To non-muscle heads and fitness freaks, bodybuilding and MMA training would appear to be both the same things. Outsiders looking in see time spent in the gym, heavy supplement use, and dedicated training and just assume there’s no difference between the two.
Readers of this blog know the two are nowhere near each other. See here how it is valuable to say that bodybuilding training is useless for those into MMA? In fitness circles, the consensus is yes. Although I can agree to a certain extent, there is a valuable attribute of bodybuilding that can be used for MMA training.
What’s the Difference between Bodybuilding and MMA?
Those not familiar with bodybuilding and even many fitness experts wrongly assume it is a sport with the goal of getting stronger and bigger. However, the ultimate goal of bodybuilding is to improve the overall physique of the athlete. Technically speaking, getting stronger is not a goal. Rather, they are working hard to make their body as presentable as possible. This includes muscle definition, measurements, and less body fat.
MMA training focuses nowhere on improving the overall physique (although that may occur as a byproduct), instead the goal is to be able to take down an opponent in a mixed martial art match-up. The training is based on improved agility, speed, endurance, and fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Thus, a bodybuilder is much more likely to be doing bicep curls in the gym. Not only are they doing bicep curls but they would be doing them in four or five different ways and angles so as to improve the overall definition of the bicep muscles. In contrast, an MMA fighter is likely to be jump roping. They will do for a longer period of time and beyond exhaustion.
How to Use Bodybuilding for MMA Training
Based on the observations above it seems useless to try to match the two styles of training because they ultimately have very different goals. Even the training itself requires different demands on the body. There is one element though from bodybuilding that could translate into a wonderful asset for an MMA fighter and that is discipline.
MMA training does contain a great deal of discipline but, bodybuilding has a number of different demands and disciplines that would be unmatched in MMA, returning a very valuable methodology for the average athlete.
Recording Your Workouts and Tracking Progress
The bodybuilder’s first task that uses discipline is managing and tracking progress in workouts. In fact, even failure is recorded. Although the real world might not allow time for taking notes and recording progress when you have the opportunity you should.
What do bodybuilders record? Bodybuilders record the workout they’re doing along with the number of sets and reps. They also record notes on how their bodies reacted, whether it was more difficult or easy, and the amount of rest in between.
How can MMA fighters use this? They can use this discipline by recording their weight training, running, and even sparring. It only takes a moment in between sets and workouts to record a few notes. Focus on getting as much detail as possible. This is useful for training because it gives the fighter a framework for setting goals and breaking them faster. This is something bodybuilders excel at!
Recording Your Meals and Nutrient In Taking
Another incredible discipline that bodybuilders maintain is the ability to stick to rigorous diets and supplement plans. Most of their success is due to writing and tracking their intake, goals, and results. Without the discipline of writing down these elements, one could easily be swayed off course. MMA trainers would benefit because they are often constricted by weight classes.
Bodybuilders will plan out their meals for the week and even month by analyzing the number of nutrients and calories that they need in order to achieve the given physique they desire. By calculating these numbers they stand a far better chance of success than someone who just “eats healthy.”
During MMA training, athletes can start by finding what daily caloric intake they need along with the number of calories they need. They can then get themselves a desktop calendar for the refrigerator and write down each meal for each day of the week. Bodybuilders often prepare these in bulk, leaving them in the freezer until ready.