Protein in MMA Training

Are you looking for a high protein nutrition program that has a direct approach to what you eat? A nutrition program that doesn’t blindly suggest a supplement based on the wishes of any particular nutrition manufacturer. Something that doesn’t require the words: Dragon, Tiger’s Claw, Mega, Secret, Asian, Warrior and other catch phrases designed to spark your fighter mentality and trick you into thinking that it has some special hidden power. The MMA fighter has nutritional guidelines that are similar to that of a college wrestler. There is no doubt that the training of your two sports are similar.

The first warning that I will give to you is related to the use of diuretics. Several deaths and many close calls have resulted from bodybuilders and MMA athletes utilizing diuretics, and if you mix them with Pedialyte, Gatorade or some other saline (high sodium) or solution you stand an even greater risk for a fatality. The diuretic removes the water from the body, leaves a high sodium concentration, which short circuits your nervous system and results in death. This article will clearly define the protocol necessary to have the nutritional capability to prepare yourself for the weigh in. In some cases it is optimal to remove some excess body fat and water to enhance your performance as an athlete. Losing excess water and body fat will also allow you to make that appropriate weight class at the “weigh-in.”

The Toughest Opponent You Will Face: Yourself And What You Eat

590It is the defining factor that separates champions and those athletes who have a short lifespan in the sport. In today’s sporting arena, athletes or separated by 1000th of the second, or a point. Domination over a sport is not a likely entity to be seen anymore.

Smaller colleges have beaten larger colleges in many sports. Mixed martial arts has several instructors and thousands of Websites that are all geared on providing information about how to have the best technique to win a fight. Great athletes will suffer injuries and most amateurs will never make pro status due to nutritional limitations. These are just simple facts in the sport of MMA.

It is extremely frustrating as an athlete to try to get the correct information on nutrition. Most of the products that you will read about in the magazines will be related to exaggerated advertising claims. The difficulty and your confusion is directly related to the multitude of choices available.

Today’s nutrition has many advantages to offer the MMA athlete. Quick digesting proteins, high absorption creatine, beta-alanine, branch chained amino acids (BCAAs), growth stimulants, recovery drinks, etc., all have been formed out of the process of success and failures from various other sports.

Basic Fundamentals of Nutrition For a Weigh-in.

The information in this article is 99.9% accurate and is based upon University studies. It is not based upon hearsay, nor will it be based upon on unproven or exaggerated claims from nutritional companies looking to market their products. If someone is advising you on nutrition and/or training, ask them to lift their shirt. If they don’t have visible abs, keep walking.

Getting Started: It is important to write down everything that you have eaten in the past week. You will have to look up and calculate how much nutrition you are actually getting from the foods that you eat. Sometimes you can figure this out by using the labels that are required on all products sold in United States. It is necessary to calculate the nutrition from other sources that have tables demonstrating what the nutritional value is for any given food. Be sure to calculate your daily intake of carbs, fats, proteins, sodium, water, and total calorie intake.

The next test to perform is the body fat test. Underwater weighing and the Bod Pod (air displacement) are the most accurate testing methods. The importance of doing these tests is critical to allow you the knowledge of how much excess fat is on your body. You don’t want to lose muscle and many athletes diet improperly and become weaker from the loss of muscle. Fat calipers are just not accurate enough to determine your safe zone for losing unwanted fat. So do the test and have it repeated a few times, around every other week.

imagesWater & Protein: If you are like most athletes, you are not taking in enough water, nor are you likely to be taking in enough protein. Look at the amount of protein that you’re eating in grams per day. A MMA athlete should be eating more than 2 grams per pound of bodyweight. If you are taking any type of an anabolic steroid (under prescription of course), then your intake of protein may be as high as 2-4 g/pound of bodyweight. Now mix in the fact that you should be drinking 1 gallon of water per 100 g of protein per day. These fundamental principles have been established for athletes and national organizations for nearly 4 decades.

Protein Per Day Examples:

  • 250-pound athlete-off season = 500 g of protein + 2-5-gallons of water per day
  • 140-pound athlete-off season = 280 g of protein + 1.5 gallons of water per day


A maximum of two gallons of water per day is usually sufficient to flush out the proteins in any size athlete. The amount of water that you take in is necessary to maintain a high metabolic flush of the protein as you are consuming. The lack of water in your diet will result in excess gas and improper digestion of the protein you are consuming. This high intake of water will make it possible to drop water weight later in the program as you draw near to the competition. One more thing about water is that drinking large amounts of it actually stimulates your body to produce additional growth hormone.

All proteins are not the same and some are digested and absorbed much better than others. Egg protein and whey protein are absorbed best by your body. Fish, chicken and lean beef are some of the next best proteins. Others are sure to follow, but in most cases it is important to eat an equal portion of protein with each meal that is approximately the size of your fist. Realize that some food allergies can go undetected and you will not absorb the protein from certain foods. It is important to eat as much real food as possible and to minimalize the amount of supplementation whenever possible. The exception to this rule is usually associated with whey protein. Most isolated whey proteins will digest in your duodenum within 30 minutes of ingestion. They are quick and easy and have a vast purpose in the athlete’s diet.

Egg-yolk-egg-whiteNever eat raw egg whites! Raw egg whites have a huge amount of a substance called “avidin,” which loves biotin. As a matter of fact, once the avidin-biotin forms a bond, the body can’t break it apart. So you will develop a partial or full Biotin Deficiency Syndrome. Cooking your eggs (or egg whites) will quickly denature the protein avidin and will allow you to absorb 98 percent of the protein. In short, always cook your eggs. Here is a list of some of the possible problems associated with any low protein ingestion:

    • Problems with sleep
    • Problems with concentrating
    • Constipation or diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Unexplained injuries or multiple injuries with little trauma
    • Problems with skin, nail, and/or hair
    • Unexpected broken bones
    • Problems with emotional stability
    • Problems gaining strength
    • Consistent problems with muscle strains/ligamentous sprains


This is obviously just an example and several other factors may be involved in causing any of the aforementioned problems. Please see a physician if any of the aforementioned symptoms continue even with the increased protein added to the diet. The biggest problem with getting enough protein is usually associated with the preparation of the food and its storage. There is no question that eating while at work can be an issue and timing is necessary since the MMA athlete needs to be eating every 2-to-3 hours.

Many athletes make the mistake of trying to cram in protein during only 3 meals, which results in poor absorption of all nutrients. Most athletes will have difficulty absorbing more than 30 g of protein had any meal. Having a small cooler and a creative cook at home is essential for any successful athlete. You can just eat cold fish or chicken in a pinch. That is just the sacrifice you have to be willing to make if you really want to be the best. Every athlete has to learn to eat for function, not flavor! Sacrifice equals success.

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