Shrugged Collective

The Mindset You Should Adopt To Be Great In & Out of the Gym w/ UFC Coach Ryan Parsons – EP 163

Audio Only: iTunesStitcher

This week on Barbell Shrugged we discuss mindset and performance with elite MMA coach and manager, Ryan Parsons.

Ryan has done a little bit of everything – Chiropractic, coaching, production, talent management and promotion. That impressive breadth and depth of experience is a perfect fit for Mixed Martial Arts. But more than that, Ryan’s approach to personal development, coaching and training might be just what you need to hear.

There 5 ideas in particular that WILL make you a better athlete and coach, but also a better human. Take note…

1. Surround yourself with great people. 

Trying to figure everything out on your own is a waste of time. If you want to master something, go find the very best people and spend lots of time with them.

Study how they work and interact, and copy everything they do. That’s the only way, right? In the very beginning we know nothing. So, the quickest path to mastery is to repeat a cycle of copying, working like hell, then taking and adjusting course.

In time you’ll develop a great method of your very own.

2. Pace is everything.

Ryan has a great line, “People tend to overestimate what they can do in a month, and underestimate what they can do in a year.”

You cannot rush your development. In fact, sometimes working too hard and beating yourself up could be exactly what’s holding you back in the gym. More is not better, only better is better.

If you’re struggling to make progress, try pulling back. Take a few day’s off. Reassess your training and make sure that the programming isn’t excessive. Scale down, but still work hard and keep up a high quality in the gym.

Pick a pace that you can sustain. Train like you’ll still be at it 20 years from now.


Don’t miss Ryan on the episode #570 of The Joe Rogan Experience.

3. To compete well, be happy.

That might sound strange coming from an MMA coach, but it makes perfect sense.

Training camps are tough. They get more and more specialize – more intense – the closer you get to the fight. It’s very common for athletes to get worn down by the training and sparring, which is not ideal.

Ryan’s approach to tapering before a competition is different. The duration of the taper is usually 5-10 days. The older the athlete, the longer it will take to brush off the fatigue and brighten up. During that time period the goal is simple – restore mood. If Ryan can get his fighter’s smiling and laughing before the big show, he know’s that they’re ready.

You will always perform at your best when you’re having a great time. Loosen up.

4. Where the body goes, the mind follows.

Mindset is everything, particularly in MMA. If you want some instantaneous ways to boost confidence, and also performance, do three simple things.

  • Stand tall and take up space. The bigger you feel, the more confident and effective you will be.
  • Maintain focus on your preparation, not what anyone else is doing. You cannot afford to waste anytime worrying over things that are outside of your control.
  • The language you use defines you. Never be self-defeating. Repeat a positive mantra, anything that makes you feel strong, happy and capable.

5. Always remain coachable.

If you want to be your best, you have to be coachable. The more open you are the further you can go, both in sport and in life.

It doesn’t matter how good you are, there’s always something left to be discovered. Seek out knowledge. Look outside the areas of your expertise. Find out what you can do better, then go find someone amazing to learn from. The cycle never ends.

Enjoy the show,


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Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


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