Steroids in UFCWe know they're out there. We even know who some of ateroids are. But most of these underground trainers and anabolic steroids for fighters work on the fringe, carefully out of the public eye. We call them shadow gurusexperts in training, nutrition and the use of performance enhancing drugs. They're both educated coaches and drug advisers, everything an athlete needs to reach the top.
Steroids in Mixed Martial Arts | T Nation
We know they're out there. We even know who some of them are. But most of these underground trainers and coaches work on the fringe, carefully out of the public eye. We call them shadow gurus , experts in training, nutrition and the use of performance enhancing drugs. They're both educated coaches and drug advisers, everything an athlete needs to reach the top. Most specialize in a certain sport: Others freelance, offering their expertise to the highest bidder.
Whatever the sport, one thing is certain: T-Nation has been contacted by one of these shadow gurus, a person specializing in mixed martial arts and fighting sports. He said he was willing to tell his story as long as he remained anonymous.
I wasn't allowed to meet with him or call him on the phone. Instead we conducted this interview "blind" through a private messaging system. I know you can't say too much, but give us a sense of who you are, what you do and how you got into all this. I always liked martial arts, boxing and wrestling. I think I started training in different Asian striking styles at age seven. At around 14, I started getting into strength training and most of the info I got was from high school strength coaches and bodybuilding magazines.
I questioned these sources of information. I was basically a geek and loved to read, so I was always searching for the best way to train as it applied to fighting. Soon after I became interested in supplements and nutrition. I was also into biology, so I loved whatever science I could read that remotely applied to performance. By the time I was 20 I had read everything I could get my hands on in regards to training, nutrition, and drugs. I was regularly advising friends on exercise, diet, and drugs to meet specific goals.
The first people I advised on steroids were college football players, bodybuilders, and guys who just wanted to look better. This is where I learned the most—talking to athletes with different weaknesses and goals and seeing what worked for them and what didn't.
From a fighting perspective, this guy was obviously a master of his craft. But when it came to general physical training, diet and steroids, there was a little less knowledge about what was optimal. After he asked, I began telling him all I knew about steroids and how athletes use them. At the time I was still learning a lot and the idea of someone training for a fight really made me question what works best in terms of training, diet, and drugs.
Of all the advice I've given, the one thing most people want is steroid advice. I'm most often approached by athletes with limited steroid experience or guys who've used before but are looking for a better and safer way to achieve their goals. Why did you want to talk about this? Why talk publicly about steroid use in these sports?
I didn't get enough attention as a child. Actually, there were a few reasons. I think a lot of people are interested in steroids for strength, recovery and performance enhancement, without getting too big. I get a lot of questions about steroids through friends of friends. Some of them listen to the guy at the gym and some go so far as to read steroid books or Internet forums. Some of the info they get is just plain bad; other times it's good info but only if the goal is to get huge.
I just wanted to say that for a lot of athletes the best advice lies somewhere between "steroids will kill you" and "you gotta take at least one gram a week or you're wasting your time! Strength training, diet and drugs need to be simple for them 'cause they're just tools, not the goal. I've also had this info written up for some time. I usually give athletes little guides so they know what to do.
Finally, I'm hoping other athletes from all sports will share what they've learned about safely using steroids for peak performance. Things are a little scary right now for guys involved with steroids. Trainers are getting busted, bodybuilders and powerlifters were subpoenaed at the Arnold Classic, big baseball players are showing up this season much smaller, and even "andro" is being banned.
Just a second here while I look out my window. It's been ten minutes since I checked if there were any suspicious cars outside! Seriously though, I do get nervous, very nervous from time to time. I'm small time, though. Over the last ten years I've helped maybe 50 people with steroids and given advice to many more, but a crime is a crime to the Feds. I've been nervous recently with the wave of busts. It's made me consider restricting my assistance to an advice-only basis and lately that's all I've been doing.
By the way, I encourage anyone who's considering steroids to read the book Legal Muscle , though in my experience few people take the time to learn about the legalities involved. I could go on and on about the government's outright hysteria with regards to steroids but I'll cut it off here. What kind of athletes have you worked with?
I've helped high-ranking college football and baseball players trying to take it to the next level. I've helped some pros, too. Hockey, basketball, sprinting and even climbing are some of the other sports where I've made recommendations to guys using steroids.
These guys are at all levels; some I'd call recreationally competitive and some are looking to make sports their career. I've even helped a couple of bodybuilders, powerlifters, guys who just want to look better and cops. I actually have one friend who's a Fed. He wanted to go the legal route so I had him use MAG He liked the results.
My favorite athletes though are mixed martial arts fighters. These athletes I've helped have competed at the highest levels of their sport. What are most of these fighters doing wrong when they come to you? Wow, that's a long one. In general, I think you should always have a training diary. A lot of guys don't. Fighters also like to train their strengths.
When a fight is six to eight weeks away that's okay and actually recommended, but when they have more time before a fight or they're still developing, they should be working on weaknesses. I'm referring to muscular weaknesses as well as weaknesses in areas of fighting. With that, I'll put my two cents in about what I think guys should be doing. In the developing stages you have a few types of guys training in MMA. The martial arts based guys aren't really into weights.
Then there are the guys who train a lot with weights, like powerlifters or bodybuilders, who just want some basic fighting techniques and hope their strength will handle the rest in a fight.
The first type could obviously benefit from periods where strength training is a priority and technical training is on maintenance levels. The second bunch could probably do good to focus on technique while maintaining their strength. It's all about personal weaknesses. After weaknesses are evaluated, you just need to see which ones are easy to improve and have a big impact on the fighter's performance.
Some submission fighters are so good at submission compared to their opponents that they could literally train it two times a week and still be better.
If your game is ground submission, then your takedowns better be topnotch. Takedowns can be helped by improving general physical attributes, like power, so, you can make a big impact in this guy's overall game by improving takedowns with strength training.
It looks like the high level fighters are training pretty good these days, though. You see more wrestlers who can punch and punchers who can defend the takedown. And everyone is training submission. So there, martial arts cross-training is going good. You also see a lot of good fighters going the distance so conditioning is getting better.
Most guys could benefit from strongman training, though. Sandbags, tire flips, sled drags, and farmers walks are all good. Also, modified Olympic lifts, power lifts with chains and bands, and explosive drills with medicine balls work well.
Grip-specific training and exercises to enhance punching speed and power are also important. Static stretching as a warm up is still popular and that needs to be changed.
Flexibility training could be better. Conditioning needs to mimic the energy systems and motor qualities required in a fight. Plain old interval sprinting is good as is, of course, sparring. Sparring should mimic the fight so grappling for an hour straight when the fight consists of just a few five-minute rounds may not be ideal. Interval sparring with fresh opponents is a good alternative. Finally, when training a fighter you have to take the rest of his grueling schedule into account.