Whether you follow Muay Thai, boxing, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu or MMA, energy levels will make an incredible amount of difference towards your success. Going into a fight feeling at 70%, 80% or even 90% can determine whether you’re victorious or taken out in the first round. This means that your diet is going to have to take top priority in your life as well as maximizing your intake from certain foods.
Carbohydrates are going to be the main sources of energy in your diet. Due to the amount of effort required for fighting and the complexity of the movements, a diet high in carbohydrates will be better for you. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Simple carbs from sweets, low-fiber fruits and other foods high in sugar may give you a quick boost of energy to begin with but they’ll also cause you to drop off very rapidly. Instead, focus on complex carbohydrates to give you long lasting energy to sustain you for the whole fight. These will be foods such as:
- Potatoes (sweet or regular)
- Basmati RIce
- Fibrous fruits
Protein is obviously a very important factor in an athletes diet, especially for fighting where you need a high amount of muscle. Yet, not many people realize how important protein is for energy. Athletes who have a diet low in protein will also be prone to having low energy and testosterone levels. Therefore, protein is an absolutely vital component of a fighter’s diet and you should aim for at least 0.8g/lb of bodyweight. For example, a 150lb individual would need 120g of protein per day.
The best sources of protein are:
- Chicken (Breast, thigh, wing)
- Beef (Mince, chunks, steak)
- Oily fish
- Eggs (White and yolk)
Second to carbohydrates, fats will be the next best source of energy. For low intensity activities your body will draw energy from your fat stores/the fat that you have consumed. This means that your glycogen levels in your muscles won’t be depleted leaving them readily available for high intensity activities like fighting.
As well as this, fats provide certain vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from anywhere else. A diet low in fats can severely affect your hormone function and, in turn, your energy levels. Fats are not the enemy so do not avoid them.
The best fat sources are:
- Oily fish
- Egg yolks
- Dark chocolate
- Quality dairy
If you focus 90% of your diet on the foods listed above then you’ll be feeling better than ever and capable enough to take on the toughest of opponents. Couple this with good training, mobility sessions, and sleep quality; you’ll be unstoppable.