Fighting sports such as MMA are unique because of the sheer variety of training involved to become an athlete in the field. It isn’t all about the fighting aspect of the sport, but in-order to improve you need to be agile, strong, and have great cardiovascular health. This means mixing up a variety of different training methods.
As a result, it is easy to become fatigued and low on energy when training as an MMA fighter. Training as intensely as they do, they need to ensure that they are fuelled sufficiently and have adequate rest. That being said, it isn’t always possible to eat the right calories and macronutrients when you’ve got a busy schedule, which is why supplements are a must.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about supplements for fighters, why you need them, which ones you need and how they will improve your performance in the ring and during training.
Why do fighters need supplements?
What’s one of the most important things a fighter needs to do when competing? Make weight. It is one of the toughest sports out there as you are required to take part in insane workouts but keep your calorie count low in-order to make a lower weight. This means you are constantly watching your calories.
However, you still need the right amount of nutrients and protein to be able to train to your best ability, and that’s why supplements are so essential for fighters. Supplements such as protein powders, pre-workout and BCAAs are often very low in calories, especially in comparison to the foods you would be substituting them for. This allows you to continue a lower calorie diet whilst still taking a sufficient supply of nutrients for performance.
Furthermore, you will be looking to retain as much muscle mass and strength as you can and therefore require a high protein diet. Taking protein powder supplements will boost your daily protein intake.
Protein for MMA fighters
When it comes to choosing protein, it can be pretty overwhelming, so let’s break it down:
Whey protein: This is the most popular form of protein that can be found in most supplement stores. It is made as a by-product of dairy and usually contains around 20-30g per scoop. This is the often the most affordable option when it comes to buying protein.
Whey isolate: Isolate comes from the same process as normal whey protein, however it has undergone filtration to remove the lactose in the powder. Whey isolate often has a higher protein content, less lactose and less fat per serving. Although it is more expensive, it is a ‘cleaner’ alternative of whey.
Vegan protein: There are various types of vegan protein, often coming from pea, hemp, soy and brown rice. This is a great alternative for athletes that opt for a plant-based diet and need to increase their protein in-take.
Energy supplements for fighters
Having surplus amounts of energy is a must for fighters as they will constantly need fuel for their training sessions. This means that one of the most important supplements will be pre-workout.
Pre-workout is a supplement you take before training that will boost your energy levels and give you the extra push you need to make it through a hardcore session. Often the supplement comes in the form of a powder that can be added to water, a capsule or a workout bar. The most important thing to look out for when choosing a pre-workout is the ingredients, the best ingredients are:
Caffeine: In the same way you drink a cup of coffee in the morning to wake up, taking pre-workout with caffeine gives you the kick you need for an intense workout. Caffeine will improve your concentration, focus and reaction time so you don’t miss a beat in the ring.
Creatine: When you’re fighting, you need to be as fast and as strong as you possibly can. When you supplement creatine, it helps with the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the energy ‘currency’ of the body. More ATP means more energy during muscle contractions.
Beta Alanine: This ingredient is key to keeping muscle fatigue at bay. Beta alanine increases the levels of carnosine in the muscles, which buffers the PH levels in the muscles and controls the build-up of lactic acid. With more carnosine this means that there is less lactic acid so you won’t feel that burning sensation in your muscles that stop you from carrying on.
Amino acids for fighters
Amino acids are often sold as supplements under BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids). These are three essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, and therefore we consume through food and supplements.
When you take part in an intense workout or you’re in a calorie deficit, this can deplete your levels of BCAA’s. If you don’t have a sufficient amount then your body will break down the muscle to get the amino acids it needs.
Where to find safe supplements for MMA
It can be unnerving trying to find safe supplements, especially online where there may be less restrictions with the ingredients. However, there are certain things you can look out for when you’re purchasing supplements. Make sure that you read the ingredients listed, and if there is anything you haven’t heard of, or are unsure, do your research. Always take the recommended dosage and no more as this may lead to unwanted side effects.
When looking for supplements to help improve your performance, the most important supplements are:
These are the key supplements that will enhance your training sessions, improve concentration and aid muscle maintenance and growth. When looking for particular supplements, you want ingredients such as these:
- Green Tea Extract
- Whey Protein
- Nitrate Oxide
If you want to be at the top of your game then you need to be fully equipped. First of all, you need a diet that provides you with enough protein and adequate rest to train properly. To finalise your programming, you need to ensure that you have the right nutrients through supplementation.
Best Supplements for MMA Fighters
We’ve compiled a list of the best picks of Fighter Supplements. You can read about them all by clicking here.
Fighters Core is the number #1, a fat burner that maximises performance and helps retain muscle. We’ve also covered a clean pre workout and clean protein.