For our "Fitness Spotlight" segment, every so often I'm going to highlight an athlete, entertainer, model, or just a regular everyday person and what they've been doing to reach peak levels of fitness.
We all need targets to aspire to and examples to emulate, so hopefully the men and women I highlig ht in these posts give you some valuable information, and a few tools you can borrow into your own everyday workout and diet routines.
Georges St. Pierre (GSP) is as of this writing, the champion of UFC's welterweight division. He's widely regarded as one of the top 3-4 MMA fighters in the business.
He recently signed an endorsement deal as the first mixed martial artist to represent a major sports apparel line - Under Armour.
Anyways, odds are you already know a little about GSP but I want to delve into his training (besides the actual fight-based training). GSP is trained by Jonathan Chaimberg and Firas Zahabi, and their focus is on brief, quick bursts of energy as opposed to longer endurance workouts.
"If you train for two to three hours, the intensity level can’t be the same as somebody who trains for one hour," Firas says. "So, the first 20 minutes of the training is warm up. We’re not really working out; we’re just stretching and getting the body warm. Then, we do only 40 minutes of work, but at as high a quality as possible, and by high quality I mean very intense."
"Let’s say I trained Georges St-Pierre on the mats for two hours," continues Firas. "He obviously couldn’t kick as hard and as often as if he was doing it for 40 minutes; if you tell someone 'I want you to sprint 100 meters,' he’s not going to hold anything back -- he’s going to go as hard as he can because he knows it’s only 100 meters. But tell someone 'I want you to sprint for 800 meters' and he’s going to start slowly, but he’s going to pace himself. He’s going to do 800 meters as fast as he can, but he’s obviously not going to run as fast as if you’re telling him to do 100 meters. So, our first objective is to raise the intensity -- how hard and fast can you go."
Here's a video of GSP doing an interval-style circuit using multiple peices of equipment. Don't focus on the specific exercises he is doing (like the weighted pull-ups) but instead focus on the overall theme, structure, and philosophy of his workout:
Key Takeaway: Whether you're training to defend the UFC Welterweight Championship, or just trying to burn off some calories after sitting behind a desk all week, there's a place for brief, high-intensity workouts in your overall plan.
I structure my fitness classes the same way for this reason. Not everyone wants to pound their knees on the pavement for 5 miles or spend 60 minutes on the treadmill because it bores them. If interval-based circuit workouts get things done for high-level athletes like GSP, they'll work for the average person trying to get their heart rate going and break a sweat to work off last night's desert also.