MMATRAINING.COM: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in coaching high performance athletes.
ERIC WONG: I started training BJJ in 2000 at Joslin’s in Hamilton where Jeff Joslin was the instructor. But when I moved to go to University, I stopped training.
Fast forward to 2004 – after I finished my degree I moved back to Hamilton. I’d been following MMA since 2000 and knew that Jeff was fighting professionally. I also knew that he didn’t do a lot of strength and conditioning work, so I approached him, showed him what I’d do for him if we worked together, and he started training with me regularly.
After his first fight with me as his strength and conditioning coach, he felt better than he’d ever felt before, training less than he did before, so other guys asked him how he did it and he referred them to me.
MT: What sets you apart from other strength and conditioning coaches?
EW: One big thing is that I always take an eagle’s eye view of the athlete’s situation and create the program starting from the day they approach me to their fight based on that broad overview.
I look at every other aspect of training they are doing such as their MMA classes, BJJ, wrestling, etc, and help to organize the entire program so that physically, they are at their for every training session. For example, if they have an important sparring session on Friday nights, I’m going to schedule the workouts so they’re not sore and have tons of energy to spar hard. Sparring well gives fighters confidence which is huge, so they need to be ready and fresh for those sessions.
But for a BJJ session where they’re focusing more on technical aspects and don’t need to have a lot of power or gas, they can work hard in a conditioning workout on the same day.
There are a ton of different situations like this for a mixed-martial artist because of all of the training required to excel in the sport.
MT: Who are some athletes you’ve worked with in the past or currently work with?
EW: I’ve personally worked with Jeff Joslin, Ray Penny, Rory McDonnell and JC Cuzzin, as well as a bunch of MMA fighters and BJJ players through my seminars and through my Strength and Conditioning book. I’m also currently working with some fighters online where I create the programs for them that they do on their own and adjust it based on their feedback.
I also run a Fitness and Boxing gym in Oakville, Ontario so I’m working with some amateur boxers there as well.
MT: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing fighters in terms of improving their conditioning?
EW: There’s a lot of confusion out there with respect to strength and conditioning – there are a lot of voices out there saying different things and a lot of times guys jump from one thing to the next.
One of the biggest problems is that fighters don’t follow a set program. Getting a program and having your program progress and build you up to the fight is huge. Fighters for the most part have an amazing work ethic and ability to train with intensity, but because they don’t have the program, they’re often not progressing their training properly to peak for the fight.
I mean, if you tell them they should be smashing their head into a wall for 3 sets of 10, they’ll do it, that’s why I love training fighters. But usually they get too caught up in the mindset of “If I’m puking, that’s the best workout” and just do workouts that will make them puke all the time.
Each fight they should be a little stronger, more explosive, and have better gas, but often without the program, they’ll miss out on one or two of the components because they won’t do the proper workouts in the right order, then taper to maximize their physical fitness for the fight.
MT: You’ve already established a program for MM fighters at http://www.ultimatemmastrength.com/ but now youre coming out with a new program. Tell us about the goal of the new program.
EW: The new program is based on my experience as a MMA Strength and Conditioning Coach to pro fighters and the time that I’ve spent working with regular people who want to get a lean, athletic body. It’s called the MMA Ripped Fat Loss Program.
I used to train clients a lot more for fat loss and general fitness, and a big thing that I found was that they just didn’t enjoy their workouts so much. When I started learning MMA myself and developing programs for fighters, I started to integrate some of the techniques and program design concepts to help people get fit and shed fat. When I did this, my clients not only got better results, but they started liking the workouts a lot more because they were setup differently and they were performing real MMA techniques. Plus, a bunch of people who were just looking to get in shape and train like a fighter got my book that’s created just for fighters, but it doesn’t work for them because it’s tailored specifically to pro fighters and their needs.
So I put this program together for all those people who like MMA or want to train like a fighter for fitness. I’m really proud of this program and I think it’ll help people get great results and have more fun working out. It’s got everything a person needs to get ripped like a pro fighter, and all of the exercises have videos, not just pics and descriptions.
The MMA Ripped Fat Loss Program launches on Monday, Feb 2nd, and I’m running a promo offer until Thursday, Feb 5th, where I’m throwing in a few different workout bonuses and other things because I’m really proud of the program and want to celebrate its launch. I also want to help a select few people by giving them access to me to coach them through the program. You can check it out at http://www.mmaripped.com. It’s going to help MMA fans enjoy their workouts and stick to them, instead of working out for a month or two, then getting bored and giving up.
MT: How can an athlete get a hold of you to train? Either at your gym or 1 on 1 sessions?
EW: If a fighter wants to train with me 1-on-1, I suggest they send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org telling me about their goals, when their next fight is going to be, and what their biggest conditioning problem is.
If they’re located in the Oakville area, they can get in touch with me with the same info and we can then set up a meeting at the gym I run called Prime Time Personal Fitness & Boxing, where we can go more in depth and I can actually assess them and create the program based on that info as well. I’m not taking any general fitness clients right now, so if they want to get on the program I’ve created for that goal, then they should go to www.mmaripped.com and get the new program.