week I am going to plan the next three months of this project. I have made a lot of progress in some areas, in others not so much. Now I need to hit it hard and start planning fights, getting my diet under more control, and proving both my loyal readers with more "extra" content - reviews, interviews and the like.

Diet 5:30 a.m. Small bowl of Kashi with milk. 7:30 a.m. Two pieces of sausage, two scrambled eggs, half a bottle of Naked juice and water. 11 a.m. Grapes. 1 p.m. Turkey sandwich. 3:30 p.m. Small portion of mashed potatoes and carrots. 6:15 p.m. Granola, water, Gatorade 8 p.m. Pizza and steamed vegetables. I drank approximately one gallon of water.

Conditioning I did a 21-15-9 workout at Shok this morning and did a lot of shadowboxing, 300 jabs on the heavy bag, and lunges and push ups at Throwbacks.

Skills Talked boxing with Ian Ransburg, a pro boxer, Thai fighter, and long time training associate of Adam Wilder: hand placement, footwork, and the application of boxing to Muay Thai and MMA.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Runnin' non-stop all weekend, eating like crap and not sleeping enough. I'll put some fiber into my life and get regular with the blog. Barring grievous bodily injury or death I'm going to be in the gym Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, Monday and Wednesday night, and Saturday afternoon. Amanda is going to take pictures at Shok on Thursday or Saturday morning depending on her schedule. I'm going to start posting interviews with coaches, trainers, and training partners along with pictures and video of them. I'm also going to develop some sort of plan for my fight schedule. I feel like I am making progress but I need some solid goal to work towards each six to 8eight weeks in order to maintain focus.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Catching Up

Nothing too important happened over the weekend. My diet was crap but there was no soda. Thank God for small miracles.

I slept through my alarm and missed my Shok workout. Our dog Bomber was being an ass and woke me up repeatedly throughout the night. Diet was good - several small meals, a gallon of water, no soda, Gatorade after my one-handed Throwbacks workout. Oh, the one-handed workout. Two long rounds of walking knees, 50/50 kicks, 500 skip knees on the bag, 15 minutes of Muay Thai shadow boxing, 200 sit ups and 60 standing lunges (30 each leg). It's amazing how fast I lost ground with my conditioning. "Wind is perishable," trainer Pat McPherson said. Amanda and I went to the YMCA later and walked on the treadmills. I am helping her get back into a regular gym schedule and the walking helps me work lactic acid out of my legs.

Didn't have a very restful sleep but I didn't have to work out, either. Diet was ok, but I had a celebratory Dr. Pepper with dinner. I was tentatively offered a job that I am really excited about, so I had a little 16 ounce party.

Another bad night of sleep. Bomber is getting crated every night from now own. I made it to Shok a few minutes late, stretched, and hit it hard. I had to work later than normal today, so my MMA workout will have to get pushed to tomorrow. A trip to the YMCA may be in order just to do something.

Diet 7 a.m. Bowl of strawberries, watermelon, grapes and pineapple chunks. 9 a.m. Bottle of Switch - 100% carbonated fruit juice, no added sugars. Still "junk" calories, but I am ok with fruit juice once in a while. 11 a.m.Yogurt cup. 12:30 p.m. Qdoba beef burrito, no rice. 1:15 p.m. Carrots. 5 p.m. Turkey sandwich, Frrrrrrrrrrrrritos.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Still here.

Most days its all I can do to get up, go to the gym, walk the dog, work a full day and say hello to my girlfriend and make dinner when I get home. Some days I can't even do that. Then there's the daily grind of phone calls, e-mails, and texts to return to employers, family, friends, and freelance gigs. Its those days when it's more than I can bear, more than I can manage to open my laptop and write about what I did, what I ate, when I shit and how I felt about all of it. Someone contacted me today about a possible part-time gig that I am really excited about, and I spent tonight getting an updated resume and clippings together for that. I also had to wrap up a freelance story that had dragged out more than a week overdue and help Amanda with some wedding planning. Now I have to get in bed soon to make my 5:30 a.m. wake up so I can get to Shok Fitness. I will catch up all three of my regular readers on what I've been doing the last few days tomorrow night.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Awesome workout at Shok today. I ended up lifting a bit with my right hand because it didn't hurt too bad. I realized this morning that I never put up my "first of the month" pictures for November, so I will get on that tonight.

Diet 8 a.m. Leftover bean curd with garlic sauce, smaller than a lunch portion, and 12 ounces of water. 10 a.m. Small bowl of fruit and a bottle of Gatorade. 11 a.m. PB&J, chips, carrots, a couple of cookies, more water.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shok Fitness

I started a one-month "boot camp" at Shok Fitness on Brookville Road. The gym's slogan is "super high output kinetics" and it is a CrossFit affiliate. I'll explain more about CrossFit later, but suffice to say it is a grueling physical training program favored by law enforcement and fire departments as well as many high-level combat sports competitors. This morning's workout consisted of three warm up stretches done in rotation for several minutes and a "21-15-9" (denoting the number of reps per set) workout circuit of kettlebell lifts, clean and jerk, double unders (a jump rope exercise) and box jumps. The workout took me 11:54 - 11 minutes, 54 seconds - and I was totally thrashed afterwards. Owner Jeff Chapman (a Krav Maga instructor and BJJ blue belt) oversees almost all the classes. I get a super good vibe from him, he has a long history in high performance athletics, martial arts and combat sports. The gym is less than three miles from my house and because of the way the training is formatted, I can get home from the 6 a.m. session by 7 a.m. Needless to say I think Shok is the best possible solution for my fitness and conditioning problem right now.

Diet 8 a.m. Two eggs, toast, strawberries, eight ounces of water. 10:30 a.m. Hungry after doctor's appointment. Turkey sandwich, chips, carrots, a few cookies, 16 ounces of water. 1 p.m. Granola bar. 3 p.m. Starbucks Grande Mocha and 16 ounces of water. 8:30 p.m. Walked at the YMCA with Amanda for a while to help her get into a workout routine and flushed a lot of lactic acid out of my legs in the process. Bean curd with garlic sauce and 16 ounces of water.


I went to the doctor today and confirmed that my hand is broken. Boxer's break, ring-finger knuckle, right hand. I'll be splinted for two weeks, which is much better than being casted for six weeks like the last time I broke a knuckle. Workouts will be adapted, progress will continue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The only constant is change.

The last few days have been difficult mentally, emotionally, and physically. I jammed my right hand ring finger knuckle rough housing with my dog, Bomber, and am having difficulty making a fist, lifting or turning things with my right hand. Ice, elevation, stretching and compression haven't helped in four days and I am considering going to a doctor to check for a hairline fracture. I decided to leave Velocity for a gym closer to home, which I will write about at greater length later. The cost of time and fuel to get up to Carmel and back twice a week was become prohibitive and I could no longer commit to being there as much as I needed to be. I also did something stupid that endangered my relationship. The details aren't pertinent but I was in danger of losing my fiancee so I took a day off work to take a road trip with her and try to make things right or at least lay some groundwork so that I don't fuck up again in the future. Weeks like this multiply the appreciation I have for all athletes who have to balance their families and personal health and happiness with a training routine that can be disruptive if not downright destructive.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Throwbacks Boxing & MMA

Here's a look at my Throwbacks workouts with trainers Pat McPherson and Adam Wilder. McPherson's fields of expertise include wrestling, jiu jitsu, and telling me I am capable of doing more work than I want to do. Wilder is a Muay Thai instructor who enjoys kneeing me in the ribs while giddily shouting some Thai word. Photos by Amanda Mauer.

Let's get sweat going.

"Make him lick his own nipples."

Right hand.

Left kick.

Mat time.

This is not good.

This is bad.

I reversed, got a good base in McPherson's guard and...shit.

I don't feel like I got my money's worth unless I get to finish with 100 crunches.

Chris Frayer, Keith Palmer and I listen as McPherson stresses the importance of having a really big mustache in MMA.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


A little overloaded. Tomorrow I will post monthly update photos that we took as well as updates on my diet, training, conditioning, and overall health. "Things are gonna change, I can feel it."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No Soda Death March

Here's an interesting essay by acclaimed playwright David Mamet on MMA. If you aren't familiar with Mamet, google the phrase "coffee is for closers."

I am more than halfway through my fourth day with zero soda. Yesterday felt like a death march but I am catching a second wind today. Slept through my alarm, and thus, my Velocity workout. I don't know if it is a seasonal change or what but for the last couple of days it has felt like I am pouring water into a bottomless bucket - no amount of sleep makes me feel rested and energized.

Diet 8 a.m. Kashi with milk and strawberries. 11 a.m. Turkey sammich, carrots, chips, water. 1 p.m. Lean Cuisine garlic beef and brocolli and a can of lemonade. Low fat, low calorie, low flavor! 5 p.m. Banana and water.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grind? What grind?

I woke up on Monday morning and felt like a pile of hot garbage. I have now gotten four good nights of sleep in a row and I am finally feeling human again. I skipped my MMA workouts this week to give my body a chance to really recover - I no longer feel any aches, pains, or bruises - and I pushed my Velocity workouts back to Thursday and Saturday morning. My diet has been ok by current standards - no real junk, lots of vegetables, protein, but the big victory is that I am going on 72 hours of no soda. It's been a day or two here, a day or two there, but I am waging the final battle for my soul this week. I'd had a can or two of lemonade the last few days so I am not completely off refined sugar, but the carbonation/caffeine/sugar mix is the demon I am trying to exorcise. Back to Velocity in the morning.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back to the grind

It's been a whirlwind weekend. I had trouble bending my legs on Thursday at Velocity so we adjusted some of the build ups and excercises. My feedings were ok, I honestly can't remember them now. I was doing great with soda until Friday. I took the day off work to help my fiancee Amanda prepare for a craft fair she promoted. I spent more than two hours moving folding tables, chairs, and church pews around in an old theater. My back was in spasms by lunch time and I still had some running around to do. By dinner time I had acute pain in my feet (toes and soles), both quadriceps, groin, lower back, shoulders, and left elbow.

Saturday was a blur - up at 7 a.m., running until 11 p.m. Run the craft fair, tear it down, dinner with Amanda's parents, our friend's Halloween party/wedding reception. Feedings were whatever was on hand whenever I could put my hands on it. Lots of soda. Lots of indigestion. Slept in today and spent most of the afternoon on the couch. Today was a free day but I tried to get a lot of fiber in my system to push out all the crap I ate the last couple of days. My body feels better than it has in weeks and I finally caught up on sleep. I'm going to prep some food and then get to bed. Back to the grind on Monday morning.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rest and recovery much?

I'm not getting restful sleep. I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. last night and slept through my alarm. I jumped up at a quarter of 9 and rushed to get ready. I couldn't pack a lunch and I flet nauseated for a good hour after I woke up. I didn't think I'd be in any shape for my MMA workout and frankly I didn't want to go but I did. Ninety percent of success is showing up, right? It was actually a productive session. Jake O'Brien worked on wrestling techniques and I picked his brain since I haven't shot a takedown since I was 13. I was nervous but I did ok with the wrestling. I'm more aggressive than I was as a junior high wrestler and less afraid of being hurt.

Diet No breakfast. What a way to start the day! Noon Subway value meal! Whoo-hoo! Tuna with lettuce and cucumber, chips, two cookies and soda. If I eat any more tuna this week I am going to grow gills. 9 p.m. Burger King whopper value meal...with soda! The perfect way to end a shitty day.

Conditioning Walk knees, grappling, takedown lunges across the room, pushups.

Skills Wrestling, wrestling, wrestling.

Tuesday, October 22

I jumped up at 5:15 a.m. and hit the road to Velocity. The time I have spent at Throwbacks has allowed me to increase the intensity of my work at Velocity. I took tonight off from BJJ because my body is worn down and I needed to work on a freelance project.

Diet 8 a.m. Leftover broccoli and garlic sauce with tofu and steamed rice. Sick, right? Right, but I didn't care that it was 8 a.m., I needed protein, vegetables, and rice. 11 a.m. Tuna salad sandwich, chips, carrots, cookies. 2 p.m. Nodding off at my desk. Grilled chicken salad. It helped. 7 p.m. Pizza again. Amanda's parents wanted to try the new pizza place where we ate last night. I like seeing them and they were buying, so pizza it was.

Conditioning Velocity - dynamic stretching, build ups, medicine ball exercises, full body lifting and calisthenics.

Skills Nope.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Please excuse the mess, we're remodeling.

I stopped short when I walked through the door at Throwbacks. Where there was once an office and storage room is now a half constructed cage. The workout started late because guys were assembling the cage. We did the same thing we've been working on for the last couple of weeks, but I felt stronger throughout and at the finish. Lo and behold, I am actually getting in shape.

Diet 8 a.m. Yogurt with strawberries and scrambled eggs. 11 a.m. Tuna salad sandwich, carrots, chips, a couple cookies. 2 p.m. Two slices of sausage pizza. 6:15 p.m. Banana and Gatorade. 8:30 p.m. A new pizza place opened up in our neighborhood and we are working with them for an event my fiancee is producing so we told the owner we'd stop by for dinner. I'd gone all day without soda, drinking more than a gallon of water along the way. I went to the bathroom and when I returned Amanda had ordered me a frosty Mr. Pibb. Damn it. No soda tomorrow or Wednesday, bare minimum. I've made dramatic gains with regards to cutting soda from my diet, I don't need to start backsliding now. I had several more slices of pizza and split some ridiculous dessert with Amanda.

Conditioning Walk knees, clinch work, 50/50 kicks, 100 skip knees, knee sparring, and push-ups and lunges.

Skills No skill development today outside of the Thai conditioning, but I did try a crafty little trick Jerry Showed me to break the clinch that totally worked.


John Eckles turned away from me, signifying that our round of sparring was over. "I was waiting for you to show signs of being tired but you didn't," he said. The veteran full contact fighter has been beating my ass for almost a decade, putting heavy hands all over me as I learned to read body mechanics and react without thinking. I've been improving technically for the last several months but I always get gassed after two or three minutes. Today I chased John around the gym for six or seven minutes and felt like I could go a couple more no problem. It was a nice piece of positive feedback for all the strength and conditioning work I've put in.

Diet The weekend was super busy, I pretty much had two "free days."

Conditioning Right after I shampooed.

Skills Worked with John and Bob Jarrett, another old kickboxer, on cutting angles tighter to stifle taller fighters and kickers. Jerry Smith showed me a few things to work on against traditional Muay Thai combinations, but I can't give away all my secrets.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Could'a Been a Contendah

I love The Contender. I got around to watching the Alfonso Gomez vs. Ben Tackie fight that aired this week and Teddy Atlas kept talking about how guys like Gomez wouldn't have the level of name recognition he enjoys without the television show. And that's a bad thing? Boxing is like the newspaper industry - planted solidly in the 20th century, wanting to join the present and almost totally incapable of doing so. The Contender introduces club fighters to the world, exposes their different histories, personalities, and styles, and then showcases fights in a way that is easily digestible for casual fans. If not for Hispanic immigrants and a few seasons of Sugar Ray's show boxing would be even worse off than it is.

I love the Sweet Science. Love it with all my heart. I hope that the boxing establishment learns the lessons The Contender has to teach and learns them well. It just might ensure the health of the sport for my children's generation.

Stay tuned - I will be churning out more book reviews and interviews with fighters, trainers, and promoters I am working with.

Diet My feedings were less than spectacular, but considering that I typically drank between 32 and 64 ounces of Dr. Pepper up until a week ago, no soda is today's victory.

Conditioning Upper body strength training at Velocity. I added more weight than normal today, I need to start pushing myself more in my morning workouts.

Skills Nada.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


After 72 hours without soda, a cold, refreshing cup of willpower-crippling carbonation is DELICIOUS. One cup satisfies the craving and I am good for another couple of days. Work was mind-numbing today, justifiying this whole project and the desire to squeeze something more meaningful out of my days on earth.

Diet 8 a.m. Spaghetti with meat sauce, bread, and a side salad. I was starving. Noon Hamburger and fries from the Front Page. God bless the Front Page. Water to drink. 6 p.m. Tuna salad sandwich, chips, and a cookie after my Throwbacks workout. 10 p.m. Amanda and I went to a screening at Herron School of Art downtown and we were both hungry. I had two pieces of pizza, a couple breadsticks, and one delicious Coca Cola.

Conditioning Forty five minutes of uptempo work at Throwbacks. Knee sparring, focus pad work, and eavy bag work for long stretches.

Skills Worked more on the Thai clinch - where a fighter clutches the back of his or her opponents skull and "clinching" the forearms on the neck, resting the elbows on the collarbone. It's a fantastic method of controlling your opponent, and I am mostly powerless to defend it when I am working with much stronger wrestlers. These guys are all much stronger than me and it's frustrating. I concentrated a lot on footwork while working out on the heavy bag - I realized how shuffly my footwork is. Need to fix that.

I have more pictures to post, I will get them up asap.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Very busy

Had to play another two shows this past wekend. It was fun, but it screwed up my sleep schedule and diet. Luckily I didn't slide into total soda debauchery. I took Monday night off of Throwbacks because my f'd up sleep schedule and dramatic reduction of soda intake left me feeling lethargic. Didn't have any soda today and I am feeling better. Monday seemed to be the recovery time I needed.

Diet 8 a.m. Three eggs, scrambled, yogurt. 10:30 a.m. Grapes. 1 p.m. Tuna salad sandwich, chips, carrots. 10 p.m. Qdoba chicken burrito. I drank approximately one and a half gallons of water today, and no soda. Small victories.

Conditioning My but got tougher from eight hours in the cubicle.

Skills Took Bob Mercuri's BJJ class - with so many new people and a grappling tournament coming up on Saturday, Bob split the class up into two groups. Wyatt Tompkins, the big lug I've mentioned before, worked with us on sprawls, giving us several variations to work with depending on whether a guy's got a single leg, a double leg, or a high C, and how deep he's got it. Good stuff, but hard to work at anything less than 75% intensity.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Diet 9 a.m. Grapes. 9:30 p.m. Turkey sandwich, chips, carrots, animal crackers. I stepped it up to a junior high-quality sack lunch today. I switched my plan up this morning because I didn't eat anything right after I left Velocity. 12:30 p.m. Had to run an errand over lunch. Two slices of pizza and a fountain soda. One of my four "freebie" feedings for the next week, this was an experiment of sorts. I'll be honest, after almost 36 hours of no soda, Dr. Pepper is fucking delicious. But not delicious enough to have another one for another several days at least. Yesterday I felt clean inside and out. This lunch made me feel bloated and gross. 3:00 p.m. A peach. Almost through one gallon of water since I woke up. 7:30 p.m. Sausage jambalaya with bell pepper, onion, and garlic over dirty rice and a side of black eyed peas and greens and water. I polished off a gallon of water and then some today.

Not the most impressive day, but I feel pretty good about this two day stretch. My band is playing Friday and Saturday night so diet and rest will be difficult this weekend.

Conditioning Slept through my alarm this morning thanks to exhaustion from last night's workout and repeated awakenings by our dog, Bomber, who incidentally was neutered today. Payback's a bitch, Bomber. I got in about 40 minutes of a Velocity workout and felt like a zombie for most of it. Felt a little better by mid-day but I felt drained.

Skills Nope.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There is sugar in everything

My shins are swollen, my back hurts, my sprained thumb hasn't healed and I have to wake up in 6 hours to run sprints and lift weights. I love my life.

Diet Today's goal is no soda. I have to make like a revival preacher and drive refined sugar out of my diet like its the devil. 7:55 a.m. One cup of vanilla Dannon yogurt, a banana and water. I spun the yogurt cup around to check the ingredients - sugar. Damn it all. 10:30 a.m. Half an apple and water. 11:30 a.m. Baby carrots, potato chips, PB&J, animal crackers. Grade school sack lunch style! I've downed approximately a half gallon of water since I got to work. 3:30 p.m. No caffeine and much less sugar than usual means I am draggin' ass this afternoon. A tall mocha from Starbucks and half a chocolate chip cookie gets me going again. 4:30 p.m. Half a grilled chicken breast over field greens with peanuts and raisins. I used a little honey dijon dressing which likely has sugar in it and downed another quarter gallon of water. 7:30 p.m. Granola bar. 8:00 p.m. Qdoba burrito and lemonade. This is today's treat. 10:30 p.m. Bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Conditioning Three rounds of shadow boxing, walk knees, 10 minutes of knee sparring, five minutes of pad work/grappling in one minute intervals, five minutes of pad work, five minutes of grappling, 100 crunches which became 105 and then 115 because I put my heels down twice.

Skills I've got a bad habit of crossing my feet when I box that I need to correct. I also need to commit to kicking through the target. I hate the sting of a solid kick, but it hurts more when I don't put my weight into the motion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Calling you out"

"And people do not pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins." Mark 2:22

A friend offered some constructive criticism about my MMA project today. Not content to let me exist in a happy bubble where everything I do is flawless and awesome, he pointed out that after a brief flirtation with improving my diet I have resorted to describing my diet as "eh" or "crappy" or avoiding talking about it altogether. He told me he didn't want me to fail because I never made an honest attempt to change my eating habits.

My friend is a Christian; I am not. But he dropped the verse quoted above into our conversation and pointed out that if I "pour" a new training regimen into the "old wineskin" of my established eating habits, then the both the wine and the wineskin will be ruined.

So tonight as my body recovers from last night's work my focus turns inward and I am faced with the fact that my toughest fight won't take place in a steel cage, a ring, or on a wrestling mat. It will be fought in my head and heart, in my kitchen, on my lunch breaks, in drive-thrus and grocery store aisles.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Yeah, actually you're gonna have to wait on that monthly progress report. I worked out with the Integrated Fighting team (I guess that's what they still go by?) and it fucked me up bad. I know that I'll get in shape faster by just hanging in with them, but when I left the gym I was disoriented and I felt like I was driving drunk. It took me seemingly forever to get home, likely because I was driving 10 miles under the speed limit, drinking water and eating peanuts in an effort to not vomit and pass out (and yes, I was positive that was the one-two punch I was facing). I got home and showered and doused myself in Num Mun Muay liniment but I am still walking like an old man.

Diet Sucks. Workout schedule is the priority this week, diet next.
Conditioning Thai clinch work, knee sparring, kick sparring, 50/50 kicks, sit ups, leg raises, and Circle Jerk (everyone in a circle dropping to a knee 60 times). As per usual, my body simply failed at the end.
Skills Worked on clinch escapes at the beginning. I've got the mechanics down, and Adam was telling me not to muscle it, but I felt like I was at a strength disadvantage to the wrestlers I was trying to clinch. The clinch is absolutely devastating if your opponent isn't wise to it...shit, even when fighters know what's coming they get destroyed by fighters with a good clinch.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Busy weekend....

I'll post the second monthly progress update tomorrow.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Be the hammer, not the nail.

I begged off my Tuesday morning Velocity work out because I ended up having to work late Monday night. At this point an extra hour or two of sleep makes an incredible difference in my mood and energy level, so things are having to get pushed around in order for me to function. My lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads were killing me so I skipped my Tuesday night BJJ class in favor of recovery time.

Wednesday, October 3

Felt OK with walk knees, three rounds of shadow boxing, but my energy flagging towards the end of 50/50 kicks. Rolling two or three rounds (I honestly can't remember) with Pat, working mainly on positioning. Lytle offered suggestions during and after the last round, correcting my mistakes. It definitely makes a new guy feel welcome when the top fighter in a gym takes the time to demonstrate why you have to keep your head centered while in the guard, or how to position your arms to control your opponents trunk without giving up a joint lock. Did 100 skip knees after that, a round of shadow boxing with face slaps to ingrain the defensive pendulum (one fist goes out, one protects) then Thai squats and some kind of Jazzercize from hell - jogging in place, pushing our fists in the air like pistons, and then sprawling thirty times. I was nauseated and hyperventilating by the time we finished. I need to work on my breath control.

Diet Bah.
Conditioning See above.
Skills Adam Wilder told me my kicks looked stronger than they did on Monday. The definitely felt smoother. He hounded me about pivoting my feet and hips during shadowboxing and staying upright instead of in a boxer's crouch.

Thursday, October 4

I got good sleep and felt fine waking up at a quarter after 5 a.m. The Velocity workout was physically taxing but much easier mentally. I took a baby step this week with regards to mental toughness.

Diet Feedings weren't super high quality, but I mixed in a lot of fruits and vegetables and at five smallish meals.
Conditioning One hour at Velocity - dynamic stretching, ladder drills and sprints, full body lifting.

Monday, October 1, 2007


"The only thing worse than having a coach screamin' in your face is not having a coach screamin' in your face," says Chris Lytle. The gym cleared out and it's just me, Lytle, trainer Pat McPherson and Muay Thai instructor Adam Wilder talking about the importance of being motivated by someone else. Lytle jokes that when he trained himself it was too easy to cut workouts short or come up with a reason not to push himself. The mind is incredibly weak and incredibly strong at the same time. It tells us to avoid pain and discomfort at any cost, yet it can allow us to power through intense pain in the pursuit of an objective.

Wilder and McPherson worked me out for an hour. Wilder breaks each technique into the smallest mechanics and hounds me to do it correctly. McPherson provides motivation. I did a round of walking knees, three rounds of shadow boxing, ten sprawls, 50/50 kicks (50 Thai kicks with each leg while), 100 skipping knees on the bag and a lunge-walk/push-up calisthenics routine at the end. I had a hard time regulating my breathing and by the time I got into the lunges my lower back was screaming, locking up and throwing me forward in an attempt to alleviate the pain/tension. I wanted to quit real bad. I was unsteady on my feet and every movement was torture. But when I got to the last two laps I suddenly found my stride. I wasn't as weak and exhausted as I had convinced myself, I was just listening to brain too much and not letting my body do what it could.

On a side note, I was nervous all afternoon like a kid showing up to his new school halfway through the semester. It's probably friendlier than a lot of MMA gyms, but it's still weird walking in to a place where there is an established dynamic and routine - and you're not part of it.

Diet Not enough water, feedings were "eh" until after I worked out - a chicken breast and black beans sauteed in olive oil over rice with a mound of steamed vegetables.
Conditioning See above.
Skills See above.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm cold, no hot, no cold...

I started dry heaving in the car yesterday on the way home from Velocity. The circuit weight training was more intense than I am used to and my empty stomach wasn't pleased. Soaked with sweat, the cool morning air felt frigid, so the 30 minute ride home was a seesaw of rolling the window down to get fresh air, feeling nauseated and rolling it back up only to have my stomach turn from the heat and my own stench. I felt much better after a shower and three tuna salad sandwiches on toasted wheat bread.

I think I am going to settle into a routine of Tuesday and Thursday mornings at Velocity, Monday and Wednesday nights at Throwbacks, and Tuesday night and Saturday afternoons at Self Defense Systems. It's a lot but it will still give me four nights a week to relax and hang out with Amanda and that balance is crucial. I am taking the next couple of days off from blogging to gather my thoughts and plan the next month. I feel like I have made significant progress in areas that are likely only noticeable to me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

"Start warming up," Pat McPherson says. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer is the head trainer of a stable of professional fighters that includes Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Chris Lytle and "Irish" Jake O'Brien as well as up and comers like Nate Moore, Johnny Rees, and Shamar Bailey.

I came down to Throwbacks Boxing & MMA gym to talk to McPherson, manager and promoter Keith Palmer, the owner of the gym, Travis, and the elusive Muay Thai instructor Adam who Amanda trained with under Sakasem Kanthawong. This group of fighters is an extension of the Integrated Fighting team founded by Pancrase veteran Jason Godsey in the mid-1990s. They are a bit nomadic, moving from gym to gym for reasons I am not privvy to. Their current home is Throwbacks, a warehouse on the back side of a strip mall on Indy's far south side.

Tonight was supposed to be an introduction. It was, but not the one I was expecting. "Walking knees around the mat," McPherson says. Shit. Several minutes later my hips are seizing up, my feet are slipping on wrestling mats soaked through with sweat, and McPherson glances over to tell me I am almost done. Adam finishes with the fighters for the night and runs me through basic body mechanics of Muay Thai punches, kicks, and knees. My second round of walking knees leaves my calves numb. I can't tell if my heels are touching the mat - I can't tell if I have legs below my fucking knees.

I explain my plans to Adam and he is on board and stoked. McPherson wanders over and give him the same spiel and ask him if I can start working in with his guys, probably in a couple of months when I am in better physical condition. "Nah, just come in Monday," he says. I express my concerns but McPherson says they'll push me until he feels I can't go and he'll ease off. "When guys say they'll start coming in when they are in shape they never do it," he says. It's interesting to consider how much slack you cut yourself without realizing it when you don't have anyone to push you. I've received martial arts instruction but I've never had a fight coach, someone to tell me that I can do another rep, I can throw 10 more kicks, I can grapple another five minutes and I will do just that.

Travis works me out for another 30 minutes, dismantling my boxing mechanics and shooting the breeze about the Sweet Science. Some stuff I like, some stuff...the jury is still out. So as of right now I'll be starting twice-weekly workouts at Throwbacks, working on boxing, Muay Thai, and submission grappling with whoever is there. "It's not like a regular school," McPherson said, "We have 20 fighters and 21 people" who train. Add one to your total, Pat.

Diet I don't want to talk about it, haha. I drank a lot of water, that's today's victory.
Conditioning Just two 30 minute sessions at Throwbacks.
Skills Worked on footwork and punching mechanics for boxing and Muay Thai and found out I lean a lot on my front foot so I need to work on correcting that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A couple of weeks ago I admitted to my bandmates that I wasn't stoked on playing live shows anymore. I love playing music, and playing live is fun, but my focus is shifting. Music will always figure into my life but I am serious about my career, and I am serious about this project. By the time I get home, I just want to hang out with Bomber and Amanda and read a damn book. I don't want to be aggravated when I meet up with my dudes to play rock and roll. I don't want to let it go but it may be gone already. I used to think I couldn't live without it, but I've lost a lot ofthings and people I couldn't live without and here I am.

I've felt like crap for days. I can't get enough sleep, I feel listless. I already had a lot of respect for professional fighters, but I am really starting to appreciate the dedication required to pursue a career in the fight game while working a full time job and taking care of social and familial obligations.

I am heading down to Throwbacks Boxing & MMA tomorrow to work out for the first time. Ideally I will box, train Muay Thai, and work out with a group of pro fighters there on a regular basis. It's a mile from my "home" gym, SDS, and I am already somewhat familiar with the crew there, so if my training is split between SDS and Throwbacks I'll be a happy little camper.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


This weekend was a bit of a clusterfuck. My band played in Muncie, Ind. on Friday. It was kind of a pain in the ass show - we loaded in up a huge flight of stairs and the microphone shocked my face at the beginning of the last song. The bar was cool, though. The Heorot is a Beowulf-themed watering hole on the main drag. A dragon erupts from one wall and the other is stocked with obscure imported beers.

I got four good rounds of boxing in on Saturday after working with Moises for a while. I am working on pressing the gap and forcing the action, bulldogging faster or taller fighters without coming straight up the middle and exposing myself to counter attacks. After Moises' workouts John Eckles talked to him about not being an "aim and shoot" and fighter. Aim and shoot fighters see a target and make a decision to hit it. John tried to impress upon Moises the importance of being target motivatated: targets appear and you touch them. No decision making, just reactions.

Saturday night I was exhausted, and Sunday was more running around until I had to be at the Melody Inn for another show. Luckily an old bandmate and a friend came up from Bloomington, Ind. to hang out, so my spirits were lifted. I got home around midnight completely wiped out.

The last week has been frustrating. My sleep schedule was screwed up which stole time I would have used to make food for work and I ended up being rushed and tired and cranky going into the weekend. I'm getting in bed early tonight in the hopes that it will result in a good week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where Am I

I laid down in bed at 11 p.m. last night and woke up at 4:30 a.m. - on the couch. I very vaugely remember being woken up by Bomber but I have no idea why I decided to lay down in the living room. I went to Velocity and felt ok but my mood and energy level deteriorated throughout the day. I ended up scrapping some work I had to do tonight as well as a sparring session with Wyatt because I couldn't stay awake. I just woke up from a two to three-hour nap: I feel better but I can't say I feel good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When a Night Off is Not Really a Night Off

I don't know why cooking is so relaxing, but I decided I'd be better off spending tonight in the kitchen than in the gym. Preparing decent food takes time, and cooking is almost meditative for me. Years ago one of my best friends dubbed me the Angry Chef because everytime I set out to make a large meal something would go wrong and I would invariably begin cursing and slamming things on the counter. At 28, I am a little less hostile, but I am still prone to angry outbursts. Luckily, few of those outbursts occur in the kitchen.

I got home at a quarter to 8 p.m. and was in the kitchen until 10 p.m., sweating like a hog. Getting enough sleep is still an issue - it would be less of one if I didn't have to stay up writing about it, haha.

Diet 8 a.m. Yogurt with blueberries. 11:20 a.m. Two hot dogs, carrots, baked chips, water. 2:15 p.m. Two slices of pizza, field green salad with avocado and raisins, soda. 10 p.m. Jambalaya with andoulle sausage, bell peppers, and onion, greens and black eyed peas, cornbread, soda and water.

Conditioning Rode my bike to work today, felt good.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Diet 5:30 a.m. Naked Juice smoothie. Half a gallon of water during te Velocity workout. 7:30 a.m. Two Dunkin Donuts and a 16 ounce cappucino - I swear to god it was for work, haha. 10 a.m. Chili, a hunk of French bread, carrots, green tea and water. 1:30 p.m. Roast beef sandwich, soda. 4 p.m. Small salmon filet over field greens and water. 10 p.m. Six ounces of Amanda's leftover steak on top of Spanish rice with a big bowl of steamed vegetables on the side.

Conditioning While difficult, I feel my body adapting to the Velocity workouts. My joints feel more solid, my hips feel freer, and my core, well, I can feel it, if that makes sense. I didn't use to have some of the physical sensations that I have experienced recently.

Skills More basic drilling from the back tonight, which is great. Bob Mercuri's BJJ program isn't a large, formal jiu jitsu academy and that suits me fine. I will get more bodies to roll with later, but it's essential for me to feel comfortable in the gym, and I feel comfortable at Self Defense Systems. Bob worked on the elbow escape with us partially because Wyatt and I don't want to cut corners. I want little guy jiu jitsu because that's what BJJ is. I am not a wrestler, so why learn to take a guy to the ground? I want to avoid the ground at all costs but know what to do if I end up there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Feel Good

Today is the first day I have felt good in a month. No soreness, no nothing. I feel strong and rested. I am taking today to recoup before hitting it hard again this week. Conditioning is my top priority - I really think that's the biggest difference between me and circuit fighters.

Diet8 a.m. Two eggs, scrambled, and grapes. Water. 11 a.m. Small portion of chicken alfredo and carrots. Water and 12 ounces of soda. 1 p.m. I was actually hungry and only had one more meal left in my bag, so I got two pieces of cheese pizza from Bazbeaux. Higher quality ingredients than Papa John's, but still, it's pizza, haha. 5 p.m. Small filet of grilled salmon over field greens. 10 p.m. Ending the day on a high note: Totino's pizza. I had something better planned but we had to go to Lowe's, yada yada yada, we didn't get home until a quarter to 10 p.m. I took t

Conditioning Rode my bike to work. Not the gnarliest ride, but I can make it a brisk 30 minute workout.

Skills Nada.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Diet Still sucks. Spending time in the lab tomorrow to prepare a meal plan and meals.

Conditioning None outside of dynamic stretching.

Skills Sparring with Wyatt is awesome. He's got decently fast hands and he provides a good template for me to go against bigger guys. I am starting to realize that I have spent years pussy-footing on the edge of the gap, trading punches with people who are bigger and/or faster than me and (understandably) coming up short in the process. I feel comfortable when I stalk on the edge of the gap, maintaining an aggressively defensive posture, launching my weight across the gap behind stiff jabs, putting those bigger and/or faster guys on their heels and punching punching punching punching. My only chance against larger heavyweights is to neutralize physical advantages with technique and overwhelming aggression.

My Shoulders Hurt Just Watching You Guys

Spent an hour in the gym on Thursday with a new kid, Wyatt Tompkins. A lifelong wrestler, Tompkins got the build I always wanted; 6'2", 220#, yoke-broad shoulders. I want to roll and spar with him because I will be fighting bodies that big in virtually every competition I enter. One of the other instructors I rarely see laughed while Wyatt and I tossed the medicine ball. "My shoulders hurt just watching you guys," he said.

Diet Sucks. Work, no sleep, bad planning added up to this week going done the toilet in terms of the quality of my feedings.

Conditioning Eh. Took Thursday off from Velocity because I had to work super late on Wednesday. Did three two-minute rounds of shadow boxing, four two-minute rounds of medicine ball throws, three two-minute rounds on the heavy bag and three two-minute rounds of sparring with Wyatt, one minute breaks between each.

Skills Worked on pushing the gap against a taller fighter and launching my jab with my chin tucked into my shoulder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Screw Work

Pulling almost a full double shift today so no training, crap eating, and still sleep deprived. Two steps forward, one step back. Screw work.

That's Not Rolling, That's Fighting

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu reminds me of learning to box. It feels more like a spasm than a series of coordinated movements, but I am trying hard to not muscle my way into or out of anything. After all, "that's not rolling, that's fighting," Bob Mercuri says.

Diet Soda is the mindkiller. I am doing good on multiple feedings and water intake, but carbonated sugar water has its talons in me. It's hard to talk shit on junkies and crackheads when I drive around digging for spare change to get a soda and think to myself, "Just this once won't hurt, I can stop when I want to."

Conditioning Missed it. I made it almost four full weeks without skipping a morning session at Velocity but I straight up slept through Tuesday's. Dragonfly kicked my ass. I realized today that sleep really is the foundation of it all. If I don't get enough sleep, I miss workouts, I miss time to prepare food and as a result I make poor food choices and the cycle repeats itself.

Skills Last night's class was awesome. There were four newbies attending so Bob worked with us from our back, drilling the uppa, knee escape and "reacharound" escape as well as the elbow escape when your opponent has the high mount. I felt way more comfortable grappling with guys when I concentrated on working two or three escapes and maintaining good body position and didn't give a shit if I gave up the occasional submission.

Monday, September 10, 2007


"Don't circle to the left," Kenneth Bigbee, Jr. says. He points out that circle to the left when I shadow box, which would set me up to eat a lot of leg kicks in a Muay Thai or MMA fight. It's not a huge thing but it's perceptible and it needs correcting.

Diet This week I am tackling the most basic elements of the Grapple's Guide - increased water intake, elimination of empty-calorie beveages, and multiple feedings. Well, as Meatloaf said, two outta three ain't bad. I killed a gallon of water and ate five smaller meals but I lasted just 16 hours without soda. By the time I left Dragonfly I felt shaky - I didn't want sugar, I NEEDED sugar. One of my four weekly "cheats" out the window at the end of day one, haha.

Conditioning Stretched and did Hindu squats and pushups this morning. Tonight was conditioning class at Dragonfly. Punched, kicked, lunged, jumped back and forth across the room until I couldn't lift my arms or walk straight. I felt surprisingly good...after peeling off my sweat-soaked shirt.

Skills It was a conditioning class, but you have to focus harder on executing techniques when you want to fall down and take a nap.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sprained Thumb

Sprained my thumb during sparring yesterday. I'm on the board with my first "nagging injury." I iced it, compressed it, and kept it elevated while watching UFC 75 last night. This morning I rubbed a Thai boxing liniment Amanda got from her old Muay Thai teacher on it. It dulls the ache but range of movement is limited and I can tell that the soft tissue in my thumb is inflamed.

From now on training blogs will be broken up into several sections - conditioning, diet, and skills training. These sections will usually be proceeded by a narrative about anything of note that happened that day.

For the next several weeks, my routine will be as such:

Monday - AM Stretching and combat conditioning's "Royal Court." PM Muay Thai.
Tuesday - AMVelocity Sports Performance.PM Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and nine rounds of boxing work.
Wednesday - AM Stretching and combat conditioning's "Royal Court." PM Muay Thai.
Thursday - AMVelocity Sports Performance.PM Three rounds of open mat rolling and nine rounds of boxing work.
Friday - off.
Saturday - Open sparring.
Sunday - off.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Putting it All Together

I'm approximately one month into this little project and while I've taken a few significant steps I haven't put together a cohesive program for myself. This weekend I am going to map out the next four weeks worth of training and create a template for the blog. Each training day you'll get updates on what I am doing, how I feel, and what I am learning about martial arts and myself. On off days I will post essays, book reviews, fight card reviews, and interviews as I can score them. There will be pictures and videos sprinkled throughout. Each month you'll get an overall progress report and competitions will receive special treatment. A year sounds like a long time but it goes by fast when you fill it with livin'.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Velocity Sports Performance: Day Seven

Maybe I'm being paranoid but I feel like blogging about Velocity is not working in my favor. The day after I write about how I am starting to get my feet under me and feel comfortable with the training, Chris Powell unleashes some burly exercises that set every strip of soft tissue around my femur on fire. For the first time I couldn't complete whole sets of exercises and my legs were pissed at me all day.

Amanda started a new job this week and I missed two gym nights helping her get stuff to her classroom and then organize it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Grapplers Guide to Sports Nutrition

Food is more than fuel, it is community, comfort, and control. People who are ill-equipped to deal with their emotions generally use a substance or behavior as an outlet or escape. By and large, my relatives do not drink or smoke and there are no cutters in my family tree. That leaves food.

I have a history of compulsive overeating, sugar dependence, and habitually bad food choices. My eight-years as a strict vegetarian was a subconscious effor to control myself, those around me, the world at large through food. It, along with a few other long-practiced behaviors, fell by the wayside when, as my father likes to say, "the pain of staying the same exceeded the pain of changing." Moderation is my new bike and it's still got training wheels on it. For this reason I am cautious about entering into any training regimen that involves monastic devotion to dietary principles, IRS audit-worthy calorie counting or any supposedly motivational guilt or shame.

My buddy Mark handed me The Grappler's Guide to Sports Nutrition before we sat down to watch UFC 74. I knew I needed to overhaul my diet and eating patterns but I didn't think I'd be taking advice from wrestlers. Those maniacs engage in exactly the kind of obsessive behavior I can't afford to mess around with. But I got excited quickly after opening it. Rather than outline rigid standards for dietary excellence, the book is based on basic principles which you can apply as best you are able while planning for regular deviations and missteps.

This easy-to-consume dietary digest stresses three goals of sports nutrition: optimal performace, optimal body composition, and optimal health. These goals are accomplished by 1 feeding every two to three hours, 2 ingesting lean protein with every feeding, 3 ingesting vegetables with every feeding, 4 saving non-fruit/vegetable carbohydrates for feedings immediately after training, 5 consumption of healthy fats, 6 elimination of most calorie-containing drinks (soda, fruit juice, etc), 7 consumption of whole foods instead of supplements, 8 allowing yourself to deviate from the plan 10% of the time, 9 preparing food in advance so you don't fall into the rut of convenience foods, and 10 by eating a wide variety of foods.

It's more difficult than it sounds, but much simpler than a lot of other nutritional guides I've come across. Authors John Berardi and Michael Fry dismiss athletic folk wisdom and lay ideas out in a matter of fact way that makes following these principles seem like a fairly easy way to optimize performance.

It's a quick read and the authors definitely have resumes and attitudes to inspire confidence in someone without any expertise on the subject. I am going to begin applying the basic principles of the Guide to my diet in the coming weeks and we'll see if there's anything to it.

A Streetfight with Rules

The New York Times weighs in on the UFC. Almost inexplicably, the tide has turned. Publications that once ran screeds against MMA are now printing Dana White's much-repeated critiques of boxing's safety record. It's weird but I'm not complaining.

Velocity Sports Performance: Day Six

Chris Powell's refrain is starting to haunt me. He introduces each build up and conditioning exercise with "all we're gonna do is," a statement that fails to take the edge off exercises that force you into awkward positions to isolate muscles that want to be left well enough alone. At least the early morning nausea is gone. I ate before and immediately after which helped my energy level today. I'm not too far from my fourth feeding - I'll update tonight with a review of the nutrition book I just consumed.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Weight: 252#
True Waist: 45.5"
Chest: 49"
Neck: 18"
Bicep: 17"

Could be worse, should be better. I'm not as sloppy as a lot of guys but measuring yourself against the average schlub is a recipe for mediocrity. I have approximately 52 weeks to achieve excellence, to get my sleep schedule, diet, conditioning, skills training and sparring on point. Fifty-two weeks to prove myself to myself, to establish credibility as a martial artist, to build a resume as an instructor.

There is no magic pill or diet, no easy fix, just dilligent planning and faithful execution. Let's see what I can accomplish in the next thirty days.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Velocity Sports Performance: Day Five

It's embarrassing to struggle with a 15 pound dumbell curl. Of course I am not used to lifting weights while standing on one foot or laying on a giant yoga ball. Velocity's dynamic warm ups start to fatigue my joints and connective tissues because I am not used to that kind of movement. Add in some plyometric or medicine ball work and I am feeling gassed before I pick up a weight. Velocity's methodology attacks all the tendons, ligaments, and stabilizer muscles static exercises neglect, and "those itty bitty muscles get tired quickly," Chris Powell says.

I am still trying to figure out how I want to approach my Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu training while maintaining at LEAST my current level of boxing conditioning, drilling, and sparring. I am concerned, too, about my cardiovascular conditioning. Not just for combat sports but general, long term health. Luckily for my sleep schedule and sanity, Chris Powell told me not to worry about cardio for the next couple of months until I get my schedule settled and my body adjusts to a new work load and diet. Speaking of which, my buddy Mark aka Mr. Whip, coach of the Naptown Roller Girls, loaned me a book called The Grappler's Guide to Sports Nutrition by John Berardi and Michael Fry. The writing isn't going to win any awards, but it's direct, simple, practical advice with solid science behind it. I'll post a review of it in the next couple of days along with my dietary plan and the first of twelve monthly "shirtless dude holding a newspaper to show you how much weight he has lost" photos.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Indiana is Fat

This is justification enough for my MMA project. I am more active than most Hoosiers but I'm 28, heavier than I should be with blood pressure that is higher than ideal. This is my last shot to maximize my athletic ability and set myself up for long, healthy life.

Velocity Sports Performance: Day Four

Chris Powell pushed us a little harder today, running us through circuits of upper and lower-body weights and plyometrics. If I keep this up for a year, eat right and train hard, I'll be a freakin' manimal. I killed a gallon of water before 9 a.m. I might invent the herniated bladder.

Still trying to track down Ian Ransburg. Where the hell is this guy?

Monday, August 27, 2007

"I hate to lose."

Moises Ysaguirre hates to lose. At least that's what he told me after he lost a three round decision in an amateur box-off.

I coach Moises almost every Saturday, teaching him the fundamentals of boxing, conditioning him for fights and pushing him to focus on fundamentals when he is sparring. The 18 year-old lives in Richmond, Ind. with his Cuban-born father and Hoosier-born mother. He's a good kid. He works hard. He listens.

Boxing teams from around the state gathered at the Ryves Center in Terre Haute, Ind. on Saturday, August 25. Moises was slated to fight a kid from the same gym as the last kid he fought, the last kid he lost to. I've never visited his opponent's gym. Never worked out there, never had an in depth conversation with the kids or trainers. All I know of it is what I have seen at bouts, in the ring and out of it. And from what I have seen I don't like it.

The fighters coming out of the gym-that-shall-not-be-named are probably the best natural athletes in Indiana amateur boxing but I can't tell how much real guidance they ever get. They are lazy, they fight sloppy, they fight stupid, and they win almost exclusively through a combination of raw athleticism and their opponents mistakes.

Moises came out more aggressive in round one than he had in his previous bout which is essential when you only have three two-minute rounds to win or lose a fight. His opponent, like all fighters from the gym-that-shall-not-be-named, danced around with his hands down, bobbed and weaved needlessly, and threw blind punches from stupid angles. But Moises, in only his third fight, is too timid. He wades in, throws a punch or two and gets in a clinch. Or worse yet, he'll get in close and start eating punches. It was a close fight - Moises' conditioning was stronger at the end. He was more aggressive, he was landing more punches, but he was still in a hole that he couldn't get all the way out of. Now I have more information to take back to the lab. As much as I want to get in shape, I want to see Moises breeze through the competition at Golden Gloves next spring and do it with solid fundamentals and class, two things the gym-that-shall-not-be-named are sorely lacking.

As we walked out, one of their kids knocked his opponent out with the first three punches of round one. The victor's teammates started howling, pointing, laughing, running around, knocking folding chairs akimbo. Maybe these kids come from nothing, maybe this is the only arena where they feel accomplished. But if their coaches can't impress upon them the opportunity sports affords them to rise about their environment then they are doing all of these young men a disservice. The gym is a place to learn how to fight but there are ancillary lessons to be learned about dedication, focus, respect, and integrity...if you're paying attention.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dragonfly Muay Thai: Day One

Kenneth Bigbee, Jr. shouted "kick" and I did, blasting my shin across his hips underneath the Thai pads he was holding. My legs were shot and I was mortified. I apologized profusely while the whole class had a "been there, done that" laugh at my expense.

Bigbee, a former Navy SEAL, is a long-time practitioner of submission grappling, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, and the Korean weapons-style Kumdo. He began study Muay Thai two years ago under Ian Ransburg and received his blessing to start his own school. He still enjoys Korean martial arts but in terms of street defense and MMA, Bigbee said "I don't like teaching things that aren't effective."

My backround is American Kickboxing - the footwork and striking mechanics are significantly different but I left all my baggage at the door to learn something new. Bigbee walked me through basic punches and kicks; his program is only a few months old and still small enough to allow for individual instruction. "When I teach you punches I start with the hands, move to the hips, and then the feet," Bigbee said looking at me in a mirror. "When I teach you kicks I start with the feet, move the hips, and finish with the hands." I have thrown thousands of punches and kicks in my life but the mechanics of Muay Thai - standing tall on the balls of my feet, swinging my hands away from my face when kicking, holding my hands away from my face when in a defensive posture - are totally counter intuitive.

Damn you, Velocity Sports Performance! My hips burn with every thrusting Muay Thai knee as I circle the gym at Oriental Martial Arts in Avon, Ind. Dragonfly Muay Thai operates under the umbrella of a hapkido school and the environs reflect that more than a Muay Thai or boxing gym. It was Friday night and I was already cashed from work, workouts, and sleep deprivation but I pushed through it. If I am still standing I figure I can work for another hour. My can-do attitude backfired when I couldn't do enough to get my leg up to Bigbee's pads.

I've always been interested in Muay Thai because it's the only so-called pure martial art that has a long standing tradition of formalized full-contact competition. Bigbee knows which way the wind is blowing and took time to explain his perspective on why Muay Thai's mechanics are better suited to MMA than boxing's are. His view revolved around meeting attacks further out in the gap to allow for time to sprawl if necessary as well as never putting yourself in a position where you are vulnerable to a knee or kick.

Amanda and I got a really good vibe from him and his students but Avon would mean a minimum 60 minutes of drive time for each class. We are going back on Monday for conditioning but I was told that Ian Ransburg runs the Muay Thai classes at Modern Gladiator, an MMA gym between my house and Downtown. The time and gas expenditures of training in Carmel at Velocity and Avon at Dragonfly might be prohibitive.