We sat down with Krzysztof Soszynski, Director of MMA and Fitness for UFC GYM Middle East, to talk fitness challenges and trends, training tips and more.
Currently based in Dubai, Krzysztof is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Contender and he holds NASM, Kettlebell and TRX certifications. Read on and up your knowledge.
Let’s talk fitness hurdles. Many people are scared to try MMA-inspired fitness or to come in to a UFC GYM. What would you tell them?
UFC GYM is for everyone, youth and adults. Seriously! Our goal is to give everyone the experience of training like an MMA athlete and fighter, not necessarily to become one. Our class programs are divided into two categories: Fitness and Skill.
If you are looking to train like a fighter and have the opportunity to get in shape like MMA athletes, then the fitness classes such as Boxing Conditioning, Kickboxing Conditioning, Fight Fit and our HIIT class called DUT (Daily Ultimate Training) are the perfect fit for you.
If you are looking to get into MMA or advance your skill set, then the skill classes are the way to go. We offer Gi and No Gi BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), MMA Skills and Technique, Boxing Skills and Technique, and Kickboxing Skills and Technique classes.
At UFC GYM, we have the perfect family friendly environment where parents can bring their children and watch them grow in a multitude of martial art disciplines, while themselves being able to train. This creates a culture of fitness in the family.
A fitness challenge we often hear is limited time to work out. If you only have 30 minutes in the gym, what is your go-to workout for maximum return in minimal time?
I would do a Full Body Circuit: 45 second sets with 15 second breaks, 2 minute rest x 5 rounds. Full Body Movement, Pull Movement, Push Movement, Lower body Movement, Core Movement.
Every muscle group is being worked and pushed to its breaking point. The goal is to push through the fifth and last round like it’s your first round. I make it feel like a five round Championship Fight. When you are finishing round three and there is nothing left in the tank, you look across at your opponent and he looks more tired than you, something happens, something switches inside your mind and those last two rounds don’t seem so impossible anymore. Determination is key, you just get up off the floor and go to work!
Any trade secrets or go-to training tips for our members? How can they step up their game in the gym?
Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. The gut is your second brain. Everything you consume has an effect on how you will feel and perform. Get in the right nutrients and watch how quickly your body transforms into a well-oiled machine.
Secondly, when your mind and body hit that point in your workout when you are ready to go home, set an alarm for 20 additional minutes and continue to workout till the time runs out. You will be very surprised how far you can push your body when you put your mind to it.
You’re the Director of MMA and Fitness for UFC GYM Middle East. What’s the most popular class there? Any unique fitness trends?
MMA in this part of the world is still a new concept. Everyone comes in saying they want to be like Khabib until they see a punch coming at them. We take it slow and make sure everyone who comes in gets a very good understanding of what we do and who we are. We start with the fitness side first and when our members are ready, we move on to the skill classes. Our most popular classes are DUT, Kickboxing Conditioning and, on the skill side, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also extremely popular in the region and is considered one of the fastest growing sports in the United Arab Emirates supported by the Abu Dhabi government to ensure that its citizens are reaping the benefits (discipline, respect, strategy, self-confidence) as the Abu Dhabi government has made the sport mandatory in all schools, police and military. What an investment by the government for its people, I find this super cool! This movement by the government has also fueled our growth. It’s awesome to see our UFC GYM Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family grow exponentially across the Middle East and to participate in grading ceremonies and competitions worldwide.
Music and fitness are tightly connected. It’s great for hype and motivation, some people might skip their workout if they did not have music! Help us refresh our playlist. What are 3 workout songs you’re listening to right now?
I am a DJ in my spare time and am learning how to produce music, so this is my favorite question. I am a Drum and Bass/Dubstep/Future Bass music fan. Three workout songs I like right now are Freak by Friction, Mumbai Power by Skrillex and Take It Up (Not You Dope Remix) By Wilkinson.
With many surgeries and injuries in your past, what’s your favorite way to recover? Any safety tips to help prevent injuries?
What is Recovery? Ha ha. Unfortunately, that word did not exist in my vocabulary, which was the biggest mistake in my career. Best tip I can give anyone regarding this is listen to your body. It is always talking to you and letting you know what is going on. Foam roll and dynamic stretch before every workout. Make sure your body is ready for the battle you are about to go through. Cryotherapy, massage therapy, physiotherapy are all very helpful tools to make sure your body can heal and perform at its highest level and prevent any injuries that may occur.
With a UFC event almost every weekend, there's always an exciting fight match up to look forward to. What do you think gives athletes the winning edge?
As an ex UFC athlete, it’s all about the heart and mind and always will be. Can you push your body and take it to a place that it has never been before on a daily basis? Can you push through the most challenging environment you have ever been in not only physically but mentally and not break and not give up?