Just a little rant. We all have favourite athletes that we idolise. Idolising them is great. But mimicking their training is stupid. In all sports; martial arts, rugby, swimming and even weightlifting, we see the elite athletes training at insane frequency and volumes. Pro rugby teams have at least one skill session a day and one fitness session. Swimmers like Michael Phelps spend 8 hours in the pool and some have never touched weights in their lives. Bulgarian weight lifters trained twice a day at 90% of their maxes doing only their competition lifts and front squats. And martial artists are worse. Martial arts have been intertwined with myth from day 1. We hear stuff about Mas Oyama jumping over a seed 100 times a day till it grew into a tree and decide to try the same thing (there are threads on this). We hear about thai kids kicking banana trees in their gardens for conditioning and decide to do the same on an oak tree (there are threads on this). We hear about Bruce Lee practicing one punch 1000 times a day and decide that we should also practice one punch 1000 times a day (there are threads on this). We hear about GSP saying that he doesn't believe in strength and conditioning and think it's unnecessary. He is the best right? So we should toooootally listen to him But we miss the point of these obvious hyperboles. Let's look at some of the obvious fallacies involved. Pros weren't always Pro Most of them were little skinny kids. GSP got bullied for his shrimpy-ness. Most started training once or twice a week. After about 5 or 6 years they began training a little more often, slowly increasing the amount of training they were doing. By the time they were 20, they had more training time and experience than most of us recreational athletes starting at 20 or later not to mention the advantage of learning skills when they were young and had the best skill learning potential of their life time. Survivorship bias The elite are highly publicised in media, but what about all the dropouts? How many people didn't make it to that level? There are thousands of kids in Thailand right now going through muay thai training, how many will drop out? There will only be one winner in each competition so many of the kids, even in the same training program, won't make it to fighting in national championships. Why is that? It's because training programs with the elite while they're young are often used to weed out who responds best to that program. These programs aren't meant for train people to get to elite levels (although they might make people better), they're made for the selection of who stands the best chance at becoming elite. So following the program of someone who has been through rigorous selection and deemed the best is silly because it's likely you weren't selected as the best and therefore that elite athlete's program is, frankly, too tough for you. Even in an MMA or BJJ class, sparring is just a selection process. Those who spar best will likely compete the best and you will find that in your club they are often put forward for competitions. Despite you both going to the same classes, someone is better than you when it comes to selection. Some people are just better than you no matter what they do GSP taught himself wrestling and is considered the best wrestler in MMA by his opponents. No matter what he would have done, he is freakishly gifted. He doesn't need to lift (outside of vanity work) because he's a genetic strength monster. It's likely that you are not a genetic strength monster. If he did aikido, he would still be one of the top MMA players right now. Statistics wise it's called "normal distribution", where we have a bell curve. In the middle are normal people, who are average in terms of potential as an athlete. On the left are the few people who have little athletic potential. But GSP and many of the elite are on the on the far right of this bell curve where the population of people who have high athletic potential is very small and similar levels of eliteness will never be achieved by those of us in the middle or left of the bell curve. The lessons to be learned What can we learn from the elite in any sport? From Mas Oyama's jumping story we learn that small but progressive increases (overload) in difficulty in any movement will lead to a stronger movement and a stronger you. From the thai kids kicking trees we learn that we can train with minimal equipment but we need the right tools. From Bruce Lee's story we learn that we should always strive for perfection in our skills. From GSP we learn that strength and conditioning is second to good skills. Even from other sports: Bulgarian weightlifters show us that that its about training hard and putting the effort into the skills you want to perfect. Michael Phelps shows us dedication to the sport. Rugby players show us that a well rounded athlete with both skills as well as strength and conditioning is a better athlete. So don't train like the elite - because you're not, you're basically only a child in training terms. The only Elite on this site is Van Zandt But we can all be better, even fractionally better is still better. Don't strive for elite, strive for better because even the elite strive for better.