Luke Tirey is the Strength and Conditioning coach for Team Rafael Lovato Jr. His job is to make sure that world champions like Rafael Lovato Jr., Justin Rader and James Puopolo are kinesthetically able to operate at peak levels during world championship level BJJ competition.
Luke Tirey and Team Lovato Jr.
WBBJJ: Tell us a little bit about your background? How did you get here?
Luke Tirey: I’m 29 years old and really have had no huge formal background in sports until around 11 years ago when I decided to start lifting weights. From that moment on I have been in a constant experiment exploring the world of strength training. I’ve had periods of bodybuilding, marathon running (Chicago 07 at 155lbs), crossfit, powerlifting, kettlebells, strongman, gymnastics, etc.. Each mini journey became not only a change in training, but also living, breathing, eating, and philosophical views.
WBBJJ: Tell us a bit about your work with Team Lovato. Personally, I’d like to know what it’s like working with some of the most accomplished athletes in terms of their motivation to push hard all the time. What separates them from the average person? Does anything really separate them? Do they have down days/lazy days. What do you do to keep them fired up?
Luke Tirey: Working with Team Lovato is a great experience. Most of what I can do is offer advice and try to keep it simple for them. We could talk this all day but what you really want to hear is what it’s like training Rafael Lovato Jr. and Justin Rader. Well it’s simple, over the years I have changed my views from letting human ego and aggressive thought create training psychology, towards a more holistic – primal – strength approach. I believe they have adapted and been 100% on board which shows in their respective performances, but most importantly, in their health and longevity. So in a way it’s not their workout intensity that separates them from other martial artists, it’s their mindsets. Unique minds that only the elite have. The ability to visualize the goals at hand and taste every moment of the process, that’s what these guys do. I have gotten so basic with their training, and asked them to start listening, feeling, seeing, and perfecting the things they do. I want them to treat their bodies as the magnificent paintbrushes they are, using the minds to create their masterpiece. Rafael and Justin are simply more determined to excel than others and I think their bio’s show it.
Green Strength was founded by Lucius C. Tirey IV in 2013. After years and years of experimenting fitness and health trends, Lucius began to dwindle out the non efficient things that have plagued trainees all over the world from reaching their true, full potential. Supplements, splits, programs, diets, and exercise progression are all overly concerned about and have begun to destroy the art of achieving TRUE HEALTH.
WBBJJ: What would be your ideal basic starter program for a White belt who’s taking BJJ classes 2-4 times a week and is looking to add strength and conditioning to their weekly workouts. What would you have them do?
Luke Tirey: Everyone starting an exercise program is considered a white belt in my mind. You should spend your time reverse engineering what the strong do, as Pavel would say. In my opinion, this is not up for discussion: -You must learn to breathe properly -Then you must learn proper rolling patterns -Then maybe crawl -Walk -Run -Etc.. The mistakes we make are thinking we are above the basics or already athletically fit so we don’t need to practice fundamental movement, let’s just start the advanced stuff. The most important thing for you to do in the gym is learn to move your body in the most efficient ways possible, and then this is applied in bodyweight, barbell, kettlebells etc. Bruce Lee was a huge fan of the basics as he regularly did isometrics, tension and relaxation drills, as well as breathing exercises. Why not reverse-engineer the greatest approach? P.S. Don’t negate strength! There are many forms of strength and destroying a strong foundation with “excessive cardio” can destroy any belt.
WBBJJ: How do you tailor your programs to people’s experience/competition level? What’s different about say Justin Rader’s program versus “Avg Joe”?
Luke Tirey: I tailor programs and exercises based on the trainee’s ability to move. We all bridge, hinge, squat, press from multiple angles, carry, jump, land etc. These are natural movements we do no mater what. So why create gimmicks? We just perfect movement. As your level advances we can start adding different forms of resistance and physiological challenges. In theory the movement never really changes from Justin Rader to Avg. Joe, however the progression/regression, load, height, rest, and many other variables come into play.
WBBJJ: Thoughts on nutrition?
Luke Tirey: Nutrition is a world of mess. Take economics out of this thought for a second. Now there really is no diet, no debate, just personal accountability for what you eat. That being said it seems there is only one way to eat. Eat real food (organic if you can), and fuel your body. If you stay active in any capacity and eat as REAL and COLORFUL as possible, you’re going be okay. I am a stickler on vitamins and minerals, we need to be taking our D3, Zinc, Magnesium, EPA, and all the goodies. Slouch on water? I think most under-drink and are chronically dehydrated training day in and out. Big mistake!
WBBJJ: What if someone wants to gain weight? Lose weight? How does your prescription/workout change?
Luke Tirey: If someone is looking to gain weight or lose weight it’s simple. Change what you put in your mouth on a daily basis consistently. Considering they are eating REAL FOODS, the real advice is either up the calories or downsize the portions. Don’t beat yourself up training in order to accomplish one or the other…if you’re not going to nutritionally support yourself and be accountable to how much and how often you eat, you won’t see the compositional changes you want.
WBBJJ: Where can our readers learn more about you?
Luke Tirey: You can follow me at www.greenstrength.wordpress.com, be sure to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter. I am in the process of putting programs and tons of helpful information on my site specifically for combat athletes, so stay tuned! I am also available for private online coaching; if anyone is interested please give me a shout.
WBBJJ: Any further thoughts?
Luke Tirey: I’m going to leave you with my most valuable three pieces of information: Eat real food, train with passion and spirit, and do what’s worked for decades and years. Nothing new is magic.
Interview by Todd Shaffer WBBJJ.com