For one reason or another, you stopped your training. Maybe you suffered from an injury and needed to recover, maybe you got busy with a work project, perhaps family life took over or maybe you just flat out needed a break! What ever reason lead to your need for your MMA training hiatus, you still possess that warrior spirit, and you've decided you are now ready to rock and roll again. You hit the gym and realize that you've lost a lot of muscle and strength. It's ok, we are here to walk you through how to get back to your MMA training after your long break. With the right tools and mentality, you can come back even stronger than before!
First Things, First.
Take it easy. Getting back into the killer work out of a routine you had once established will take a little time. You will need to pace yourself and start slow, especially if you are coming back from an injury. Be patient with your body, and do not go all out the first few weeks, or you will suffer and most likely get burned out quickly, possibly even experience a bit or discouragement. Starting with simple push-ups will immediately help in building strength to your upper body. A great tip for returning fighters is to practice drill techniques over sparring.
Schedule it in.
Create a good schedule of classes and gym time for yourself, and try your best not to deviate from it. This is very important in the beginning. It takes approximately 30 days to develop a new habit, and it can be a difficult thing to achieve. This is the goal you are trying to accomplish, fitting your workout routine back into your lifestyle. If you miss a couple of days, don't get anxiety over it. Keep moving forward and working hard. It is recommended that you take at least 3 classes for the first month. Pay your monthly tuition, and try your best to attend those classes.
Follow the infamous karate saying "Every stripe you are awarded brings you one step closer to receiving your Black Belt". Positive reinforcement is your best friend in life, always. Set goals and rewards for yourself and follow through until the end. Want that six pack back? Go for it.
Get to the next belt level. Heck, reward your hard work with a cheat meal. Whatever it takes to get yourself going in the beginning. Write your goals down and post them where you can see them. Another great tip in returning to MMA after a long hiatus is to find a partner who you can train with. When you have accountability to show up for someone else, you are more likely to do so. But even if you don't have anyone, find yourself accountable by sticking to your goals.
Despite all the hard work listed above, we do have some great news! Because you aren't starting all the way from scratch, you have the advantage of muscle memory. Your body will remember all the movements, and although they may not be done with the same strength or magnitude, relearning the techniques will be easier for you.
Do Not Forget your Diet!
Chances are, if you took a hiatus from training, you might you might have gotten off track with your diet as well. You will most definitely want to bring this back up to par as it's a crucial element to coming back stronger, faster and with more power. Thankfully, this portion of the bounce back you do not have to ease into. Start your healthy eating habits right this very moment. Ditch the sugars and extra carbs, and grab those protein bars and shakes. The healthier you are, the faster you will become a player in the ring again.
Recovering from an Injury
If your hiatus was due to an injury, there is more to consider than just the physical elements of training and diet. Many athletes suffer emotionally as they go through a wide range of feelings associated with the injury itself such as denial, anger, sadness, and many even suffer from depression. Fighters must learn to deal with the emotions with focus and resilience to keep their recovery process positive. The athletes that are able to come back the quickest are the ones who find a great sense of control over their bodies. They take responsibility and use patience for their recovery process, rather than pushing themselves to perform at their pre-injury levels. Research is showing that you can use the mind to heal the body. By using positive mental skills and techniques, along with physical rehabilitation and a healthy diet, athletes can speed up the healing process.
Even the Professionals take a Hiatus
Taking a hiatus is not for the weak, tired or weary. It happens even to the professionals. And interestingly enough, they proclaim it's really an easy transition to slide out of beast mode and into a non training lifestyle. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to commit your already busy and hectic life to an art form, especially MMA. Fighters must stay conditioned, strong and healthy. Many professionals said they didn't realize how much they missed the training in their lives until they got back into it again after the hiatus.
Professional fighter Radu Antoniu shows us in this video interview how he came back after his break, and how he got himself back into the ring.