The Ultimate Fighter LIVE Week 5 – TEAM CRUZ Coach Doug Balzarini
It was definitely nice to stay out in Vegas and not have to deal with the long drive this week. I miss not getting back to work with my San Diego clients but I know they are working hard and getting their “homework” done.
We are pretty much in a solid routine at this point…good breakfast in the morning, TUF show training, team training at Throwdown, lunch, second TUF show training, second team training at Throwdown, dinner, pass out. Repeat the next day. It’s a long grind but the guys are all working hard and getting better every week.
Monday started off with a big veggie omelets for Dom & I and then the guys on TUF had a hard sparring session. We are over a month in and you can definitely see the pressure getting to some of these guys. It was a heavy handed sparring session for sure. I can’t imagine having no contact with the outside world…lots of tension for these guys to deal with. Everyone was cool after practice and we were off to Throwdown. Most of the guys worked on BJJ techniques and I did some bag work and then joined up with Forrest Griffin for a hard sprint session. We hung out and talked shop (MMA and nutrition mostly) after practice. He’s a funny dude and a cool guy to chat with. 45 minutes at home for a shower and lunch (chicken, potato, asparagus) and then back to TUF. They worked on cage control and techniques and I stretched out a couple guys that were tight. Back at Throwdown the guys boxed and I went through a 45 minutes strength session that consisted primarily of deadlifts, rows, floor presses, and TRX ab work. Dinner Monday night was salmon, rice, and broccoli.
They sparred for a bunch of rounds and I hit the bag for 3 rounds and got a strength training session in. After morning practice, it was back to Costco and Whole Foods to load up the kitchen again with food. I won’t tell you how much we spend on groceries, but I’m saying I could feed a family of 4 with the amount of food the Champ eats. It seems my life out here is spent in either a gym or a grocery store. For the record, the Whole Foods out here is pretty nice. I went back to the condo, cooked up some food, and then hit up Throwdown to put a bunch of guys throw a training session. Some of the guys included UFC fighter Ross Pearson, Bellator Lightweight Champ Mike Chandler, Wilson Reis, Mark Ellis, and a few others. We went through a full-body training session and finished up with a couple 300 yard shuttle runs. After a tough strength training session, the 300′s are tough. None of the guys broke 60 seconds today but they are real close. We got home around 9pm and Dom had to head out for a bunch of interviews. I stayed in and had some leftovers for dinner. I’m really taking advantage of the Vegas nightlife!
At Throwdown, the guys wrestled and I did some of their drills and finished up with bag work (As you can see by now, I like to hit things that don’t hit back). We cruised home for lunch and then back to the TUF set for a strength and conditioning session. The session included:
1. Dynamic Warm up
2. Medicine Ball Work
3. 2 Strength Complexes
- Squats, Pullups, Slams, Rotations
- Box Jumps, Rows, Sledgehammer work, TRX Supermans
4. Finisher – 10 second dynamic mode sprints with heavy dummy carries
On Wednesday night at Throwdown, I ran another strength & conditioning session for a couple guys. Basically, I have one group that I’m training on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday and the other group that I train on Wednesday/Saturday. The weekday sessions are a bit more “strength” based while the Saturday group session is a metabolic circuit for all the guys. Tonight, I ran Dom and AJ Matthews through a strength session that included deadlifts, plyos, presses, rows, ab work, and the 300 shuttle to finish up. Like the group on Tuesday, they both got close to breaking the one minute mark, but neither did. I suspect they will both get it in a couple weeks time. Dinner tonight was grass-fed burgers with home-made cajun-flavored potato wedges, squash, and a big salad.
Thursday started off with blueberry buckwheat pancakes and organic bacon for Dom and then we hit the TUF set for a sprint workout for the guys. The sprint workout we have them do is one of the toughest “cardio” sessions you could ever experience. It’s extremely challenging but it’s done quick so there’s a trade-off. It’s classic interval training at its finest. At Throwdown, most of the guys sparred while Jeremy Stephens and I went through a quick strength training session and then hit up sprints…30 on, 30 off with a 10% incline and the speed anywhere between 8.0 and 9.0. We made it through 15 sets and I was hurting. Trying to keep up with these MMA animals is either going to get me into great shape or kill me…
I crawled home for lunch and Dom and I had a huge shrimp salad with all the fixin’s. He also had another burger and more veggies (I have no idea where he puts all this food) and then he took off back to the TUF set for weigh-ins. I skipped out on weigh-ins tonight as I had some emails and paperwork to catch up on.
The Thursday night Throwdown strength training session included Ross Pearson, AJ Matthews, Mark Ellis, and others. Our primary lifts were goblet squats and pullups while our accessory lifts were rows, pushups, and ab work. We finished up with a couple rounds of broad jumps…AJ is the current leader at 9′ 3″.
Friday morning at TUF we went over 1/2 guard techniques and I was a “dummy” for strong Vinc Pichel. He choked me out over 50 times in the session…my neck is still a little sore. At Throwdown Training Center, the guys worked on cage drills so I hit the bag and Ross showed me some drills to work on.
Back at TUF for the big match between our boy, Jeremy Larsen, and Team Faber’s athlete, Michael Chiesa.
I stretched Jeremy out, he hit pads with Ross, and then we were on the set ready for war. Our game-plan heading into the fight was to defend take-downs, keep your back to the cage, and to be active on our feet. We weren’t worried about Chiesa on his feet and just wanted to try to keep him off of Jeremy. Unfortunately, Chiesa’s take-downs were tough and he was able to control the cage throughout the 2 rounds. Despite a knee in the first which cost Chiesa a point, he won a unanimous decision. Jeremy is a tough kid and showed a lot of heart. He has no quit in him at all and should definitely keep his head up. We went home and I watched the show on TV…I like to see the “side-stories” that the show decides to edit and run…this week was primarily about Chris Tickle. I’ll save my thoughts on Chris until next week…he’s a heck of an athlete with a ton of potential.
Saturday started with eggs and buckwheat pancakes and then we hit TUF for a wrestling practice. The guys were in positive spirits, despite the loss and now being 2-2 with Team Faber. I still like our chances in the competition as we still have a couple studs left to do battle. After practice, I put Dom and 5 other guys through a metabolic circuit at Throwdown. A quick shower and lunch at Chipotle (love that place) and then right back to TUF. We went over more BJJ techniques and I was lucky enough to be a dummy once again. After practice, Master Lloyd insisted we hit this place called, Hot & Juicy Crawfish. I was hesitant at first, but I have to say that the Blue Moon and couple pounds of King Crab Legs were amazing. Being an old man, I went back to the condo and called it a night. A few of the guys went out and hit the strip…Ahh to be young.
I’ll pick it up again next week!