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How to Feed a Fighter: A Nutritionist Tells All

How to Feed a Fighter: A Nutritionist Tells All

Straight Blast Gym (SBG) promotes MMA for health

John Kavanagh, SBG’s head coach and owner, has attracted different fighters to Ireland’s premier martial arts facility, where he promotes MMA for both physical and mental health.

MMA fighters work with nutritionist Surgenor

“My main take is the psychology of the fighter. I take the stress off the fighter by keeping their bellies as full as possible, so they can focus on training and fighting,” Surgenor said.

Surgenor is no stranger to the world of MMA; she has been working as a nutritionist for athletes for six years.

Before UFC fighters, Surgenor fed bodybuilders and football players, but MMA is the niche she loves.

“MMA has been a huge influence on my career about going for what you want and how you shape what you will become,” Surgenor said.

Nutrition key to fighter's performance

Nutrition is key. If the weight cut isn’t done properly, it’s detrimental to the fighter; it affects their performance, according to Surgenor.

“The hardest thing for fighters is the weight cut. I adjust calories day-by-day. The final week, the science part comes in; I will adjust a fighter's water intake, their glycogen and sodium levels. You basically trick the body into losing water,” Surgenor said.

3 Tips for Athletes

by Katherine Surgenor, FitGods

1. Manage stress, be prepared!! Weight cuts need to be done correctly. You ask enough of your body training and fighting, don’t put more stress on your body and mind with big weight cuts in small time frames! Give yourself enough time to make weight, so it can be done slowly, and correctly. One week out, on fight week, you do not want to have more than 10 percent body weight to lose. I like to prevent fighters from huge water cuts; it’s a huge stress on the body, mind, and joints. Your body takes enough of a hammering, so let’s plan ahead, be prepared, and manage stress.

2. Digestive health is vital and often overlooked. If working correctly, good digestion delivers nutrients fast and efficiently to your body to aid recovery and support training. You want your digestion so primed that you feel your body is using all of the nutrients immediately. You should literally feel your muscles sucking up the food you eat to recover and get stronger. Become aware of your body's response to the food you eat. Also note any signs of allergy, emotions, lethargy, bloating, constipation, sleep patterns, skin health, and what foods you feel might be causing any changes. You should not have time to read on the toilet; things should move easily and you should go 1 to 3 times a day. Digestion should be monitored all year round—it’s the seat of our health. The mind-body connection is vital to monitor this.

3. When I plan athletes' meals, I make sure that they hit their macro-nutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) that best support their training and camp demands. But, more importantly, I make sure they hit their daily micro-nutrient (vitamins, minerals, essential fats) levels to prevent any deficiencies, pathologies, and injuries. I call it prehab nutrition.

Lastly, our digestive health fuels everything we ask of our bodies. In fight camp and year-round you train your musculoskeletal health, cardio health, skill sets, and mental agility, but don't overlook the FACT that digestive health is delivering the fuel efficiently to support it ALL!

Follow Coach Brian Bird

  Posted: Friday, March 2nd, 11:00am 2 years ago

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