MMA Meal Planning:
You spend hours planning those training sessions that are going to make you the best conditioned most well rounded fighter you can possibly be.
You map out the training protocol... strength and conditioning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings with grappling in the afternoon. Striking on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning with Jiu Jitsu at night. Now you're ready to get down to business and get those skills so tight, so strong that the UFC will be knocking on your door for your Octagon debut, right?
You've got half of the equation handled. Well, that number could actually be less than half. Whatever the percentage is, the thing that will really dictate whether you'll be hitting your goals or making excuses a few months from now, is your meal plan.
Ignore that, and your chances of training at a high enough level and with the requisite consistency to take your game to the next level are slim, real slim. Let's look at a few simple concepts and tricks that are proven to work and get you on your way to success.
How many times have you heard it? "It's better to eat five or six small meals than to eat three bigger meals." Probably a few hundred times if you regularly read the magazines. Well, it works, and if you ignore this simple principle you can all but kiss your gains goodbye. Here's why.
When you eat every three hours instead of every five to seven hours like you do if you eat a "regular" breakfast, lunch and dinner, you accomplish a number of things. First, every time you eat, you cause your metabolism to speed up and get active to digest that food.
As a result, you've got an active metabolism virtually all day instead of one that starts and stops at extended variables throughout the day. Of course, your body will also have a much easier time digesting smaller amounts of food every few hours than it will if you slam it with large amounts of food at a few points in the day.
There's another important reason to adopt the 5-6 meal per day philosophy. In order to create the optimum anabolic environment in your body for muscular strength and holding on to your lean muscle tissue, your goal is to create "positive nitrogen balance" internally.
The easiest and safest way to do this is to consume a consistent flow of protein throughout the day. Of course, eating protein three times per day cannot provide the same environment for muscle growth as eating it six times per day.
Once we agree that you need to get the right nutrients in your system 5-6 times per day, the next thing we need to address is the best way for you to structure those meals. However, we can set up some simple guidelines to get you started.
First and foremost, make sure that you eat protein at EVERY meal. For example, let's say that you weigh 200 pounds and you are going to eat one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you are eating 5-6 meals per day, you'll want to get 35-40 grams of protein at each meal.When it comes to
carbs, you'll want to take in the majority of your carbs at strategic points in the day ...breakfast, the meal(s) before you workout and meal(s) right after you workout. You'll also want to avoid carbs in the last meal of the day so that you don't elevate your insulin levels when you go to sleep as that can inhibit your body's ability to naturally produce human growth hormone at the time it does it best.
Last but not least, you'll want to get some healthy fats with your meals as well. However, keep the fats out of the post-workout meal as they can slow the absorption of the carbs you need to refuel and replenish your system after a hard training session.
Shake Meal - Shake
If you're dreading cooking six meals a day and finding the time to eat them, here's a simple solution. Try alternating solid food meals with a high-quality protein drink or protein bar. If you drink three of your meals each day and eat the other three, the program is much more manageable and your nutritional intake won't suffer.
Sample Meal Outline
Meal 2: Pre-Workout Meal
Meal 3: Post-Workout Meal