Diet Plan For MMA Fighters

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In this article, we are going to talk about the diet plan for mma fighters. Diet plays a major role in defining the overall health of an individual. It has more impact than your exercises when it comes to losing weight. It keeps your body healthy and energy levels high. A proper diet would provide all the nutrients and vitamins that you need to perform at its best. Diet plan for mma fighters also help in reducing anxiety and depression as it gives you better clarity of mind and results in building self-esteem.

How To Eat Like A Professional MMA Fighter

Red meat is piled high

If you want to get in shape then training like a professional MMA fighter is a good way to achieve exactly that. But there’s a lot more to being a professional athlete than just training regularly. In truth, it’s an entire lifestyle commitment.

Your diet is arguably the most important aspect of that lifestyle commitment. Without adequate fuel, you just won’t have the energy to train at 100%. And even when you do train, your body won’t feel the full benefits if you have an unhealthy diet.

In this post, we go over what the typical diet for an MMA fighter might look like.

Note: When “cutting weight,” (when a fighter aims to temporarily shed the pounds in order to make fight weight) a fighter’s diet changes significantly. Below is an example of when a fighter is not cutting weight.

Breakfast

Fruit, yogurt, and cereal sit on a food tray on a bed

Get your body ready for the day ahead with a nutritious breakfast

While it’s claim to be the “most important meal of the day,” has been under attack in recent years, there’s no doubt that breakfasts are key to a healthy diet. A nutritious breakfast sets the tone for the day and helps with weight and hunger control.

For MMA fighters, eating breakfast is about more than just preventing hunger, it’s about fuelling your body for the tough day of training ahead. An MMA fighter will aim to consume 500-700 calories at breakfast.

Carbohydrates should be the main aim at breakfast time; so wholegrain toast, low-sugar cereals, and porridge are all good choices. Pair with a piece of fruit and a glass of milk for a proper athlete’s breakfast.

Morning Snack

Almonds and cashews sit in a bowl

Mixed nuts make for a healthy snack

As most MMA fighters rise around 6am for breakfast and morning training, a mid-morning snack is a good idea to keep your energy levels up.

Here, the focus is on protein and carbohydrates so nuts, low-fat yogurts, and protein bars are all viable.

Lunch

A sandwich sits on top a plate

Don’t be tempted by unhealthy lunches

Most professional fighters will try and get in some short lunch time training, normally focusing on either cardio or strength.

If you’re having lunch before training, make sure to keep the portions small and low in fat otherwise it will impair performance, and also to refuel afterwards with plenty fruit and water.

Lunch should be low in fat and salt, so this means nothing from the baker’s or fast-food restaurants. Instead, it’s better to make your lunch at home the night before. Sandwiches, soups, and salads are good choices.

Afternoon Snack

A boiled egg has been split in half

Boiled eggs are a good source of protein

Some MMA fighters train in the early evening before they have had tea. In these cases, a good afternoon snack is a necessity.

As with the morning snack, the focus is on protein and carbohydrates but aim to make the portion sizes slightly larger in the afternoon to prepare you for training in the evening.

Again, nuts, yogurt, and protein bars should be considered as well as eggs, vegetables, or rice.

Tea

Beef, soup, and vegetables lie on top of a table

Focus on protein for your evening meal

This is the meal that many athletes will “load up” on, aiming to pack their body full of protein with large portion sizes. Dinner is a good time to do this, but be careful not to eat just before training (it will impair performance) or too late at night (you might not be able to get to sleep).

Here it’s all about protein, typically an MMA fighter will try to consume at least 40g of protein at dinner time. The best way to achieve this is with lean meats- meat with low fat content. Chicken, turkey, and red meat are all good options.

Pair your meat choice with vegetables and carbohydrates (rice, pasta, soup) for the perfect dinner.

Skip dessert.

Drinks

A woman drinks a glass of water

Nothing beats water

While there a vast array of drinks claiming to have all sorts of health benefits, it really is best to just keep it simple when it comes to what you’re drinking.

Nothing is better for your body than water. No matter how many different vitamins a sports drink claims to have, it’s not better than water. An MMA fighter will drink at least 2 litres of water daily, often more depending on how often they are training.

While a cup of coffee in the morning can help you get the day started, avoid consuming too much, especially after lunchtime.

What Not To Eat

A woman eats a McDonald's

Fast food is a non-starter

Professional MMA fighter’s follow the same rules as the rest of us when it comes to what they should avoid putting in their body.

Foods high in fat, salt, or sugar must be kept to a rare treat alongside highly processed foods.

Fast-food, fried food, cakes, sweets, and chocolate have no place in the day-to-day diet of an MMA fighter.

Conclusion

That gives you a good idea of what a typical professional MMA fighter’s diet might look like. Every athlete is different, but the focus is on consuming enough carbohydrates and protein to fuel your training and build muscle mass while maintaining low fat levels and avoiding sugar and salt.

While all that might sound like a lot of work, you’ll be surprised at the benefits. Even if you’re an MMA fighter, having enough energy to get through the day is always a good thing.

2-Week MMA Fighter & Boxer Diet Plan

2-Week MMA Fighter & Boxer Diet Plan

Do you have a fight coming up and you need to drop weight? Nutritionist and trainer Lauren Brooks will show you how to quickly shed pounds with this two week MMA and boxing diet plan.

I would like to begin by saying that I don’t recommend that anyone should follow this way of eating for more than two weeks. As an athlete, you will not continue to see results with this kind of extreme eating.

These dietary suggestions are mainly for MMA fighters and boxers that need to drop 10-15 pounds in order to make weight. I don’t ever suggest that you should wait until the last minute to drop a bunch of weight because it’s not always safe and the weight can easily come right back.

People will, however, try anything, even when they know the dangers. Trust me, I’ve heard it all. Some people have told me that they essentially starved themselves for two weeks, some just drank lemon water with cayenne pepper, while others only ate protein.

All of these can be very dangerous. I would never design a nutrition program like that for anyone because it is not a lifestyle, it’s a temporary way to lose weight that will spare as much muscle as possible.

The reality is, when you go on an extreme diet and lose weight quickly, you will lose muscle along with the fat.

While you are dropping weight quickly, you will need to cut down on your training significantly, otherwise this will not work. When you drastically reduce your calorie intake, your training can suffer since you won’t be properly fueled for grueling workouts.

Use this time to train lightly while focusing on the easiest way to shed the weight. Keep in mind that the first few pounds that come off will most likely be water weight; the rest will be fat and some muscle.

For the next two weeks, focus most of your meals on high-quality, lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, or Greek yogurt. Because you need to reduce calories, you will need to go for the lower fat items.

Rather than 3 whole eggs, take out at least 2 of the yolks in order to lower the calorie content. Since MMA fighters, along with most people, live on the go and don’t always have time to cook, protein powders are allowed but should only be used right before or after a workout session.

Stock Up On Lots Of Vegetables

2-Week Fighter Diet Plan


Reaching for the higher fiber content vegetables will allow you to feel fuller and more satisfied for a longer period of time. Always having vegetables on hand is an amazing way to keep your hunger at bay between meals.

For this plan, you will want to make sure that you are not stocking up on the starchy vegetables, but focusing more on eating the highly fibrous ones; i.e. cucumbers, spinach, celery, red peppers, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini and cabbage.

A few other things to keep in mind:

You will want to make sure to eat a small amount of fat. You can take a fish oil or a DHA supplement throughout this period. In the sample meal plan, I will include some natural, healthy fat sources that won’t hinder your weight loss.

Fat will be the one thing that you really want to measure out on this program. When eating lots of salads, it’s very easy to pile on the oils which can cause weight gain.

It’s important to measure portions throughout your two-week diet.

Water is Also Going to be Essential For You

2-Week Fighter Diet Plan


When reducing your carbohydrates to this low amount, you will lose a lot of water as well as important electrolytes. Drinking clean water on a regular basis is mandatory.

You can add fresh squeezed lemon or just a touch of pink salt to each liter in order to add back the magnesium you are losing. You can add some pink salt (lightly) to your vegetables as well, but not too much.

I am a huge fan of fruit because they contain so many vitamins and minerals. For this particular diet, however, you will not be eating them very often. Fruit will primarily be your sugar source right before and/or after a workout. THAT WILL BE IT!

If you feel that you are going to fall off the wagon and develop a crazy sweet tooth, then I suggest that you eat apples, pears, and bananas as opposed to ice cream or cookies, but remember this is for only two weeks. Suck it up and you will get your reward during or after your event.

Depending on your starting weight and how much you have to lose, you can tailor these ideas so that they fit your specific goals. If you are a very large male, then you may need much more than what I’ve written down here.

On the other hand, if you are a tiny female, then you may need only half as much. Here is a sample day with a scheduled morning workout.

The Fighter Diet Plan

Wake Up
16oz Water with Lemon

Breakfast (Pre-Workout)
Green Protein Smoothie
1-2 cups Spinach, 1 banana, 1 serving of Grass Fed Whey, Sprouted Brown Rice or Pea protein powder, blended with ice and water)
1 teaspoon of Fish Oil taken separately (or 2 capsules of krill oil)

Post Workout
Organic Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
2 Tbs of Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Organic Blueberries

Lunch
Large Green Salad made up of 1 cup Baby Romaine, 1 cup of Spinach, 1 cup of Cabbage topped with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Mushrooms
Protein can be mixed in. 1 Can of Wild River Tuna. Just tossed with vinegar, mustard, green onions and celery.
Dressing for salad can be LIGHTLY tossed with Olive Oil, lemon, and vinegar.

Snack
1-2 Red Peppers and 1 Sliced Cucumber
3 Hard Boiled eggs with 1 yolk

Dinner
1 bunch of Grilled Asparagus and Zucchini lightly tossed in Olive Oil and Himalayan Pink Salt
3-4 oz of Organic Chicken or Turkey grilled, baked, or slow cooked.
1/2 cup Organic Low Sodium black beans topped with Pico De Gallo

Evening Snack (Only if hungry)
2oz of Organic Chicken or Turkey
Sliced cucumbers and celery

Keep in mind that you can get as creative as you’d like with this program. Always remember to drink fresh water throughout the day. If you end up doing a very hard workout while on this diet, then you might want to sip on coconut water.

Stick to the main concept of low starchy carbohydrates, lots of vegetables, and lean proteins, along with some fruit and small amounts of healthy fat, and you will see amazing results. If you do try this program, I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

Good luck and stay focused!

diet plan

Conor McGregor’s Diet Plan- Perfect MMA Diet Plan

If you’re a boxing and MMA fan, you know exactly who Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor is.

And with the biggest most extravagant fight between him and Floyd Mayweather on the way, everyone, and we mean EVERYONE who ever had anything to do with sports knows him.

He is UFC’s featherweight champion who is young and a dream to every young fighter in the world.

Conor McGregor is planning to take on Boxing world’s undefeated legend, Mayweather, who stands on a record of 49-0.

And he has been training really hard, and as you know, training is incomplete without a proper diet plan, McGregor is training his hardest to consume all he can that will energize him during a fight, and to make sure he is in the best shape possible.

Look at him.

mcgregor

Wouldn’t you want to look and feel as good as he does?

Of course, you do.

So what does Conor McGregor eats?

First off, he told Ask Men that he doesn’t like eating carbs. if he does, he prefers sweet potatoes.

He eats good meats like chicken, salmon or any steak with greens and fruits.

After that, he eats eggs with coffee.

He said that enough protein intake is important when he trains, it also helps him build muscle and recover, so he adds protein shakes in his diet when he not drinking water or coconut water.

And he also agrees that staying hydrated is very essential.

The point here is that you need to balance your workout routine with your diet so you can attain maximum level of energy before and during the fight.

Diet plans change according to the body requirements. Alterations can take place every week as well.

Here are the pointers in the Notorious Diet. Plus, we have his daily meal plan to share with you as well. Read on:

Your protein needs

The first pointer here is the need of protein in the lives of mixed martial arts fighters and athletes. They need to build muscle, recover from muscle tears during training and gain energy that lasts.

This helps them maintain a lean body mass which is energized by protein to stay sharp.

If you don’t consume the needed amount of protein, you may lose muscle as well.

Boxers rely on strength and if you have no muscle, you’re more likely to lose energy in the early rounds.

conor mcgregor workout

5-Meal Plan

For a daily meal plan for lean diet, 5 meals a day is the best way to go.

You will be getting a constant supply of minerals, Proteins, Vitamins, and fiber. And you’ll be able to use the antioxidants in them to recover from injuries and muscle tear. They improve muscle mass and ensure a long career.

Collecting Carbs

According to the Notorious, a zero carb diet doesn’t fit everyone. The best way to get them is through whole-meal bread or cereals and root vegetables.

They help increase high brain function and the slow burning energy helps during a fight and training.

Like we said above, dietary needs get variations during muscle building, so the quantity of carbs vary according to the training plan chosen.

Sometimes, you would have to increase the consumption and another week, you’ll be focusing more on protein rather than carbs.

Hydrate yourself

Boxing training makes you lose a lot of water from your body because you sweat like anything. 70% of your body is water, and when that quantity gets lowered, your functionality is affected as well.

You should consume at least 2 liters of water every day. If you’re trying to do some weight cutting, here are few things you need to keep in mind.

You need to hydrate yourself at all times because sometimes it takes longer to rehydrate which affects the overall performance.

Look for the healthy fats

You need to stay away from mono-saturated fats and lean more towards healthy fat sources like walnuts, olive oil, and avocados etc.

According to Conor, they help reduce inflammation and enhance the process of recovery. When you get hits and blows to the head, good supplements like protein shakes help speed up the recovery time.

McGregor tells that a drink with carbs and supplements is a good decision before and after a training.

The Notorious Diet plan for a day

Beginning:

Water, coffee or herbal tea after waking up. Stretch, jump rope or run for at least 30 minutes.

Breakfast:

Have smoked salmon with 2 poached eggs or use 2 slices of whole grain toast complimented with mashed avocados. Add tomatoes and mushrooms as well.

Pre-lunch snack:

Add some nuts to Greek yogurt and enjoy.

Lunch:

Conor Likes Beef! use beef salad. Use as many vegetables as you can. Season it with olive oil and add dark chocolate if you like.

mcgregor eating

Pre-training:

A glass of milk would suffice.

During training:

HYDRATE!

Post-training:

Add whey or pea-protein in water or in a glass of milk. Have a fruit if you like.

Dinner:

Baked Cod with lemon, herbs, and olives. The best side would be roasted veggies and wild or whole grain rice.

Late night treat:

Rooibos, peppermint tea or just water.

How to Eat like a Professional Fighter

Diet is one of the most important part of any training regimen, and yet it is often overlooked. Most people do not know much about nutrition or proper dieting, and simply eat whatever. I will be the first to say that this is having a negative impact on your training. I am not saying you can’t be a great fighter with a poor diet, but you won’t reach your full potential. You could be an even better fighter with proper nutrition.

Most UFC fighters have finally figured this out. Have you noticed that more and more professional fighters are hiring nutrition coaches and specialists? For awhile most UFC fighters were handling their own nutrition and weight cut during training camps. This was not wise, and they finally learned the important of proper dieting and nutrition.

One of the most common questions I get asked is “what should I eat during training” or “what is the best food to eat prior to BJJ/wrestling practice?” Personally, I know what it is like going to wrestling practice after eating a big meal. Let me just tell you it is not fun. Most professional fighters really struggle with dieting and nutrition, because they are constantly going through periods of very little food during weight cuts and then pack on a bunch of weight between training camps. This is called yo-yo dieting, and fighters don’t intentionally do it, but it is the name of the game for most professional fighters.

Anthony johnson weight cut

However, in recent years some fighters have recognized the dangers of yo-yo dieting, and have decided to bump up weight classes. For example, Conor McGregor used to starve himself and struggle to get down to 145lbs/66kgs, but now is much more comfortable at 170lbs/77kgs. I still remember the crazy picture of Anthony Johnson making welterweight! That was about a 60lbs/27kgs weight-cut for him.

It wasn’t until I started taking my training more serious that I began realizing just how important the food I ate really was. Over the past few years I have really dialed in my nutrition and studied the best diets for professional fighters. It is amazing just how much better you can feel with proper nutrition. This article is going to discuss the diets of professional fighters, importance of nutrition, and how to eat like a professional fighter.

Should Fighters Do Intermittent Fasting?

I wanted to first discuss intermittent fasting or time restricted eating. Intermittent fasting or time restricted eating is a period of time without food or any calories. Typically, people with fast daily anywhere from 14-20 hours, and some even do long fasts for periods of days. This style of eating has been on the rise in recent years, and for important reasons. Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase fat burning, boost metabolism, and increase energy levels. All these reasons are very important for athletes especially fighters.

However, most professional fighters fast unintentionally, and usually go long periods without food close to weigh ins. Most professional fighters are often required to cut weight to fight in their specific weight class. Sometimes this weight cut can be up to 50lbs/22.5kgs over the course of a few months. We’ll talk more about weight cutting down below because I feel that it’s an important topic when it comes to the diet of professional fighters.

More and more professional fighters have been switching to intermittent fasting. Mainly due to the increase in fat burning and improved energy levels it can provide. Boosting their metabolism is especially helpful for weight cuts, and improving energy levels can help for long training sessions during training camp. Fighters like Conor McGregor, George St-Pierre, and even Joe Rogan have incorporated intermittent fasting in their training. Conor McGregor once said he likes to train in a fasted state because it reminds him of being on the hunt, like a young lion.

I recommend doing your research on intermittent fasting before starting to try it. Intermittent fasting can be challenging at first, and takes time for your body to adjust. However, once you get used to it you will begin to see the benefits. Make sure to only drink acceptable beverages during your fasting window.

What Foods Fighters Should Eat

Another important aspect of proper nutrition is eating whole foods. Whole foods are essentially all food that can grow or live naturally on this earth. Not processed foods, which are synthetically made. This means minimizing junk food like chips, candy, donuts, soda, etc. Whole foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs. This is especially important for professional fighters who train multiple hours a day. Your body can only perform as this high of capacity for so long on processed foods. However, with minimally processed whole foods you will be able to maintain that high training capacity for much longer.

Most fighters hire nutrition specialists during training camp, and they cook them all whole food high-quality meals. UFC fighters like Conor McGregor, Darren Till, and Jon Jones have all used nutritionists to prepare them high-quality meals during training camp.

natural foods for fighters
Examples of Whole Foods:
  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Nuts, Beans, and Seeds
  • Lean Meats like Chicken, Fish, and Beef
  • Organic dairy products
  • Minimally processed foods

What To Eat Before Training Combat Sports

This is one of the most common questions I get from other people who train BJJ, Wrestling, and Muay Thai. Especially from those who are new to training. Most simply do not know what to eat prior to training. They either eat too much or don’t eat enough which leaves them feeling tired and weak during training sessions. Most experienced fighters have figured this out through trial and error, but we all have made the same mistake of eating too much and feeling sick during training.

I recommend eating a small nutritious meal about an hour before training. You don’t want to eat too close to the time you are training, so I recommend about an hour before which will give your body plenty of time to digest the food. The small nutritious meal should be primarily carbs and protein. The carbs will give your body energy for the training session, and protein will make sure you are in an anabolic state. Meaning, your muscle will be fueled and able to grow.

A sample of a good nutritious meal prior to training would be an apple and whey protein shake. A piece of fruit is always a good choice because it provides medium digesting carbohydrates that will fuel your session. An apple is one of the best medium digesting fruits. Some people like bananas prior to training as well, they offer good carbohydrates and a good source of potassium as well. I recommend a source of protein as well such as a whey protein shake, chicken, or eggs. Around 20-30grams would be a sufficient amount prior to training.

What to Eat After Training Combat Sports

The foods you eat after training is just as important, if not more important than what you eat before training. What you eat after training is crucial for recovery following a hard training session. After training is when your body needs nutrients to recover! Just a single workout session can totally deplete your body of stored glycogen within your muscles. Not only that, but it can switch your body into a catabolic state. Meaning, it can start eating away at hard earned muscle.

The best way to replenish the lost glycogen in your muscles is to eat fast digesting carbohydrates within 30 minutes of training. I recommend a fast digesting fruit such as melon or oranges. Melons are some of the most fast digesting fruits available. Post workout is the only time I recommend having a sugary meal or gatorade, etc. These fast digesting sugars will be used to replenish glycogen rather than being stored as fat. You actually want to spike insulin levels following a training session, because it will help with recovery.

yoel romero diet
Yoel Romero eats his protein

Lastly, you want to consume a high-quality protein source after training. This is the best time to drink a whey protein shake. Whey protein shakes are some of the fasted absorbing protein available, which is what you need immediately following a hard workout. I recommend having 25-40grams of protein within 30 minutes of your training session. Make sure to pair the protein and fast digesting carb together for the ultimate recovery.

How Much Protein Should Fighters Consume

Protein is another very important part of a proper nutrition plan. We all know that protein is essential for building lean muscle mass, but it is also important for burning fat. It is crucial for professional fighters to eat high quality protein and keeps their protein intake high. I recommend eating 1g-1.5g per pound of bodyweight. So for a 170lb/77kg man this will equal 170grams-255grams of protein. This may seem like a lot, but it’s what your body needs to build high quality muscle. Especially, if you are training hard throughout the day. The easiest way to reach this amount of protein is to eat lean meats like poultry, seafood, and beef.

Also, eggs are very high in protein as well. Just one egg has 7 grams of protein! Another way to increase your protein intake is to incorporate protein shakes. Make sure to get a high quality protein, I recommend a good whey protein or mixture of whey and casein. Check out my article here on the best protein powders for fighters.

How Professional Fighters Cut Weight

Traditionally, most fighters cut weight very dangerously. Some still do, and will cut the last 10-20lbs/4.5kgs-9kgs off their body within the last 24-48hours. I strongly discourage anyone from doing this, because it comes with several health risks such as organ failure, severe dehydration, Hyponatremia, etc. Weight cutting has gotten better over the past few years with the increasing number of fighters hiring personal nutrition coaches. However, there is still a lot of professional fighters who cut weight unsafely.

conor mcgregor weight cut

I recommend losing weight slowly about 1-2lbs/0.5-1kg a week is a safe way to do it. You can achieve this by cutting your basal metabolic rate by 500-1,000 calories. Remember to include your exercise into this. So if you have a fight coming up in a few months start early, because it will give your body more time to adjust to the lower weight.

Final Thoughts

Nutrition is hands down one of the most important aspects of training. No matter how much work you are putting in the gym or during practice you will not see the results you want with a poor diet. Most professional fighters have finally realized the importance of nutrition. In the past few years most UFC fighters and boxers have hired nutritional specialists to monitor their diet and recovery. With proper nutrition professional fighters are now training longer and harder than ever before. How do you think fighters are able to train 3-4x a day during training camps? The only way is with a solid diet.

I recommend doing your research before switching to any particular diet plan. Also, stay consistent and keep it simple. Most professional fighters stick with high quality whole foods and supplement with BCAA’s and protein powders. That is how they ensure they are getting the right amount of protein intake throughout the day. Make sure to get your pre and post training meals dialed in. You will feel the best while training when you have a small nutritious meal prior to training. Then make sure to have protein and fast digesting carbs after training to get the best results and recovery.

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