"Hi, I have been reading some articles (not all yet) of yours on Bodybuilding.com. As a fellow Police Officer (just 3 years) I appreciate reading articles regarding police fitness by someone who has been there, done that.
"I am currently only lifting weights with minimal cardio right now. I like the idea of the HIIT cardio, and will do that from now on.
"My question is regarding training, specifically to martial arts. I love to train with weights and want to continue to gain mass and functional strength, but I also want skill and training. I love the idea of doing some MMA training, Muay Thai, etc. but have not enrolled into any programs yet. I am afraid those courses will be ‘too much’ and ‘unnecessary.’ They will also burn a tremendous amount of calories which will hinder my weight training/gaining mass. I was thinking more of a Judo or Aikido approach, where the workouts won’t burn your through thousand plus calories everyday.
"Does this at all make sense? Do I have this all wrong? I think I can keep the body going full speed with training Aikido or Judo along with an all out intensive weight training program. I am having a hard time believing I will be able to maintain an intensive weight program with full time MMA/Muay Thai training. What do you recommend?"
- D. Walden
My Answer: It’s funny, I’m in the middle of writing an article on strength training for MMA. Anyway, from what I sense in your email, you want to attain some fight skills, but compromising your size and muscle is not an option. It really depends on how much time and effort you want to devote to each activity. If your physique is your main priority (be honest with yourself now!) and you’re dabbling in MMA, then obviously you’re going to make more progress in bodybuilding and your MMA skills are going to suffer. If it’s the other way around where you value your DT skills more than being big and muscular, then obviously you have to scale back on the weights.
Now you would be mistaken that judo is less physically intense than MMA or Muay Thai. Grabbing opponents, slamming people to the mat, rolling on the mat and falling on to the mat are all very taxing on the body.
Aikido is no cakewalk, but it isn’t as physically demanding as other martial arts. Just look at Steven Seagal these days. A lot of moves in DT are based on aikido, so you will find them more relevant to the job. It’s very training intensive, however, meaning you have to practice the moves over and over, more so than the striking arts.
Bottom line: Try aikido; see if you like the art and if the instructor is any good. In my experience, there aren’t very many good aikido instructors around who can teach aikido for real world situations. If you go with a different martial art, then scale back on the weights.