Mixed martial arts has enjoyed a popular decade or so, earning itself the title of the crown of ‘world’s fastest growing sport’. That’s been helped no end by the growth of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which beams bouts to about 800 million fans on TV screens across more than 120 countries.
Those fans follow the fortunes of the sports band of tough and talented fighters, who are among the strongest and fittest professional athletes on the planet. But how do they do it? In a sport where a false move could be costly – and very painful – how do MMA fighters prepare themselves for the big stage?
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson: The regime of a big hitter
Light heavyweight Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson has forged a reputation for himself as a big hitter in a sport of pretty big hitters. Any suggestions to the contrary were quashed in pretty emphatic fashion in UFC 202 in Las Vegas recently, in which Johnson scored a 13-second knockout victory over Brazilian Glover Teixeira. That was the 16th knockout of the 32-year-old American’s career to date so he’s clearly doing something right.
Ahead of the bout, Joe.co.uk featured the diet plan that Johnson followed to get himself ring ready.
The feature reveals that he starts the day with egg whites with spinach and onions – possibly a ‘protein waffle’ or egg whites with sweet potatoes to up his carb intake.
Johnson revealed that he eats every three hours, including grilled chicken with quinoa in the afternoon and a fruit-based snack.
It’s chicken on the menu again in the early evening, leaving one more meal at 9pm. He said: “Then at night, around 9, I’ll have some edamame, I love edamame. It’s just something easy to snack on and you can still feel pretty full off of it, especially when you’re dieting.”
Protein and water: Two vital ingredients
Johnson’s plan is fairly typical of the needs of a top class MMA fighter. There is, as Bodybuilding.com stresses, a need for something in the region of two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. That has to be accompanied by lots and lots of water – a whole gallon for every 100g of protein.
This can be difficult to achieve. It’s why many people looking to reach the fitness levels and body shape of a top MMA fighter might find that they need to deploy the smart use of supplements – click here to see some examples – to ensure they are consuming the right level of protein in a sensible way that doesn’t involve them needing a large supply of poor unsuspecting chickens.
The protein is important because it ensures that your muscles repair and grow during the sort of high octane workouts and practice sessions that MMA stars need to include in their daily routine. It also improves the immune system – athletes can’t afford for illness to hold them back – and generally maintain a healthy and slimline body.
It’s clear that this sort of diet requires close attention and planning – a level of dedication and professionalism that matches MMA fighters’ in-ring performance needs. To be the best, you have to eat like the best.