If you’re training as an MMA fighter, you can’t underestimate the importance of a healthy diet. What you eat should deliver all the vitamins, minerals, and calories you need to power your training. Otherwise, you’ll lack the endurance, strength, and recovery to grow in your abilities. Yet, that doesn’t mean you should spend a fortune on supplements and expensive ingredients.
An MMA diet should consist of foods that are energy-boosting, protein-rich, and packed full of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to quickly recover after a workout. You can find healthy ingredients at an affordable price at your local grocery store without having to supplement your diet.
Follow this guide to develop a powerful and effective MMA diet without breaking the bank!
Foods for Energy
You need calories to power you through an intense workout but not all calorie-dense foods are created equal. Rather than loading up on fats and sugars, you should stick to healthy whole grains and fruits. We recommend the following:
- Whole wheat bread – Bread gets a bad rep but if you opt for organic whole wheat bread, you’re guaranteed to consume a concentrated punch of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates that will break down into healthy energy.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is calorie-dense without all the added fats and sugars of an energy bar. Its high fiber content means it’ll break down slowly in your stomach, giving you plenty of energy throughout your workout.
- Fresh fruit – Bananas, apples, papaya, and mango are packed full of vitamins and complex sugars that break down into a quick punch of energy when you need it.
As carbs, these foods are often smeared for causing weight gain but if you are regularly exercising, you need the extra calories to make it through an intense workout. Eat them in the right proportions and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Foods for Building Strength
Intense exercise creates microtears in muscle tissue that heal into new muscle growth. However, you must consume enough protein to adequately repair your body if you want to develop more muscle mass. We recommend consuming the following foods to get all the protein you need:
- Chicken breasts – Chicken breasts are full of protein but without the added fats and cholesterol you’d find in a steak or slab of ribs. They are often touted as the optimal meat source for protein.
- Eggs – Eggs contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to produce new muscle mass. They’re light and easy to cook but they can lead to high cholesterol so be careful not to eat too many.
- Nuts – Not only are nuts high in protein but they’re also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help build new cells. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are all ideal foods for MMA fighters wanting to snack throughout the day.
- Greek yogurt – Compared to standard yogurt, Greek yogurt has double the amount of protein with less fat. However, be careful to avoid flavored brands as they often contain an excessive amount of added sugar.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can still get all your essential amino acids without consuming animal products. Potatoes, quinoa, and soy products all contain the 26 essential amino acids your body needs to build new muscle mass.
Foods for Recovery
After a workout, your body also needs nutrients to repair damaged tissue. Find these foods at your local grocery store to supplement your vitamin and mineral intake:
- Blueberries – Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals that deteriorate cell tissues.
- Leafy greens – Greens, such as kale, spinach, and mustard greens, are rich in iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and lutein, which reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.
- Chia seeds – These tiny, slimy seeds are rich in fiber and help regulate internal hydration.
- Turmeric – Turmeric has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and pain killer. It helps reduce swelling and reduces soreness after intense workouts.
Don’t spend a fortune on your diet when you could eat healthy and nutritious foods sourced directly from your local grocers. Focus on nutrition and you’ll see your MMA skills grow!