Nutrition for MMA Fighters Q&A

Discussion in 'Dieting / Supplement Discussion' started by zdrax, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    Hey guys. I'm one of the individuals who has been answering questions on the Luke Cummo diet thread. I've decided to move the discussion to a more centralized location. I'll be available to answer your nutritional questions. Below I've reproduced the "optimal foods" list I posted in the Luke Cummo thread.

    As far as my credentials are concerned, while I may not have the academic background, I certainly have been in the trenches. I was obese for the first 20 years of my life. I've tried numerous diets, and played with many synergism methodologies hoping to maximize training, lifestyle, and nutrition. I was sitting at 5'4" 190lbs with over 30% body fat only four years ago. I dieted down to 5'7" 123lbs and 9% body fat. Today I'm 5'7" 145 ~10% body fat for most of the year. I know what it takes to gain muscle without gaining flab, and I certainly know how to lose weight. So post away you Sherdog fiends!

    Also, any other members feel free to jump in. I think having a repository of information is much better than having it strewn about over 50 different threads.

    What to eat:
    Protein:

    * Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Cod
    * Eggs
    * Chicken breasts
    * Cottage cheese
    * Milk protien isolates
    * Whey-casein blends
    * Lean Red Meat

    Carbohydrates:

    * Vegetables
    * Mixed beans
    * Low-GI fruits
    * Oatmeal/Oat bran
    * Mixed-grain bread
    * Small amounts of protein-enriched pasta

    Fats:

    * Flax oil
    * EPA/DHA
    * Olive oil
    * Mixed nuts (no peanuts)
    * Fish oil

    What not to eat:

    Proteins:

    * Fatty meats
    * Fatty dairy
    * Most lunch meat
    * Large amounts of milk
    * Large amounts of soy

    Carbohydrates:

    * Regular bread
    * Added sugar
    * Most cereals
    * Soda
    * Fruit juice
    * Bagels
    * Fruit bars
    * Candy

    Fats:

    * Margarine
    * Vegetable oil
    * Corn oil
    * Heated/fried oil
     
  2. Soid

    Soid Renegade of Funk

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    Hmm.. what do you consider a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal?
     
  3. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I would think any combination of the above-listed. Portions vary upon time of day of course.
     
  4. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    I need some more info :) What does your training look like? About how many calories are you eating right now? Are most of your foods in line with the above list? How tall are you? How much do you weigh? What are your goals?

    These sort of open ended questions are difficult to answer, but, I'd say if we assume you're training everyday, you need a solid starchy carb in the morning, maybe with a piece of fruit, a serving of lean protein, and some good fats. So maybe oatmeal, a whole egg, a cup of egg whites, a piece of fruit, and three fish oil capsules.

    Dinner, assuming you train earlier in the day, should be carbohydrate limited. Perhaps a serving of beans, some extra-lean ground beef, lots of veggies, minimal use of condiments, fish oil capsules, and some olive oil.

     
  5. Ted-P

    Ted-P Brown Belt

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    Anything against salt?

    I eat a lot of sodium.
     
  6. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    Nope, so long as you're active and drinking a lot of water, you're fine. Sodium got a bad rep somehow but I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  7. Mojorisin99

    Mojorisin99 Green Belt

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    No fruit juice? What can you drink aside form water then?
     
  8. supersudo

    supersudo Purple Belt

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    diluted apple juice!!!! :wink:
     
  9. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    Green tea and water should be mainstays. I personally use coffee right before a workout. A Gatorade type drink DURING YOUR WORKOUT is fine - I'd like to see it mixed with whey protein if possible.

    Fruit juice is no different from soda, atleast from a physiological standpoint. Sugar is sugar, it doesn't matter what type it is.
     
  10. ObsceneJester

    ObsceneJester Banned Banned

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    About the whole green tea thing.. would the Sobe Green Tea be out of the question then?
     
  11. Ruick

    Ruick Yellow Belt

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    isnt gatorade the same thing as a fruit juice..?
     
  12. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    Yes, you could drink fruit juice mid workout, but I find fruit juice hard to digest when I'm sweatin and workin like crazy. Gatorade's electrolyte mixture isn't BS, so long as you're actually exerting that much effort.

    FYI, I find that I don't need a mid-workout drink. And let's be real. What you're really asking here is "are you really saying I can never drink fruit juice again?" Yes and no. I'm saying "If you are happy with your body composition, and your performance is not suffering, then drink your fruit juice." Do I think you'd be better without it? Yes. Do I think having real fruit and water is superior? Yes. Do I think drinking fruit juice is optimal as a mid-workout drink? No.

    With reference to all the sugary drinks people keep bringing up:

    This is something you have to man up about. If you're serious about training, you should be just as serious about nutrition. All these drinks are simply empty calories. They're okay, I suppose, mid-workout, but otherwise useless. I don't care if it's pop, red bull, flavored tea, or juice - they all suck. Sorry to burst your bubble but hey, if I could wean myself off of soda and other flavored drinks (after downing 4 - 5 liters a day for the first 20 years of my life) then you should be able to as well.

     
  13. KOU In3

    KOU In3 Orange Belt

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    I hate to be a dick here but...

    Wait so when you dieted down you got 3 inches taller?!? Or were you 15 when you started this and still growing? Puberty kicking in and changing your body is a whole different story than dietary expertise.

    Doing the math, you started out at with 133 pounds of lean mass for years ago (190 pounds minus the 30% fat). And after all the work you have reached 130.5 pounds of lean mass (145 pounds minus the 10% bodyfat).

    So in four years of hard work you have managed to lose 2.5 pounds of muscle? Although you have managed to lose some weight I would hardly consider you touting your own physical accomplishments as proof of your expertise and being in the trenches.

    A lot of your actual post has some good information. But try posting those 'credentials' on any real muscle building or sports nutrition forum and you'll get flamed right off the board.
     
  14. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    A few things -

    1. I was age 17 @ 5'4" 190 w/ a 95 lb bench press. At age 20 (right prior to my 'reinvention') I was 180 - 185 and 5'7" (fully grown). I couldn't run a single mile. I've hypothesized my previous BF% - I obviously wasn't tested. With the amount of weight I was carrying, it's very difficult to retroactively ascertain my precise BF%. It may well have been over 30%.

    2. Today I sport a ~ 200lb bench press, a 350lb deadlift, a 270lb squat and a 6:00 mile time. I'm still very much a work in progress - I don't deny that.

    3. I said flat out, I don't have the academic background. But let me ask you this: would you rather learn from the guy who figured out on his own how to recomposition his body, or talk to the already stacked and ripped guy with the great genetics who downs pizza seven nights a week? I know what it takes - mentally, emotionally, and physically - to transform your body.

    More importantly, what do you hope to gain from this post? If I'm giving good, solid recommendations, are you here merely to agitate?

     
  15. KOU In3

    KOU In3 Orange Belt

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    You didn't merely convey information though. You set up your opinion as being an expert one by posting your 'resume' of sorts. From this we are supposed to take your opinion as an informed one based on your ability to put the information you possess to work for you.

    I'm not much of an agitator. However, I do question self-proclaimed experts. And I do question some of your reccomendations as well.

    Telling people to eat fish oil capsules? Overall a big waste of money. If they are trying to gain weight and eat calories, I'd give it a maybe. But given that the crux of the dietary plan listed above is lean protein and complex carbs, a fish oil supplement is going to add both calories and cost to a nutrition plan.

    Avoid large amounts of soy? Soy is a perfectly viable protein source with virtually no drawbacks.

    Avoid large amounts of milk? I don't buy into people claiming that skim milk is going to make you fat. And yes I'm aware of the minmal calories derived from lactose.

    Whole wheat bagels are a decent complex carb. Especially for those with the caloric requirements of MMA trainers. Not the ideal food perhaps but not something to really avoid.

    I commend you on your personal gains. But when those without degrees or experience who seek to make themselves the gurus for others can only stand upon their peronal accomplishments. Your success is commendable... for the average dieter.

    But if your own body and fitness accomplishments are your only calling card and you are using them in lieu of any degree or certification, you should be able to point to much loftier achievements. Sorry if this offends you.
     
  16. KOU In3

    KOU In3 Orange Belt

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    Me, I'd wait to learn from someone with a proven background, real education, maybe a certification. Just like I wouldn't go to the local RexKwonDo Dojo to learn MMA if they were the only game in town. I'd wait for, or find the top notch instruction I needed to make real progress.

    Don't be that RexKwonDo guy.
     
  17. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    With regard to fish oil:
    During an OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test - drinking a big 75g whack of liquid sugar and measuring the subjects for 2 hours afterward), the fish oil group burned 27g of fat vs. 20g in the placebo group. The fish oil group also burned 28g or carbs while storing 36g and the placebo group burned 51g of carbs while storing only 14g.

    In addition, baseline insulin was 30% lower in fish oil group and insulin responses to OGTT were 50% lower in the fish oil group. What this tells us is that fish oil allows the body to burn more fat and store more muscle glycogen, repartitioning fuel away from fat cells toward muscle cells.

    Since fish oils are polyunsaturated fats, it's important to not only increase fish-oil intake, it's important to shift the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat (P/S). Van Marken, Lichtenbelt et al (1997) showed that the polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat ratio is important to metabolic rate. A higher ratio of P/S leads to metabolic increases (22% increase in TEF and 3% increase in daily RMR).

    So, if there's one thing you need to take from this discussion, I think it should be that, all else being equal, the fat composition (not just total intake) of your diet is very important to your body composition. Saturated fats, while necessary to a small extent, should only make up a small part of your diet while other fats like olive oil, fish oil, flax oil, MCTs, and CLA all have a place on your plate. This way you can get the same amount of daily energy from fats while gaining lean mass and without gaining body fat.

    Unfortunately the typical North American diet is low in Linoleic Acid (an omega 6 fat) and in Alpha Linolenic Acid (an omega 3 fat); therefore we typically have to seek additional supplementation. Furthermore, even if the EFA content of the diet seems acceptable, the all-important ratio of omega 3 fats to omega 6 fats is often askew, with far too much omega 6 and far too few omega 3s. While the omega 3 fat Alpha Linolenic Acid is important in the diet, the downstream metabolic products of ALA (DHA and EPA) are powerful fats responsible for things like: increased metabolic rate, improved fat burning, increased carbohydrate storage in muscle, better glucose and insulin tolerance, reduced blood lipids, reduced risk of platelet aggregation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

    - John Berardi

    With regard to soy:

    Here are three well (validly) researched articles about why soy is t3h sux0r.

    http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=body_143soy
    http://www.theomnivore.com/The Soy Page.html
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_9.htm

    With regard to milk, many individuals have lactose intolerance problems. The digestive issues associated with its consumption aren't worth the risk. That being said, I consume ~ 12oz of milk a day. Note I said "large amounts." Some individuals think the best way to gain weight is by drinking gallons of milk. It's not.

    Lastly, I never said whole wheat bagels were a poor carbohydrate choice. I eat them frequently.

     
  18. zdrax

    zdrax White Belt

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    I just want to clarify - I don't have the credentials to design a tailored nutritional program. I am, however, very well read in the sports nutrition field. These recommendations are not novel in any way - many experts, and even some commercial diets - espouse the same views. And once again, my question - what exactly is your purpose? I invited others to provide advice/answer questions. This should be a roundtable of sorts, where we can discuss different nutritional ideas and leave it ultimately up to the recipient as to which avenue he or she persues.
     
  19. Ted-P

    Ted-P Brown Belt

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    I'll try it out, but it's gonna be hard as fuck.
     
  20. TJS

    TJS Brown Belt

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    thanks for the good info
     

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