Monday, February 15, 2016

7 fitness tips from the Marines' top athlete, Olympic hopeful

Meet Capt. Bryce Saddoris, the Marine Corps’ Male Athlete of the Year. The 27-year-old is a four-time Nevada state wrestling champion, two-time college All-American, and is the most successful wrestler in Naval Academy history with 147 wins.

The 2015 U.S. Open Greco-Roman champion is ranked No. 1 in the 146-pound weight class. He is a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team (trials will be held in April), and is expected to medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August.

Saddoris is officer-in-charge of the Marine Corps' wrestling team, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The 5-foot, 7-inch wrestler knows a thing or two about fitness. While he typically carries 4- to 6-percent body fat, that will drop to near-zero for competitions.

This is due to a daily training regimen that includes two intense workouts totaling six hours that are fueled by a careful and calculated diet. Between wind sprints, he may toss around 100-pound dummies and belt out 120 pull-ups in 10 minutes. This is in preparation for twice-daily, full-on sparring with Marines of similar strength and stature (there is no shadowboxing in wrestling).

It is little wonder that on his team, a 300-point physical fitness test is not a badge of honor — it is a baseline. While the grappler understands that most Marines can't commit to such in-depth workouts, there are ways to improve. Here are Saddoris' top fitness tips:

Discipline yourself

Saddoris’ top advice is that you make a training regimen part of your daily routine. Don't wait until you have time to do it, make it a daily priority. Just as you make time to prepare a uniform or take the kids to daycare, make this a regular part of your day and don't let anything rob you of this time. Repetition will build good habits.

Stretch out

Flexibility provides a lot of athletic "prehab," which will prevent later rehab. This is increasingly important as Marines age and endure injuries. Such preparation is not limited to the stretching of muscles, either. Saddoris warms up his heart and lungs on the treadmill prior to each workout. Get the blood pumping, then the feet thumping. Hydrate right

Water is always your best bet, and you need plenty of it. There is no substitute. Be wary of juices, as many are chock-full of sugars. Sports drinks such as Gatorade are not meant to hydrate, but replenish electrolytes. Avoid sodas, and don't even touch energy drinks.

Cardio, cardio, cardio

You have to get your heart rate up, said Saddoris, who runs 4 to 5 miles daily. “It does no good for a Marine to go in, hit the weights, and walk out.” Use cardio machines to your advantage. He recommends 30-minute interval training that tops out at 80 percent of your recommended max heart rate (determined by age and weight). Follow that with 15 minutes of endurance circuit training with free weights.

Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, Saddoris recommends a 20-minute run at the fastest pace possible. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he suggests a 30-minute run at a slightly slower pace — but still fast enough to raise your heart rate. "Days that you run hard, do a lighter lift afterwards and opposite for the other two [days]," he said. "Other than that most of my workouts are done on the mat or with equipment specific to our sport."

You are what you eat

Crash and fad diets are no good. You need calories to burn calories, but make sure you have the right calories. “You put crap in, you're going to crap out,” he said.

Start the day off by eating breakfast within 15 minutes of waking up. It doesn't have to be much, he said, just something to get your metabolism going. Lunch should be the biggest meal of the day, and Marines should drink as much water as they can handle throughout the day. For dinner, Saddoris said he has a protein like a lightly seasoned chicken breast, a palm-sized serving of quinoa or brown rice, fresh steamed vegetables, and water or a glass of milk. "Try to stay away from foods that are high in carbs at night," he said. "Eat before [8 p.m.] — no snacking afterwards." As for fast food — "yeah, right," he said.

Make sure to recuperate

Get plenty of rest, and give your body time to heal when needed. Saddoris does not take supplements because he is not looking to get bigger. He does take multiple vitamins, fish oil, and strongly recommends glucosamine for joint health.

Don't forget to live life

Don't let your regimen become a burden, otherwise it will be easier to quit. It is okay to have the occasional hamburger. Just keep food in its proper place: it is meant for fuel, not comfort.

article from Military Times

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