On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
One of the greatest mixed martial artists the world has ever seen admitted that he was terrified before every one of his 28 professional MMA bouts. “I perform the best when I’m under pressure,” Georges St-Pierre said in an interview with My Fitness Pal. “When I’m scared, and I’m on the edge. If I didn’t have that fear, I should retire.”
Now retired and nearly three years removed from his last fight at UFC 217, the pressure and fear don’t exist in GSP’s life anymore. But as the consummate athlete and martial artist, GSP is always going to be staying in shape and training regularly in some form. You just never know what opportunities pop up in the future.
“I’m always in shape, but there is a difference between being in shape and being in fight shape,” he told GQ. “I will always be in shape for the rest of my life, but of course I will not be in fight shape. And I don’t think it’s good to be in fight shape all year long, because you’re going to hurt yourself.”
“Your nervous system, your muscles, your joints, the ligaments—your body’s not made to sustain that much impact all year long. So I train every day but it’s just to maintain my shape. As I’m getting older, my athletic abilities will diminish, but I will always be in shape.”
My goal is to be the most efficient, quickest-thinking fighter. I aim to be flexible, open-minded and ready for any situation.The Way of the Fight | Georges St. Pierre
During GSP’s legendary run in the UFC — where he amassed nine title defenses and ruled over the welterweight division for six years — he was the most well-rounded fighter on the planet, mixing up his striking and ground game like no else could.
A lot of GSP’s success can be accredited to his scientific training routine, constant thirst for learning, intense strength & conditioning regimens, and dedicated work ethic.
“Normally, when I don’t have a fight coming up, I always train,” GSP wrote in his 2013 memoir, The Way of the Fight. “I train six days a week, two training sessions a day. I box, go the gym and I have a lot of great training partners.”
When he was in training camp for an upcoming fight, GSP would bring in the best fighters from around the world to help him hone certain skillsets. “I always train with better wrestlers than me, better boxers than me, better jujitsu guys than me,” he explained. “When you train with people who are better than you, it keeps challenging you. By challenging me it makes me better.”
Georges St-Pierre’s training routine & diet
In his earlier years, GSP would hit the weights for his strength & conditioning, incorporating a lot of Olympics lifts into his workout routine.
“We use Olympic lifting and track and field in training,” explained Firas Zahabi, the owner of Tristar Gym and GSP’s head coach, in an interview with Muscle & Fitness. “I don’t like machines, and I don’t like anything Olympians don’t use. Olympians refine their training so greatly, there’s no need for us to go out there and reinvent the wheel.”
In a 2011 interview with Mens Journal, Jonathan Chaimberg, GSP’s strength & conditioning coach at the time, went into more detail about the fighter’s routine:
We’re all about anaerobics. So we’ll do sprinting, uphill runs, sled work. I don’t want to give away all my secrets, but we do intervals. We’re working on making him more explosive. Since he’s training boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, and jiu jitsu, he’s getting a lot of muscular endurance work. So you don’t want to go to the gym and train that property first. You want to focus more on power, speed, and strength. He’s getting that sport-specific work in his normal training.How GSP Works Out – Men’s Journal
Later in his career, GSP transitioned away from weightlifting and more towards gymnastics. “It’s been many years since I’ve lifted a weight. I do gymnastic stuff with parallel bars and rings and on the pommel horse,” he said in 2017.
He’s also a big fan of water training, ever since discovering Aqualogix while rehabbing his ACL in 2011, which has become his go-to technique for strength and power training. “The greatest things about the equipment is that it allows you to make your own resistance, it doesn’t load joints, allows you to target specific muscles and the chance of injury is extremely low.”
To fuel his intense training routine and stay in fighting shape all-year round, GSP was always on-point with his diet. In 2013, Tim Ferriss interviewed GSP’s personal chefs, who broke down his daily meal plan, which often included: 3 meals, 2 protein shakes and protein bars, all made from 100% organic ingredients.
In his memoir, GSP broke down his weight cutting routine, which often had the champion drop from 185lbs to 170lbs in a few days, then back up to 188lbs within 24 hours:
I tend to eat as well as I can, but I use the diet to lose weight. I weigh 185 pounds, and I have to be 170 on the scale, so in four days I’m going to lose 15 pounds. I’m gonna cut down the carbs, the sodium, and I’ll be eating a lot of greens and a lot of protein. By doing so, I’m going to restrict myself and make the weight. And after the weigh-in, I’m going to do the opposite by eating a lot of carbs and get all my weight back.THE WAY OF THE FIGHT | GEORGES ST. PIERRE
GSP’s post-retirement daily routine
Now, in retired life, GSP doesn’t have to worry about going through brutal weight cuts during fight week anymore, and instead, balances out intermittent fasting with his sweet treats, “I love chocolate and want my ice cream.”
“I consume all my calories in a window of eight hours during my day,” he explained in an interview with GQ. “Normally, I wake up with an empty stomach and I go train. I have found out that training on an empty stomach makes me sharper, because I believe that when you eat in the morning and go train, part of your brain is focusing on digestion. Now, because my stomach is empty, I feel I have more focus on what I am doing.”
He also described a typical diet in his post-retirement life:
I had three eggs, scrambled, mixed with tomato, onion, and mushrooms. I had two croissants. I had a coffee. I had berries. Also, dates. Cheese inside my eggs. I think later today I’m going to have some salmon—some salmon with rice and probably this avocado salad that I love. I try to eat as healthy as I can, but I don’t restrict. I don’t stop myself from any pleasures of life.
Like I said before, I love chocolate. If we’re going somewhere and everybody has an ice cream, I’m going to have an ice cream as well. I just follow the group, and I think for me to be happy in life, you know, I just need to eat whatever I want. So I use fasting as a way to kind of keep the balance.The Real-Life Diet of MMA Legend Georges St-Pierre, Who Changed His Life With Intermittent Fasting | GQ
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