A few nights ago at the gym I had a sort of epiphany.
I am so used to running, biking, practicing Muay Thai and training our fighters at the gym that my cardio is huge at this point. I really hadn't thought much about it. I think the reason that I haven't thought much about it is that on the fight team we are all on a pretty high level of fitness. Holding pads is no easy task - it is actually quite a workout when done with a professional fighter. And some of the insane things I have been doing with MMA padholding (shooting and wrestling with pads) are adding to the workouts.
My epiphany came when we had a new fighter come into the gym for training. He hadn't done anything yet that evening. I had already done an hour of strength training, one hour of MT class and an hour of padholding and sparring with fighters. I was my usual sweaty mess, but none the worse for wear. The head instructor told me to pair up with the new guy and go "four threes no counters" (four rounds of three minutes each, with only techniques coming from the guy hitting the pads, no fighter defense and no padholder hitting back or kicking). This is somewhat of a vacation for me as I am now used to the five minute rounds (all out) that the MMA guys need for their training. So I said OK and got to work with the new guy.
This guy was totally gassed after about the first two minutes, and I was taking it very easy on him. He struggled through the last minute of his first round - and I had to encourage him A LOT to get him through it. After the bell went off he was totally gasping for air. I simply stopped, put my hands on my hips and looked at him (I said to myself in my head "huh"). I almost felt sorry for the guy. But part of the job of the pad holder is to encourage and motivate - so I told him not to worry, he would get there. The bell went and he huffed and puffed through the second round. This time the guy let out an audible sigh of relief at the end of the round and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Again I told him to take it easy, "you can't get in shape after one night". I went even slower the third round - it was almost painful how slow I had to go, but this guy was a wreck. He kept dropping his hands, he stopped frequently to gasp for air, and at the end I think my daughter could have kicked his a@@.
At the break of this round I thought my fighter was going to puke. The head instructor happened to be nearby and asked me how things were going. I said "He Can't Go Another Round". After a little more discussion the head instructor and myself agreed that pushing this guy any further would have been counter productive. I wasn't even breathing hard.
I have to admit, it was pretty cool to see a young guy be brought to his knees by a 39 year old man and I was taking it easy on him. I couldn't stop smiling on the way home.
Hope he gets in shape soon. Either that or he will run screaming from the gym. And me in particular.