Published on March 21st, 2013 | by James Fell0
Exclusive Interview with MMA Fighter Jordan McDonald
Jordan McDonald, a competitive MMA fighter and model, offers tips for diet and exercise to achieve ultimate fitness.
If you have ever punched Jordan McDonald in the face, then you’ve committed a crime against humanity. I mean, really, just look at her. Big surprise that, in addition to being an MMA fighter, she’s also a model.
I love my job.
How does one with model looks become a fighter? It starts in childhood …
“I was a typical kid and pretty hyperactive,” Jordan, who is now 31, told me. “My mother got me into softball, dancing and a bunch of other stuff, until I found gymnastic at age 10.” She became dedicated to gymnastics training five to six days a week, and it started her down the path of rigorous discipline in regards to fitness, and a desire to progress her capabilities.
But then gymnastics went kerblooie. Er, rip. Tear? Something like that.
“I would have taken gymnastics further, but I tore my Achilles when I was 13,” she said. “I was very competitive and took it very seriously, but when I went back I wasn’t 100% and it was very frustrating. By the time I was 14 I stopped competing.”
At gymnastics. The desire to compete at something physical didn’t go away.
Jordan is also a surfer, and she was dating a surfer, and that ended, and then Muay Thai started. What happened is that she needed a break from surfing to go along with the break from the surfer, so she needed something else to keep active, so she started training with Maurice Travis in Myrtle Beach, SC.
“Maurice opened a dojo and some of my guy friends started training with him, and they said I should try it. They knew I’d be into it.”
So, how did that go?
“The initial reaction was that I loved it,” she said. “It was something new and I kind of got obsessed and went all the time I could. I got to the point where I wanted to test myself.” But the problem with studying Muay Thai was that there weren’t many opponents. “The lack of opponents was what prompted me to do MMA. It was the desire to compete.”
Jordan says her heart is her biggest strength when it comes to competing in the ring. From a tactical perspective, she said she took to jiu-jitsu quickly, but that she’s well rounded. “There isn’t one area that I’m best in.”
And her heart definitely is in it, because the desire to compete in MMA overrode her desire to go to law school.
“I was accepted at every law school I applied to,” Jordan said. “Law school will always be there, but I’m at the age where MMA has to be done now if I want to do it. Ultimately, you only live once.” The desire to compete is what relocated her to Las Vegas.
So just how much training does it take to compete at MMA? A helluva a lot.
“There are six training sessions a week that are technique specific. For an hour we drill and then for another 45 minutes we go live to implement what we just drilled. Half are grappling and half are stand up.” Once a week there is also a wrestling class, plus lifting weights.
“I need to decide if I’m going to go down to 105 or go up to 115,” she explained. She’s leaning towards 115, which will mean hitting the weights harder to pack on more muscle. But it’s not just lifting in the traditional sense. “What we want to train our bodies to do is to explode and recover quickly. I love kettlebells for building explosive strength.”
But it’s not all kicking ass.
“I love doing hot yoga,” Jordan told me. “I consider it like an active rest kind of workout at the end of the day to relax and loosen up. I really look forward to that workout.”
And of course, high performance bodies aren’t just made via training, but also in the kitchen.
“I’m always trying to tweak things,” she said. “I stay away from any kind of processed foods. Sugar I try to get naturally from fruit. The more vegetables you can eat the better. I do like eating meat, but it’s all about but what your food ate. Make sure they ate what they were meant to eat.”
And since this is SixPackAbs.com, I specifically asked Jordan how she resists eating junk food to keep her weight down.
“I have to employ tricks,” she said. “Willpower can be a myth. If I have a fight coming up sweets are not allowed in the house, because if it’s there, I’m going to eat it.” Do I ever know what she’s talking about. I always give my wife hell if she buys Halloween candy too early. And when I occasionally buy treats for the kids, I’m careful to get stuff that I know I don’t like.
“I will make myself go to bed early if I feel myself weakening,” she continued. “When I’m having the craving I tell myself I can have it tomorrow if I still want it badly. If you can get past the initial surge of desire it will kind of go away. Understanding what’s actually going on in your brain helps fight it.” Yep. That’s exactly right. Being mindful of what you eat is a powerful tool in resisting junk food and focusing more on healthful food consumption.
I asked Jordan how she stays motivated with the seemingly endless training.
“Refocusing is the trick.” Then she mentioned a quote: “Motivation doesn’t last. It’s like showering. We recommend it daily. There are days when you don’t feel like doing it, but you have to remind yourself of why you’re doing it.”
But there is more to it than that.
“Sometimes I remind myself that there are people who would love to have the ability to go through my hardest workout,” she said, referring to those suffering ailments or have unhealthy bodies. “There are many days I walk into the gym not happy about being there, but there is never a time walking out that I don’t feel glad that I went in. The sense of accomplishment of achieving a fitness goal is something I remind myself of.”
With Jordan also being a model, I felt compelled to ask her if she was afraid of getting punched in the face.
“When I’m fighting, I don’t worry about it,” she said. “Obviously, even if I wasn’t modeling I don’t want to get hit in the face but I just love training. The reward is worth the risk to me.” She’s had plenty of black eyes and scrapes, and had her nose broken, but “eventually it all goes away in the end. If you’re competitive enough to do MMA then you’re able to put that aside.”
Finally, for the interest of male readers, I ask her what she likes in a male physique. You know, just in case they can take any motivation from that.
“I definitely like a man who is in shape,” Jordan told me. “Personally, I’m not into bodybuilding, but a natural lean look. I like them to look healthy and like they take care of themselves.
And finally, she says she doesn’t like a protruding beer belly. “Abs are great, but not a must.”
I’ve heard this from women again and again. If you want abs, the reason to do it is for you, not someone else.