If you met Randy Couture at a dinner party, you’d probably walk away with a vague impression: nice guy, funny ears. He is a nice guy — soft-spoken, courteous, and considerate. And he does have funny ears — small, bunched-up little things that are the unmistakable mark of an experienced wrestler.

Randy Couture is one of the best Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world. He is also an immensely skilled puncher, kicker, takedown artist, and submission grappler. As the former heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Contest and now three-time light-heavyweight champion, Randy has fought virtually every great fighter in the world and has demolished most of them. At 205 pounds, he is possibly, pound for pound, the toughest man on the planet.

Yet, he is a very sweet, self-effacing guy. He proves that you don’t have to talk tough to be tough. He praises his opponents and lets his toughness show in the ring.

What amazes me most about Randy is his age. In a sport where the average competitor is about 25, Randy is dominating it at age 41. He’s stronger than his 25-year-old opponents. He’s faster. He’ has more endurance. And he’s more supple and lithe. What is this guy doing that the rest of us could emulate?

Randy attributes his amazing youthfulness to the following:

1. He goes to bed early and gets up early. Most days, he’s up and at it before the sun rises.

2. He is very careful about what he puts into his body. He eats a lot of protein — lean meat and fish — and loads of green vegetables. He avoids fats and starches.

3. He takes a balanced approach to his training, including muscle development, stretching, and cardiovascular training and skill drills. He doesn’t believe in training like a madman. He does fewer sessions, but makes each one important.

4. He doesn’t try to do what he can’t. He realizes that, however fit he is, he’ll never have the physical attributes of a younger man. So he has developed a way to train and fight that takes advantage of his age and experience.

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