The serious athlete will put as much planning into their nutrition as they do with their training. The superior combat athlete knows that a proper mixed martial arts nutrition plan is the way to go for their body to look and perform at its best. While this article is not meant to be complex, following these 4 simple guidelines will help you:
- Lose fat
- Enhance performance
- Reduce injuries
1. Eat smaller and more frequent meals.
It’s more beneficial for you to consume many smaller meals throughout the day than fewer larger ones. The process of eating the right foods throughout the day will help you take advantage of the thermic effect of eating. The process of digesting, absorbing, and assimilating the right foods (lean protein and complex carbs) will cause you to burn more calories and have more consistent energy levels.
Examples of lean proteins are:
- egg whites
- chicken breast
Examples of complex carbohydrates are:
- whole grains
2. Avoid simple sugar
Although eating simple carbohydrates can be beneficial during pre, during, and post workout, it’s best to stick to complex carbs from natural sources such as oatmeal and whole grains. Eating some complex carbohydrates approximately 3 hours prior to a workout will help ensure that your body has the proper fuel.
3. Hydrate yourself
Performance ability drops substantially as the body starts to dehydrate. Don’t make the common mistake of waiting until you’re thirsty to drink fluids. It’s too late at this point. I recommend that you drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (Example 200lbs /2 = 100 ounces of water). It’s a good sign if your urine is light in color.
4. Consume fatty acids
While it’s wise to limit saturated fats, certain essential (not produced by our body but vital for our function) fatty acids are required for top health and performance. The list of benefits you can gain from consuming fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 include:
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved cardiovascular function
- Improved mental function
Unless you’re eating certain types of fish (mackerel, salmon) that provide a good source of essential fats about 3 times per week, I’d encourage you to supplement your diet with flaxseed oil or an essential fatty acid complex formula.
MMA is a sport that requires intense training. I personally know fighters that train up to four times per day. If you lack a proper planned nutritional program, you’ll regret it when on the mat or in the ring or cage and are gasping for air.
Get an edge with your nutrition immediately by eating smaller more frequent meals. Make a decision to eat a lean protein and a complex carbohydrate every 3 hours. These meals should be free of simple sugar.
Stay hydrated. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.
Minimize saturated fat and consume more fatty acids.