Hard Core! Real CrossFit! Extreme Fitness! : all terms we hear all the time in the fitness world (along with Swole, Shredded, Ripped, etc). I will beg the question today….what is Hard Core? It seems like a simple question to answer. It is a “you know when you see it”l type thing. People screaming, hands ripping, people barely able to stand up at the end, a coach screaming in their face for one more rep, etc. Well, I will go on record saying that the term Hard Core has been stolen and stripped of its meaning as a way to qualify rusty equipment, coaches that only know how to yell and make noise, and mask intensity for progress. At 16 or 17 years old, CrossFit and HardCore fitness is in it’s adolescence “and like adolescent teenagers, they think they know everything, they don’t listen, and they make a lot of mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes is the “evolution” of competition/intense training. Trainers and coaches are continually looking for the latest and greatest ways to improve their athletes, but it’s teetering on ridiculous with a hint of dangerous. “These champions are basically unbreakable. You can’t injure them, can’t break them, can’t defeat them.” Rooney adds that wrestlers are also the best weight cutters of them all. “For a wrestler, dropping 25 pounds in a few days is just par for the course. Other fighters can find that really challenging.” For Regular Dudes: Not much to say here, other than if you’re thinking of being a great MMA fighter, conjure up the spirit of Albert Einstein, build a time machine, and persuade your folks to enroll you in wrestling as a kid. Myth #10: The best way to train for endurance is with endurance work. This is a popular myth that’s desperate for debunking. Rooney says everyone assumes that fighters and wrestlers have outstanding V02 max scores, but they really don’t, at least not in comparison to cross country skiers or the like. “What they do have is incredible strength and as we all know, maximal strength work will also work the aerobic energy system. Between rounds, I’ve never had a fighter say, ‘Wow, he’s got really good endurance.’ But I do hear, ‘Man he’s so much stronger than me’ all the time,” says Rooney. Overwhelming strength can wear you out fast. If two fighters clinch in an isometric hold but one fighter is three times stronger than the other, obviously the weaker fighter will tire first, because at 100% exertion his opponent would only need to be exerting 30%. “Circuits won’t develop significant maximal strength,” says Rooney, “so you get guys who gas in the middle of a guillotine lock. Frankie Edgar is known for his incredible motor. His secret — tons of strength work.” For Regular Dudes: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, heavy basic lifting combined with some sprinting and stretching is a near perfect combination for the average guy looking for an above average physique. Myth #11: You can train MMA and still have your high powerlifting numbers. “I hear this all the time,” says Rooney. “Coach, my bench is going down! Look, you can’t ride two horses with one ass. Although I know some strong MMA fighters, none of them are watching their bench or deadlift go up as a fight approaches.” Rooney says it boils down to deciding what you want. If you want to have an elite total, great! Go for it. If you want to have veins and abs and bring up your brachialis, more power to you. Just don’t think you can excel at those things and excel at fighting. “No boxer has ever been famous for his bench press,” says Rooney. “Deciding to be an MMA fighter could and should be one of the most serious, life-changing decisions you ever make. Respect it as such.” For Regular Dudes: As the old saying goes, pick a goal and work backwards. It’s highly unlikely that if your goal is, “Compete in bodybuilding in 3 years” that, “Submit Ricky from accounting” is one of the targets along the way.