Alain “The Panther” Ngalani is a man at the apex of physical prowess, and it only takes one look at his intense training regimen to reveal why.
Like all of the elite athletes on the ONE Championship roster, the four-time kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion has worked hard for years to add to his martial arts skill set, improve his strength and conditioning, and fine-tune his body for competition.
There are no shortcuts to reach success on the global stage – it takes daily discipline and hard work for the Cameroon-born superstar to stay in impeccable shape.
For this installment of Train Like A Champion, “The Panther” breaks down his daily routine.
Start The Day The Right Way
At 8am, Ngalani begins his day with some lighter work to prime his body for the intense schedule. The high-kicking competitor gets underway with an important element to his regime that keeps him flexible – unlike any other heavyweight – and injury-free.
“I do my stretching routine every day – that is very important,” he says.
Breakfast is light – just enough to provide him with the energy to fuel his morning session, but not too much to make him sluggish. Plus, an athlete with “The Panther’s” lust for life and natural vigor needs no stimulants to get him going like many people.
“For breakfast, I just have something very small to give me energy,” he explains.
“I will have banana and oatmeal, or sometimes if I am not too hungry, just a banana. I don’t want to be too heavy. I just have it with water. I have never been a coffee drinker, I never felt like I needed it. I wake up easily.”
The First Session
“I will get to the gym to do my cardio at 10am, and it is high-intensity interval training,” says “The Panther.”
Though he changes things up every day to keep his routine fresh and varied, Ngalani says this is a typical workout for him. It’s simple and only requires a treadmill in terms of equipment, but you’ll need and a giant pair of lungs to keep up with him.
- Treadmill set to 15 incline: 30 seconds sprint at 12km/h, 30 seconds rest
- Treadmill set to 12 incline: 30 seconds sprint at 13km/h, 30 seconds rest
- Treadmill set to 9 incline: 30 seconds sprint at 14km/h, 30 seconds rest
- Treadmill set to 6 incline: 30 seconds sprint at 15km/h, 30 seconds rest
Repeat four times, and then follow with:
- 50 burpees, 10 medicine ball slams
- 40 burpees, 20 medicine ball slams
- 30 burpees, 30 medicine ball slams
- 20 burpees, 40 medicine ball slams
- 10 burpees, 50 medicine ball slams
“It’s quite intense, but that is a good cardio workout for me,” he says.
Following a quick shower, it’s time to refuel so the big man has the energy for the rest of the day.
“After that I am ready for a bigger breakfast. I have six or seven eggs afterwards, and then I can chill for an hour or two before I train my clients for a couple of hours in the afternoon,” Ngalani adds.
“Then I go for lunch and I have a big meal which is filled with a lot of protein and carbs. I will have a half chicken or a whole chicken depending on how I feel, with sweet potato and some vegetables.”
After helping his clients with their health and fitness goals at his Impakt gym, “The Panther” is back in the afternoon for his second session of the day. This time, it is more focused on honing his skills for the Circle.
“This session will be specific. For instance, if I’m fighting in mixed martial arts, I will do some ground work, and work on specific movements. It will be an hour to an hour and a half, maximum,” he says.
“Then I will have a snack, just an apple and a power drink, so I can coach one or two classes at the gym, ready for my final session of the day.”
When the bout approaches, Ngalani starts to tailor his timing to performance in the Circle. He moves his sparring session to later at night at around 8:30pm – a similar time to when he will compete.
However, he limits this kind of practice to a few times a week to make sure it does not take too much of a toll on him.
“In the middle of the fight camp I will do sparring at night-time to get my body used to that, but that won’t be every day – three times a week,” he offers.
An hour of kickboxing, Muay Thai, or mixed martial arts sparring requires a lot of energy, so Ngalani’s nutrition after his third grueling session of the day is arguably more important than any other time.
“I have my dinner after the final session, and I will have fish with soup and some rice,” Ngalani says.
“I always have rice because the day is so intense, I lose a lot of carbs, plus I have a high metabolism, so I need to get them back in.
“I burn around 4000 calories a day, so I have to replace more than that, so I put at least 5000 calories back in. I have a protein shake that I take once or twice a day to help me load on nutrients otherwise it seems impossible!”
Rest, Recovery, And Reflection
With his final session in the bag, “The Panther” can finally head home and unwind so he can do it all again the next day.
“I get home around 10pm and I will do some reading, or watch a documentary or a series to relax a little, or maybe have a laugh,” he says.
“I’ll be sleeping by midnight as I make sure I always get my eight hours’ sleep, which is very important.”
Getting enough rest is crucial for any top athlete’s recovery, but pushing through such a demanding day requires much more than that.
With a gym to run alongside his own exhausting training regime, “The Panther” needs otherworldly drive, determination, and work ethic to tackle his routine to the best of his ability. The secret to maintaining that is loving what he does and having a strong support network around to keep him moving forward.
“I have very good discipline and I’m very self-motivated – I know what I want and I am very excited for it. This is what I decided to do so I don’t need any more than that,” he explains.
“I have a good team, they are good friends but it also keeps us competitive. I grew up competing with six brothers, so I have always been that way. It makes it hard to lay back, or you will fall behind. I want to be there for my team, so I keep pushing.”
Read more: Alain Ngalani Reveals His Hidden Talent