Mixed martial artist Todd Going reveals his training and dietary battle plan as he prepares for his first light-heavyweight title fight.

It's brutal, a vicious test of mettle, toughness and skill. By stepping into the ring, you're entering a world where only your instinct and power matter. And facing you down is a competitor who wants the exact same thing as badly as you do — victory.

In small venues around the country, far away from the bright lights and rolling pay-per-view cameras of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, hungry and largely unknown mixed-martial artists vie against each other to hone their skills as they try to claw their way to the big time. New Jersey native and former college wrestler Todd Going is one of those men.

Currently 2-1 in M.M.A., the teacher and wrestling coach's last encounter was an impressive win at Reality Fighting 10, where he defeated Jose Tardio with a rear naked choke submission at 1:53 in the first round. Reality Fighting is a Jersey-based organization that puts on cards throughout the state — the next event is set for April 29 in Atlantic City, where Going is scheduled to get a shot at the light-heavyweight title. It's a huge opportunity, possibly a watershed moment in a career that began a year-and-a-half ago.

"I started training because my competitive itches left over from college needed something," Going says. "I just love to compete — and the training keeps me in great shape."

The 29-year-old Jackson, New Jersey resident, who's set to get married this June, was a Division III all-American wrestler at Montclair State. He combines his skills from those days, along with Brazilian jiu-jitsu he's been studying for the past 18 months, to create his personal fighting style. "I definitely want to get to the ground," he says of his in-ring tactics. Working with Ricardo "Big Dog Cachorra" Almeida (a disciple of Renzo Gracie of the world-famous Gracie family), Bill Scott and Dante Rivera of the Ricardo Almeida Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Hamilton, he's now preparing for his upcoming match.

"I try to stay in good shape year round, but I get serious in my preparations about two months before a fight," Goings says. "I make sure I'm in tip-top cardio shape, and I also work a lot on my striking, B.J.J. and wrestling. I run during my lunch break and after school, and spar, wrestle and practice jiu-jitsu at night. I run 2-3 miles a day, with an eight-mile day once a week to burn fat, and I also do a lot of plyometrics and sprints. In addition, I lift one or two days a week, doing a full-body circuit-training program to failure."

The weight-training regimen was built with one goal in mind — "I just want pure anaerobic endurance that allows me to put the pressure on my opponent without tiring," he explains. The circuit is as follows: Barbell squats to bench presses to pull-ups to crunches, each taken to failure without rest in between, two times through. He chooses resistance that will allow 15-20 reps each on the first two moves.

As far as his diet, Goings overriding objective is to eat as clean and healthy as possible, except for a couple of weeks after an MMA contest where he'll let loose. "I often have to lose 20-25 pounds, so I really restrict my calories," he says.

In prep mode, his food staples are chicken, venison and broccoli — it's during this time he also relies heavily on supplements to bridge the nutritional gaps and prime his body for battle. "I use Supreme Protein Bars and NytroWhey Extreme Protein shakes as meal replacements," Going explains. "This way I still get an adequate protein supply while limiting my caloric intake."

Another key supplement for Going is ProSource's Joint Command, as healthy, stable and sound joints are an obvious need for any mixed martial artist. "These products give you all the good nutritional needs while limiting the bad," says Going. "They're also extremely convenient, helping me manage my weight and maintain my strength. They have made a huge difference, no question about it."

With just a couple of months to go before his next in-ring clash, Going is excited about the opportunity. "I feel like you tap into a primitive side of your brain, where the only thing that matters is survival," he says of the feeling of hand-to-hand combat. "It's a great rush." And as far as his confidence, his last answer says it all. When asked what moment he's most proud of thus far in his career, he replies without hesitation, "I'll wait until after I win the light-heavyweight title on April 29 to answer that."