Rhadi Ferguson is an interesting topic. If U.S. Judo were going to adopt a "best practices" approach model based on Cuba, Rhadi would be the person to do it. He has taken the rules a football or wrestling coach uses to find success and applied them to Judo.
SWOT analysis, scouting (where would football be without scouting?), tactical and strategic analysis, curriculum and development training, and more, he actually can articulate and transfer it, not just have an intuitive understanding. He started by just telling his story (in The Grind), but expanded by developing the ability to relate each of the parts of what he did to make it to the Olympics.
He now has material on grip fighting, conditioning, strength training, scouting, development, etc. He has also coached a number of people who have competed in the Olympics (not only in Judo, but other sports as well) and is currently coaching the national team in the Bahamas.
But I thought I would write about one of his items of advice that I like the least -- and where, of course, he is right. That is about training at 5:30 a.m.
If you are a guy, not using steroids ("gear"), your natural levels of testosterone are highest at that time of day and you will get the best strength results and best recovery by training when levels are highest. I suspect it is how Rhadi got so strong without using drugs.
If you want to lose weight, your insulin/fat cycle/weight loss results will be best with aerobic exercise in the early morning, fasting (i.e. before you eat anything). Ever wonder about the drug free female fitness competitors? How do they build muscle and shred down to what looks like zero body fat? They all use early morning fasting aerobic exercise.
So, assuming you want to effectively build strength and drop fat without drugs, getting up and out and at it at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. every day is an essential at some point. You should be lifting, sprinting and training that early five or six days a week. When I did 5:30 a.m. karate in law school and then after Courtney died, both times I lost weight as long as the practices kept up at that time.
There are other good reasons to follow his advice, but the bottom line physiologic facts pretty much are what they are.
When you think about that, ask yourself, how many coaches or instructors are there who insist that any serious athlete hit a 5:30 a.m. work out? Seems like every elite swimming coach does. Surprisingly, a number of elite skaters just happen to work out then. Every national level drug free fitness athlete. Interesting, isn't it?
How many Judo competitors follow Rhadi's 5:30 a.m. advice? Ever wonder why Jimmy Pedro is running at early a.m. hours and is still as trim and thin as when he competed. Think about it.
I'll be back on my normal topics next post, I just had about all of the debates I could take. Bangs in the eyes or really bad cosmetic surgery. I'm not sure I want to have to take a choice between the two right now, though they are picking up and doing better as the night goes on.
Update. I've changed up my personal website material on Judo and added three essays on Rhadi Ferguson and I've actually spoken with him a couple of times. I'm outside of his market (I'm a 52 year old attorney with bad rotator cuffs), but I find I really admire him. I've bought some of his material and sent it to nephews of mine, and I've learned some things that had nothing to do with Judo.
One interesting thing is that he does not hesitate to use examples of himself doing poorly to illustrate a point. Comparing the video of him in The Experience to where he got at a later state (he barely missed being on the Olympic team that go around, four years later he made it) shows just what a difference his adjustments made. Much of what he is trying to communicate is how he adjusted and how he changed, to encourage others to apply those lessons in their lives.
Which is why I've found the materials good for relatives who probably will never practice Judo. They will practice and will live life.
Final note, I've decided to open comments on this post in case anyone has something to add or say on the topic of Rhadi.