Creating a strategy for your performance extends beyond the gym. Your ability to keep going during training and competition, recover fully and efficiently, prevent injury, and maintain optimal body composition defines the need for supplementation. Unfortunately, the cost of nutritional advice, energy bars, high-end drinks, and sports formulas can leave a sizeable hole in a fighter’s pocket. However, being equipped with the basic knowledge of sports nutrition and a simple grocery list can alleviate a great deal of expenses.
The most important meal of your day is the one consumed before a workout. It sets the tone of your performance on the mat or in the ring. Remember, timing is key. Research has shown that consuming a snack one hour prior to intense physical activity helps enhance performance. When picking the ingredients, it is very important to have the right consistency of nutrients—low-glycemic carbohydrates for a consistent energy source and fluids for hydration are the optimal choice to fuel a high-quality, long lasting training session.
MAKING THE BUDGET
All great fighters know that training never finishes on the mat or in the ring. What you do before, during, and after a long day of sparring, drilling, and conditioning is an extension of your performance and ultimately your success.
Purchasing bananas, milk, almonds, cocoa powder, and peanut butter will cost you about $10, creating six to seven pre-training power smoothies. A week of fancy sports drinks and bars will triple the cost.
Do you ever feel like your cardiovascular system can keep going, but your body doesn’t have another rep left? That’s due to a depletion of glycogen—no fuel, no fight. If you want to capitalize on your conditioning, you must optimize muscle glycogen storage. Try one of the following pre-workout foods and see how much more consistent your rounds get.
• 4 hours prior to training, consume a full meal, such as a bowl of whole-wheat pasta.
• 3 hours prior, a small bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal and milk is a great choice.
• 2 hours prior, choose a whole-wheat bagel and light peanut butter.
• 1 hour prior leaves less time for digestion, so choose a liquid supplement such as a smoothie. The nutrients will help you optimize performance and stay hydrated, while the liquid snack digests far more rapidly than solid food.