UFC Strength & Conditioning Coach Kevin Kearns Discusses Role In MMA!

If I can help just one person a day get a little closer to their fitness goals, then I have a good day. We will combat obesity 1 person and 1 day at time. Commit to be fit and you will be. Learn more.

Article Summary:
  • Kevin first began martial arts at the age of 13 when his father passed.
  • He works with many UFC fighters such as Kenny and Keith Florian.
  • In 2004 he started 2 of his own fitness websites.
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    Kevin Kearns Interview
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    [ Q ] First off, thank you Kevin for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. I figured we would start off with some background information and such so let's get right into it.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into training numerous MMA fighters such as Kenny Florian?
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      I started Martial Arts at the age of 13-years old after my father died at age 48. I was what you might think of as the "last pick" (book coming soon). You know the kid that nobody wants to choose for playing ball etc, a late bloomer and also could not defend myself that well either.

      A close uncle talked me into taking karate and I was hooked! I learned very quickly with the right teaching and practice you can get better. From martial arts, I not only learned self-defense but it instilled in me a high level of discipline, character, and self-motivation.

    I Not Only Learned Self-Defense But It Instilled In Me A High Level Of Discipline, Character, And Self-Motivation.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    I Not Only Learned Self-Defense But It Instilled In Me
    A High Level Of Discipline, Character, And Self-Motivation.

      I realized if I wanted something, I need to work three times as hard as the next person. My karate school added a weight room and I started working out with some of the older chiseled guys.

      From there one thing led to another and I found myself in 1987 at UMass Boston in the Exercise Physiology department. I was once again hooked on something. Personal training and strength coaching was not an exploding field as it is today. I started my own company in 1990 after graduating and have been in the trenches training people and athletes ever since.

    RELATED VIDEO: TRAINING WITH KEVIN KEARNS


    Burn With Kearns:
    The Basement Tapes!

    Kevin Kearns takes Kenny and Keith Florian through an insane workout for MMA conditioning

      As for training fighters ... I was in the right place at the right time. I started training with my Kru and good friend Mark Dellagrotte from Sityodtong. We trained a little bit years ago but he went the martial art route and I went into fitness. We reconnected in 2005 just as the first season had finished for the UFC TV show.

    Mark DellaGrotte:
    Mark DellaGrotte is a former professional kickboxer and a trainer in Muay Thai. He is the owner and operator of the Sityodtong USA Branch in Somerville, Massachusetts, and was certified and appointed by Master Yodtong to be recognized as an international conservator of Thai style boxing.

    Mark also has extensive training and is certified in the arts of Filipino Kali Escrima, Indonesian Pencak Silat, Jeet Kune Do, French Savate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

      Mark asked me to work and help some other fighters with my functional strength concepts. He received a lot of good feedback from the fighters and mentioned it to Kenny Florian who was on a role in the UFC.

      Before Kenny's first title fight, he tweaked his back. I offered to work with him before the fight and fly out and work with him at the show. Unfortunately Kenny did not win but fought his heart out.

    I Offered To Work With Kenny Before The Fight And Fly Out And Work With Him At The Show.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    I Offered To Work With Kenny Before The Fight
    And Fly Out And Work With Him At The Show.

      After the fight he decided he needed to step things up with his strength and conditioning. He hired me full time. His next fight 6 months later, he looked like a completely different person. Even the Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan from the UFC kept commenting on the change in his physique.

      The rest is history. Word spread and I began to work with a lot of other fighters. But in the end I am one part of a very good and solid team. It takes a team of pros to build a pro.

    In The End I Am One Part Of A Very Good And Solid Team.
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    In The End I Am One Part Of
    A Very Good And Solid Team.

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    [ Q ] I hear Kenny gave you the nickname "Dr. Evil". How did that come about?
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      The name came about when I first conceived of the "gas in the tank" program for sports specific training for MMA. The idea behind the program is to mimic what goes on in a fight, including the pace. It's a hard fast training program that is designed to make the fighters cry in training so they laugh in battle.

      I never want any of my fighters to question their conditioning on fight night. Of course it is always monitored with very strict guidelines to avoid overtraining.

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    [ Q ] Do you train your MMA clients any differently than the average Joe you work with?
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      Yes, we do. Everyone has a different need and a different goal. One suit size does not fit all and neither does a program. The concept can be similar but the intensity and workload can be very different.

    One Suit Size Does Not Fit All And Neither Does A Program.
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    One Suit Size Does Not Fit
    All And Neither Does A Program.

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    [ Q ] What does your personal workout regimen look like?
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      • 5 - 6 days per week
      • 2 days a week of hot yoga (1- 1.5 hours each)
      • 3 days of functional strength training
      • 3 days of aerobic work on a versa climber and mini trampoline
      • 1-2 days of MMA pad work

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    [ Q ] Do you follow a strict diet?
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      Yes, I need to lead by example. I did not believe in telling the clients or groups of people they need to lay off junk food and I'm eating Twinkies.

    I Need To Lead By Example.
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    I Need To Lead By Example.

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    [ Q ] You have had your own fitness company (Kevin Kearns Fitness) for 23 years now and are now looking to take it international. Can you tell the readers a little bit about how you started up your own company and what it has been like over the years and where you see it down the road?
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      I started my company out of a necessity. I worked for other trainers while in college and was going to work for someone else. My girlfriend at the time, who's now my wife, said as an after thought, "Why don't you start your own company." I said to myself, why not? With her at my side I launched the Fitness Connection, which I owned until 2005.

      5 years after starting the company in 1990, a client and I purchased a health club together, which I owned till 2004. Our idea for the health club was to be like "Cheers". I wanted my staff to know everyone's name, a very personal atmosphere, with an emphasis on personal training. In 2004 we decided to move on and I started burnwithkearns.com and bephysicallyfit.com.

    I Wanted My Staff To Know Everyone's Name, A Very Personal Atmosphere, With An Emphasis On Personal Training.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    I Wanted My Staff To Know Everyone's Name, A Very
    Personal Atmosphere, With An Emphasis On Personal Training.

      Our main goal is to reach as many people as possible to so they can G.O.T.A. (Get Off Their Ass). We want people to feel good about exercising. I see this company moving into more multi-media products so we can reach and help more people toward their fitness goals.

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    [ Q ] As if training already-elite athletes wasn't enough, now you are taking on anyone looking to improve their health and fitness in a fight to battle obesity. What made you want to start this challenge?
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      In 2006 the CDC released that obesity was a pandemic. I heard that and it shocked me down to my foundation. I have a client who's a doctor who is a surgeon that works at the obesity consult center at Tufts. My other company, Be Physically Fit became a consult for the OCC at Tufts.

      When I sat in on a support group meeting for more than 60 patients and heard the stories, it hit me that this is the most important work we as fitness professionals can do. I decided that we would use the media attention gained from working with top UFC fighters, to build a brand that would combat obesity.

    This Is The Most Important Work We As Fitness Professionals Can Do.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    This Is The Most Important Work
    We As Fitness Professionals Can Do.

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    [ Q ] How do you plan on battling obesity? Through information? Motivation? Nutrition? Training? Supplementation?
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      All the above, but the first idea we have to hit home is motivation. Once we have people motivated then they are hungry for the information to lead them to a healthy lifestyle.

      My famous saying is this: "You are not out of shape, you are just in a different shape than you want to be in." Let's put a positive spin on it.

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    [ Q ] Who is more prone to obesity?
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      I believe children mostly. The reasons: they exercise less than we do, watch more TV than we did as kids, and tend to eat more unhealthy food.

      When you hear from school systems that gym is now only required once a week and recess is cut out, I want to lose my lunch.

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    [ Q ] Do you find that there is a higher rate of obesity in the United States compared to other countries?
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      The U.S. is the leader unfortunately but in 2006 CDC found that countries like India and China are now following right behind us.

    Obesity Rates Of The Total Population Of<br>Various Countries From The Years 1996-2003.
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    Obesity Rates Of The Total Population Of
    Various Countries From The Years 1996-2003.

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    [ Q ] What are some factors that lead to obesity? Do genetics play a role? Family history?
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      The main factor that leads to obesity is too many calories in and not enough out. You can say genetics is a factor but it's secondary to the latter.

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    [ Q ] I hear you have a new DVD that you will also be selling. Can you tell us a little bit about the DVD? Do you talk about obesity in the DVD?
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      This fitness site will sell all 5 of our DVD products to start. 4 of my DVDs are geared toward MMA conditioning and martial arts but, anyone wanting a different and fun workout can utilize them.

    Anyone Wanting A Different And Fun Workout Can Utilize Them.
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    Anyone Wanting A Different And
    Fun Workout Can Utilize Them.

      My first DVD is the 30-minute core strength workout, which is an intermediate workout that was used in small impact study for the Obesity Consult Center at Tufts medical. We found the workout was especially suited for people who had already been in a maintenance level (6 months or more) after Bariatric surgery.

    Bariatrics:
    Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity. The field encompasses dieting, exercise and behavioral therapy approaches to weight loss, as well as pharmacotherapy and surgery.

      arrow Check Out Kevin Kearns' Workout DVDs Here.

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    [ Q ] What made you want to make this DVD?
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      I have over 300 workout DVDs at my office that I review regularly. I thought people may like a switch from the "fluff' and "buff" DVDs. I wanted to create something that was content heavy and fun to use.

    I Wanted To Create Something That Was Content Heavy And Fun To Use.
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    I Wanted To Create Something That
    Was Content Heavy And Fun To Use.

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    [ Q ] If you weren't in this industry what would you be doing?
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      I would be an owner of a martial arts school and helping people in a different way to reach the same goals.

    If I Wasn't In This Industry I Would Be An Owner Of A Martial Arts School
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    If I Wasn't In This Industry I Would
    Be An Owner Of A Martial Arts School.

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    [ Q ] Is there anyone in particular that you would like to thank who helped you get to where you are today?
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      First my family, especially my wife for backing me all the time with all my crazy ideas and insane work hours. Second, my mentors Douglas Brooks, Peter Twist, Dr. David Thomas, Brian Leahy, Tim Barchard, Keith Thompson, Garland Johnson, Steve Lavalle, Paul Garcia, Team Florian, Team Sityodtong and Strategic Management.

      Lastly, all of the people that buy my DVDs, read my articles, come to my seminars, and my clients (who are my second family). These people really help me stay in the trenches and keep pushing the envelope of fitness and wellness.

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    [ Q ] Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that we haven't addressed that you would like the readers to know?
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      I love what I do! If I can help just one person a day get a little closer to their fitness goals, then I have a good day. We will combat obesity 1 person and 1 day at time. Commit to be fit and you will be.

    We Will Combat Obesity 1 Person And 1 Day At Time.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    We Will Combat Obesity 1
    Person And 1 Day At Time.

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    [ Q ] Thank you again, Kevin, for doing this interview. I wish you the best in your quest to fight obesity around the globe.
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      Thank you, sir.