Training Tips from MMA Fighter Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood
“My role model was my first Muay Thai coach. I saw him KO someone and I was hooked — I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.”
That’s professional mixed martial artist (MMA) Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood, explaining what initially drew her to the world of competitive contact sports. Since age 13, the Scottish native has trained in Muay Thai sparring. And her training continues to pay off. Currently ranked third in the UFC’s Women's Flyweight Division, Joanne is also ranked second in the world by the World Professional Muay Thai Federation, and she holds multiple championship titles in Muay Thai, along with a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Making it as an MMA fighter requires a range of skills — discipline, endurance, and strength. These are some of the toughest athletes in the world, and many fans wonder how these MMA stars prepare for competition. To get a better idea, we recently sat down with JoJo to discuss the training and nutrition strategies she uses to prepare for her fights, as well as her goals for 2020.
Joanne’s UFC Training and Nutrition
You might be surprised, but a day in the life of an MMA star starts like most other people, with breakfast and a morning supplement regimen.
“I always have my coffee first, and then I eat two eggs, half an avocado, and two slices of bread. But before eating, I take my iron, then after breakfast, I take Vitamin C, Beta-Alanine, a B Complex, and a Magnesium supplement.”
It’s after breakfast where Joanne’s routine begins to get more intense.
“I try to get that all in before my 30-minute stretch session. Afterward, I move to mobility, then a pad practice, and then a pro practice with some sparring and live situation type fighting.”
Her mornings and afternoons are dedicated to training, with a light lunch in between.
“[For lunch] I will have Thorne’s Catalyte during training and take cod liver at lunch, which is usually the Trifecta special of the day,” Joanne said. “Every day I do pads and our MMA pro practice. Monday, Wednesday, Friday in the afternoons I have strength and conditioning training. Saturday, I do cardio and focus on recovery.”
During the week, recovery might mean a few light massages to keep from getting too sore. On Saturday, it’s a full sauna session, along with some green tea and quiet time. And Sunday? That’s Joanne’s only full day off from training.
After a full day spent honing her skills, Joanne winds down with a nice dinner and time set aside to relax.
“I usually have a nice meal at home – something I make in the slow cooker, usually chicken. I take a zinc supplement before bed and try to make sure I’m in bed and reading a book by 10 p.m. to get enough sleep and to wind down.”
What about on the road? As a UFC fighter, scheduled events take place all over the world. That requires adjusting training and nutrition plans — along with her sleep routine due to time zone differences. How does Joanne adjust to all her traveling?
“It’s very hard, but I believe the best thing to do is write out a schedule and have everything prepared. The UFC Performance Dietitians at the Performance Institute help a lot with this and really make it less stressful. I love cooking my own food because I know exactly what’s in it. Eating out can be harder because some menus don’t have certain things you’re looking for. If I am traveling and it’s a different time zone, then I like to train and get a good sweat on. I usually try to adjust straightaway to the time zone.”
Optimizing Her Training with Thorne Nutritional Products
MMA fighters must be at peak performance and get the most from their bodies when a big fight rolls around. Unlike in other sports, MMA fighters only have so many matches per year, so each one matters. And that’s why they need to optimize every part of their training, nutrition, and recovery. One way Joanne does that is through her supplement regimen.
She was first introduced to Thorne through the UFC’s Performance Institute – a research, innovation, and performance center for MMA athletes.
“Thorne’s NSF® Certified for Sport supplements helped so much, because I had stopped using supplements when USADA came into our sport. Unfortunately, tainted supplements in MMA were common, and even now I am very picky on what I will take. The great thing about Thorne is they only supply me with safe supplements. It puts my mind at ease that I can trust that the supplements are the best for me because they’re clean and not tainted.”
Joanne’s Supplement Regimen
So, what are some of Joanne’s favorite supplements to support her training? Products that help with recovery, rest, and hydration, she told us.
“I don’t feel good and I am more prone to injury when I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep,” Joanne said. “So I use zinc and magnesium, because recovery is so important, and because I train better when I’m well rested.”
Joanne also said she supplements with Thorne’s RecoveryPro — a unique blend of alpha-lactalbumin (whey), natural-source GABA (PharmaGABA®), and well-absorbed magnesium bisglycinate — for sleep and recovery support. On top of that, she makes sure to incorporate Catalyte — an electrolyte restoration complex — and Amino Complex — an EAA and BCAA formula — into her training routine.
On the Road Ahead and Her Advice To Future Fighters
“My goal is to fight for the title this year. I think I will have to get one more win and that will put me in a great place to fight for the title,” Joanne said. “I have recently added in pool work – every Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. I work with a small group. It’s been great; I used to swim when I was younger, but Muay Thai took me away from it. I’m glad to be back in the water and we push our limits, so it’s adding greatly to my overall game.”
It was at age 13 when Joanne fell in love with Muay Thai and MMA. Her advice to other young, aspiring fighters?
“Don’t take any supplements other than Thorne’s. Invest in yourself and your body. And listen to your body especially when it’s time to rest.”
Thorne extends our best wishes to Joanne as she continues to train and compete for the title in 2020.