Dietary supplements for pre and post-workout fighters.
Tackling boxing, muay thai, bjj, grappling or MMA training for an amateur is a type of training that requires an important energy commitment if done seriously and consistently.
In addition to nutrition that is always in the first place it may be necessary to include in your diet a dietary supplementation.
A fighter needs macro nutrients and elements that lead him to a maximum performance in terms of power, speed, endurance, and considering the frequent and hard workouts that are a mix of aerobic and anaerobic phases.
The combat sports seen from a competitive and sporting point of view have technical preparation and very complex thick conditioning based on daily workouts of several hours and 6 days a week!
For MMA fighters, for example, the following are practiced:
- Ground fight (in BJJ and MMA)
- Focus Pad or Pao
- Heavy bag
- Running and Shooting
- Functional free-body workouts, weights, kettlebells, etc.
- Power and Integration
The importance of nutrition has always been fundamental for fighters but more and more is also becoming the food integration for fighters with regard to combat sports and mixed martial arts (MMA) has become an important and increasingly widespread phase.
Integration in combat sports has undergone a sharp turnaround from little to so much, perhaps too much, also thanks to the increasing visibility of these sports and the business that revolves around them.
If until a few years ago nutrition was only a tool to fall into the weight category, today both diet and dietary integration play a role of real support to the performance of the athlete.
The increasing popularity and popularity of combat sports and television and web events has created a strong interest of specialized companies in the creation of dietary supplements, with the intention of dedicating specific formulas forfighters.
More and more athletes sponsor dietary supplements for fighters in events and in their social profiles!
Dietary supplements for fighter
That’s when specific supplements were born becoming not only a prerogative of those who go to the gym to practice bodybuilding but for all sports disciplines.
Now being that often many professionals or semi pro in 90 cases are also people who work in the office, workshop, market, drive a van, etc. for 8-10 hours a day and does not have the opportunity to make a recovery sleeping a few hours or at least resting really between sessions the integration is often really a help!
But the same is true if he is an amateur athlete who works is for this it is essential that he feeds well during the day and that at night rest to recover energy.
As in all sports even for a fighter, nutrition is essential but it can have gaps that in my opinion should be corrected with a sports nutritionist or otherwise find benefit from specific supplements with the aim of improving performance and recovery time.
Being able to train with the correct energy levels and intensity every day is essential and in some cases the use of dietary supplements to support the body towards this weekly massacre is inevitable.
Attention! The role of dietary supplements for fighter is to complete their own nutritional framework, never to replace them.
Today’s fighters compared to the past
Once in addition to a “approximate” diet compared to today’s knowledge and with absurd methodologies for the return of weight in the category, years ago the coaches of the past were fixed more with workouts related to practice and in the search for the perfection of the gesture.
Today modern fighters such as MMA fighters train in four or five disciplines: from Muay Thai to boxing, from Greco-Roman wrestling to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo techniques or other disciplines that can complete the arsenal of shots and effective techniques inside the cage but the same applies to boxing, the Thai boxer, the wrestler.
In addition to training in the ring and on the tatami there is a big support from the gym activity with functional tools such as kettlebells and weights even if used for pure muscle and non-hypertrophic strengthening, to exhausting circuits of Crossfit with fighter-specific wods that make aerobic activity a real massacre, racing circuits to prepare the athlete to hold the performance in the various takes to withstand the high fighting rhythms amplified even by the blows of the opponent or the heavy effort of a ground fight.
The main dietary supplements for combat sports you need to know.
As I have pointed out but I reiterate dietary supplements should always be used as a support to supplement/complete what a solid and specific dietary foundation for you, built according to your workout and weight goal.
There are several nutritional elements that can help and support the fighter, but in this post we see to make a basic introduction to the most famous and used supplements.
Today many athletes sponsor specific products but here we go to see the basic and fundamental ones.
Not receiving supplement products to be tested I do not sponsor any product because I can not recommend something of a specific brand without having tried it in the team.
Carbohydrates are a key nutrient macro from an energy point of view, they are a fundamental for a fighter.
Performance is a key component in combat sports and the most expensive ally is carbohydrates, the body’s preferred energy source.
It is necessary to train with adequate levels of muscle and liver stocks and after it is equally important in the post-training session to reintroduce the amounts of carbohydrates to promote and activate the recovery processes immediately.
How many carbohydrates do you need?
There is no standard quantity, it depends on metabolism and other factors, but basically we talk about key nutrients for energy levels in combat sports.
However, consider and it is important that an integration of simple liquid carbohydrates should always be secondary and only supportive of what should be a sustained carbohydrate diet with lower or moderate glycemic index such as rice or preferably wholemeal pasta, sweet but also white potatoes, oats,and fruit.
If your workout lasts longer, it may be useful to eat a carbohydrate bar with high digestibility and fast absorption, which contain glucose and/or maltodestrine and/or fructose for example.
Or but it goes to tastes insert drinks based on liquid carbohydrates.
Here are several types of products:
- from glucose to maltodetrine (a product dated but still used)
- high molecular weight carbohydrates that are very fast to absorb and circulate in the blood
- or the brand new cyclodetrine to be taken while sipping during the session.
Now what is important is that they do not give you a gastro intestinal disorder, because if you feel weighed down, and the digestion is not regular, your performance drops and that do not give a constant response but a feeling of having peaks with as many drops in energy, it is important that the energy level is constant as if there is a gradual release in the circle to support your muscles.
If you can’t stand or dislike drinking liquid carbohydrates during your training session, the reintroduction of carbohydrates in the immediate post-workout, with food or indeed supplementation remains of paramount importance.
First you reintroduce the nutrients at the moment of greatest need of the body and before these carbohydrates, better when combined with BCAA or amino acids/proteins, the recovery processes are first active, with the result that you can train first and something not to be underestimated with sufficient energy levels to deal with the new training with energy.
The intensity of a training session, whether of Pugialto, Muay Thai, MMA but also Brazilian ju jitsu, free fight or Karate especially in styles such as Kyou Kushin Kai, can come to a very high calorie expenditure, which can consume the carbohydrates to the point of risk of affecting muscle proteins for energy purposes
This phenomenon is called gluconeogenesis.
So compared to bodybuilding and fitness for a fighter you have to get out of seeing only protein supplementation just like !the brick to build the muscles”.
If the diet is not well calibrated by eating enough carbohydrates and maybe as you will see after you do not take specific liquid carbohydrates during the training session, the risk of catabolizing muscle proteins can occur with the consequent decrease:
- compromising recovery as well.
One of the “critical” moments for the beginning of recovery and therefore “repair of muscle tissues damaged by training” is in the immediate end of the session.
It is no coincidence that among the pros the presence of protein shakes in the fighter’s diet are very frequent after the training session to avoid losing muscle mass.
So it is important that you take an adequate dose of protein daily!
In the ideal breakdown for a combat sports athlete we have:
- 60-65 carbohydrates,
- 20-25 fat,
- and around 3 p.m.
Attention! percentages may vary depending on the athlete’s personal situation!
If for practical work reasons, feeding you have difficulty reaching this altitude can be useful an integration with daily hydrolyzed proteins, and whey, or every other day, depending on your deficit.
I recommend taking them as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.
This will be enhanced by the restoration of glycogen stocks consumed in synergy with proteins, thanks to the introduction of preferably simple carbohydrates or as those with high moleocular weight of the next generation but it is better to introduce at the end of training.
The basic concept is:
The sooner you give your muscles what they need (carbohydrates and protein), the better and faster your recovery will be.
Clearly you should not take an integration if you already have the correct nutritional intake with your diet.
The proteins I recommend must be of quality, I know they are more expensive but “whey” at ion exchange are to date one of the best protein sources beyond the food you can assimilate in terms of:
- assimilation and
An alternative to the highest quality proteins (high biological value) are egg proteins.
By now they are flavoring and the taste is more pleasant and have excellent solubility, so you can drink them favoring hydration, as well as having in a short time, precious amino acids circulating in the body.
I personally use those plant proteins but it’s my choice.
But do you really need to take protein?
BCAA (branched amino acids)
Branched amino acids are among THE VIPs of supplements and have always been used in sports integration and also among fighters for their multiple and well-established functions.
Branched amino acids are excellent both from a “plastic” point of view but also from an energy point of view!
Branched amino acids are critical in periods of caloric restriction to fall into the weight category.
The body that needs more energy will therefore take advantage of a BCAA supplement.
BCAA consists of three essential aminoacids:
- and valina.
The body does not generate these elements alone and if the diet does not bring sufficient levels of BCAA, the organism to compensate will disintegrate muscle tissue precisely to fill the need for these amino acids.
Often you have to do an intense work with the calories lowered in order to fall into the weight of the category and then train to do techniques, sparring in the various disciplines, trying to increase performance in terms of accuracy, power, speed, etc. and keeping high the level throughout the round and under the pressure of the blows of the opponent but with a hypocaloric nutrition but somehow the organism to cope with the many energy demands , will use BCAA a lot.
That’s why an integration of branched amino acids is very useful and widespread, like a very fast swab instead of muscle proteins, and the same leucine present will be an important activator of protein synthesis and therefore of muscle recovery processes that as you can guess if you give it proteins you are giving the bricks to the mason to repair your “wall”.
BCAA 2:1:1, 4:1:1 and 8:1:1 what does it mean?
The numerical ratio usually expressed after the designation indicates the ratio of the amino acid leucine compared to the other two amino acids present.
So among all BCAA supplements, the amino acid leucine (considered the most important in the chain) is always present for at least twice (but also 4, 8 or 10 times higher) than in islets and valina.
For example, to understand which one to choose in the case of reduced physical activity, convalescence and in all cases where you are unable to train (for medium-long periods), a good choice is to take BCAA with more leucine content than the classic 2:1:1,.
This allows for increased “activation” of protein synthesis, minimizing muscle loss and fat accumulation throughout the period of abstention.
Glutamine is the most present amino acid in muscle tissue for about 50 years.
During intense workouts the levels of this important amino acid have a major drop, thus slowing down the recovery and adaptation processes.
Take immediately after glutamine training is a powerful anti catabolic and cellular moisturizer(dehydration is a condition to be avoided absolutely!)
Glutamine is also a support for protein synthesis, as it helps to transport nitrogen into muscle cells and the immune system often experienced by the intense stress of training sessions.
is the most widely used stimulant in the world.
You can find it in various forms, such as drink, supplement, energy drinks, thermogenics or chocolate.
After its intake it reaches the highest circulating levels in less than an hour, with stimulating effect:
- at the brain level,
- raising the pressure,
- gastric acid production
- and promoting the mobilization of fatty acids.
For its many effects caffeine is very much used by fighter both for the stimulant, ergogenic factor that promotes performance, and seems to raise the threshold of pain tolerance.
Caffeine and sports performance
As for sports performance it can be important because one of its characteristics is to promote the mobilization of fatty acids from storage stocks favoring their use for energy purposes.
This saves the precious muscle (and liver glycogen), and therefore helps to prolong the duration of the effort with less effort, keep in mind that this saving is crucial in the first fifteen minutes of the performance.
The effects of caffeine vary from person to person with a different subjective response and in some cases negative such as:
- feeling fatigued,
- gastrointestinal disorders,
- poor sleep quality,
- excess anxiety and
- muscle cramps.
In recent times, beta-alanine has found a lot of acclaim in the sports landscape where it requires resistance as in combat sports.
Its usefulness is related to the fact that it is an amino acid precursor of the carnosine dipeptide, it is therefore fundamental for the production of carnosine.
If you are a fighter and especially if you practice MMA or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you know how difficult it is to move your muscles or generate power in these conditions while fighting on the ground and a lot of resistance is required.
Carnosine is involved in the regulation of muscle pH and acts as a “tampon”, since it neutralizes the hydrogen ions that accumulate during intense physical activity and that prevent the muscles from contracting to their maximum capacity, generating muscle fatigue and reducing the strength available.
The fall of the muscle pH, would seem to be associated with a progressive decline in the ability to contract muscle, with the inevitable reduction in performance.
During moderate and high-intensity exercise there is a muscle accumulation of lactic acid and hydrogen ions, with a sharp lowering of the cytosolic pH.
Carnosina would perform a massive buffer activity, thus preserving the maintenance towards more neutral values of the cellular pH, and indirectly contributing to the improvement of performance.
The increased concentration of carnosine in the muscles allows you to carry out longer training sessions as duration and also as intensity.
The scientific material of the literature confirms a real longer duration of performance.
The integration of beta-alanine leads to an increase in muscle carnosine concentrations.
Carnosine helps to absorb excess hydrogen ions (H) which in turn can reduce the onset of muscle acidosis and symptoms of fatigue.
Beta-alanine can be a useful supplement during training and could be particularly effective specifically in muscle endurance protocols, i.e. a weight or free body training mode that involves a high number of repetitions, high voltage times, short recovery times, and a high volume as is the case in combat sports.
This supplement should be used daily both alone and as part of a pre-workout formula, and its supplementation should be extremely useful in delaying the onset of fatigue in the long term .
Mineral salts against cramps and early fatigue
Especially if you live in a hot country as it has been in my case for a few years or in the hot times of the year it can be useful a This helps you avoid cramps or feel tired too early due to lack of hydration, especially if your training sessions last longer than 60 minutes.
Even if the water always remains in first place!
I wrote you a post about how to hydrate properly if you practice combat sports.
Attention does not mean using zero-calorie drinks!
A pattern often used is as follows:
- BCAA before and after training — > 5 grams one hour before the session and as many as 5 grams after the training session.
- Arginine before training — > about 5 grams on an empty stomach.
- Glutamine and in copious amounts in such a way as to keep away influences and to speed up the recovery before the next workout I expect after each session.
As you see I did not put all the supplements that I listed in the post!
I think these are on average enough to give you an indication but it is important that you make these choices with a nutritionist and that you do not improvise.
So inserting protein or carbohydrates also depends on your diet and what your sports nutritionist says.
You can also try this trio of supplements! Proteins with BCAA + Omega 3 + ZMA.
I personally exclude creatine.
These are the main supplements for fighters of common use in the world of combat sports such as the famous MMA or in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
We will definitely do more targeted posts on certain product types.
It is clear but I want to reiterate that they must be associated with proper nutrition and that training is the key to victory.
Today much more than in the past the fighter is an athlete who engages on various fronts, training with different disciplines and sessions of enhancement and aerobic conditioning work.
Then specific sports discipline (the combat sport practiced), anaerobic and aerobic effort.
So it’s three stages that you cleverly mix to build a super fighter with incredible performances and that to do so needs to be supported by proper nutrition and integration.
An athlete to express himself to the maximum must be fed with the best possible fuel, so well it is that science makes available forms of integration to support nutrition.
My advice is always to rely on nutritionists and to do analysis to understand your personal shortcomings before using dietary supplements to fighter.
Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport