In 2005, I was in California with an athlete. I used to train athletes a lot more but I got more interested in training business leaders as my career went on. I found that I could relate better.
Anyways, we were at the world submission wrestling championships. This is not some wimpy type of martial arts. This is where a lot of the UFC fighters go to test out their ground skills against the best in the world.
I was sharing a hotel room with Karim Byron and UFC fighter George St-Pierre.
Karim was a super heavyweight. Weighing over 300lbs. I can still remember the day I made him sprint with a sled attached to his waist beside a McDonalds. Now that’s mental training times two.
Karim worked his butt off. Throughout his training we used every tool we had available. He did visualization training every night. He tracked everything. Food, sleep, supplements, training, mood and cardio. He made these things a habit and worked on it day in and day out.
The day we arrived, Karim found out that his first opponent was none other than Jeff Monson. The 2 time ADCC champion.
The good news was, he got the toughest guy first.
After the results we went for lunch. At lunch, I sat there observing George carefully selecting his food. He was re-hydrating himself slowly with Pedialyte to avoid any fatigue. George even avoided alcohol after the event for dinner. Though I accidently ordered him a drink that had alcohol in it. Oops. The point is I was noticing how serious the top athletes were about the details VS lower level athletes.
Once we got to the event I sat there waiting for Karim to take the mat.
I couldn’t help notice all the pre fight rituals. There was an asian guy that was lying in the middle of the mat. He would get up then sprint around then lay down again.
Pavel Tsatsouline a popular Russian strength coach was sitting there with his athlete. He was giving him a massage running his elbow alongside the muscle of his spine. Damn you Pavel for making me look bad. Again every detail was an advantage.
The story doesn’t end well as both Karim and George didn’t win that day but they put up one heck of a fight and deserved to be at the top.
The lesson I got was that if you want to get to the top, the little things are the big things.