You ever feel so tired, sore and unmotivated to the point where training and working out are the last two things on your mind?
Well chances are you feel this way because you probably don't eat too well and don’t concentrate on what your putting into your body like most people. The first step to eating like an MMA fighter is being aware that you need to change your bad eating habits. Ask yourself;
Do I need to change my eating habits?
Eating the right foods before, after and during your MMA training
sessions could be the determining factor in whether or not you get 100% out of your MMA workouts!
I figured I could help in solving this riddle with 10 healthy eating guidelines and tips you should follow if you want to know how to eat like an MMA fighter.
A diet implies that your only doing it for a certain amount of time - therefore dieting never works.
In order to be a successful athlete in an area, especially MMA, you have to adopt healthy eating habits throughout your everyday life.
Now don't get me wrong, some diets have good ideas and tips on healthy eating. If some diet plans seem like the best MMA meal plans for your training than by all means take whatever you can from it!
But ultimately you want to develop long, healthy, smart eating habits that work for you. It's important that the healthy foods you eat please your taste buds without sacrificing nutrition. Everyone is different so you have to experiment with certain types of foods to see how your body reacts to them!
The most important concept to understand when beginning the change of your eating habits is planning ahead! If you plan your meals ahead of time that takes away the stress of thinking about what to eat.
Personally if I don’t plan my meals ahead of time, I feel rushed
into making a decision and usually end up making a poor, unhealthy choice for my
meal. Like yesterday I didn't have a plan and I ended up eating jelly
beans and fried chicken for breakfast. (Not really, but you get the idea)
Make sure to have your refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy foods! This will help you stay away from any junk food for when you start getting those late night munchies. If you don’t have your house stocked with cookies and twinkies, you don’t have to worry about binge eating unhealthy foods! You’ll be forced to make yourself a salad or munch on some fruits or vegetables.
What should you stock your fridge and pantry with?
Typically you want to shop using the perimeter of the grocery store - that's where the healthiest ingredients and snacks are. The outer part of the store usually contains fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, frozen fruits and vegetables, spices and oils.
Also keep in mind that when you bring your food home try to plan
ahead by having it already cooked and ready to eat by cutting, dicing or grilling your food! The easier it is to open the fridge and grab a healthy meal the better!
How else do you plan ahead?
Plan your meals on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. What I tend to do is plan my meals every other day and cook enough so I have left overs for when I don’t have enough time to cook. Not to mention cooking your own meals saves a ton of money!
Start Slow and Gradually Make Changes
Don't think you can follow these healthy eating
guidelines and change your eating habits overnight. You have to start by slowly altering and changing your eating habits.
kind of like if you are new to fighting - you're not going to jump into
in the first month you train because you'll probably get choked out or
knocked out... it's the same idea with starting a brand new MMA meal
You can’t expect overnight success with changing your eating habits.
Your best bet is to take small steps at a time, like eating a vegetable with every meal, or having a fruit with your breakfast. If you try to change everything at once you’ll be much more prone to binge eating.
Here's one of the more important tips on eating healthy - Don’t feel like you have to be perfect in order to eat healthy, if you don’t splurge every once in awhile your going to drive yourself nuts. On the other hand you don’t want be all hormonal and eat crap food all the time when your in a bad mood or not concentrating on what your eating.
Don’t let your small mistakes get to you and make you want to go back to your old eating habits. Persevere and stay determined - remind yourself your doing this for your training and every thing you put into your body is so you can become a better MMA fighter/athlete.
It's not an all or nothing deal when it comes to eating healthy!
People tend to
believe they either have to eat healthy all the time, or not at all.
This all or nothing attitude needs to be changed!
Moderation is by far one of the most important tips on eating
healthy. It will help you learn how to split up meals properly while
simultaneously learning how to ration yourself little bits of your
guilty pleasures (oreos for instance).
First you have to split up your meals throughout the day and try to constantly eat healthy snacks and meals with high nutritional value.
If you have 6-8 small meals a day it will help speed up your metabolism, which in return will help you lose weight and gain energy. On the other hand if you eat 3 large meals a day you set up your metabolism to slow down and your body to crash because you are overloading your body instead of gradually fueling it.
Try not to completely ban certain foods from eating either.
Now your thinking about Oreo Cookies right? Well try to stop thinking about them now... bet you can’t! See that’s my problem, Oreos are always on my mind.
When I try really hard to forget about my Oreo fetish it sticks in my mind longer and makes me salivate just thinking about dunking that godlike cookie in milk.
If you tell yourself your not going to eat a certain type of food or certain snack that you constantly crave, your mind is going to subconsciously make you want it even more and it’ll drive you crazy!!!
So go ahead, have an oreo once in awhile... just moderate it and don't eat the whole box like I do!
How Do You Eat Your Food?
Are you somebody who sits in front of the TV when you eat? Or are you somebody who isn't completely socially awkward so you can actually eat with others?
Well studies have shown that if you eat while you watch TV you tend to overeat because your mind isn't focused on eating.
It's mindless eating.
On the other hand if you eat with others it can benefit you socially and emotionally and allows you to be a model for eating healthy.
Another key to get the full benefits of healthy eating is being patient and taking your time while you eat. Most people tend to be involved in another activity while they eat, so their mind tends to be at a different place where they can’t concentrate on what type of food they're putting into their bodies.
Take a step back and enjoy the food for once! Savor every bite. Chew slowly. Enjoy the food you eat instead of shoving a whole piece of steak down your throat by lubbing it up with A-1 sauce. It won’t work... I’ve tried.
Are you even hungry? Listen to your body and ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if you are just craving a certain food. Having a glass of water is a great way to help figure out if your hungry or just thirsty.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
This tip on healthy eating may seem pretty obvious but incorporating fruits and vegetables into your healthy eating habits is commonly overlooked.
Low in calories and dense in nutrition (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), fruits and vegetables are vital for increasing energy, reducing the risk of various diseases and increasing your metabolism.
Generally green vegetables are filled with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamins a,c,e and k and they help with strengthening the blood and respiratory systems. Sweet vegetables are great because they help curb your appetite and help reduce the cravings for sweets like cookies and chocolate.
Make sure to have a wide variety of fruits! Fruits are great healthy breakfast foods, many of them contain fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. There’s a good amount of fruits and vegetables that can help in your recovery as well due to the high volume of nutrients.
Eat The Right Carbs
Make sure in your quest to finding the right food to eat that you don’t overlook the healthy carbs that you should be consuming.
Most diets hate on carbs but realistically that’s were a vast majority of your energy will come from. If your train to fight, participate in a sport or plan on working out you NEED carbs, otherwise you’ll lack the energy to get the desired results from your workouts.
Whole grains are great fiber sources that give you long lasting energy and are rich in antioxidants.
Try to include different types of whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, and barely when your making meals. Stay away from the bad, unhealthy carbohydrates like white flour, white rice, and refined sugar - these carbs digest quickly and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and energy.
Make sure your eating whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables because they will help you feel full longer while keeping your insulin levels stable.
One of the best carbs you could eat (especially for breakfast) is oatmeal! Do yourself a favor and learn how to cook oatmeal!
Eat The Right Fats
Eat fat? Oh hell yea.
Make sure your eating healthy fats like monounsaturated fats from canola oil, peanut oil and olive oil. Or even try polyunsaturated fats that are found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and fish supplements. You can find other polyunsaturated fats in sunflower, soybeans, corn and flaxseed oils.
The fats you want to stay away from are the saturated and trans fats that are found in red meat, whole milk, margarine, crackers, cookies and a majority of snack foods.
Good sources of fat help nourish your heart, brain and skin which in turn will help in your athletic performance. Fats that contain Omega- 3 fatty acids are important in helping reduce cardiovascular disease while at the same time improving your mood!
Eat The Right Protein
Protein is the basic building block for your body’s growth and energy. A lack of protein can reduce muscle mass, lower immunity, slow growth and weaken your body’s heart and respiratory system.
Good sources of protein consist of beans, nuts, soy products, fresh fish, chicken, turkey, eggs or tofu. When you eat meat try to buy organic prodcuts so it is free of hormones and antibiotics. Try not to overlook the quality of the protein and make the right choices when you go food shopping.
If you want to eat like an MMA fighter you need all different kinds of protein, but don’t let that be the mainstay of your diet! Make sure you still are eating a well balanced diet that includes a little bit of everything from the food pyramid.
Stay Away From Sugar
Now since I know you have already been following all the other healthy eating guidelines and tips on healthy eating that I’ve given you, you should also be limiting sugar, salt and refined grains.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying those Oreos in moderation but sugar can cause energy ups and downs, osteoporosis, headaches and depression.
Try to avoid adding sugar into recipes that don’t necessarily need it. Avoid sugary energy drinks like Redbull or Monstery that are sold pretty much everywhere, they are horrible!
Processed foods are also a red flag. They are usually made with white flour and white sugar which can cause your energy levels to be erratic and your mood as well.
Even if you listen to half of my advice and tips on healthy eating for MMA I guarantee that you’ll feel the benefits of healthy eating in no time. Now if you neglect these healthy eating guidelines and think you can go on MMA training with whatever bad eating habits you had before, then by all means go ahead and try.
Just keep in mind if you want to take any workout or sport seriously, especially a combat sport like MMA, you need to learn how to eat like an MMA fighter
Check out the videos below of UFC Welterweight Contender Jon Fitch and his healthy eating guidelines!. He's changed his eating habits and has some great advice on what to eat if your an MMA fighter, martial artist, athlete or just trying to eat well in general: