There is an old saying that goes “weight loss is 25% exercise and 75% nutrition.” This not only applies to those of us wanting to tone up for summer, but also illustrates the importance of proper eating habits for health and wellbeing. It is really important to not only exercise but also create good habits and have a simple diet plan.
It is impossible to maintain an automobile by pouring ice cream into the engine and soft drink into the petrol tank. Your car needs high quality oil and petrol for it to operate at an optimal level. Just like your car, your body too need high quality fuel to perform and feel your best.
We will break it down into 5 sections. In this article you will learn:
Why good eating habits are vital for you health
Why a good diet is beneficial for performance
Which is the best type of diet for me
Sample meal plans
Pre & post workout nutrition
It is important to not only look good, but also to feel good. Proper nutrition provides many benefits to the body including:
Optimal brain function
Healthy immune system
Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
Maintaining cardiovascular health
And much more
Poor eating habits are one the main causes of obesity in this country and according to the Australian Government website for Authoritative Information and Statistics to Promote Better Health and Wellbeing 63% of Australians are either obese or overweight.
Obesity is linked to high levels of visceral fat – the fat located within the abdominal cavity that surrounds vital organs and restricts them from functioning properly.
Visceral fat is linked to health risks like:
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre is the first step towards prevention of these diseases.
MMA fitness can be gruelling and demands a higher level of intensity compared to other workouts.
It is important to feed high quality nutrients into the machine that is your body in order to:
Speed up recovery
Strengthen the immune system
Repair and rebuild muscle tissue
More focus should be placed on eating the right foods rather than simply replenishing energy. All foods contain energy, which is measured in calories. But, not all calories are created equal.
Refuelling the glucose burned in your work out with a banana is far superior compared to refuelling with straight sugar. Let’s take a look at the differences.
23g total carbs
6 grams dietary fibre
14% recommended daily intake of vitamin C
20% recommended daily intake of vitamin B-6
6% recommended daily intake of magnesium
100g total carb
As you can see from this comparison, both food items are predominantly comprised of carbohydrates, though one provides a superior amount of nutritional goodness over the other.
Fuelling your body with healthy, unprocessed earth grown nutrients will give you more bang for your buck promoting elite performance and optimal health.
There are many styles of eating out there to aid you in your health and wellness goals. Some diets are based on performance, others on ground breaking health information and others guided by body types.
Some of them include:
Paleo, Primal, Caveman and Ketogenic
Vegetarian and Vegan
All of these provide some form of benefit and you should aim to choose the diet that works the best for you and your situation.
All of these diets have grown in popularity as of late and for good reason.
Many high level MMA athletes diet, like Frank Mir diet and Kyle Kingsbury have fuelled their workouts and professional careers by adopting the practices in these diets.
These eating methods all differ in one way or the other, though they basically operate under the same general concepts:
Only earth grown natural foods and animal products
No processed foods
No refined sugars
Replacing grains with healthy fats
Eating naturally and reducing your intake of processed foods and refined sugars will provide benefits like decreased inflammation and improved insulin sensitivity, which is important for all humans, especially those leading an active lifestyle.
With celebrities like 2014 Mr Universe Barny du Plessis and UFC’s Nate Diaz thriving on vegan diet more and more health-conscious individuals are shifting towards a plant-based diet. The most popular question that come from following a vegetarian/vegan diet is – can we build muscles ? The short answer is Yes it is possible to build muscles. Mixing up your vegetarian diet can give fantastic results.
There are plenty of vegetables which serves as great sources of proteins such as:
Here is an easy to follow example of a daily meal plan using the Primal Diet. The Primal Diet was designed by influential health and fitness expert Mark Sisson and has provided many benefits to regular people and athletes all over the world.
Meal 1: Healthy Carb
Meal 2: Low on carbs
Meal 3: Low on carbs
Meal 4: (Post-Workout Nutrition)
Meal 5: Protein + Carbs
Whole grain cereal
Glass of milk
Topped with raisins and nuts
3 table spoon chocolate protein powder or cacao powder
2 frozen bananas
Bunch of Kale
Handful Dates & Almond soaked overnight.
1 cup of blueberries
1 table spoon chia seeds
2–3 cups water
1 shredded Iceberg Lettuce
200 g Organic grilled Tofu with Satay/226 g chicken breast
2 slices tomato
Pan fried onion slices
1 tbsp ketchup
1 slice of swiss cheese
2 cups frozen peas
Any post workout recipe from here
170 g Tempeh / 200 g scallops/ 150 g Roasted Tofu/ Chick peas
¼ cup brown rice
4 cups spinach
¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese
1 cup roasted Capcicum
1 cup roasted pumpkin
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
This sample meal plan will provide you with a wide range of nutrients aimed at improving your health and vitality.
For those of you looking to follow, or are already following, a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle you will find some great information and advice in this article by Derek Tresize
It is important to fuel your workouts prior to and after your sessions for optimal recovery.
Pre workout nutrition should be comprised of light and easily digestible food that consists of complete proteins and carbohydrates for energy. UFC Champion Georges St-Pierre followed a simple rule of eating half a protein bar before his workouts.
Check out what elite nutritionist Mike Dolce has to say about post workout nutrition. Mike is a former MMA fighter and featured on season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter. Since then Mike has become one of the sports most utilised resource for nutritional advice working with stars like Ronda Rousey, BJ Penn and Thiago Alves.
Armed with this information you will able to create a diet and eating plan that best suits your needs. You can link up your diet plan with weight loss workouts for best results. Remember that everyone is different and what works for you may not work for someone else. Try as many approaches as you can in order to find the practice that provides you with the best results.
For more information feel free to visit any of our Arena Fitness clubs.
Get the right advice, from the people who know, and improve your diet today.