We hit the gym with “Killer” Cub Swanson, UFC Featherweight and owner of UFC GYM Costa Mesa, to talk about the road to the Octagon, from fight prep to the importance of proper recovery.
UFC GYM: Tell us about how you prepare for a fight? A lot of people wonder about this process, whether it’s because they enjoy watching the fights, want to compare their own training, or dream of making it as a fighter too.
CS: When I train for a fight or when I prep for a fight it comes in stages. The initial stage is about 4 weeks of just getting in shape, eating a little better – I still do cheat days or cheat meals – but it’s kind of prepping my body for taking it to the next level. Then I try to do 6-8 weeks of intense between 1-3 practices a day with 2 days off a week and making sure I take my body to its limits, and then pull it back, and then doing that repeatedly until I’m ready for the fight. The closer I get to the fight , the less cheat meals I’m taking and the more things I’m cutting out of my diet so that way I’m not mentally strained from like 10 weeks out.
UFC GYM: Is recovery a part of your training plan? Any tips?
CS: Recovery is huge especially, I’m 35, I’ve been doing this for 15 years and so recovery is everything. Sleep, number one. I have to have at least 8 hours of sleep. And then I have all kinds of tools at my house I’ve built up. I have massaging machines, I have cupping tools, I have ice packs, I have heating pads. I go to cryotherapy, I get massages. I do everything that I need to do to make sure that I’m back to 100%. One thing that bums me out is alcohol. Alcohol actually slows your recovery process, your sleeping. Having a wine or beer before I go to bed is not going to help. So cutting things out like that.
UFC GYM: Putting your body through grueling workouts, dedicating a lot of time to training, especially as you get closer to a fight, where do you find motivation?
CS: For me, my motivation has always been trying to beat the guy that I was yesterday, or last month, or last year. So I’m always comparing myself to- how did I feel last camp? Or when I had my best performance- how did I feel, what was I doing? And trying to either recreate that or beat that. Myself. That’s my biggest opponent. Looking in the mirror. As long as I can be better than the guy yesterday, I’m still growing.
UFC GYM: Most of us can only dream about it. Can you tell us what it’s like to enter the Octagon for a fight?
CS: Stepping into the Octagon can be any emotion cause it depends where you’re at, but you’re also gonna be feeling different ones. Your'e gonna feel excited. You’re gonna be like Hell Yeah I’ve been working so hard for this. You can feel pressure. You can feel not wanted. You could be boo’d by 20,000 people. So, you could be feelin’ all types of things. The key is no matter what comes at you that you’re focused, that you remember your training on what you’ve been doing the entire camp, and then going out there and performing and at the end of the day as long as you get your hand raised, it doesn’t matter.
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