Bo Sandoval is the head strength and conditioning coach at the UFC Performance Institute. He has extensive experience with combat athletes and is now part of the organized team of professionals at the UFCpi. In today’s podcast we discuss his background, experiences and how he using those experiences to add value to the UFC athletes that he is training.
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
- Bo’s Professional Path
- His Introduction to Combat Athletes
- Working at the Olympic Training Center
- Taking the Job at the UFCpi
- Collaborating with the team at the UFCpi
- Assessing new fighters
- Pillars of programming for an mma fighter
- The roll of the S&C coach in mma
- and much more!
Bo Sandoval brings nearly 15 years of strength & conditioning experience that will provide UFC athletes with a wealth of knowledge while continually aiding in their individual development. He most recently spent eight years (2009-17) at the University of Michigan, with the last six as Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning for Olympic Sports. During his time in Ann Arbor, Sandoval supervised a team of seven coaches while providing services to 170 of the nearly 800 Wolverine student-athletes that competed in 30 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I programs.
Sandoval started his career in 2003 as a graduate assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, MS), spending two years on the Golden Eagles’ staff before becoming the Director of Strength & Conditioning at Belhaven University (Jackson, MS) in 2005. In 2007, he joined the strength & conditioning staff at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While at the USOC, Bo spent two years coaching athletes that competed within Team USA’s acrobat and combat sport-folio, which was comprised of nine sports that included boxing, wrestling, judo, para-judo and taekwondo.
You Also Might Like…
Full Transcription of our Podcast with Bo Sandoval – Strength and Conditioning Coach at the UFC Performance Institute
Corey Beasley [00:00:01]: Hey guys, just Corey Beasley with fight cam conditioning. And today I’m excited to have Bo Sandoval, the head strength and conditioning coach at the UFC performance Institute talking with us. Bo how you doing?
Bo Sandoval [00:00:14]:I’m doing well Corey. Thanks for having me.
Corey Beasley [00:00:16]: Of course, man. I’m looking forward to talking with you more, but Bo for everybody that’s listening, give them a little 2 cents to who you are and what you’re doing out there?
Bo Sandoval [00:00:25]: Sure. Yeah, my name is Bo Sandoval. I’m in the director out here at the performance Institute. We are a high performance training facility for mixed martial artists, particularly in the ultimate fighting championships league. We’ve been open for about 18 months now. So essentially trying to assist the world in developing a high performance, better high-performance scenarios for fighters, both as practitioners, but then also as an information generators. So we’re constantly gathering data and pulling data and statistics around what it takes to win as an MMA fighter in 2018 so heavy task. But a fun one. Indeed. I myself I come from Baton Rouge, Louisiana did undergraduate graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi. I was a strength coach at NAI Presbyterian school in Jackson, Mississippi for a few years before moving on to the United States Olympic committee in Colorado Springs, Colorado where I interacted for the next almost three and a half years with USA wrestling, USA boxing, USA taekwondo and judo as well, a handful of other sports. Those are the critical combat sports that some 10 years later gave me or made me a recruit-able asset for the UFC in this particular role. So I spent the last nine, almost nine years at the university of Michigan and Olympic sports there, working with a variety of sports, including track and field, men’s lacrosse, women’s basketball, swimming and diving and a few others. And now we’ve been, like I said, out here in Vegas for about the last 18 months and loving every second of it.
Corey Beasley [00:02:25]: Nice. So that’s a pretty cool variety of experience. I guess the easy way to say it, but I mean right out of college you were working as a strength coach, is that right? So you had like an internship in that scenario and then you kind of worked your way up or how’d that work out?
Bo Sandoval [00:00:25]:That’s right. When I was at Southern Minnesota, the way I got to Southern Minnesota, I actually, I started out at Northwestern state Louisiana and I had no idea like every other kid in college. I had no idea what I was going to do for a living, had an in state scholarships. So I went to a small Louisiana school up North. And when I got there I applied for an on campus job and they stuck me out at the softball and baseball fields, cutting grass, which was awesome because I cut grass early in the morning. They gave me cash most of the time and then that was my bar money at night. So typical college freshman with no direction. So a few weeks into that, the softball baseball coaches had approached me about being an equipment manager for the athletics department. And they said they could pay me for that. And I said, well, my tuition is already paid for. And they said, well, we can give you a stipend. So I took that deal in a few weeks into that, I started noticing the softball team going down to the weight room. So I’d asked the head softball coach if she minded if I observed them when they went down there and said, no go ahead. So I’d go down, I introduced myself to the strength coach at the time, his name was Stan Livingston. And he would just sit essentially let me be a fly on the wall and watch their sessions. And that eventually turned into a conversation where I was like, Hey, do you mind if I watched the football team and the track team and the baseball team. And so I did that for a few months, mainly observing really no practical experience yet. And the head softball coach took the head job at Southern Mississippi and when she did she said, “Hey, this is closer to your home. It’s only about an hour and a half from Baton Rouge compared to three hours. She was like, could be a good fit for you. It’s a little bigger athletics department. Would you be interested in coming with us? We’ll give you the same deal to be an equipment manager”. And I said, sure, as long as you can get my foot in the door with their strength and conditioning department as soon as we get there. So she had already prearranged and set up a nice little meeting with me and the strength and conditioning staff at Southern Miss. So I sat in and had a chat with them and essentially my end of my freshman year through my senior year of undergraduate, I acted as an intern essentially earning responsibilities semester by semester, year by year as I participated with that program. And then they were gracious enough to offer me a graduate assistant-ship, which took care of my graduate tuition for exercise science and sports management master’s program there. So I continued doing that as well as being a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach. So at a mid-major D, one school like that as a graduate assistant, one of the beautiful things about it is they’re understaffed. So I myself had, I believe it was three or four teams to run myself and then we all assisted with football. We all helped with track and field and we all helped with the basketball programs. I got a lot of experience across about 12 or 13 sports while I was there. And it really kind of helped me I guess prepare me for taking a full time job back then the evolution of this business changes with my experience back then, I would have never hired myself. I would’ve never hired myself to go be a full time coach at an institution working with 18 to 22 year old kids. And, but back then experience was hard to come by. And so that first job that I took, they were looking for a young coach who wasn’t tied down. I was single no wife, no kids yet. And so I was that coach that could work 85, 90 hours a week and not think twice about it. And so it was a good deal for them. It was a great experience for me. It taught me how to manage time and taught me how to manage relationships. I worked with about 14 different head coaches, that first job that I took and managed the facility, which I have renovated the interior of by myself including, you know, I put up cinder block walls to make an office cause there was no office space in there, replaced the floor, painted the room had to go through the whole nine. So it was a tremendous experience for me and kind of helped set me up from a blue collar standpoint to get a world class experience, which was my next step with the Olympic committee.
Corey Beasley [00:07:07]: Yeah. I mean, to be really honest, it sounds a lot like opening a gym to me. I mean, everybody always thinks he’s going to be this glamorous event and when the truth really comes down to it, you better get used to working your tail off because that’s what you got to do. So it’s good to hear. So you did, you moved on to the Olympic training center had that door open what that kind of looked like?
Bo Sandoval [00:07:31]:I had a friend of a friend who applied for an internship out at the training center in Chula Vista, California. And this kid happened to be the kid who took the GA position behind me at Southern Miss when I left. Now this was a couple of years down the road. I knew of his name, but didn’t really know him too well. And I guess got to return the favor of setting him up pretty in that position. While he was an intern at Chula Vista, he had caught wind that they were hiring coordinators in Colorado Springs. So he had shot me a friendly message and saying, “Hey, I don’t know if you’d be interested in something like this, but from everything I’ve heard this would be a good fit for you, so check it out”. So I checked with some of my mentors and they were like, yeah, this could be a great learning opportunity, good coaching opportunity. So I just applied cold and back then the way they were doing it was a pretty rigorous process. I don’t know if it’s still the same today, but I went through two or three different phone interviews with different personnel from across the country within the Olympic committee and then eventually was granted an onsite visit and interview process, which will include it your standard Q and A boardroom type interviews, along with the practical session where they actually had me and I was unprepared, there was no heads up or itinerary and was heading toward that, the women’s indoor national volleyball team who was at the time getting ready for a world cup final leading into the preparations for the 2008 Olympic games this was in the beginning of 2007. They were like, they’re in for a training session, can you take them through a warm up? So that was part of my interview process. Had to take a bunch of girls that I’d never met some names that I was familiar with because they were pretty high level collegiate players. And actually one of them ended up being a girl that graduated from my high school about 15 years before I did. So she was the oldest player on the team, I think at the time getting ready for a third Olympics. She was 43 years old. So quite the spectrum of personalities and athletes. But it was a cool interview process. And then I don’t know, probably four and a half-ish months after the process. It started from the first phone call. They gave me a shout and, and offered me a position. So 26 years old at the time I was proud as punch and jumped all over it.
Corey Beasley [00:09:57]: Yeah, of course you did, so you go from Southern Mississippi with collegian athletes, variety of different athletes. Now you’re at the Olympic training center. I would think probably a higher caliber players and then moving, a lot more into that combat sports realm with the wrestlers, the boxers, judo, taekwondo, that type of stuff. What that look like for you? I mean, is it a shock to the system? Or it take some adjustment or how’d that work?
Bo Sandoval [00:10:27]:At first I was a little intimidated there were, aside from the combat sports, there were a variety of sports that were being hosted there as resident athletes that I just wasn’t familiar with. Like a modern pentathlon, synchronized swimming, men’s and women’s water polo. That’s a traditionally a West coast sport, European sport. And you don’t see water polo very often in Louisiana. So all the new things getting exposed to, they had a cool program at the time where once a month as employees, we had the ability to go and train with certain national teams that were on campus. So that gave me the chance to get familiar with some of the sports like water polo and figure skating and wrestling and even pistol shooting and pistol rifle and shotgun shooting. So I took advantage of those kinds of things. And then the way we were set up was we had sport folios. So you think of the several dozen sports that are in the Olympic Games the US Olympic committee had them categorized into sport folios. So as I was being hired, I was placed into the Acrobat and combat sport folio, meaning all sports that were either acrobatic or combative in nature. So for the most part, for me with being at the site I was working at in Colorado Springs, that was predominantly wrestling, judo and boxing. We didn’t have a resident program for taekwondo. So they would come in like on training camps and we would work with those guys. Same thing with fencing. They would come in on training camps and we’ve worked with them periodically throughout the year. A lot of remote programming, that kind of stuff. And then on the acrobat of side, diving as well as men’s and women’s gymnastics and figure skating were the ones that kind of fell in our lap. So a variety of sports I would say not only the physicality but understanding the psychology that went into those sports, the nature of scoring those sports between very black and white scoring on something like fencing where there’s an electronic sensor, a sensor built into the suit. So when someone touches you with the saber, that’s a point that you’re scored on to something more subjective like figure skating where it’s much more based on aesthetics and subjective execution. And then you get into the combat sports with the weight cutting element and, and that aspect of weight classes and the psychology that goes into that and the other spectrum of sport performance that goes into that. So that, that was a very enlightening time. There are different philosophies when it comes to those types of sports. As you know, we get them from all different kinds of backgrounds in MMA, but look at the approach and the psychological differences and say, taekwondo compared to wrestling. Taekwondo is a very traditional martial art point, scoring, martial art, speed and agility are our high valued qualities in that sport. It’s all about touching your opponent and how many times can you touch them right within that competition. And then you get on the flip side with the wrestlers particularly freestyle is its own animal, but Greco Roman is a whole nether beast. And the physicality, the grinding of the culture. And I mean, we would have, Fridays were grind match days and the minimum grind match was 60 minutes. So you watch guys that are just nonstop wrestling. It doesn’t matter if you get thrown or there’s a pitfall, it doesn’t matter. You’re back up and you’re going for the full 90 minutes. And so it, you know, the differences in those cultures were very enlightening. So as a strength and conditioning coach, you’re learning physiological attributes that you can supplement with your training, but you’re also at the same time picking up on how to deal and handle those individuals and those teams so that you can actually be a contributing role. And so to have a voice in those venues, you’ve got to understand their world and their culture and how they’re competing and who they’re competing against. So that at some point you have a platform to stand on when you’re actually contributing ideas and generating thoughts around new and better and more efficient methods to prepare.
Corey Beasley [00:14:52]: Yeah, absolutely. I think what the experience that you’ve gone through into a variety of different places and then, we’ll get into what you’re doing now, right after this. But I mean at the Southern Mississippi and the Olympic training center and then on to university of Michigan and having all those different athletes, different coaches, different needs, all the things that you exposed to is such a great learning environment for young coaches where a lot of guys, I think when they’re young, they want to just jump right in and be like, niche themselves into some little, you know, thing like just MMA. But I don’t think that’s always a good idea because they don’t really truly understand how to manipulate all the variables and deal with different types of people. And I think that’s a valuable asset for a strength coach that wants to be really good?
Bo Sandoval [00:15:41]:No question. Yeah, I got really lucky, backtracking a little bit when I was at Southern miss, the head strength coach at the time was a man by the name of Charlie Dudley who came from Oklahoma State. And that first initial interview that I had where I sat down with those guys just begging them to let me just sit in and observe what they were doing, he asked me what I wanted to do for a living. Like, what’s your goal? What do you want to do at the end of all your education? I said, I want to be a head strength coach in the NFL. That was the first thing that came out of my mouth. And he goes, okay. And he goes, why? And I said, I want to work with elite athletes. And he was like, okay. And he goes you certain, like it’s just going to be one sport and that’s going to be it. And I go, well, I think so. And so his advice to me, it was like, Hey, don’t carve yourself into a niche just yet. He encouraged me to accumulate as much experience in as many different venues in front of as many different types of athletes as I could. So that one day when the time came to specialize in something, I would have this really deep toolbox of all these different avenues of information from over the years from different sports. And so that’s essentially what happened. And he kind of helped I say with that bit of encouragement and helped me keep my eyes open for when days when people were like, Hey, guess what, you’ve got the national figure skating team for the next three weeks to me that wasn’t a drag. It was an opportunity to interact with athletes that have a different culture, different set of skills, high level skills and so on and so forth for any sport that we got to encounter. And I think that’s come to fruition even now with the variety of backgrounds and all these different martial artists come from is just having an appreciation of where they come from. And then also having my ears open enough to be able to listen to where they come from to start to think, okay, Where’s their mindset at? Where they putting as a high priority in terms of their preparation? And that helps me contribute and helps me to be an influencer. But I got to understand that aspect or they’re never going to listen to anything I’m saying.
Corey Beasley [00:17:48]: Absolutely. And now we’ll get into what you’re doing now. I mean, the UFC performance Institute is an absolutely beautiful place that facility. But then I think the team that has been brought together and the coordination between those people is the most powerful piece. So as you guys, let’s just kind of jump into it I guess, and as you kind of got in there, you took the job, you know, you get in there first day, what’s the culture life in that performance Institute, where does it, what are the different pieces of a puzzle and how do you guys kind of coordinate?
Bo Sandoval [00:18:22]:So I would say the tone of the culture and how we were going to operate was, was set pretty much prior to hiring any of our performance directors. When, when our vice president of operations and vice president of athlete development, we’re essentially head hunting for these positions the first move was a vice president of performance who is now, Dr. Duncan French. And I believe one of the things that made him a prized recruit was his vision of high level integration. I think that was one of the key elements. And so when asking him how he was going to drive that he already had systems that he had used previously at the English Institute of sport. You know, when different GB national teams, where he had a lot of practice interacting with a variety of different high level personnel from physical therapists and medical personnel to strength and conditioning coaches, psychologists, nutritionists, you name it. And so he already had some experience in coordinating those personalities, but then also organizing them in a way where it’s a culture where we can contribute to each other but also critique and come up with critical discussions that revolve around good old fashioned debate, which I’m sad to say is kind of a dying art in the United States these days people can’t really debate in a room without getting butt hurt these days. And for us, that’s kind of our life’s blood. That’s how we continue to evolve with each other. So not only in our own spaces with our own little our staff that we’ve hired now than our own spaces, but cross-pollinating, myself into the PT space or myself and in the nutrition space and vice versa, to where they’re bouncing ideas off and that’s what’s helping us refine what we’re doing. Because ultimately, which we defined, we define ourselves as an athlete centered model. And without that aspect of integration, there is no athlete centered model. If I don’t integrate with those other pieces, we’re no longer focused on the athlete. It ends up being my agenda with my program, with my SNC program, which is I think some people have a hard time understanding it’s a small slice of the pie.
Corey Beasley [00:20:49]: Absolutely it is. You’re just a supporting role. So when any UFC athlete can go and visit you guys and be evaluated, trained, do whatever for free, am I right?
Bo Sandoval [00:21:04]:Yes. So if you UFC roster fighter, you have a 100% access to our facility and our resources within it.
Corey Beasley [00:21:12]: So when these guys come in the door walk in, where does that evaluation assessment process kind of start?
Bo Sandoval [00:21:21]:Initially it starts with a consultation and sometimes that happens before they get here, depending on where they’re coming from. We’ve have some fighters that they’re coming from Asia or Europe or somewhere overseas. They may have already had a consult on the phone or via email exchange with Duncan French, our VP of performance or one of our operations coordinators who they handle a lot of our booking and scheduling. So it can happen a few different ways. If it hasn’t happened prior to then usually as soon as they get on campus, that’s the first thing that gets booked is a consultation with either one of our performance directors or all of us in the room at the same time or our VP of performance. It really depends on the initiative of the fighter and we kind of let them drive that. We let them take ownership in the beginning, in terms of what they want to dabble in because first time visit, one of the biggest things they got to achieve is to understand what we’re capable of and what they have access to. So until you’ve been here and you’ve seen it, they don’t even know what questions to ask yet or what resources they want to tap into. And so that consultation helps kind of scratch the surface on some of their initiatives. And we get some idea on training history and on what’s their success rate and what is their history of weight cutting and things like that look like. What kind of background are they coming from? You know, in this day and age in MMA, they’re coming from all walks of life. And we have former football players, we’ve got former world champion in taekwondo, we got former world champion, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s just, there’s a variety. And so that background helps us kind of skip some steps. It really helps us kind of dig into the nitty-gritty because if someone’s only on campus for 48 hours, we want to try to make the most of that visit. So we want to uncover a lot of that information so that we can start to dive into a diagnostic profile, which leads potentially into some actual training and preparation.
Corey Beasley [00:23:16]: Right. So for you, for your position, I mean when the guy in there for first time there in the weight room, like where do you kind of start out? I mean you’ve obviously gotten some feedback from Duncan or whoever coordinated with those guys initially and the rest of the team probably. And then when they come and see you for the first time, like where do you start?
Bo Sandoval [00:23:37]:We start with assessment first. So we have a battery of assessments. We have a strength and power that consists of about six different assessments itself as well as metabolic profiles, which are another four or five assessments. So there’s a lot and we don’t have to run through every one of those. And that’s where that consultation helps out. We have a standard battery of a few that we know we’d like to get, not only to get an understanding of their physiology, but to also have to compile that information into our bigger data pool, which we’re trying to formulate to come up with some norms for this sport around power outputs and force velocity curves and metabolic profiles. We’re trying to paint a picture of what the spectrum of MMA fighters looks like. What does elite look like? What does beginner look like, what does intermediate look like and what everything in between look like. So it’s important that we gather those data points. Now once we have that, if it’s a say a strength and power profile, we have an idea of what their reactive strength index looks like. Peak power, relative strengths, their rate of force development. Once we have an understanding of what that looks like, I usually go after the lowest hanging fruit first. Now I let them drive the conversation. So if I identify one or two weaknesses, I’m going to steer towards that first. If it depending on the scenario, let’s say they’re four weeks from a fight, they may be more interested in maximizing their strengths. Well, in that same process, we’ve identified their strengths just as quickly as we’ve identified their weaknesses. So depending on the time frame that might be the more appropriate route to take is to continue hammering on their strength to maximize that potential with this upcoming fight. So the scenario kind of dictates what we prioritize along with the, the fighter’s input and their coach’s input as well. And then we go on from there. So usually we get that initial assessment piece done right away. As soon as that’s done, we can pile the information. We’re back in our offices, we’re building programs sometimes it’s to start that day, later that day, sometimes it’s to start the next day, sometimes they leave and that degenerate a remote program which will push to them via the web with our software platform.
Corey Beasley [00:25:58]: Right. So for you, you go to that whole evaluation, the assessment process, has anything with these athletes in particular, has anything stuck out or shocked you at all?
Bo Sandoval [00:26:14]:I wouldn’t say shocked. I would say, I mean we’ve definitely identified some trends. We have some, we’ve been able to categorize some things when it comes to metabolic versus the strength and power profile. We’ve got a little pools from a force velocity standpoint. We’ve definitely have guys that, and you see him, you watch the fights, you see them there. These are the guys that can touch people at will. They can touch them as many times as they want as frequently as they want. But they’re not known for the finishes. They’re not known for significant power. And we see it on the force velocity curves. They’re capable of some very high velocities, but the force and the power outputs are relatively low for their body mass. So once we kind of identify where they’re at on that curve, for me, that’d be like, hey, you don’t have a velocity problem you have a force production problem. So that’s where we’re going to spend some time devoting our time to, is giving them the tools to be able to create more forced production.
Corey Beasley [00:27:21]: What you guys are able to do at your assessment and your email process is really, it’s an objective look into that fighters performance and being able to really just pinpoint where you need to work with them. I think a lot of people, they’ll get stuck in their cardio guy or their barbell guy and that’s all I do with everybody versus just saying, this is what you need as an individual fighter. And we’ll going to attack that?
Bo Sandoval [00:27:47]:Now on the opposite side of that, when we get our metabolic profile, if they’ve got a severe deficit and overall work capacity, then no matter what we found in that strength and power profile that kind of has to take priority. So we prioritize from a performance standpoint and we have this model of what it takes to win. So if we go back to that, every time we ask a question, well, what does it take to win? First to be able to fight, you have to make weight one, so you don’t even get a chance to compete if you don’t do that. So the second someone comes in and, hey man, I’m 22% overweight, we got seven weeks to get there, performance takes a back seat. We’re now in weight cutting mode. So we’ve just prioritize what we’re, what we’re focusing on. Vice versa, let’s say the weight is good and now we’ve got a strength to power profile and a metabolic profile. And there’s deficits in both, but particularly on the metabolic side when it comes to their energy system usage that has to be the pro that has to be the next priority. They’ve got to be able to last the duration of the competition. Now how that priority, how that gets prioritized, it gets a little sticky as well. We have statistics now, the average fight for a one 15 pound female is 11 and a half minutes long. So you’re almost guaranteed that they’re going into their last round. Whereas for the heavyweight males the average pipe like a minute and 35 seconds into the first round. So if I have a male who’s got this big deficit in there rubric capacity, do I necessarily need to prioritize that? And that’s where we really get into the decision making process with the fighter and their coaching staff on what we’re going to spend our time on from a preparation standpoint.
Corey Beasley [00:29:32]: So it’s all over the map when these kids are coming to see you guys. I mean, because you got heavy weights and I’ve seen Frances, in there and I’ve seen the one 25 pounders in there and I mean you guys are getting a lot of bodies, like you said, like it’s a lot of different people from all over the world with different backgrounds, different needs. So it is, it’s good to, it’s a crazy mix and I think that’s always, it’s the puzzle or for anybody working with these athletes is, is really understanding all the different variables that go into it and realizing that you can’t train everybody the same way. It just doesn’t work?
Bo Sandoval [00:30:11]:It just doesn’t. And Corey, don’t get me wrong, a strength coaches. We’ve been doing this for years in terms of assessing athletes and identifying where we need to spend our time with them. I think the difference with what our capabilities are now, particularly with this facility is that we’re able to objectify that and quantify that for them. Whereas we’ve been doing it in field tests, we’ve been doing it with our coaching eye that we’ve developed over the last 20 years or whatever. You can tell right away, you know who your neurological guys are and who your big force producing guys are. Like we know the difference between them when we see them. You know the difference between your guys with the big engine that doesn’t have much horsepower and your guys that have a ton of horsepower that burns out really quick. And so we’re doing the same thing. And in terms of identifying where they’re at on that spectrum, we’re just doing a super objective way. We’re using some really cool tools to put a number to it, to quantify it. And it does two things for us. When you throw a number in front of somebody, it gives them something to kind of focus on. It gives them something tangible to focus on to make an improvement and then we can premeasure it. And it’s black or white you either got there and you either hit the benchmark or you did not. And then I think the other side of that too is from a monitoring standpoint, what some of these performance indicators, we can have an understanding of how quickly they’re regenerating, how quickly they’re able to recover to reproduce that performance over and over and over again. And this day and age, I feel like we’re not always run to problems with how people are preparing. The preparation seems novel. It’s how they’re peaking. Are they able to understand work rates and fatigue rates to know when to back off and when to hit the accelerator so they don’t fight day. That fighter has the best chance of stepping into the cage as close to 100% as possible.
Corey Beasley [00:32:02]: Now does talk about that for just a real quick sec, when we’re talking about 12 weeks out or we’re talking about four weeks out and you’re talking about leading them into that fight week in that fight, what are some things that you guys are doing to either monitor or adjust and those last few weeks so that they do peak?
Bo Sandoval [00:32:24]:Sure. So from the start, right when they come in, we always give the offer, they don’t always take it, but we always give the offer to get them integrated in our Omega-wave system. So mega wave is a portable two lead ECG, a heart rate variability capabilities. So we’re looking at their CNS and we’re looking at their heart rate variability. We have them take a measurement every morning right when they wake up. So we get a good baseline assessment right when they wake up, before they’ve been activated. They haven’t digested or ingested anything, no caffeine, nothing like that to get an idea of what their parasympathetic, sympathetic nervous systems are doing to get an idea of what their resting heart rate looks like. And over time, this starts to paint a picture of some trends. So if we have someone that’s got even when they’re out of camp, we started when they were out of camp, but we’ve got two month and half, two months’ worth of data. Once we started to get in to camp, we start to have an understanding of how that person operates, how long it takes them to recover, what they struggle with. We have some fighters that neurologically they almost, they’re never fatigue. You’ll never see their CNS suppressed and vice versa. We’ll have some that their CNS is through the basement every time, the day after a sparring session. So it just depends on the person. It depends on their age. It depends on how much damage they’ve taken in their career. And there’s a lot of variables into that. And then by, and then we have the other ones, from a heart rate standpoint their heart rate variability. Not only like looking at peak heart rate and how high it got and workouts and things like that, but the amplitude, we were able to take a look at their QRS wave and get an understanding not only how fast that pump is pumping, but what the magnitude of each of those pumps entails. So how strong is it because this is a muscle like anything else? And from an efficiency standpoint, it’s not all about frequency with these guys. It’s about how much blood is that thing pushing each time and thumps. So gives us a lot of quality information on understanding them. Then once we get into camp and we have this understanding about how much recovery time they need what those different readings and outputs mean to the individual and then we can start to have really informed discussions with them and their coaching staff around making adjustments when needed. Now honestly most of the time it’s not that they’ve got too much or the wrong things in their training camp. It usually has to do more with how it’s organized and coordinated. Are the things falling on the right days at the right times to allow for windows of recovery and windows of adaptability. Because what we’re finding is, for me like what we do in the weight room that is not adaptation. I cause adaptation and I don’t create it. We’re stimulators. We provide a stimulus. Everything I do, there is no adaptation until they’ve eaten. They’ve slept and recovered from what we did. That’s when the adaptation occurs. So with understanding this data, as we’re monitoring them, we’re starting to understand how big those windows need to be and where they need to lie throughout their week. We also can manipulate that because ideally most of these guys, they’re fighting on Saturday nights at the end of their fight camp. So the beginning of fight camp, it doesn’t really matter where we’re getting fatigued or where we’re putting their high end work, but as we get closer to the fight, we’re trying to funnel all that highest intensity work towards that time frame that they’re going to be competing at. So at that time of day, on that particular day, so we have a lot of discussions around them. Ask a guy, Hey man, what are your big sparring sessions? I sparring on Tuesday. Thursday, okay, where do you spar two weeks out from the fight Tuesday, Thursday. Like will you fight on Saturday? We need to start getting acclimated to fighting on Saturday so they can make little adjustment. A lot of our conversations with them revolve around just tweaking the things, the ingredients that they already have. So I haven’t seen too much where they’ve got like too much stuff or the wrong stuff. Most of the time it’s just in the wrong place.
Corey Beasley [00:36:31]: I think you’re dead on with that because it’s not from a lack of effort. It’s not like you guys aren’t tough. Not that I mean we can manipulate a few variables here and there and typically at, and tell me if I’m wrong, if you have a camp six, eight weeks long, you’re really going to make, you could choose like one, maybe two things to prioritize. And that’s about it from our standpoint at least. And you’re going make small gains and it’s a long-term play over time, but to keep those kids moving forward.
Bo Sandoval [00:37:05]:Yeah, we really tried to, if we can, we try to identify if it’s a long camp, if we know we’ve got eight to 10 weeks in there, we really try to encourage them to identify either four weeks or five weeks out, taking a little bit of a taper, a little bit of a recovery week. And we’ll evaluate that as we get closer to see, is that we need at five weeks out, do we need to wait one more week because that can potentially give them the ability to really spike their last two hard weeks of camp to really cause an extreme super compensation effect when they do back their training off and start with the weight cut. So we try for that. It’s not always feasible. If someone’s got a six week camp, it doesn’t make sense to do a recovery week five weeks out that’s silly. But when it presents itself, we, we, we try to promote that. And then the other thing is validating what they do well. So you said man effort is not the problem. I mean I haven’t seen a fighter yet that doesn’t work hard. If there’s coaches out there, telling there fighters that we’re going to outwork this guy. No you’re not. Everybody works hard. Everybody in this league works hard. No doubt about it. The difference this day and age is who is showing up more recovered and closer to their 100%. That’s the difference. So 30 years ago in American football and we used to be able to do that, you could just outwork people because that was the measuring stick. Who’s doing the most work? The hardest work? Well now everybody’s working hard. Everybody has those resources on the best drills and skills to do. It boils down to who’s got the best recipe to manipulate so that their fighter or their athlete is the most rested and most equipped to handle the volume, the intensity and the amplitude of the competition on that particular day at that particular hour.
Corey Beasley [00:38:57]: Yeah, I mean I think that’s really good advice because everybody is still stuck on whatever. I mean Instagram is full of exercises, right? So everybody’s doing about what exercise going to do it. And I think you’re dead on with that analogy of manipulating the ingredients and being a good chef to make sure that the end result is what you want. And that’s playing with a lot of different variables other than just what we’re doing in the weight room. I really I appreciate what you’re doing out there and again, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. If people are wanting to learn more about what you guys are doing out there, what’s the best way for them to reach out and find you?
Bo Sandoval [00:37:05]:So we do have a website it’s undergoing some updates right now it’s UFCPI.com. And then also I can be reached through Twitter Oly strength. It’s O, L, Y strength or on Instagram at Bo.Sandoval. Those are two quick ways you can, you can direct message me on there. We tell people we try to keep the welcome mat out all the time. So if you’re a professional in this industry, interested in understanding or having a chat or having a visit, definitely reach out to us. Our contact information is on that UFCPI.com website. We do anything from tours to little 15, 20 minutes sit downs to just having chats about what we do and particularly when we’ve got professionals in town who are working with athletes in the MMA community the only way we’re all going to get better at this is through sharing. So we’re going to try to promote that as much as we can.
Corey Beasley [00:40:45]: Cool. Well Bo. Thanks again for chatting with us. Hopefully everybody learned a little something today and gave them some things to chew on for the next few days and think about. So thanks again.
Bo Sandoval [00:40:55]:Yes, sir. You got it. I appreciate it. Corey.