Nutrition Tips for fighters and athletes
Let’s talk about nutrition. Of all the elements of fitness, nothing affects performance more than what we put in our bodies, or neglect to put in our bodies. Our diets literally shape who we are. Many of our illnesses and poor performances can be attributed to nutrition. Therefore, our diets should be as much a part of our training as what we do in the gym.
Recently I’ve been asked by younger fighters what they should be eating for optimal health and energy. While I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, I have learned what to eat to get the best out of my training. This is my own personal plan that I’ve used for both weight lifting and Muay Thai training. It has kept me feeling strong and satisfied all day.
There is a specific set of guidelines I try to obey with regards to my nutrition. For starters, I only drink water or coconut water (except when I drink scotch…..mmmmm, scotch). Second, I avoid foods that contain processed sugar, and all sugary drinks, including sports drinks. Third, I eat food that was as close to being alive as possible. This basically means I don’t eat things out of a box or can. My fridge is filled with vegetables, healthy sources of protein, healthy fats, and slow digesting carbs, focusing on foods that are low on the glycemic index.
I don’t measure my macros anymore. Nor do I keep a strict count of all my calories. Basically, if I’m losing too much weight, I add a meal, or more calories to my meals. If I’m putting on weight and my training hasn’t changed, I make necessary cuts to my caloric intake, ensuring that I still have enough energy to train. Most of all, I pay attention to the signs my body is sending me when it comes to nutrition.
This is not an article about cutting weight. That deserves it’s own separate post for another time. However, if you maintain a very consistent diet, you will know where you can cut calories before your competition date. As a result of observe a very strict diet during training, it will be easier to identify where you can make changes to improve your performance.
My grocery List (General guideline)
Steel cut oats
Extra virgin olive oil
Frozen mixed berries
Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Lean ground beef
Plain yogurt 2% fat
Cottage cheese 2% fat
Veggie protein powder (no soy, sweetened with stevia)
Typical meal plan
First Meal: Half cup of oats, hemp hearts, chia seeds, tablespoon of coconut oil, tablespoon of almond butter, half cup of frozen berries/cherries. 3 hard boiled eggs
OR Vegetable omelette.
Second Meal: Veggie salad with chicken breast (or egg salad/tuna salad), including hemp hearts
Third Meal: Broccoli and veggies with cottage cheese.
Fourth Meal: Plain yogurt with frozen berries, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and nuts
Fifth Meal (pre training): Chicken breast, sweet potato, veggies
Sixth Meal (post training): Green veggie protein shake, half cup of berries, with ZMA supplement
Seventh Meal (before bed): 3 hard boiled eggs, scoop of almond butter with celery
I try and mix things up to avoid hating my diet. For the most part, I enjoy what I eat, and make sure that I am well fuelled before training. If you feel ‘heavy’ when you’re training, chances are you ate too much, too close to your training time. Therefore, eating smaller meals always helps your body break down the food you give it, and keeps your blood sugars from spiking. Also, giving your body frequent meals gives it a job to do, meaning that you teach your body to burn calories more efficiently.
In conclusion, I have to reiterate that I am not a professional when it comes to diet. All I can say is that after years of experimenting with different meal plans, and eating at different times, this is what has worked best FOR ME. It is your responsibility to look after your body. Educate yourself when it comes to diet. Learn what foods get the best results for you. Don’t follow fad diets without investigating them first. Create a plan that is realistic for your schedule and lifestyle.
Please send me your feedback, questions, and comments! Tell me what you eat, and what your secret weapon is when it comes to diet.
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You can read some of my other articles on the Lanna MMA blog here www.lannamma.com/blog
Get out of the house and try one of my Muay Thai classes at Elite Training Center in Mississauga. You can visit the site here www.mississaugaelite.com