Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is an extreme form of competitive fighting that requires participants to be in top physical condition. MMA training demands exhaustive physical workouts and adherence to a strict, regimented diet. Competition requires enormous amount of energy and stamina that can only be attained through the most disciplined of diets and workouts.
Carbohydrates for Energy
Training for MMA requires the body to produce and expend tremendous amounts of energy for prolonged periods of time. According to Colorado State University, carbohydrates provide 40 to 50 percent of the energy needed during training. To achieve proper glycogen storage in the muscles consume 4 to 4.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. Brown rice, whole grains, sweet potatoes and quinoa are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates.
Fats and Proteins
Fats also provide the body with energy. As MMA training and competition progress and carbohydrate levels deplete, your body will start using fat to provide energy. Nutrient-dense fat provides 9 calories per gram and should make up between 15 and 25 percent of your diet. Olive oil, avocado and nuts are healthy sources of fats. Protein builds and repairs your body’s cells. Eat lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, eggs and fat-free dairy. Plan for 0.5 to 1.0 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
A large portion of MMA training is dedicated to building muscle and strength. A combination of weights, stretching and explosive plyometric movements builds strength needed for competition. Weight training typically involves multiple sets of high repetitions, utilizing compound movements, such as pullups, squats, and bench pressing. MMA demands that your body be limber; incorporating an in-depth stretching or yoga routine creates the required flexibility. Jonathan Chaimberg, strength and conditioning coach for George St. Pierre, Ultimate Fighting Champion, recommends explosive sprints, sled work and jumping to build explosive strength.
MMA requires you to be in elite physical condition including cardiovascular stamina. Matt Hughes, MMA champion, alternates 30 to 45 minute runs with prolonged sparring and grappling sessions. Circuit training is another training technique that lets you work both cardio and strength in unison. When MMA training using circuit training, arrange your program to mimic the time requirements of your competition. For example, most MMA fights consist of three 5 minute rounds with one minute rest between rounds; create the same for your program.
- Colorado State University Extension: Nutrition for the Athlete
- Peak Performance: Athletes’ Diet
- Men’s Fitness: How GSP Works Out
- Matt Hughes:The Official Website of 9 Time UFC Welterweight Champion: Training
- MMA Training: Circuit Training for Mixed Martial Arts
- The Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Training Guide: Techniques for Fitness, Self Defense and Competition: Danny Plyler, Chad Seibert