Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview- James Thompson MMA Fighter

It's not often I am made to feel like a little girl, you come across some big challenges in the rugby world and some big men. However meeting James "The colossus" Thompson was a whole new experience. 

I am across James at London Shootfighters where he had trained for many years. It was perhaps my second session there, and I watched him doing some live sparing. Not only was he huge but he could also fight. 

While I was missing the boxing Pads, and getting thrown around by a 50 kg wrestler (no joke) he was landing blows and hitting the mark every time on someone almost as big. A scary image.

James Thompson has fought a lot of big names, Kimbo Slice, Alistair Overeem, and Bob Sapp to name a few. He is in talks for a fight but mums the word. He has been out of training for a while after an orbital blow out fracture back in may where he had a Titanium mesh put into support the orbital floor which meant he couldn't spar for a few months as the impact could have caused further injury. 

Any fight news or other project news will be posted on my Facebook & Twitter .

I have found a great crossover between MMA and Rugby. The wrestling elements, the fitness, the functional nature of it all has been great. Plus I am way out my comfort zone, and love to learn new things. I Have asked James to give us an insight into the kind of training he does

Read and Enjoy.


Name- James 'The Colossus' Thompson

Vitals- 50 inch chest / 38 inch waist

Sport - MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

Style - Wrestling & Ground & Pound

How long have you been involved in your sport and how did you get involved.

Been involved in the sport for 10 years now, got involved with MMA after seeing an old UFC video & wanted to have a go.

Did you always want to be a cage fighter

No, being a fairly 'new' sport whilst I was growing up there wasn't much of it around in terms of specialised training camps, so back then I always wanted to be a wrestler

Which fighters did you/do you look up too

I always looked up to Mark Kier, as I liked his style and he was so powerful. Don Frye is another just because of how tough he is

Who had the most influence on your career?

No one really, I just decided to do it and find ways to train the different elements of it (Boxing, Ju Jitsu, Wrestling, Thai boxing). Different people have directed me in certain ways in MMA or gotten me various opportunities to fight in big shows but there isn't one person that has influenced my career as such.

Your greatest sporting moment to date

Fighting in the last ever Pride show where I fought one of my MMA hero's Don Frye

You're obviously a very big man. What are some of training sessions you would use for size building? Can you give examples with rep counts?

Because I'm bit I don't particularly train like that as too much muscle isn’t helpful in MMA and would hinder my performance. So, for me I just try to maintain it. I don't really do heavy weights. I'll do something like Randy Couture’s training program which is doing 6 different exercises for 5 reps in a 5 set cycle. It works my whole body, is good for my cardio and maintains my strength without putting on any size.

I'll incorporate the program with some chest exercises, usually 5 reps at a heavy weight (50kg dumbbells), 15 reps at a much lighter weight and I'll finish off with 15 press ups. I'll do 3 sets of these. I'll finish with ab work which varies.

I also do a Kettle bell program once a week to work my whole body & it helps strengthen my core

What were your favourite sessions to do?

I've always enjoyed Wrestling & Ju Jitsu in MMA; I enjoy weight training, kettle bells and even Bikram Yoga. I pretty much enjoy everything apart from when I have to run for cardio

What kind of training gave you the best results?

It depends on what it is I’m trying to achieve. As I don't want to put on more muscle yet still be functional I find explosive movements with weights & kettle bells are the best option

What sort of thing would you do to increase your overall power and things like punching power?

I cut back on body building type training and focus on speed and technique. My boxing coach works on hip movements, holding a correct fist clench and foot work as much as he does getting me to hit the bag hard. Punching power is in the delivery of the strike which means the rest of the body has to work as hard as the punch itself so feet & hips are just as important

Any sessions that are great for you but you hate doing. Things like conditioning.

The worst is the 2 mile run in a quick a time as possible. All of the cardio training is hard when training for a fight but I'm in that 'mode' for 7 weeks so I just get on with it

You have so much to focus on when fighting, wrestling, ground work, stand up. What would a normal training week look like for you?

For a fight 7 weeks out...

2 x per week wrestling

2 x per week Ju Jitsu

2 X per week weights (my Randy Couture program & Kettle bells)

2 x per weeks MMA Sparring

3/4 per week Stand up (including pads)

1 x Bikram yoga

I train 2 - 3 times per day when I'm training for a fight & will include conditioning training & cardio

When I'm not training for a fight, I train once a day, maybe twice, depending on what I need to catch up. Maintaining fitness makes the next lot of fight training easier

Conditioning plays a massive role for a fighter; it’s always hard for a bigger guy. What kind of things would you do, what kind of fitness targets would you need to get. Like 3k in under 12minutes.

A 2 mile run (3.5k) my best time = 13.4 seconds

I'll also do my cardio training to time it so that it emulates 3 x 5 minute rounds, like in a fight. So I'll do 5 minutes of hard pads with sprawls and a few other exercises thrown in, 1 minute rest, then Tabata for 5 minutes which involves a jab cross hook, sprawl, & a right kick. I'll do as many of these as I can in 20 seconds have a 10 second rest & repeat this for 5 minutes. I'll then take another minute rest before ground & pounding the heavy bag for 5 minutes while constantly moving.

On my other cardio day I’ll do another Tabata- hitting the bag as quick as I can for 20 seconds, 10 second rest for 5 minutes, then I'll do a circuit with around 6 different stations that have 6 different exercises such as chin ups & sprawls, I'll do 1 rep on each station to start and increase it 1 rep each time I complete a circuit. I do this for 5 minutes. I keep a note of how many reps I managed to work up and my goal is to beat those reps the next time I do it.

What drills do you use to help maintain your movement?

I do a lot of different footwork drills & general body weight movements in wrestling like sit through's. It keeps me agile as well as Bikram Yoga once a week.

If you had a week to prepare for a fight, what sort of things would you do, what sessions would you include? I.e. pads, jujitsu technique sparing. To make you feel your best.

More often than not, unless I'm really fit and ready I'd never take a fight on a weeks’ notice, there is no way you can fit everything you need in to 1 week to make sure you'd feel ready and it's not enough time to tailor training for a particular fighter My training has to adapt to whoever my opponent is. If I had to do this (hypothetically) I'd just have to fit in as much as I could depending on the opponent and fit in some heavy sessions of praying.

Do you, or have you been involved in any other sports, if so could you have gone pro.

I played Rugby only at school level & a little bit for fun when I was younger. I was quite good and enjoyed the game but there are too many injuries

Diet is key for keeping you in shape. How is yours and how seriously do you take it.

I put on weight very quickly, muscle & fat so I have to take my diet very seriously. When I haven’t got a fight then obviously I don't take it as seriously but still, I don't like getting too out of shape and overweight. When I have an upcoming fight I'll really watch it, maybe just have 1 cheat meal on a Sunday, limit carbs after 6pm, increase my protein, 6 smaller meals spread throughout the day (including protein shakes) Green veg, fresh juices & lots of supplements (amino's, cla, omegas etc)

What are your favourite foods?

All meats, if you were to put that meat in a pie then I'd be even more happy

Any go to meals or shakes you love pre or post training.

I like 'good' carbs if I know I'm going to be sparring I find a protein shake with oats in the morning sets me up for a training session, then a protein shake and electroloite drink post training

2 tips that people can introduce into their training programmes that will show results. Like something for their weights program. Boxing or conditioning.

When you're setting out your training routine it's easy to go 'over the top'. Make sure you set out a realistic training schedule and make sure you match 'heavy' days with 'light' days e.g. sparring with Pads or technical Ju Jitsu technical & light. That way you'll get more out of training

2 tips people can add to their diet to get James Thompson fighters body.

Having a goal is important but also keep in mind that we're not all built the same way. Having a body like an athlete should be an inspiration but everyone is different and can achieve the best results for them through dedication and eating well. I do what works for me in my sport. I've tried cutting out all carbs to make my body go into ketosis but training the way I do, it made me feel weak in training sessions and often I'd feel dizzy. So my advice is including good carbs, protein & veg. Have a cheat meal or day one day a week as you need something to look forward to. And try a kale shake in the morning: 2 handfuls of Kale, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sticks celery, thumb size portion of fresh ginger, table spoon of coconut oil, 3 table spoons of Oil blend, Pineapple, 1 apple. (The kale won't go through my juicer so I blend it with some of the celery and apple juice then add it to the rest of the juiced ingredients)

If you are going to let you hair down and chill what would you eat. On your day off

Steak & Kidney Pie, Potato Waffles, strawberry milkshake, Chocolate brownies with Ice cream for afters

What would you do in terms of diet the day leading into a fight?

I keep it light, I don't really worry about what I eat but rather how much and how heavy the food is whilst making sure I have enough energy for the day. Pasta is a good choice, but a few hours before the fight

Your favourite afternoon snack.

If I'm training hard then a low fat protein flapjack, or a wholemeal pitta with roast chicken

What's your view on supplements?

I feel supplements are the icing on the cake, if you’re eating right, training right, sleeping right then getting the right supplement can improve your energy, performance and recovery

If you take supplements what would they be and how often

CLA for fat loss, Omega Oils, Protein, Amino Acids, ZMA, a good multi vitamin. I take these everyday whether training for a fight or not. I take more if I have a fight coming up

Finally something nobody would know about you.

I went to drama school for 2 years when I was younger, also I can see dead people (don't tell anyone).

If you want to add any supplements to your nutrition program then click here for great deals and discounts.


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