Being an MMA athlete involves some of the most demanding training activities you can engage in. Physically and mentally exhausting, training to compete in combat sports means you always need to ensure your body is performing at its absolute optimum.
MMA training typically involves using many techniques and skills, sparring, and strength and cardio training, that puts your body under strain. There’s no quick results or easy shortcuts to increasing strength and endurance or building muscle, which is why to compete at your best, you need to make sure that you have a proper diet, correct training regime and enough sleep. Once you’ve got these three elements nailed, you can work out the supplements to take.
We’ve put together a definitive list of the supplements to take to nourish your body and keep you in the best physical and mental shape possible.
Otherwise known as Branched Chain Amino Acids, BCAAs are used to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. Also taken to help those who want to lose weight and reduce tiredness after exercise, these three essential amino acids (Isoleucine, Leucine, and Valine) aren’t produced by the body itself and need to be taken as a supplement or through food to get the BCAAs you need.
Intense cardio workouts that are often involved in MMA training can leave your levels of BCAA depleted, and it’s important to replenish them by taking supplements. If your levels remain low, your body will begin to break down muscle tissue to get the BCAA it needs.
When taken as a supplement, Vitamin D can benefit your bone health and boost immunity. Often used by those wanting to regain strength after an illness, it’s by MMA fighters to help your body retain its natural defence system and resilience. A study has shown that taking an optimum amount of Vitamin D can increase aerobic capacity and muscle growth, and lead to a decreased recovery time after exercise.
Needed by the body for essential growth and maintenance, protein is one of the most important nutrients for an MMA athlete to take. When you’re doing strenuous physical activity, your body uses protein to build more muscle and help you recover faster. We often can’t get enough protein from a healthy diet alone, especially when involved in training for combat sports, which is when taking protein powder as a supplement comes into play. As an MMA fighter, if you’re not consuming enough protein, you’ll lose lean muscle and strength.
Some MMA fighters rely on taking Vitamin C supplements to optimise the function of the immune system, as well as speeding up the recovery time between workouts. Important for connective tissue repair, Vitamin C is beneficial to combat sports athletes as its antioxidant properties may help to reverse some of the oxidative damage that sometimes occurs during exercise. Its ability to promote a healthy immune system also means it’s a great supplement to take to offset the dip in immune function that can happen after a workout.