Coach’s Corner: 13 Creative Ways To Get Cardio

IMG_7288Hey Team! With winter here it can be tough to fit in the cardio our bodies need because honestly, we don’t want to spend any more time outside than we have to and we don’t want to be cooped up in the gym all the time. Here are 13 ways to get your cardio in:

1. Master the stairs.

If you work in a building that has stairs, always opt for taking the stairs rather than the elevator. You’ll get your heart pumping and the calories burning!

2. Walk and talk.

Instead of meeting your girlfriend at a coffee shop, meet for a walk to talk and catch up. This is a great way to catch up and get some cardio in. Just make sure you’re walking at a decent pace!

3. Do a little dance.

Every time your phone rings do a little dance or do a couple squats after you get off the phone. A few minutes of movement is better than none!

4. Stay hydrated.

Make trips to get water. Staying hydrated is not only important for your health, its great for your skin and will get you out of your seat!

5. No more lazy layovers.

Got a long layover? Take a few laps around the terminal. Taking the rolling walkways doesn’t count.

6. Bike or walk to work.

For those of you who like to be extreme, consider biking or walking to work (depending on how far away you live from your work, of course).

7. Chores galore.

Cleaning may not be your favorite thing to do, but it burns calories. Vacuuming for an hour can burn roughly 75 calories! And who doesn’t want a clean house?

8. Park on the edge.

Instead of looking for that rockstar parking spot at the front of the lot, nearest the door – park at the end of the lot. This may not seem like a fun idea in the winter but your body will thank you for it!

9. Grocery laps.

Before you start grocery shopping, take a few laps around the store with your cart. Have a plan about what you’re going to buy first, make a list (if you don’t already have one) and then start shopping.

10. Take to the dance floor!

Winter is a hard time to want to get out and do things, but make an effort to take a dance class or two. Changing things up in your routine, will help kick boredom in the butt.

11. Shopping is cardio.

With the holidays in full swing you probably don’t have all your shopping done. A 2 hour shopping run can burn up to 350 calories.

12. Active date night.

Instead of opting for a movie on the couch, opt for a more active date night like a dance class, a yoga class, or something totally different! The sky is the limit!

13. Let the games begin!

Got a Wii or Kinect? Pop in a game that gets you moving. It’ll be fun for you and your family!

These are just suggestions, but you get the picture. Spend a little time brainstorming activities that you don’t typically do that might be good ways to move your body and burn some calories. The more active and consistent you stay through the winter months, the easier it will be to get that beach body ready for summer!

The key to staying in shape during the winter is simply to stay consistent and have a plan. Without a game plan to stick to, it’s really easy to fall off the wagon. So if you haven’t made your weekly plan for this week, do it now! You don’t need to plan month’s worth of plans, just plan it a week in advance. Get into the habit of writing your plans every Saturday or Sunday. Remember, if you need any suggestions or help – be sure to talk to your Coach! We’re always happy to help!

Nat Mcintyre Highlight Video

Coach’s Corner: Training with Injuries – Missed Opportunities


One of the most difficult aspects of any contact sport are the injuries. I’m not talking about bruises and sore muscles. I’m talking about broken bones, surgery, the flu, the stuff that really puts us out of commission. We miss time in the gym, loose our conditioning and our timing. The progress we were making toward our next rank or fight is delayed. While these conditions will impact your progress, we are never really out of commission.  Injuries need not bring you to a grinding halt.

On the contrary they might be the right opportunity to improve your game in ways you had never considered.

I recently underwent shoulder surgery; I sat on the couch and gained 10 pounds.  I rationalized that it was necessary for me to take time off for my shoulder to heal, that I was unable to train.  I had labeled myself as being “out of commission” which drove me to miss opportunities to grow as a Martial artist.

Every day that I didn’t train in some way counted against me and created a steeper hill to climb once my shoulder was shoulder was healed.   The following are a number of great strategies that can make you a better martial artist even while you are recovering from an injury. The opportunities are limited only by your imagination and one simple rule:  Be creative, be safe.

1.     The Perfectionist

The Perfectionist figures out the one thing they can do with an injury and works it until its perfect.  Right hand broken? Sounds like a great time to work your left jab. Work the jab for speed, work it with different foot work, work it from different angles, double it, triple it, and hone it. When your right hand heals and you get back to sparring you’ll have the best left jab of your life.  Both hands broken?  Focus on your foot work, head movement, or core conditioning.

2.     The Specialist

This might be the time to work specific attributes like balance, flexibility or strength. Are you a BJJ student? Time to work the grip.  Grip strength?  Sure…speed too.  Manual dexterity?  Definitely.  Just opening and closing your hands as fast as you can in a sprint like format can increase not only grip strength but also your grab speed to secure a throw or trap.

3.     The Sponge

You could plant yourself on the couch to watch Family Guy until you recover, or you could stream videos of new moves, review old moves, go to the gym to watch classes and take notes. You’ll be surprised how much insight you can gain just by watching attentively. There has never been a time when information about the martial arts was more accessible.  YouTube alone has countless hours of high quality videos from which you can learn.

4.     The Mentalist

Visualization is a tool used by every healthy fighter when he or she is shadowboxing and warming up. In a study conducted by Doctor Blaslotto at the University of Chicago, basketball players who imagined shooting free throws for an hour a day increased their free throw percentage by 23%. Achieving nearly the same result as the players who actually shot free-throws every day at 24%.

5.     The Socialite

You could drop off the radar, put on pajama pants and grow a beard while sitting in your basement. Or you could host a UFC party.  Call up some buddies to watch old pride fights.  Or help another fighter watch tapes on his/her opponent and pick it apart, giving him/her the edge in the fight next week. Build relationships so when you do head back to the gym you have new friends who want to hold pads and roll with you. Maybe one of these new friends tells you about this new killer combo he/she is landing in sparring and it ends up working great for you. Half of my good ideas belonged to someone else first.

6.     The Planner

Two days sitting at home with a head cold? Why not spend a few hours reviewing your training regime? Could your strength training use an over-haul? Could you be getting in the gym more often? This might be just the time you need to set new goals and become more productive when you are at the gym.  Create a plan, set goals and stick to them once you’re feeling better. Proper planning and goal setting can help you maximize your training time.

7.     The Analyst

Closely related to The Planner, The Analyst takes the time to look back at what he or she has been doing and determine what has been successful and needs improvement. Just as important is the act of fine tuning the partially successful drills and training methods.  One of the best ways to do this is to make a simple matrix on a piece of paper with headers that read Start Doing, Stop Doing, Do More, Do Less. From those observations you can chart a new course for training and reach higher levels of skill.

As you put these tools to use, listen to your body.  Remember R.I.C.E and consult a physician, if you have any concerns about the safety of your training regimen.

It’s important to your development in the martial arts not lose your momentum. Whether your recovery lasts one week or six months, you can’t afford to spend it sitting on the couch doing nothing.  Spend it doing something: writing, watching, analyzing and discussing. Or focus on what you can do until it is perfect.

– Coach Erik Little

Coach’s Corner: The Value of a Good Training Partner


Hey Team! This month’s coach’s corner comes to you from Coach Lance King, who is a blakc belt in muay thai, an instructor here at The Academy, and a rockstar (literally)!

I’ve trained Muay Thai now for over 14 years. The one thing that is probably the single most important aspect of my growth while training was “who I was training with”. The person on the other side of the pads is hugely important to your success and growth; how they hold, how they move, how fluid they are, how relaxed, how rigid or strong they are, all these aspects can create a variation in feel and how the training session goes. Every aspect of what they do will effect your performance and what you’ll learn or what you’ll physically get out of the training session.

There is no doubt some days you’ll come in and you’ll have to go with someone that you’ll be training more than they will be training you. Step into this position positively when it happens, as you are now their mentor for that session. In the beginning when you start training a certain style, you’ll be learning more than teaching, the better you get, the more that will likely change. But regardless of that, when you are in the position of holder, you should consider yourself a trainer, and realize you are responsible for the other persons growth. Of course coaches will step in and point out the things both the hitter and holder need to focus on improving, but the holders eyes are always on their partner, and that makes you very important to your partner’s success.

As the holder, you will be monitoring your partner’s ability and conditioning level and pushing them to their absolute best level they can deliver that day. Some days you’re going to be bursting with energy and some days you may be drained, each is an opportunity to learn and grow if you push yourself and your partner to their max ability. I find that if I’m really drained on a particular day, that is a day I will focus more on “form” and “flow” as opposed to going really hard. It’s good to share what you want to focus on with your partner/holder and how you’re feeling that say do you can be in synch.

In general, holding Thai pads should be done in a focused and aggressive way with a strong stance. This still can be fun and enjoyable, but there is no doubt you will get a lot more out of your workout if your holder pushes you to your best. Quite simply, this action will lock out over thinking things and forces your body to react. A side benefit is you’ll think less about being tired. You’ll be amazed at how much more your body will automatically put into your pad training session.

IF you’re training to be a fighter, then it’s more serious business. But even fighter need to control their aggression as to not hurt their training partners. It’s one thing to be competitive and quite another to loose your temper because of ego and try to inflict damage to your partners while training. There is a fine line between not enough and too much aggression.

Most great fighters are naturally aggressive and they need to train in a more aggressive way because they’re conditioning themselves to go hard and to hit hard “all the time”. However, they also need to continue to train consistently. Injuries happen, but it’s not something that helps consistent training. An injury can take you out of training for weeks or even months, so it’s good to try and avoid them until you’re in the rind or in the street where it’s time to seriously throw down. It’s always important to wear as much protection as you can. Cups, mouth guard, hand/wrist wraps, 16-18 oz gloves, and if you’re going hard, headgear is always a good idea! Remember, you want to have the best training partner possible, so it’s important to be one in return!

-Coach Lance King

NAFC/Driller presents Knockout Kings Muay Thai/K-1

K1 photo

Punches, kicks,elbows, and knees will all be on display Saturday May 25th when Driller promotions joins forces with NAFC out of Milawuakee, WI. To put on a solid line up of fights at High Five sports bar in Burnsville, MN.

NAFC is owned by Kickboxing legend Duke Roufus, who also runs the world famous Roufusport gym. This will be Drillers’ 3rd conquest with Muay thai/K-1 rules. Their first two shows, which showcases many Academy fighters, went very well and exceeded expectations from a crowd standpoint as well as the quality of fights.  Driller’s Dana White like leading man Jeremy Bjornberg is looking to make this show the best yet.

Like past shows, the line up is full of up and coming Academy fighters from the mma team and Thai boxing squad. In the nights Main Event Ben Locken (Academy) (2-2 mma 1-0 k-1) will lock horns with Dan Kiser (10-3 mma, 1-1 k-1). Other Academy fighters on the card include Tom Jenkins looking to to 3-0 on drillers’ shows, Chris Keller, and first timer Micheal Jokondo.

In a highly anticpated fight of the night Academy’s Jordan Parsons (6-1 mma) will get in the ring vs the athletic and tough Starr Roberts. Parsons is a rising star in the mma world. The former CFA featherweight champion will also be making his first appearance in a Minnesota cage next month for Driller.

The show will starts at 7pm and tickets will be available at the door,from the fighters, or on

Coach’s Corner: Pad Holding by Coach Andrew Kapel


Coach Andrew on the right delivering a sweet head kick!







Hey Team! It’s officially spring and we have nothing to look forward to but warmer, sunnier weather from here on out! This month’s Coach’s Corner come to you from Coach Andrew Kapel, who is not only a muay thai coach at The Academy, but a fighter on our competition team.

A commonly undervalued skill in the combat arts and an aspect not frequently emphasized, is holding pads.
To be a good pad holder for muay thai, a basic idea is to create a solid impact surface to fully utilize the technique with power and accuracy.

Remember: repetition is the mother of skill! Once singular strikes land sharp and cleanly, the next step is blending them into fluid combinations and incorporate defense. Be patient and be willing to keep it simple.

Personally, I will often spend an entire round focusing on one strike and the details of the move until no detail is unaccounted for. This mentality is what sets the standard for consistency. It is the foundation of Muay Thai.

Holding pads well will give you an unrivaled understanding for what a strike should look and feel like, as well as raise your ability to be proficient on the opposite side when its your turn to hit. Furthermore, being a good padman (or woman) makes you a valued asset to others who are preparing to fight even if you are not training for or interested in fighting yourself. It raises the overall level at our gym.

If you feel like something isn’t connecting correctly, feels disjointed or off, don’t hesitate to ask! A small adjustment could make the difference between having a satisfying and quality session, versus an awkward and frustrating one.

Like everything else, with many hours of practice, you’ll develop your own style and approach to pad holding that is unique to you. And just like sparring, hitting pads or hitting the bag, observing people more skilled than yourself on youtube or in person is an invaluable resource for improvement. – Coach Andrew Kapel


Tips Of The Month

Muay Thai



The use of visualization is a critical training tool that will give you a strong competitive edge over your opponents. When you visualize the strikes, evasions, and blocks of an opponent while shadow-boxing, you are conditioning your mind and body to react appropriately to future real life situations.  Whether you’re sparring someone in class, or defending yourself outside The Academy – this tool is essential for becoming a strong, disciplined, and talented martial artist.


Jiu Jitsu



One commonly made mistake in jiu jitsu is forgetting to breathe and relax. While you’re drilling or rolling with a teammate, pay attention to the parts of your body that feel tense and think about relaxing those muscles. Remember, jiu jitsu is not about how strong you are (although it helps), it is about using proper technique and leverage to pit your opponent’s own strength against themselves. Don’t make a habit of trying to muscle your way through or out of a move. Instead, focus on being able to execute smooth but powerful moves, which only come with persistent practice.



Whether your goal is to lose weight or to become a professional fighter, you cannot achieve either goal without focusing first on your technique. Proper technique is essential for executing moves effectively and correctly. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, without good technique you will find yourself getting beat by smaller, weaker opponents if you have poor technique. Develop your skills by dedicating yourself to your training (coming to class regularly), by setting goals and achieving them (see June’s issue), and asking your coaches for advice (we are here to help you).