On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
For a time there, Cody Garbrandt hated his choice of career. The Ohio kid who had been fighting his whole life and had reached the pinnacle of the MMA world suddenly could no longer stand the sport. “My hate for it was heavy,” he confessed.
“There was a time in my life and my career where I didn’t want to watch the fights,” said the former UFC bantamweight champion. “My wife wanted to order every fight, stay up to date on articles and what was going on.”
To understand Garbrandt’s feelings, you have to look at how quickly he rose through the UFC ranks. At the beginning of 2016, he was fighting just his third bout in the UFC, by the end of 2016, he was staring down the reigning bantamweight champion and arguably the division’s GOAT, Dominick Cruz. He defeated Cruz via unanimous decision to win the title in just his second year in the UFC.
But when a fighter rises that quickly, there’s always gaps and holes in his life — from a fighting point of view, but also personal and business-related. “I rose to the top really fast and there were things I needed to correct and work on,” he admitted.
After winning the title, he was sidelined for most of 2017 due to injuries. When he finally returned to the Octagon at UFC 217, for the biggest fight of his life against longtime rival, TJ Dillashaw, Garbrant was knocked out in front of 18,000 people, including his family and friends, at Madison Square Garden. A year later, at UFC 227, Garbrant was knocked out again by Dillashaw in their rematch, this time more emphatically — just under five minutes into the fight.
Garbrant’s bout against Pedro Munhoz was supposed to be a tune-up, a fight set up to get him back into the win column. It started well enough, but then a clash of heads had the former champion seeing red and he bullrushed his way into swanging and banging with Munhoz. The brawl left Garbrant lying face down on the Octagon canvas.
After his third straight loss in three years, Garbrant took some time off to figure things out. “I was so far away from martial arts, but I rediscovered my love and my passion,” he said. “I feel like every time I try to walk away from fighting, I always get pulled back. This is what I love to do, this is all I’ve known to do, and I understand that this is my life and this is what I want to do, and I’m just capitalizing on it.”
Even his team saw the difference in training camp. “In previous fights, Cody had a lot going on and just seemed a little distracted. He worked hard, but it felt like he wasn’t enjoying the grind as much,” said Garbrant’s training partner Mike Malott. “He seems like he really wants it more than he did in the last couple of years. He’s showing up excited to train, improve and prepare. He’s training like a guy with something to prove, a bit of a chip on his shoulder now.”
Garbrant made his comeback at UFC 250, facing down Brazilian veteran, Raphael Assunção. With one second left in the second round, Garbrant threw a brutal right hand to knock Assunção out cold. No Love was officially back.
When you set out to be the best, there’s always gonna be that pressure to perform. I know my fights haven’t gone the way I’ve wanted them to go, but life is like that. Sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches and I feel like I matured a lot these last few years outside of my career and inside my career. I’m still young, I’m still hungry, the passion’s still there and the fire is there, so I’m excited to be where I’m at in this journey in life.The Fire Has Returned For Cody Garbrandt | UFC
Cody Garbrandt’s training routine & diet
When it comes to his daily routine, Garbrant told Muscle & Fitness he often logs over 40 hours a week in the gym with a strict schedule: 7 days a week, 2-3 training sessions a day for about 4-6 hours a day.
With such a rigorous training schedule, Garbrant has to make sure he’s not burning himself out. “If my body starts to fall apart, then I take a rest day,” he said. “The first three days of the week I train really hard. The fourth day is less intense and focuses on recovery, maintenance, and mobility. Then the last three days we power back up in intensity.”
In an interview with Onnit, he described his strength & conditioning routine, which doesn’t include the traditional roadwork — a trend that MMA fighters Stipe Miocic and boxers Deontay Wilder are also on.
I do anything that can test and challenge me as an athlete without hindering my performance. I don’t swim. I don’t run. Running is not going to make you a better fighter. I’d rather spar, hit pads, wrestle, or grapple. You can’t run in a fight. With weights, I’ll do one or two heavy days a week and two light days. Upper and lower body. I work a lot on keeping my balance, speed, precision, and cutting on a dime, so I can be fast and explosive and have a knockout punch. I do a lot of band work—get into a fight stance and shoot against the resistance. To build my anaerobic threshold, I’ll do 90 seconds of pad work with my heart rate up in the high 180s. Take a minute’s rest and go again.No Love Returns: Q&A With Cody Garbrandt | Onnit
For his diet, Garbrandt has been working with a nutritionist since the beginning of 2016, who looks after prepping his meals inside and outside of training camp. On a typical day, Garbrandt eats three main meals and one snack — a smoothie or protein bar in between training sessions.
In an interview with GQ, he broke down a typical daily meal plan during training camp:
So I usually wake up and have eggs, turkey bacon, some toast, and maybe throw some oatmeal in there. I’ll usually have coffee with MCT oil too and then I go off to the gym to get my first session in. After that first session I come home and usually within an hour window I’ll have something like salmon, tilapia, or chicken. Those six to eight ounces of protein. I’ll do a carb with some brown rice. Some zucchini. Broccoli, asparagus, all that stuff. And of course I’m drinking my water. Over a gallon of water a day. Then I’ll take a couple hours off, do my next training session, go to the chiropractor or whatever. I’ll have a smoothie with protein, berries, bananas, coconut water, and spinach for more greens. Some almond butter, some good fats. My last training session is between four and six or six and eight, and directly after that I’m eating dinner. Dinner is usually pretty similar to lunch—six to eight ounces of protein. I’ll do some ground turkey. A little bit of carbs. Not too much since I’m done training for the day. Dinner usually has more broccoli and greens. I really fill up on the greens around then.The Real-Life Diet of UFC Bantamweight Cody Garbrandt | GQ
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