The sun remains asleep, not yet ready to start its job of beginning the day for other people. But there’s Chris Weidman, awake, cup of coffee consumed, preparing for his morning workout.
His three young children have yet to rise. Little kids can create a beautiful chaos in the morning between eating breakfast, getting dressed and going to school — and playing with any toy they can find along the way. But in these quiet moments of the early morning, with no one around to cause diversion, the former UFC middleweight champion from Baldwin can focus on the tasks at hand.
Among those tasks is a fight on Saturday against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden. (Souza replaced Luke Rockhold, who pulled out of the fight with a list of injuries.)
“It’s one of those things that’s going to help me be successful in any thing I do,” Weidman said about this new morning routine he started a few months ago on the advice of several mentors. “Getting up early, having a clear head, knowing what the heck’s going on that day and the week ahead, get my goals aligned.”
No more sleeping until whenever he wakes up and shuffling through the morning chores of parenting, then figuring out what’s next before rushing to a workout. Things are more structured now for the 34-year-old fighter from Baldwin.
Weidman’s morning routine lasts around an hour or so and begins with a 30-minute run on the treadmill in his home. He’ll then focus on a prehab regimen of past injuries -- his knees, neck and hands in particular. Weidman (14-3) hasn’t fought since July 22, 2017, when he submitted Kelvin Gastelum at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. He suffered a hand injury in that bout and had surgery a week later. He had a second surgery on the hand several months later to fix the bone’s healing process.
“It takes probably about 15 minutes for all my prehab,” Weidman said. “It’s quick, but it’s a little bit every day, and it’s the little things you do every single day that make a difference. I haven’t missed one day in the last four months.”
Weidman said he noticed a difference in his everyday life since making this commitment. Those around him certainly took notice as well.
“He definitely became more regimented this training camp,” Weidman’s longtime trainer Ray Longo said. “It’s just the discipline to get up every morning and do that. That was a big help even in his training camp. He was on the money with most stuff, he wasn’t all over the place. It’s just a routine. You have to build good habits. Champions have good habits and that’s what he was trying to establish.”
There also are stretching exercises, followed by 50 pushups and one minute of plank. Every morning. Before the rest of his day as a father, husband, small business owner and professional fighter training for a fight gets started.
“You add it up,” Weidman said, “and that’s 350 pushups I would never have done and 7 minutes of plank I would never do every week.”