Everywhere you look there are hundreds of articles on food for building muscle, getting bigger, dieting for bodybuilding, supplements for bodybuilding and training articles for bodybuilding. The fastest growing sport in the world currently is MMA, and there isn’t a lot of information for fighters to draw on to decide on their weight training programme, supplement range or what their diet should consist of.
I’m going to aim to point fighters in the right direction. After speaking to dozens of fighters and Jiu Jitsu specialists I’m going to briefly talk through some of the common errors I am coming across and give some of my insight. After playing International Sport and now entering into the fighting field, I feel I have a good knowledge base to share.
The first major error I see is in supplement use, or lack of. Guys I train with and have consulted with either don’t use supplements at all because they see the enormous bodybuilder on the front and think they aren’t made for fighters or think they are going to ‘put on too much muscle’ if they use them. Both misconceptions! Whether its protein powders or recovery powders they all have benefits if used at the right time for all sports. Protein powders don’t build muscle on their own, they won’t make you gain muscle without the appropriate hypertrophy specific training. Protein powders help muscle recovery by supplying the worked muscles with the necessary peptides and BCAA’s the muscle needs to recover, and in the case of weight trainers, helps thicken the fibres broken down in training. For fighters a protein powder with a recovery powder is essential after training.
A quality carb powder is essential for two main reasons, a) to be used as a shuttle for the protein entering the system. B) To replenish depleted glycogen stores in both the muscles and the liver to ensure enough energy is available for the next workout.
“During the workout hard working muscles use glucose (usable energy) and glycogen (stored energy) for energy. As such, there is a point at which blood glucose levels (available energy) and glycogen levels (stored energy) get so low that intense exercise can't continue. There just isn't enough available energy for your muscles to use”
There are various carb options, maltodextrin, waxy maize, or dextrose. Each have their own benefits, however waxy maize is possibly the best option. At monstersupplements.com you can get PhD Waxy Maize by following the link below!
So your Whey Protein and Carb powders are the basic two supplements fighters need. More specifically, we need to discuss the ratio you consume the powders in. Various research has suggested taking carbs to protein in 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1. Post workout I would recommend 2:1 e.g. 70g carbs and 35g protein.
Research also shows that, “combining protein with carbohydrates within thirty minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen. One study found that athletes who refueled with carbohydrates and protein had 100 percent greater muscle glycogen stores than those who only ate carbohydrates. Insulin was also highest in those who consumed a carbohydrate and protein drink.”
By refueling in this way it allows the next workouts to be done at high intensity and the muscles are fully ‘reloaded’ and prevent the body going catabolic. In very basic terms when the body is catabolic it is converting muscle into energy therefore making the body lose muscle tissue. Less muscle tissue = less explosive force, not what any fighter wants!!
Another supplement that could be introduced in this case is L-Glutamine, a non-essential amino acid which in my opinion is the third most important supplement to be taken. It aids the immune system, muscle contraction and in some cases brain function.
“The majority of glutamine in the body is stored in the muscles, where it is used to fuel muscle contractions. When other areas of the body need extra glutamine, they dip into the supplies in the muscle tissue; one of the reasons why supplementing the diet with L-glutamine can help to reduce this incidence of weakness by maintaining healthy levels of glutamine in the muscles.”
There is some basic information on the importance of supplement use. In future articles I plan to talk about diet, cutting weight, resistance training specific for sport and mental preparation.
Train Hard….. Fight easy!