To say MMA training is demanding is a dramatic understatement. If you eat like a regular person while training for MMA battles, your body won’t respond as it should. Every single MMA participant needs a nuanced diet featuring specific nutrients that fuel the body after grueling workouts. Here’s what your diet should look like when training for MMA matches.
What To Eat Before MMA Training
You need energy in the form of carbohydrates to make it through your MMA training session. However, any old carbohydrates will not suffice. Do not consume simple carbohydrates in the form of white bread, muffins, cookies, danishes, crackers and other pre-packaged and processed foods. Opt for complex carbohydrates in the form of fresh organic fruit or steel-cut oats.
MMA training experts advise consuming protein prior to working out to promote muscle functionality and subsequent recovery. Eat a couple eggs with the complex carbohydrates mentioned above and you will have plenty of energy for an hour-long MMA training session. If you are a fan of smoothies, consider replacing your pre-workout meal or snack with a smoothie featuring juices with nitrates. Pomegranate juice and beetroot juice are jam-packed with nitrates that function as vasodilators, meaning they open blood vessels for improved blood flow. Blood circulation is essential for continued biological functionality and elite performance in the cage.
Health and fitness experts far and wide agree those who engage in strenuous physical activity should fuel their body mid-workout. It is not enough to simply eat before and after exercising. Drinking water or an electrolyte-laden sports drink is not enough to fuel your body for the second half your MMA training. Mix in a banana, nuts or a low-sugar energy bar halfway through your workout so your body has the sustenance and energy necessary to go all-out.
Your Post-Workout Diet
Your body needs to be refueled as soon as possible after your MMA training session. Ideally, you will eat a nutritious post-workout meal within half an hour of your workout’s end. If you are in a rush and cannot consume a full meal, down a whey protein shake to help your fatigued muscles rebound after your grueling training session. Some MMA trainers swear by tart cherry juice as this sweet drink tastes amazing, lifts the spirit after a training session and has essential anti-inflammatory properties.
Protein is the name of the game for MMA fighters. Your post-workout meal should be laden with protein to facilitate muscle recovery. However, it is a mistake to eat the same protein-packed foods over and over again. Your body will gradually get used to the same vitamins/nutrients and fail to reach its potential. The human body really does need a diverse number of foods and beverages to perform at a high level.
Examples of protein-laden entrees to enjoy after your MMA training session include chicken, salmon, sushi, shrimp and yes, some red meat. However, nutritionists advise limiting red meat consumption to one or two meals per week. In terms of side dishes, pair your protein with healthy foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, brussell sprouts, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Mind Your Fat Intake
MMA fighters are well aware of the fact that it is difficult to recover from intense training sessions and combat. The body needs just the right amount of fat to bounce back from an exhausting MMA training session. Ideally, fat will account for about 25% of your calories. Another 25% of your calories should stem from protein. The remaining 50% should be derived from the complex carbohydrates noted above. Achieve this balance, follow the tips detailed above and your MMA diet will propel you to new heights in the octagon.