Eric Falstrault was never really in bad shape.
As a gym owner, he's worked in the fitness industry for the past 20 years. To be a good example to his clients, he's always tried to practice what he preached.
A typical jiu-jitsu class begins up with 10 to 15 minutes of warm-ups, which consists of footwork, arm pummeling and sprawls—moves commonly used in the sparring part of class. The next 30 to 40 minutes is spent learning new techniques and mastering drills. Much of jiu-jitsu is centered on escaping and achieving submission, Falstrault explains, which requires a lot of core and back strength.
The class ends with 15 to 20 minutes of randori, or fighting and rolling, where all the drills and techniques are put together against another person.
"When you get good at it, it becomes more of a game of who makes the first mistake," Falstrault says.
Falstrault started noticing changes in his body after about four weeks of dedication, especially in his abs. He credits his impressive six-pack to jiu-jitsu, because his core muscles are constantly engaged throughout every movement and technique.
He also experienced massive strength gains in his hands, because so much of Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes grip strength. As his body adjusted, he was able to train more frequently, and six months later he still can't seem to go enough and trains five days a week.
Jiu-jitsu is just one part of his weekly routine, though. In addition to his martial arts sessions, Falstrault hits the weight room three to four days a week, alternating between upper body and lower body exercises. His upper body workouts consist of pull-up variations and grip strength work. His routine currently consists of weighted chin-ups, fat-gripped bench presses, high rows and tricep dips, all done on a tempo. His lower body days focus on Olympic lifts such as hang cleans and deadlifts, both done at a tempo, along with high rows and tricep dips.
The best piece of advice he can offer those ready to make a change? Start as soon as you can.
“The one thing I hear people say in the gym is, ‘I’ll start Monday.’ Don’t wait until Monday. There’s never a good time to make a change — start right now and don’t look back.”
This story was originally published on MensHealth.com