Obviously if you wish to become a successful MMA fighter on any level, from small show to UFC, this takes a serious physical and mental commitment. While training is a huge part of your preparation, your daily diet also can make either a positive or negative impact on your overall fitness. It is imperative that fighters focus on food as well as fighting.
There is no one perfect diet plan for every MMA fighter, and just as your skill set might be vastly different another fighter, your diet might be as well. One universal rule that fighters should always consider is eliminating unhealthy and heavily processed foods. This means avoiding fast food, junk food and soft drinks across the board. None of these foods will provide you with anything you need to improve your physical stamina or your strength. These products are full of fat, sugar, sodium and other ingredients that can throw your body off balance.
There are plenty fighters out there who will tell about how important it is to eat clean, and this means not eating anything with dubious ingredients. Look at the labels on the packages you buy, and if you see too many ingredients or chemicals and additives that you don’t really know anything about, avoid those foods. Label reading is important for all your food choices and exceptionally important for any kind of protein powder, protein drink or supplement. You need to personally look at the labels of every supplement before you take it, even if a trusted friend says its fine, do your own research.
As for the type of diet to choose, it can range from paleo to vegetarian and even vegan and still provide you with the nutrition that you need for training and fighting. A paleo or paleolithic diet is also known as the caveman diet, and generally proponents of this diet will eat fish and meat, as well as eggs, fruit, vegetables and other unprocessed foods. Grains, legumes and dairy products are avoided. Frank Mir and Stephen Meeks are two fighters that generally follow the paleo diet.
Protein is a highly important part of any athlete’s diet, and while meat-eaters obviously have a great source of protein, there are still plenty of protein sources for those who abstain from meat. Jake Shields, Mac Danzig and Nick Diaz are just a few MMA fighters that follow vegan or vegetarian diets. For protein, you can go with nuts, soy, tempeh, quinoa, beans and lentils, all of which are protein rich as are some veggies. Vegetarians also can eat eggs, cheese and other dairy products, all of which are protein-rich.
There are some fighters that follow very strict diets, eating exactly the same food items each day, particularly just before a fight. You can certainly opt for this type of strict diet or follow a plan such as paleo or veganism, but really the goal should be healthy, clean eating. A balanced mix of foods will provide you with the energy and protein you need to keep your body fit and strong. It is important that you take note of the calories that you are eating, because controlling your weight is important, especially when training for a fight. To help with this, it is wise to consult a nutrition expert and set up a basic plan that is easy to follow and healthy.
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