Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in the world. It’s also one of the fastest growing sports with the rise to prominence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC.
Superstars such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor have increased the sport’s popularity and brought it to mainstream attention. Conor McGregor, for example, is set to break records on November 12 as he comes face-to-face with lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Gardens. If he wins the fight, he’ll become the first ever UFC Two Weight World Champion, as he currently holds the Organization’s Featherweight Title.
These athletes face physical gruelling demands and are expected to display high levels of endurance, power and stamina over 15-25 minute periods of time. They also need to worry about the skill and dangers that their opponents may possess. Each time a fighter steps into the Octagon, they put their lives at risk.
The fact that they must combine multiple disciplines and concern themselves with the multitude of methods an opponent may use takes a huge mental toll on the fighters. In addition, the pre-fight camps are usually accompanied by stressful weight cuts in time to meet respective classes come fight day. The stress and risk of fighting makes them our modern day Gladiators.
This makes recovery of utmost importance and fighters will seek to gain any natural advantage they can to recover as quickly as possible. This can also help them perform at their very best throughout training and on fight day.
A lot of fighters, however, remain uneducated surrounding the use of Sports Supplementation, what is safe and how it can be best utilised.
We’ve compiled a list of the most recommended supplements for athletes, discussing their benefits, how best to use them and the top recommended products.
Protein promotes muscle growth, recovery and repair at a cellular level. Whey Protein offers a convenient method of consuming Protein, while other options such as Chicken and Beef typically incur time to prepare. While whole, natural foods are integral to maintaining health and wellbeing, it often becomes near impossible to cook and prepare enough food to reach daily protein requirements, which are much higher for an athlete than the average person. Powders offer a convenient, cost-effective and DELICIOUS addition to a balanced nutritional plan, whilst their fast digesting nature means proteins can access damaged muscles in an immediate fashion. Whey Protein is best used after demanding training sessions or as a snack between main meals.
For a fast acting Whey Protein Powder to be used immediately after training sessions, we recommend Core Nutritional Core ISO. Alternatively, if you are looking to use a protein as a snack source during the day or an addition to breakfast, consider using MTS Machine Whey.
Carbohydrates are the main energy source used by the body during both daily tasks and intense exercise. As a fighter, it’s crucial to maintain high energy levels to maximise performance, especially as your body’s glycogen stores (attained by consuming carbohydrates) rapidly decrease during exercise. Carbohydrate powders such as Dextrose will help refill your glycogen stores immediately after training, as well as assist with the transportation of other integral nutrients (such as Proteins found in a Whey Protein Shake) to damaged muscles. We recommend using Creation Supplements DextroPure post training in conjunction with Whey Protein. Alternatively, carbohydrates can be used prior and during training to provide you with a sustained energy source. Slower digesting carbohydrates are necessary here. We recommend MTS Machine Carb 10 for a carbohydrate supplement providing long lasting energy.
Branched-Chain Amino Acid supplements are extremely popular for a broad variety of athetes. The Amino Acids found in these products are Valine, Leucine and Iso-leucine. These 3 make up approximately ⅓ of muscle protein. BCAA’s can help reduce muscle fatigue, speed recovery and decrease the loss of amino acids during exercise. This makes them important for a variety of different sports, where recovery is imperative and where exercise intensity is considered extremely demanding. For athletes who require high levels of endurance, we recommend using Core Nutritionals ABC during training. Alternatively, if you are only seeking to increase muscle recovery, and use a supplement at any time of the day, give MTS Machine Fuel a try.
By far the most researched sports supplement on the market and has been used for decades. Creatine plays an integral role in the production of Adenosine Triphosphate, which the body will use during short, sharp bursts of energy (much like many MMA movements). Creatine allows your muscles to contract with more power for an increased number of repetitions, increasing your anaerobic exercise capacity. There are many myths surrounding creatine that you can read about HERE, but the benefits it provides to athletes have been proven time and time again. We recommend using a fast digesting, easily absorbed form of creatine, found in Creation Supplements HCLPure.
It’s one of the most utilised amino acids during exercise and training by the body, and therefore an amino acid with a high rate of depletion. This is why supplementing with Glutamine is imperative for athletes and works to decrease muscle protein breakdown and improve recovery. Glutamine is a product which can also improve your immunity and ability to fight infection. The last thing you want to do is get sick leading up to fight week! Glutamine is easy to use, and can simply be added to your Whey Protein Shake. Try Optimum Nutrition Glutamine today!
The B group of Vitamins are crucial for energy production; specifically for assisting the cells utilise and convert fat and glucose for energy. As you train harder and longer, you’ll begin to deplete more of your B stores. Therefore, supplementation can help top up these stores and promote your natural energy production and maximise performance potential. These Vitamins can also ease the perception of stress, anxiety and depression, which many professional athletes must endure both on and off the field. For an easy way to intake a sufficient quantity of these vitamins, we recommend using Herbs of Gold Mega B Complex.
Training at intense levels can have quite the impact on your joints, causing stress and inflammation around the body. This can lead to pain and if left untreated, long-term problems may be incurred that may prevent you performing at your best. Fish Oil is well known to combat all of this; a well-known anti-inflammatory, whilst also known to improve the membrane quality of our cells, which ultimately improves our cell health, metabolism and how well we operate and function. Fish Oil also assists with our mental focus and concentration; a must for athletes at any level looking to succeed and take their performance to the next level. Try Herbs of Gold Fish Oil each day; your body will thank you!
Dieting, whether for a bodybuilding show or for a fight or competition to meet a weight class can be quite taxing on your body. As you cut calories and hence a variety of foods, whilst increasing your training intensity, you’ll deplete your body’s nutrient levels very fast! This is where a high-quality multi-vitamin can help top up levels of the most important nutrients needed for general health and metabolism, as well as optimal performance and recovery. A multivitamin such as Herbs of Gold Men’s Multi or Women’s Multi Plus Grapeseed 12000 can assist in increasing your micronutrient uptake.