Category Archives: Fitness, Nutrition and Medical

I met Lauren from Pacific Health Labs at the last WCF event, and she gave me a a couple weeks worth of Forze GPS, and I have been hooked ever since. It’s rare that I get excited about any supplement, especially supplements in bar form…but this one seems to be a real winner. Before I post the information I received from PHLI, I want to fill you in on my experience with the product in the past week. I started a new job recently, and I’m always on the road…eating right is tough, and I never know when I’ll find time for a meal. I’ve been eating a Forze GPS bar for breakfast, and when they say that that it “helps tame the hunger flame for up to 3.5 hours” they aren’t kidding. They only have about 160 calories per bar, and I’ve been eating a bar every morning before 8:00AM, and I haven’t been hungry until 12:00-1:00…and it wasn’t a flukey day that I was too busy to be hungry. Literally everytime I eat one, it kills my hunger for 4 hours…and they taste awesome. For those of you who know me, you know I like to eat…so yeah, eating 160 calories and being full for 4 hours just doesn’t happen for me…until recently anyway.

Here is the info they sent over..some is from an email, and some is from their marketing material.

From the email:

Our newest innovation platform (FORZE GPS) delivers a benefit insight that resonates not only with our core endurance athlete, but that could also resonate with an audience actively engaged in studying, training, and competing in mixed-martial arts.  Both sets of consumers (though slightly different demographically) understand intuitively that the leaner a body becomes, the greater its potential for speed and endurance.

The endurance athlete and the MMA competitor inherently value speed and endurance and they are both looking for tools (not magic bullets) to help them achieve their athletic goals.  The concept of a tool is important because just like in endurance events where it can take an individual several years to develop the athletic capability to compete at the highest levels, one does not become a master in a particular school of martial arts without years of training and hard work.  What you put in is what you get out.  There are no short cuts.

 FORZE GPS is the first appetite management tool designed specifically for athletes allowing them to get more out of their hard work. Though a patented blend of natural fats, protein, and calcium, FORZE GPS activates the body’s natural appetite control signal to help tame the hunger flame for up to 3.5 hours and help decrease subsequent food intake up to 20%.  Athletes, like the average consumer, wrestle with hunger: the 10am cravings, the late-night snack binges, etc. etc. However, athletes, unlike the average consumer, recognize that optimal weight is directly linked to optimal athletic performance.  And, they are just as engaged—if not more engaged—than the average consumer in managing their nutritional choices.  Unlike the average consumer, a 5-10lb weight loss for an athlete is not about fitting into a new pair of designer jeans or looking good in a particular bathing suit.  It’s about a faster mile split.  It’s about being able to have a higher lactate threshold to be able to withstand and outlast your opponent.  It’s can be the difference between winning and losing.  Get leaner.  Get faster.

From the marketing material:

   FORZE GPS is the first appetite management tool designed specifically for athletes. With a patentedblend of natural fats, protein and calcium, FORZE GPSTM activates the body’s natural appetite control signal. Designed to be taken before or between meals as a snack replacement, FORZE GPSTM helps control your hunger so you can achieve your performance goals. With FORZE GPSTM you now have a nutritional tool to help tame your hunger flame.

Why is FORZE GPS useful?



solves this problem by satisfying your appetite in a calorically efficient manner. Simply put: FORZE GPSTM provides more appetite control with fewer calories than other foods. By adding FORZE GPS to your diet you will naturally eat less over the course of the day without feeling hungry, and as a result you will become leaner and for most people perform better. (for more detail on the science, go to


One of the keys to getting leaner is appetite regulation. Most people, and even many athletes, find it difficult to satisfy their appetite each day without eating more calories than they need and consequently accumulating excess body fat stores.

How does FORZE GPS work?  

The physiology of appetite control is complex and multifaceted, and scientists still have much to learn about it. What we do know is that the two main centers of appetite control are the gut and the brain. The presence of food, and specific nutrients, in the gut generates chemicals (e.g. cholecystokinin, CCK) and signals that travel to the brain, where the feeling of satiety emerges, resulting in the loss of the desire to eat. Through a patented
Helps decrease subsequent food intake up to 20%

 Acts within 4-6 minutes.





 Helps tame the hunger flame for up to 3.5 hours blend of natural fats, protein, and calcium, FORZE GPS attenuates the body’s natural appetite signal and helps tame your hunger flame. The results of numerous studieson the FORZE GPS  technology have demonstrated that it: 


Best of all, FORZE GPS  achieves all of these results with ingredients from real foods: a patented† blend of natural fats, protein and calcium. In FORZE GPSTM, nature and science have come together to create a nutrition tool that helps athletes get leaner and perform better.
You can get Forze GPS at your local GNC, or Vitamin Shoppe location.


The Psychological Impact on Fighter Physiology


            I just finished reading a very interesting article on the physiology of close combat by Dave Grossman.  Using some excerpts from his work I hope to leave you with the understanding of why training for competition (cardio, weights, skills) may not completely guarantee that you will not fall victim to fatigue during competition.  The psychological stress of combat has a huge influence on your physiology. 


            To give you a little background information; Dave Grossman who authored the article is also the author of a new book called On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society .  Both are long fascinating reads that goes into great detail investigating the psychology of killing in combat.  He sites interviews, published personal accounts and academic studies.  The book states that human beings have a powerful, innate resistance to the taking of life, and then examines the techniques developed by the military to overcome that aversion. His provocative study focuses in particular on the Vietnam War, revealing how the American soldier was “enabled to kill to a far greater degree than any other soldier in history.


            What was of great interest to me were the examples he gave of the physiological impact of close combat.  To fully comprehend the intensity of the stress of combat, we must keep in mind that the psychological stress from fear and arousal has a large effect on our physiology. The body’s physiological response is largely manifested in the sympathetic nervous system’s mobilization of resources and the parasympathetic nervous system “backlash” that occurs as a result of the demands placed upon it. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) mobilizes and directs the body’s energy resources for action. It is the physiological equivalent of the body’s front-line soldiers who actually do the fighting in a military unit. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s digestive and recuperative processes. It is the physiological equivalent of the body’s cooks, mechanics, and clerks who sustain a military unit over an extended period of time.


            Usually the body maintains itself in a state of homeostasis, which ensures that these two nervous systems maintain a balance between their demands upon the body’s resources. But during extremely stressful circumstances the “fight-or-flight” response kicks in and the SNS mobilizes all available energy for survival. This is the physiological equivalent of throwing the cooks, mechanics, and clerks into the battle. This process is can be very, very  intense.  A combatant must pay a physiological price for an enervating process so intense. The “price” that the body pays is an equally powerful “backlash”.  This parasympathetic backlash occurs as soon as the danger and the excitement is over, and it takes the form of an incredibly powerful weariness and sleepiness on the part of the soldier


            The SNS is activated when the brain perceives a threat to survival, resulting in a immediate discharge of stress hormones. This “mass discharge” is designed to prepare the body for fight-or-flight. The response is characterized by increasing arterial pressure and blood flow to large muscle mass (resulting in increased strength capabilities and enhanced gross motor skills–such as running from or charging into an opponent), vasoconstriction of minor blood vessels at the end of appendages (which serves to reduce bleeding from wounds), pupil dilation, cessation of digestive processes, and muscle tremors. The illustration below presents a schematic representation of the effects of hormone induced heart rate increase resulting from SNS activation.  


            The activation of the SNS is automatic and virtually uncontrollable. It is a reflex triggered by the perception of a threat. Once initiated, the SNS will dominate all voluntary and involuntary systems until the perceived threat has been eliminated or escaped, performance deteriorates, or the parasympathetic nervous system activates to reestablish homeostasis.


            The degree of SNS activation centers around the level of perceived threat. For example, low-level SNS activation may result from the anticipation of combat. This is especially common with police officers or soldiers minutes before they make a tactical assault into a potential deadly force environment. Under these conditions combatants will generally experience increases in heart rates and respiration, muscle tremors, and a psychological sense of anxiety.


            Once activated, the SNS causes immediate physiological changes, of which the most noticeable and easily monitored is increased heart rate. SNS activation will drive the heart rate from an average of 70 beats per minute (BPM) to more than 200 BPM in less than a second. As combat stress increases, heart rate and respiration will increase until catastrophic failure, or until the parasympathetic nervous system is triggered.

            A landmark research study that involved monitoring the heart rate responses of law enforcement officers in close conflict simulations using paintball-type simulation weapons. This research has consistently recorded heart rate increases to well over 200 beats per minute, with some peak heart rates of up to 300 beats per minute. These were simulations in which the combatants knew that their life was not in danger.


            I found this information to be relevant to those of you who are training for tournaments and MMA events.  Many of you who have competed have expressed to me how tired and fatigued you have felt during a match.  Even though you may be able roll, weight train, and sustain training performance at very high intensity levels you will most likely still experience fatigue faster when you’re competing.  The psychological stress influences the physiological response. 


            When developing training programs for my  MMA athletes I try to make the toughest workouts on the days of the week on the same day they compete.  This should help get your mind adjusted to the stress associated with competing on a specific day so your psychological stress will be reduced.  Jay and Mandy also employ a similar technique in team training by putting people in the middle of the mat with everyone else on the side watching and yelling.  Again another way for you to prepare yourself for the psychological stress involved.


            I hope this article helps you in your preparation for upcoming events.  Now go forth and conquer. 


For more info, contact:

Stanley Skolfield, ATC,CSCS

OA Performance Center/

Parisi Speed School Manager

15 Lund Road

Saco, ME  04072

(207) 710-5509

Fax (207) 282-8185


How Strong Are You?

by Rick ~ May 19th, 2009





How Strong Are You?


Stan Skolfield, ATC, CSCS



“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”  . Henry Rollins “The Iron


My workday revolves around responding to phone calls, emails, and face to face conversations about how to best develop the attributes necessary to turn someone into a superior athlete.   Most highly motivated athletes aren’t just looking to improve their performance they want raise it to a level in which they will dominate their competition.   However many of these athletes are looking for a template that will give them quick results and when I explain to them that in order to dominate their competition that there is no easy road to take-many of respond with confusion.  I then begin to educate them on the importance of establishing a strong “foundation”.  Once they are able to build a strong foundation the skill component of their sport becomes much easier.  An athletes “foundation” is made up of speed, agility, power, flexibility, balance, endurance, proper nutrition, and most importantly strength.


Strength.  Developing maximal strength is crucial to developing superior performance.  Why?  Because all of the attributes of an athlete’s foundation will be limited by their maximal relative strength.  Maximal relative strength is how strong someone is in relation to their bodyweight.  The stronger you are the easier it is to improve agility, power, endurance, and speed. 


One of the shortfalls I see in the MMA/ grappling community is the belief that one must focus their conditioning primarily on their power endurance.  So great emphasis is placed on working with resistance and exercising at a moderate to high intensity with a high volume of work.  This is done to raise their work capacity and improve their power endurance in hopes of not gassing out when they compete.  


Here is the problem.  When they work their grappling they are working on their power endurance, and then they work their striking-more power endurance, and now their conditioning consists of more of the same.   This isn’t just done 1-2 times per week it’s done 4,5, or 6 days per week.  The problem is that all they end up working on is power endurance and nothing else (and there is no deloading in place, but that is the topic of a different article). 


The other major shortfall is that they do nothing in between competition to improve their strength.  But improving your maximal strength can be one of the simplest ways to improve your power endurance.  How is that?  Very simply, insufficient strength has a ceiling effect on peak power.  If your peak power isn’t as high as it should be, then you’re not going to have very high levels of power endurance.  You want to have a ground and pound that is punishing for 3 rounds?  Then you better get stronger first.


Let me give you an example.  Let’s take two athletes who fight at 155lbs.  Athlete A is 155lbs and he can maximally deadlift 200lbs.  Athlete B weighs the same, but can deadlift 400lbs.  Who do you think is going to have an easier time taking you off the fence for 3 rounds?  As Jeff Monson once said “I can overcome a lot of technique with superior strength”.  Combine superior technique with superior strength and not you have a superior MMA athlete (GSP, Fedor, etc)


Here’s another example using the same athletes and relating it striking.  Athlete A can maximal bench press 135lbs  and athlete B can maximally dumbbell bench 235lbs.  If you lay on your back, cover your face up and each athlete is allowed to ground and pound you for 10 seconds who do you think will be able to generate the most force and do the most damage? 


Think about it.  If you could do walking lunges with 100lb dumbbells wouldn’t shots and running sprints with just your bodyweight feel a hell of a lot easier?  The power endurance components of your training will now become easier if you devote a period of time to raising your maximal strength. 


We have a t-shirt here at the Performance Center and on the front of it it says “STRENGTH PUNISHES”.  Have you ever competed with someone that is way stronger than you?  It is physically taxing-it takes a lot of energy to make up for that lack of strength and this can lead to early fatigue.  Fighting against takedowns, getting off the bottom, maintaining top position, all of this takes an exceptional amount energy to do if you’re the weaker opponent.


So how strong are you?  If you’re not the strongest person at your bodyweight then you are at a disadvantage.  When you are in between competitions you should program your training so as to develop maximal strength.  Developing maximal strength isn’t as easy doing 4 sets of 10 reps, or 5 sets of 5 reps or any type of set and rep scheme.  It has to be specific to the individual.  I can give you a general template below depending upon what kind of athlete you are.


The individual who has minimal strength training experience (novice) can get strength improvement by working with weights of less than 40% 1RM.  This individual should spend their time mastering lifting technique of some of the basic lifts (lunges, reverse lunges, split squats, step ups, bench press, pull ups, and rowing variations) as well as developing great CORE stability using plank variations (front, side, and bridging), farmers walks, and heavy 1 sided KB walks.  Following this template for 12-16 weeks the athlete will be able to develop


The next tier of athlete has been doing some form of strength training for 16 weeks to several years.  To improve their strength they need to get away from sets of 10-15 and start working within 5-8 reps for 3-6 sets.  They should eventually progress their lifts to the 3-5 reps range for some of the heavier total body lifts.  Incorporating total body lifts such as the deadlift, back squat, front squat, box squats, different benching variations, and performing 2-3 pulling movements for every pressing movement.


The athlete who has several years or more of strength training experience will require heavier loads (90% of 1RM and above) to begin to make strength gains.  Doing 1 major lift using heavy weights followed by 3-4 supplementary exercises will be the key to taking this athletes strength to the next level.  Many athletes reach this stage of training experience and their strength levels plateau because they use the same exercises and the same weights and then wonder why they never make any gains.  Their body has accommodated to the stress placed upon it.  To make gains you need to change the stress involved.


 The more experienced athlete will need a lower repetition volume as to avoid hypertrophy gains and risk moving out of a weight class.  Most phases of training are programmed in 4 week intervals with volume and intensity progression as follows-week 1 medium heavy, week 2 medium, week 3 heavy volume and intensity., and week 4 is a deload week where the intensity is still high but volume of work is cut by 50% compared to week 3. 


Another common mistake I see with MMA athletes is that their training contains too much volume combined with very high intensity which leaves them very over trained and peaking too early in their program.  Remember this general principle-athletes do not over train on intensity, they over train on volume.  So you can still train at high intensity, but do it for shortened periods of time and sets/reps.  Build in deload (recovery) weeks into your program and you will notice major improvements.  This doesn’t mean take the entire week off from training, just cut down on the volume of work.  Performance = training + recovery.  If you don’t recovery your muscles don’t get a chance to repair and you don’t make progress.



The MMA/ Grappling game is evolving rapidly and have you noticed that the athletes who are beginning to dominate are powerful, explosive, athletes who have great skill and power endurance.  They are athletes!  Then they suck down to the lowest weight class possible to take full advantage of their relative strength.   Wrestlers have been doing this for years.  So take the time to plan out your training and become the strongest athlete for your weight!

NorthEastMMA would like to thank new site sponsor, OA Center for Orthopaedics. On top of becoming a site sponsor, they are going to provide monthly articles on various fitness and exercise topics geared towards MMA’s athletes. They currently work with fighters like Paul Gorman and Josh Watson, and have helped other fighters rehab injuries as well. I’m very excited to work with OA on this, and I hope the reader’s enjoy their articles!


OA Centers for Orthopaedics is the premier orthopaedic practice in Maine.  Recently the group has opened a new practice completely focused on the athlete.  The OA Performance Center located in Saco, Maine is a 100,000 square foot state of the art sports performance facility.  It offers athletes a unique orthopaedic, sports medicine, physical therapy, evaluation and training center all in one location.


MMA athletes looking to improve their physical performance will find highly skilled experts as well as the following:


  • A 12,000 square foot Performance training area complete with a 4 lane mondo sprint track, 30 yard turfed training area, and a state of the art strength training area.  Inside the strength area is a full compliment of power racks, dumbbells, Woodway treadmills, kettlebells, medicine balls and freemotion training equipment. 


  • A Human Performance Lab that provides athletes with the most sophisticated technology and analysis for measuring, evaluating, and improving athletic performance.  Services include: VO2max testing, Lactate Threshold Profile Testing, and Anaerobic Capacity Testing.


  • Sports Nutrition and Sports Massage Therapy services are available and Sports Psychology services will also be offered in the near future.


  • A 5,000 square foot Sports Medicine Center which features orthopaedic sub-specialists who are experts in latest diagnostic and treatment options available.  This center offers comprehensive orthopedic care for our athletes including advanced imaging services through our MRI Center, as well as outpatient surgery through our Orthopaedic Surgery Center.


  • A 4,500 square foot Physical Therapy Center that specializes in sports medicine and sports-specific rehabilitation. 


The premise behind OA’s sub-specialty orthopaedic practice is that physicians concentrate on a particular anatomical area of the body such as the knee, shoulder, hip or spine – and become experts in the diagnosis, repair and physical rehabilitation of related problems.  It is felt that an orthopaedic sub-specialist who performs hundreds of ACL knee repairs each year, or a trauma surgeon who encounters and repairs hundreds of complex fracture injuries, is in a much better position to achieve consistently superior results for patients.


The OA Performance Center represents a comprehensive commitment to restoring and improving all levels of athletic performance.  Having treated numerous mixed martial artists OA understands the physical needs of these athletes and uses a team approach to ensure a rapid return to the ring.  For program information please contact Stan Skolfield at