Think your workplace gets rough? Be glad you don’t face the Anaconda Chokehold as an occupational hazard. And that you’re not, at this moment, staring at Randy Couture in an octagon-shaped fighting cage in front of a screaming crowd.
At 6’2″ and 225 lean pounds, the Ultimate Fighting legend nicknamed “The Natural” isn’t accustomed to whipping guys his own size. Last March, at age 43, he emerged from short-lived retirement to win a UFC crown for an unprecedented fifth time, beating the 6’8″, 260-pound Tim Sylvia in a five-round upset.
“I have passion to compete,” says Couture. The five championship titles he had won since 1997 got him quickly elected to the Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame when he decided to leave the sport in 2006. The honor seemed like a fitting end to an illustrious career. But the former All-American wrestler couldn’t stay out of the octagon.
Coming back as the underdog – and the fact that Couture was 12 years older than his opponent – made his triumph all the more sweet. But the scale and tape couldn’t measure a key weapon that Couture brought to that fight experience: Couture began boxing to round out his fitness while in the Army in his early 20s, and then became a world-class amateur wrestler who won a gold medal at the 1991 Pan American Games.
Years of grappling taught him a few things about competing – especially when the odds are against him. For starters, synchronizing his mind and body through visualization helps him gain an edge over younger fighters, he says. “I picture success and winning,” Couture explains. “The body has a physical response to mental images of winning.”
This helps him stay focused on his goals off the mat, as well, since keeping his 44-year-old body ready to fight requires an unwavering commitment to training. “My work ethic comes from having passion,” he adds. “Training doesn’t feel like work to me.”
Randy Couture’s Diet and Nutrition Contrary to what you may have heard, Couture is not a vegetarian. He is not a low-carb devotee either. Randy follows a balanced diet and tends to mix thing up a bit depending on his training goals. The best way to get in top shape, he’s found, is to never let his body slide too far out of it.
This lets him avoid overtraining to get ready for a bout, which could invite career-ending injuries. “Making training a regular part of my life keeps me from getting hurt,” he explains. “The regularity of my workouts – once a day, 6 days a week, with additional training twice a day leading up to competitions – keeps me from any major downtime.”
Couture finishes his workout sessions with some fighting-specific moves in which he wears a harness attached to a bungee cord, and he rises rapidly off the mat against resistance. Keeping his workouts to a short, intense 30 minutes helps him stay motivated, and he’s quick to change the program when mental fatigue starts to creep in. “I find a new environment to work out in, or a new skill to work on,” Couture says. [via]