What You Need In Your Workout Program

Think about it. You can’t just willy-nilly and hapzardly jump into a workout program and assume all of your requirements and expectations are going to be met.

So the first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “What do I need my workout program to do for me?”
Be specific. Saying, “get me in shape” is nothing. It hasn’t had enough thought put into it to be meaningful.

What I will do is list what I felt was needed when I began designing this system. (Spoiler alert: all these needs are taken care of in the system.)

1. One thing I noticed I was REALLY neglectful of when I worked out on my own was flexibility.

I needed to make sure that all of my limbs could move in all directions without catching, binding, or pulling.

This is not only for performance but for injury prevention.

I would sometimes do some stretching, but mostly not. Why? Because it can be so boring, but usually it was because I was just in a rush to “get to it” and get the workout cranking.

So I built flexibility right into the system, so it is never neglected, and it did it in such a way that it gets you in the mood for the tougher work ahead.


It’s not fun thinking that there are so many things you’d like to do in your kickboxing or self defense workout that you can’t or won’t get to them all.

You might watch a Youtube video or see a UFC fight and think, “Man! I’ve got to try that! Next time I’m doing my workout I’m going to use that.”

Guess what? You won’t remember. At least not during your workout. It will likely be long forgotten.

So I needed my workouts to systematically and periodically put in all the stuff I thought was cool, useful, or important.

Every time I either thought of something great, or made up a great combo, or saw an awesome technique or combo in a fight or in an instructional video, I wrote it down to build into the system.

Now, instead of getting in a rut and doing the same combos and techniques that come to mind while you’re training, I now know that every single technique I want to practice is going to have its day in the limelight.

3. My Own Music

How powerful is music? It’s amazing, right?

It’s energizing, motivating, inspiring.

What are the chances that the workout video you buy is going to be playing the music you want to listen to? Zero? Right.

So when you control the juke box, your workouts are now powered by the very tunes that you find best gets you in the mood for exercise.

It might be progressive, pop, rock, alternative, or my favorite: gangsta hip hop.

Whatever I’m in the mood for, that’s what I put on. It’s 50% or more of the energy in the room when you’re working out. It’s important!

4. Keeping Your Body Balanced

An action-packed workout can put a lot of stress on your body. (In a good way, obviously.)

But too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing.
So I wanted my workload to be spread out through as much of my body as possible.
Boxing’s great. But I don’t want all of my energy being processed by my fragile hand bones and wrist. That’s too much stress on too small of a body part.

I want to use my elbows, my knees, my shins, my insteps, the ball of my feet, to spread the workload around and prevent overuse injuries.

To add even more balance, I like to work both sides of the body. So I’ll do the combo Orthodox a few times, then Southpaw a few times.

You, of course, don’t need to do that in your training, or your clients’ training, but I find it useful for my needs.

5. Muscular endurance, muscle, joint, and bone strengthening, cardio-pulmonary stamina, and power.

I want to train all of the above areas. I need to make sure the workouts are giving me the cardio and lung capacity I would need in a fight, but…. without doing so much it uses my muscle for fuel. So the key is: enough, without doing too much. It’s a fine line, but I found it. You’ll never have to even think about it. It’s built right into the system.

I wanted to make sure my bones were encountering enough resistance to harden, and that my joints were able to absorb more force, and my muscles were getting enough resistance to adapt.

The very nature of the program… kickboxing and fight training… lends itself to these goals naturally. I just had to make sure I had the right combination of volume and intensity.

A kickboxer training by punching a sandbag
Photo by Damir Spanic

6. REAL self defense

I’m sorry, but I ain’t down for that cardio-kickboxing namby pamby pitter-patter bullshit! (I don’t mean to discourage anyone who does cardio kickboxing, as a trainer should NEVER discourage anyone who is exercising!)

But I’m sorry…I don’t want to waste my time.
Do you realize for every 3 minutes you’re performing some fluff pattern non-fight B.S. on the bag, that’s 3 minutes you just deprived yourself of becoming better at actually fighting?

Why would anyone do this?
Well, in fairness, some people don’t have a goal of improving their fight game or self defense. That’s ok.
But this system isn’t for them. Most anything you see in one of those “cardio kickboxing” classes will not be found here.
One of my main goals was to keep things authentic. The techniques are real. The mode of practice is real. The habits and disciplines are fight-centered.

Admittedly, there are a few things you’ll be doing in a given month that are more of a “drill” as opposed to actual “fight” practice. But that’s ok. It’s ok to do a good drill every now and then.

7. Avoiding Overtraining, Burnout, and Overuse Injuries

Almost nothing in your workout system- whichever one you use- is more important than avoiding injury.

Overuse injuries, although they come on gradually, can be just as serious as sudden injuries.

Tendonitis, shoulder impingement, sore wrists and hands, overuse of the hip flexors, etc. These workout enemies can set you off your path for a good long while They must be avoided.

I can’t say the above will never happen to you. But it was a primary goal to make sure I systematically decreased that risk down to as low as conceivably possible. Why? Because I am prone to those injuries. And chances are that you may be too.

Burnout is another powerful workout enemy.
Burnout happens when your workouts get stale, uninteresting, uninspiring, and full of the same stuff over and over. You get in a rut. When you combine a rut with intense effort, that is the recipe for burnout.

Over-training happens when you’re going too long, too hard, and/or too frequently.

When you don’t have a true training system, you always be wanting to push yourself past your limits. You can actually feel bad if you didn’t do “one more!” “Come on, one more round!” then, “Ok, just one more!”

There’s no definitive stopping point. How do you know when to stop? You wing it???
That’s not a plan.
(Don’t worry. I have a plan.)

8. No bootcamp exercises!

When I first tried to develop the perfect home exercise program, I found myself not sticking with it. I kept wracking my brain, “WHY am I not sticking with it when I’m designing it myself and can truly create anything I want???”

After a lot of soul searching it hit me: exercise avoidance. I was subconsciously avoiding what I didn’t like. I didn’t even realize that I didn’t like the bootcamp exercises, but wow, when that enlightenment hit, it was life changing.

And then I came to another life-changing realization that I would forever institute in everything I did.

And here is the key to success in an endeavor when you want to be successful, but also happy at the same time:
I realized you can’t try to force yourself to do things you don’t like doing.

To do so pits you in a battle against your own will power. I asked myself, “Is it really necessary to have that struggle? Is it possible to remove anything I dislike doing, and put in its place things I actually like doing??

Sure, the “bootcamp exercises” are good for fitness, but you can accomplish a ton with your body just by doing powerful fight combinations on the heavy bag. You don’t need to countless burpees, and mountain climbers, and pushups, and jumping jacks, and running in place, etc, etc, etc, etc.

You can’t do 6 rounds on the heavy bag and also do a shit ton of “exercises” that are meant to simply drain your energy. What you end up draining is your recovery capacity.

No one has figured this out yet. Until they do, “it’ll be our little secret”.

Just wait until you see how much easier it is to keep up your workouts month after month when you’re not doing a bunch of boring, energy-expending bootcamp exercises. You’re now using that same energy on your fight training and developing skills!

Are you beginning to see the light? You only have so much energy to use. When you’re using it all to fight with, you get a lot better at fighting. You’ve plugged your holes in your energy dispersion. You’re no longer wasting time or energy, and you’re never having to do things you dislike! It’s AMAZINGLY POWERFUL.

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