Combat Circuit: 30 Minutes of Pure Intensity

Nate Moore of Combat Circuit

A friend of mine asked me to try out this crazy, intense, hard-core 30 minute exercise “class” with her since I was into intense exercise and always want to challenge my body. I gladly accepted this challenge and found out that I might just be in love with 30 minute workouts.

What could you not love about a quick, efficient, FUN workout using mostly body weight movements and included punching and kicking a bag (Goodbye Stress!)?!

Insert: Combat Circuit.

Nate Moore came up with this incredible MMA/high intensity/interval-type workout and has used it to kick people into shape… in a fun, safe, and truly life-changing way.

Nate was also awesome enough to do an interview for so you get more info, tips, and suggestions from a pro. Don’t forget to check out more incredible stats by visiting him at the Combat Circuit website, Facebook, and Twitter!

Take it away, Nate!


combat circuit logo

WRL: What is Combat Circuit?

Nate Moore: Combat Circuit is a 30-minute MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fitness and conditioning program that is available through group fitness classes at the American Kickboxing Academy. The workout includes 10 rounds of cardio intervals alternated with 10 rounds of mixed martial arts drills and exercises. It’s designed to be an efficient training method by constantly keeping you moving while teaching you MMA fighting techniques and developing your “fighter muscles and stamina” at the same time.

circuit 30 min

WRL: What makes it unique?

NM: Several things. First, the circuit format is unique, but the exercises we perform are one-of-a-kind. Not only do they teach you proper fighting techniques and movements, but they’re also a great way to gain functional strength and mobility. The movements we perform are meant to mimic the movements and positions seen in an MMA fight, so you end up training the entire body to move and work together. Each exercise is different type of motion from a different position, so each part of your core gets worked from every angle.

I created about 150 unique exercises and drills based on the movements made during a real MMA fight, so you’ll always have new ways to challenge your muscles and you’ll never repeat the same workout twice. The variety keeps it fun and challenging, as it can be hard to experience both at the same time.

No other form of training provides such a safe, balanced workout while helping you to learn self defense skills at the same time. It’s like 90 minutes of training in 30 minutes. Time flies when you’re doing Combat Circuit, because you’re always being mindful. It’s training with a purpose, but, it’s only as intense as the person performing the workout. We have world class fighters doing Combat Circuit right next to total beginners, and they both can feel challenged in the same way.

Combat Circuit is also a safer training method when compared to other fitness or MMA programs. It can be hard to challenge your body properly or learn MMA without getting injured, and it does you know good if your workout leaves you injured and unable to perform the next day. We perform drills that focus on fluid movement and proper technique, so you’ll never be forced into doing something your body doesn’t want to do.

Lastly, it’s a very convenient delivery of such a great training experience. Because we have a “show up and train” schedule, you can come in at anytime during business hours and start your workout then and there. Since the circuit runs repeatedly without pause, you can join a workout that is already in progress and finish 30-minutes later. I’ve tried to eliminate all the excuses people can come up with to avoid working out.

WRL: How did you come up with the concept of CC?

NM: The concept of the workout is based on maximizing bodily movement and hip mobility by pairing cardio intervals with MMA techniques for a short, intense workout. Combat Circuit focuses on getting participants to move as much as possible and maintain constant motion with the whole body.

The idea for it came from a similar workout that the pro fighters at the AKA do to get in shape for a fight. It was a way for us to get in fantastic shape, but also sharpen our fighting skills at the same time (which is hard to do without injury). As a fighter, I realized how beneficial the workout was for not only fighters, but normal people as well. I began running my personal training clients through the workout and they loved it. With obesity being such a big social issue and so many people feeling frustrated about exercise, I felt like I needed make this training experience available to everyone.

I adapted the workout to a class format with longer intervals and more more defined curriculum. The sport of MMA incorporates movements like hip rotation and cross body bridging that are not seen in any other type of training program, so I created about 150 unique exercises and drills designed to help people learn those movements and positions. The idea is to repeat the most common actions seen in MMA, so students can be mentally and physically prepared to move in any direction from any position. Each exercise is designed with the purpose of developing proper fighting technique while strengthening the muscles and the muscle memory needed to execute those techniques.

As the main Combat Circuit instructor, I knew that I would be teaching those drills and movements for several hours a week, so I made sure that the exercise selection is something that is going to make me a better fighter. I wouldn’t want to repeat movements that screwed up my form or made me less mobile. I used to lift weights a lot more than I do now, but I’ve cut back significantly because the tight muscles were inhibiting my ability to move.

MMA is the ultimate example of functional training, because it forces you to use your hips and core to maximize your leverage. The whole point of martial arts is to turn your entire body into a functional weapon. Success in MMA is dependent upon your ability to move your body fluidly without excess tension. Everything about Combat Circuit is designed to achieve this.

WRL: What is your training background?

NM: I started strength training and wrestling in 6th grade, and I’ve been a gym rat ever since. I spent thousands of hours in the weight room in high school (probably could have spent at least a few reading a book) and was fascinated by the conditioning aspect of sport and fitness. I wanted to know everything I could about strength and conditioning.

I studied Health and Fitness in addition to Movement and Sports Science at Purdue University, where I was a team captain on the wrestling team. In 2005 I started training in MMA and actually had a few fights before graduating in 2007. After graduation, I earned my C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) from the NSCA and moved California to pursue my fighting career at the famed American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. Over the years I have gained tons of training experience as a member of the MMA fight team at the AKA while working as a trainer and a MMA class instructor. Being both the student and the teacher at the same time has provided a great learning experience for me.

WRL: Where did you grow up? Why/how did MMA/fighting/Combat-related workouts come into your life?

NM: I was born an raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, where I played every sport under the sun before finding my passion in wrestling. Wrestling is one of those sports that demands hard work and dedication for success. I really enjoyed the individual challenge that wrestling provides, and it really helped me learn how to work hard and achieve my goals. I have always enjoyed sports, and like wrestling, MMA is one of the most challenging and rewarding sport in the world.

I got into MMA training in college, where one of my wrestling coaches and a few of my teammates actually had successful MMA careers. I loved the training because it made moving fun and I enjoyed learning the techniques. To stay in shape in the off season, I would train at a gym in town called Rhyno’s.

MMA training and fighting has helped me develop and grow personally, in addition to being a great way to have fun and relieve stress. Everyone that comes into Combat Circuit always feels better after doing the workout because martial arts training can be very therapeutic and healthy, and I want everyone to experience that same feeling.

WRL: You’ve created this great exercise concept, but what do you suggest for a nutritional component?

NM: I would suggest finding a lifestyle that works for you. There are a lot of diets out there that are very restrictive and complex, but your nutritional philosophy has to fit in your life.

The best way to do this is to gradually find things that you like and that help your body perform better. Just like in martial arts, you have to keep what works, and forget what doesn’t. No one learns how to be a fighter in one day, and learning how to live a healthier lifestyle is the same.

I’ve found what works best for me, is to go to the farmer’s market weekly to buy as many fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens as I can eat in one week. Then, I make it a challenge to eat all that produce before the end of the week. I end up ingesting a lot of fresh nutrients and I feel great all week.

Combat Ciruit Booth

WRL: What’s the biggest factor in your life or training that has brought you to the next level?

NM: I’m always moving and looking to get ahead. In life or a fight, if you stop moving toward your goal, you’ll fall behind into an inferior position. However, if you fall behind, it’s important to not lose your head and focus on the negative. Constant motion is a great way to focus on the present, instead of lingering on the past or worrying about the future. My motto is to never stop moving, because when you stop moving, you stop learning and improving.


WRL: Who are your fitness (or outside the world of fitness) role models?

NM: I appreciate anyone that can compete honorably without needing to act like an idiot to get attention or take performance enhancing drugs to get ahead.

My favorite athlete would have to be Cain Velasquez. He doesn’t look that physical, but he uses a combination of superior conditioning, technique, and movement to wear out his opponents who are often rumored to be steroid users. He’s an example of someone that is always moving to get ahead, and he never lets a day go by without getting better.


Nate Fighting

WRL: What does a typical training day look like for you?

NM: If I’m getting ready for a fight, I’ll always be training at noon with the AKA fight team, where we drill techniques and do live sparring to sharpen our skills against each other. In the afternoons, I teach Combat Circuit from 4:30 to 8:00, which ends up being 3.5 hours of technique and exercise demonstration. I consider it to be an excellent form of training because when I show a move, it has to be done correctly every time. I’ll also join jiu jitsu classes at the AKA or hit mitts with my stand-up coach, Andy Fong. I will also join my clients during their private workouts where I typically do plyometric medicine ball training or the Combat Circuit.


WRL: What are some key success factors in building the body or ability to train?

NM: I wrote an answer on, to explain the qualities it takes to become a professional fighter:

But for the general population, I wouldn’t consider toughness and the ability to keep training to be a good one. If you’re hurt or if you’re overtrained, you need to recognize your need for rest, and take a day off or two. Being able to train properly the next day or the next year is what makes consistent progress and success. Learning how to recover is just as important as learning how to train effectively. Balance is essential.


WRL: Tell us your top three favorite exercise moves.

NM: Squat and Jump with the Sandbell: Holding the sides of the Sandbell, squat down and touch it to the ground below you. Bring the bell up over your head in one smooth motion as you jump off the ground before landing and squatting down to touch it to the ground again.

Butt Spin: Start with your hands on the mat and knees off the mat, belly facing the mat and head facing forward the entire exercise. Kick your left leg under your right leg as you sit to your left hip. Move your legs counterclockwise while spinning on your butt. Put your hands back down on the ground before placing your left and right leg down on the ground and returning to the starting position.

X-Back Twist: Standing with your back facing the heavy bag, twist to your right as you slam the ball into the heavy bag, thumbs first. Then, bring the ball down and across your body to slam the medicine ball into the bag on the left side, pinkies first. Staying on your left side, bring the ball up and slam the ball into the bag thumbs first. Then bring the ball down and across to slam it on the right side, pinkies first.

I like these moves because they 3 different types of movements produced by the whole body. Just doing these three exercises, you activate all of the muscles in your body, and you also teach them to work together to produce 3 very different bodily motions.


WRL: Favorite recipe?

NM: I like kale and eggs for breakfast and eggplant veggie stir fry for dinner. One that I made up and enjoy often is a combination of frozen vegetables, frozen veggie burgers, and Awesome Sauce (from Infinitely Awesome
). Basically, you take the veggie patties and frozen veggies in a pan with some oil and spices, and mix it all together. After it gets hot enough, throw in some Awesome Sauce and stir it up. It’s a very easy and healthy meal that reminds me of ratatouille.


THANKS, Nate!! Fantastic interview, plus great info on how to train. I love it!

Please don’t forget to check out Nate and Combat Circuit on Facebook, Twitter, and the Combat Circuit website for more info and tips!


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