Mixed martial arts training is intense however to achieve success a tripod approach must be utilized. The tripod stands on- Workout, sleep and diet.
A successful MMA (boxing, kick boxing/muay Thai as well as jiu jitsu/bjj) athlete utilizes a unique arsenal in order to thrive as a practitioner or competitor. Technical skill, mental discipline, endurance, and perseverance are all vital aspects of training. A solid nutritional regime is a crucial component that supports the skills necessary to thrive in MMA. Since MMA training requires so much out of you it is key that you also understand the fuel that your body needs.
In this article we look at the most controversial of all nutrients- Fats.
Contrary to the norm, healthy unsaturated fats support the cardiovascular and immune systems. They also help with digestion of important vitamins.
Fats in fact are vital for a healthy diet for numerous reasons. Dietary fat aids digestion of important fat-soluble vitamins like A,D,E and K. Fat is also used as a fuel source during low intensity exercise. Often while MMA or boxing training long slow runs can be fuelled using these essential fats. Some fats like Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated and are vital to maintaining immune function and overall health. Currently more of Omega 6 is consumed by an average Indian than Omega 3 which is not what the body prefers.
Potential benefits of omega 3 fats:
- Reduced inflammation throughout the body
- Maintenance of fluidity of cell membranes
- Prevention of excessive blood clotting
- Reduced risk of thickened arteries
- Prevention of cancer cell growth
- Improved joint health
- Improved brain health
Saturated fats to avoid (Bad Fats)
- Animal sources- Red Meat, lard, poultry skin, butter, whole milk, cream, cheese, ice cream
- Plant Source- coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter
Sources of monosaturated fats (Good Fats)
- Olive, Canola, and peanut oils
- Olives, Peanut butter, nuts
Sources of omega 6 fats (Good Fats)
- Vegetable Oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, cotton seed)
Sources of omega 3 fats (excellent fats)
- Oils (flaxseed, canola, walnut, wheat germ, soybean)
- Nuts and seeds (butter nuts, walnuts, soybean kernels)
- Vegetables (Soybean)
- Wild Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies and Herring
Trans Fats (Really bad Fats)
Trans Fats are artificially created compounds that lower “good” cholesterol and increase “bad” cholesterol. They should be avoided at all costs
- Fried Foods
- Commercially baked goods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
So hopefully you have been able to see what fats you should avoid at all costs and what fats could be used as a fuel rather than be cut from the diet.
Boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, Muay Thai, bjj are all very new in terms of their approach to nutrition and often are different for someone merely doing weights. This is even more pronounced in India in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon or Mumbai where training has just started. It is therefore imperative that we pay special attention to all aspects of nutrients, fats included.