Competitive athletes rely on both their skill and physical condition to achieve success. You can train your body as much as you want, but if it doesn’t have the energy, the resources, and the capacity to perform at peak level, that training will not do much. It’s like having the best fighter jet in the world, but no fuel. Combat sports in particular is one arena where the physical condition of the athlete makes a huge difference. In the past, combat sports were just about winning. The quicker a fighter could knock down an opponent, and the more brutal the knockdown was, the better it was.
These days, fans understand the game a lot more, and their tastes have also changed. As the audience has shifted from hard-hitting sports like boxing to more technical games like MMA, they want to not only see ground-and-pound type matches, they want to see technical fights where the fighters use clever moves rather than brute force to overpower their opponent.
Naturally, these matches are a lot longer, and they require a completely different level of fitness. Rather than just having the strongest punch, a fighter needs to focus on an extremely strong and resilient overall physique. Nutrition plays a huge role in this department and supplements can help you achieve that physical benchmark more efficiently. Here are some of the top supplements that every aspiring fighter should be using to take their game to the next level.
Protein is one of the essential building blocks in your body. It is used to repair and rebuild everything from nerves and blood cells to tissue, muscle, and bone. One of the most important things that we use protein for is muscle regeneration. If you look at the diet of any powerlifter or bodybuilder you will notice that it consists of a large proportion of protein. While protein is extremely important, it is also a little challenging to manage as a fighter. While you want to grow muscle size and strength, you also need to keep your weight in check.
Bodybuilders and power lifters don’t have to follow weight guidelines that strictly, and they have a lot more before a major competition to cut weight. To resolve this issue, you can use protein powders as they have all the protein that you need, but without the fat and carbs. There are quite a few types of protein powder, but the most popular are whey protein and casein protein. Both of these proteins are derived from cow’s milk, but they are digested differently. Whey protein is a fast-digesting protein, and this is great as a post-workout supplement. It gets into the bloodstream quickly and provides your body with the energy it needs to start the recovery process.
Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein, so this is something you would like to take at night as your last meal so you can stay full throughout your sleep and so that your body continues to get slow, consistent doses of protein for the entire duration of your sleep. Keep in mind that both whey and casein are derived from milk, so they do have lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, then these are not a great choice. In this case, you can go for a vegan protein powder, egg protein powder, beef protein powder, or any other protein powder that has a non-dairy source.
Many people can’t start their day without a good cup of coffee or tea. After having their morning drink, they feel more awake, mentally aware, and even physically energized. This is true because, at a physiological level, caffeine acts as a vasodilator. This can be extremely useful for athletes. The increased blood flow to all parts of your body can help increase stamina and awareness, as well as improve motor control.
It can also help sharpen reflexes and reduce impact from damage to all parts of the body. However, rather than sipping a cup of coffee before the match, it is much more efficient to use supplements. Research has shown that caffeine supplements are more effective in getting the desired results than consuming a caffeinated drink such as coffee. Ideally, you should be using between 100mg-200mg of caffeine in the form of supplements.
Arginine is an amino acid that has some very interesting properties and also acts as a vasodilator. When paired with caffeine it helps to increase blood flow and the transportation of essential nutrients to all parts of the body. This can be used as an alternative to caffeine, or it can be paired with caffeine for an even stronger impact.
On the subject of amino acids, you can take it one step further by using specialized Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are also known as essential amino acids which means that they are not naturally produced in the body. Only by eating foods that contain these amino acids, or by using supplements, can you give your body the right amount of BCAAs. Since these are so important, you will notice that when you read all about The Supplement Reviews a lot of supplements claim to have BCAAs in them. However, in most supplements, they are not present in any useful quantities as it is merely used as a marketing trick to get the attention of potential buyers.
For the best results, you need to consider specialized BCAA supplements or supplements that are made exclusively from ingredients that are extremely high in BCAAs. For instance, fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of BCAAs. Berries, bananas, green vegetables, and apples in particular are all excellent sources of BCAAs. Using supplements that are made from these ingredients will be even more effective than just eating these foods on their own.
Combat sports are very physically demanding. Even if you have the energy to go through the grueling training sessions, it is just as important to have the fuel and energy needed for a good recovery. Creatine is a supplement that athletes use for recovery, and research shows that it is extremely useful in this process. Some research also indicates that it helps with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which means it can also help you stay in the ring and train for longer. Creatine essentially helps to increase the amount of ATP present in our bodies.
ATP is responsible for instant energy releases. So when you go to perform a movement that uses fast-twitch muscle fibers, you are also using ATP to help power that movement. The only problem is that natural levels of ATP present in the body can only power such movement for 15-20 seconds. Using creatine helps to increase the amount of available ATP and therefore gives you a bigger reserve that you can use up in order to execute high-impact moves for longer. With a higher ATP reserve, your muscles will also be able to recover from this high-impact activity quicker.
Vitamin B Complex
Carbohydrates often get a bad name in health and fitness circles. In reality, they are challenging to deal with because they can increase weight very quickly, but they also have a lot of useful things in them that are essential for the body. One of these things is the many B Vitamins. Things like Vitamin B1, B2, B5, B9, and B12, are found in large amounts in food that is high in carbohydrates.
These are essential for a lot of different processes in your body. One of the most prominent things that Vitamin B will help with is weight management and energy management. These can be especially useful if you consume them with your first meal of the day so you have plenty of energy to power you through your training and the rest of the day. If you still don’t want to eat carbs, then consider using a Vitamin B complex supplement to give you all the benefits of Vitamin B.
Calcium And Vitamin D
Generally, you want to be eating as many vitamins and minerals as you can. If you can get these through natural food sources, that would be best, but considering that you need to stay within a weight range and you need to be fit, this can be hard to do when you have caloric restrictions. Among the many minerals, two very important components are Calcium and Vitamin D. These are very important when it comes to bone and joint health.
Considering how much skeletal stress fighters face, consuming enough of these components is crucial. Even after a friendly sparring session, your bones break at a microscopic level. Having enough calcium and vitamin D will ensure you are able to recover and come back even stronger.
As a fighter, your body undergoes an incredible amount of stress. These days, fighters spend a lot more time training and preparing for the fight. Even if they are just in one fight per month, there is an incredible amount of training that is done throughout the rest of the month to prepare for that one fight.
So, the body is experiencing stress on a daily basis and it all adds up at the end of the day. If you look at any fighter who has been able to have a solid career, it is only because they maintained optimal health and have worked towards creating a long-lasting body. Training is important, but without the right nutrition, your body won’t be able to support all that work.