Have you ever wanted to know what a UFC champion eats and how they train on their off camp? We did! So we asked UFC Featherweight Champion and CMBT Athlete, Alex Volkanovski and this is what he said...
Q: Is the champ ever “off-camp” or do you feel the pressure to stay fight ready all year round?
A: I train all year round to stay fit, but I don’t want to be at my peak all year round - I like to peak one or two weeks before my fight. I always want to be able to step it up as I get closer to the fight, so I want to stay in good shape and not far off where I want to be, but I never want to be at my peak until it’s time. Now, while I don’t have a fight, the pressure’s off. If I need to have a couple of days off here and there I can, but I still want to be in the gym as much as I can too.
Q: If you don’t have a fight coming up, what does your training routine look like?
A: I still have a full schedule when I don’t have a fight coming up. I’ll do anywhere from 2 - 4 sessions a day. Some days I’ll do strength in the morning and then I’ll do the normal training schedule we have at the gym. But, again, the pressure’s off so there’s no really hard work (like spiders and VO2 Maxes). We still want to stay sharp but we don’t want to be breaking ourselves too early, especially when we’re out of camp.
Q: How many times a week do you spar and do you believe in sparring at 100% effort?
A: I spar around 2 times a week. One of them may be Saturdays where we spar harder than the Monday, but never at 100%. I think 100% is silly, it’s not healthy and I believe you need to learn during sparring as well. You want to be able to try new moves and if you’re going 100% you can’t take much risk because someone’s trying to knock your head off! It doesn’t make any sense. You want to be able to evolve and sparring 100% all the time is going to make it very difficult to do that.
Q: What’s your diet in your off camp? Do you still focus on hitting any specific targets?
A: I don’t actually have numbers that I try and hit. I try and stay pretty healthy. Again, there’s no pressure so I’ve got a bit of freedom. However, usually during the week while I’m training I like to eat reasonably clean and on the weekends I like to enjoy myself, which I pretty much do right up until a few weeks out from my fight. My weekends are usually pretty free. I lose a lot of the weight during the week and I try not to go too crazy on the weekends but I still tend to do that sometimes, especially when I don’t have a fight coming up. On the Monday, eating here and there turns into a few days but in saying that, that’s the beauty of no pressure and no fight coming up! I don’t have to stress about it because I can take the weight off pretty easily.
Q: When do you use CMBT supplements and what for?
A: I use CMBT supplements pretty regularly. Almost every morning, especially on early mornings and I still like to have my smoothies, even though I have to wake up and pretty much go straight to training. I like to at least have a Reload shake, so I’m having the protein a fair bit. In fight camp I use the whole range of CMBT products but especially the protein - I use that all year round.
Q: What’s your favourite CMBT supplement and flavour?
A: I’ll have to go with the salted caramel RELOAD protein. Tasty, so that’s always good in my shakes. Nice and sweet - that’s how I like them!
CMBT RELOAD comes in three delicious flavours: chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel. Click here to shop now.
Q: What’s the biggest tip you could give to an aspiring combat sports champion that you wish you knew before you were a champion?
A: When you’re a champion, people are going to want a piece of you - which is a good thing. You want to be able to work with people and have more opportunities. However, it’s important to make sure you have the right people around you to help you make the right decisions, to make sure that you don’t get taken advantage of, and to have people you can trust. Trust can be a big issue. For me, that’s something that I’m always worried about. That’s why I believe it’s crucial to have the right people around to look after you. You know that when you make a decision all parties are happy and that will make you more comfortable and confident. I believe that this is absolutely key.
Keep up with Alex on Instagram @alexvolkanovski.