Do Martial Arts Training and Sports Affect Strength Gains?

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One of the great facets of Kinobody is that it doesn’t require you to live in the gym. Three strength training sessions per week suffice for tremendous gains. What about those days in between? One of the questions people frequently ask us is whether it’s acceptable to do martial arts training or other conditioning work for sports. Will this interfere with your workout recovery?

The Truth About Martial Arts Training and Other Sport Workouts

MMA is at the peak of its popularity. This is partly thanks to prominent faces like Ronda Rousey and the brash and Mayweather-esque Conor McGregor. More people are getting involved with martial arts training or at least some aspect of it, such as jiu-jitsu, wrestling, or muay thai. The same people may or may not compete depending on their level of aspiration.

Others may prefer traditional martial art styles, such as karate, tae kwon do, or hapkido. Some may aspire to be like Bruce Lee and train to flow like water.

As you may know, with any Kinobody program, you train three days a week on non-consecutive days. If you were to adhere to a typical Monday-Wednesday-Friday training protocol, is it acceptable to train for boxing or grappling on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends?

YES, it is!

If you keep up with MMA, then you should be familiar with more than a handful of professional world-class fighters with insane physiques. Think of Alistair Overeem, Yoel Romero, Hector Lombard, Tyron Woodley, Georges St. Pierre, Sage Northcutt, and even the 50-plus-year-old Randy Couture. These guys are at the very pinnacle of their sport. Yet, they’re absolutely chiseled and muscular despite having to do tons of conditioning training for boosting their stamina. This is a non-negotiable part of the sport. If you gas out too early in a fight, you’re going to get pummeled.

Kinobody for Servicemembers

We also get similar questions from active servicemembers. Just about every military base has a gym. Many enlistees would like to do a lean bulk but fear their required daily morning PT run or rucksack march may get in the way of muscle recovery.

As with sports training, military fitness exercises consist of mainly running, body calisthenics, and fieldwork. You need not worry about any of these.

Beyond sports training and the military, similar concerns have also come from dancers, construction workers, house movers, and swimmers. Please rest assure that you don’t have to sacrifice any of these jobs or recreations. A course like the Super Hero Bulking Program absolutely leaves room for other physical-oriented activities.

Does Sports Training Inhibit Workout Recovery?

Some people who try to put on muscle may abandon a sport they were previously playing. This is due to concern that the extra conditioning may cause their body to over work and interfere with muscle recovery.

While it’s true that excessive cardio can burn muscle, a biweekly martial arts training session or other sports activity will unlikely get in the way of muscle growth.

In fact, there is a theory that light endurance work may even aid in workout recovery. After a heavy lifting session, the muscle fibers are worn and damaged. This is why you may feel sore for a day or two after. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

The muscle recovery process is a complex one. To simplify it, the body relies on two mechanisms. It relies on substances (e.g. protein and other nutrients) to repair the muscle while also shuttling out waste stored in the muscle. Conditioning work may expedite the latter process.

Of course, we’re not advocating that you deliberately do cardio just for this effect. Too much cardio can be catabolic. However, a few conditioning drills or a high-pace game of basketball isn’t going to anywhere near kill your gains.

This 2013 study debunked the notion that moderate cardio compromises muscle hypertrophy. It showed aerobic activity prior to resistance training had no adverse effect on muscle growth or performance.

When Sports Training Does Inhibit Recovery

We should stress, though, that training for sports may inhibit muscle recovery if you train on a near full-time basis. Some pro athletes may train five to six hours a day, five to six days a week. If you’re training to this extreme, then yes, your body may not have ample time to recover from your anaerobic workouts. As stated, though, unless you’re inspiring to become a pro, it’s unlikely you have the time anyways to train for that insane amount of time.

It’s also possible to compromise your workout recovery if leisure activities also involve strength training. If you play football, for example, your coach may have you do a heavy kettlebell workout for developing explosive power on the field. In this instance, yeah, your muscle recovery might take a hit.

Kinobody Courses Are Flexible

This is what makes Kinobody so sweet. It offers enough flexibility for you to engage in other hobbies you enjoy. If you enjoy martial arts training, hockey, or even a crazy pastime like parkour, then by all means sign up for a class.

By following our course, you’ll never feel like you have to make any sacrifices. You won’t be training six days a week, eating every two hours, and sticking only to “clean” foods. Maintaining an awesome physique shouldn’t feel like a full-time job, nor should you feel like you’re losing your freedom in order to abide by traditional muscle building or fat loss principles.

Don’t Be So Focused on the Outcome

If you want to do martial arts training, do it. If you want to try your hand at hip hop dance, do it. If you want to scale Mount Freakin’ Everest, then go for it.

The Kinobody programs are all about building the body of your dreams. However, we don’t want you to be so focused on the end result that you treat the journey as a means to an end. Learn to take pleasure in the present moment. We know we’re getting into a little bit of Zen here, but we are advocates of finding a happy medium between fitness and all other areas of your life. We believe fitness becomes counterproductive the minute you’re no longer enjoying the process.

Greg O'Gallagher

Greg O'Gallagher is the founder of Kinobody, a site dedicated to helping men and women achieve the lean, muscular, and aesthetic "Hollywood" physique. His fitness programs have helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and change their lives in the process.

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