Binh Son Le's Blueprint for Competitive Succes
Binh Son Le is a Swedish flyweight fighting out of Bulldog and Allstars Training Center. Since this year, he’s part of the roster of Bellator MMA.
At SalutemOfficial we take a look at the habits, training methods and diets of elite athletes in combat sports. What works and what doesn’t. To find out we meet with top competitors like Binh Son Le.
Helo Mr Le, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.
To start right off, could you take us through a typical week of training?
My typical week depends on whether I'm in fight camp or not. During fight camp, I’m peaking and train specifically for the fight ahead. When I’m not in camp I work on extending my skillset and improving my strength and conditioning.
What stays the same, in or out of a camp, I apply periodization of varying intensity levels. So, some days I train with hard intensity, and other with low intensity.
A week might look like this:
I do tweak the schedule depending on my HRV (Heart Rate Variability). So, sometimes I go hard 2 days in a row and sometimes I just take an extra day to recover.
I usually train for 3 weeks and in week 4 I go down in intensity and volume, after week 4 the cycle repeats. I usually train 1 to 2 sessions a day.
Do you work with a strength and condition coach? Does he/she have a specific vision en specific view on how strength and conditioning training of a combat athlete should be done?
I don't have a specific coach for strength and conditioning. I have many great MMA coaches that help me with feedback on what needs to be done to peak in camp and also what I should focus on when I'm not in camp.
Depending on what I'm focusing on (endurance, vo2max, strength, power output), the strength and conditioning session almost always has the following structure:
1-2 main exercises
1 to 3 PreHab exercises (exercises to prevent injuries)
Some mobility work in the end
I also always try to run at least two times a week. The running sessions I’m doing differ on the goal. There are three different kinds of running workouts I do:
Long run (roadwork) to increase work-capacity
Hard intervals to increase my vo2max
Easy jogging / easy intervals for recovery
Could you tell us how you go about your diet?
I have always been a small guy. I walk around at 63kg (139 pounds) and compete at 57 kg(125pound). So I don't worry about calories or macro ratio on the dinner plate. I just make sure I eat enough so I don't lose weight too soon. If I were to cut out weight lifting for a week I would drop down to 61 kg.
With that said, I make sure I don't eat junk food and I try to avoid processed food.
I usually eat 3 big meals a day with proteins/snacks in between on the hard days to keep energy levels up. And on the easier days, I do intermittent fasting, only eating 2 big meals a day. During the days I fast, I eat the same amount of calories as during the days I don’t fast. While I’m fasting I’m doing recovery sessions and at the same time, I target fat burning (because of the fasting).
So I’m basically switching eating habits every other day.
I have a cheat day almost once a week, where I eat way more than I need.
Do you take any supplements? If so, which ones and what are the reasons to take them?
To keep me healthy and support my immune system, I take multivitamins and minerals, probiotics and krill oil. On top of that, I take protein shakes and creatine to keep my muscle mass and not lose weight too fast.
I've also tried cordyceps mushrooms which help with endurance during intense training sessions. The cordyceps mushrooms also make you sweat more, so they can be implemented during the weight cut.
How do you make sure to recover well from training and competition as a fighter?
Have you implemented any recovery techniques? If so, when do you use them?
I use easy training sessions for recovery, but also sauna, massage, cold showers and stretching. Depending on if I'm trying to switch to the parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system (for recovery or to just wake up the body after a resting period.).
After competition I take it very easy for 2-3 days, and then train very light for 1-2 weeks before starting a training cycle again. If I want to celebrate after a fight, I wait 2-3 days after the fight to party. I don't think it's good to go out partying if you just had a 3-5 rounds of war, if you want a long career and longevity after the career.