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What do fighters eat on Fight Day

Welcome Back Guys! Let’s jump right in to today’s topic: Fight Day Nutrition

We first have to make sure we did everything correctly with weight cutting, rehydrating, and re-feeding to not set us back. If you are experiencing any of the issues listed below, please consult your coach or nutritionist immediately! There is a problem and you won’t be performing at your best come fight day. But, if you can check these off, get ready to EAT!

Assuming there were no issues, Fight Day Nutrition is going to be a continuation of the diet structured for hard training days. What does that look like? CARBS CARBS CARBS! A large emphasis on carbohydrates is needed to top off glycogen levels in your muscles to have enough available for a good fight.

First Meal: Breakfast should contain some protein, carbs in the form of starches or fruit, and toss in some healthy fats. Here’s the breakdown for why I’m recommending these three items:

~Protein is important because your body is in a catabolic state when sleeping.

  • What is a catabolic state? It means your body is breaking down energy stores and proteins to maintain basic physiological processes. A rich source of protein (at least 20-30g) will put us back in a state of muscle protein synthesis.


~Carbs, of course, are needed to restore our glycogen for good muscle endurance

~Fats are important because they will help slow the digestion of the other foods and keep you full for a longer period of time.

Visit @thefightnutritionist on IG for balanced Carb loaded meal ideas

Next Meal: The research recommends that  for anyone participating in a high intensity event, consume 2.5-4g/kg body weight of carbs 3-4 hours before the event. Let’s do a simple example with someone weighing 150lbs (68kg). Multiply your weight in kg by the recommended range and you get your total recommended carbs: 170g-270g

If we took that carb requirement and converted it to a food item, for example rice –1 cup of rice is approx 30-40g of carbs. To get the amount needed for someone who is 150lbs, you’d need about 4-7 cups of rice to fill that requirement.

Obviously with this example, that would be alot to eat in one meal and that’s not what is recommended here. Carbs are in a lot of things including drinks like juices and/or sports drinks which would meet the requirements in a manageable and appropriate way. My recommendation would be to do this with a skilled nutritionist helping. You’ll get in those carbs throughout the day in the best way that gives you optimal performance.

From my experience, I’d say consuming a meal that has at least 20-30g of protein, 60-90g of carbs, and minimal fat 3-4 hours before the event should be sufficient to hold over the average fighter until 1 hour before the fight.

Final Meal: It’s 1 hour before the fight! Research recommends that 1 hour before participating in a high intensity event you should consume 1g carbohydrates/kg or 0.5g per pound of body weight. So in keeping with the theme- for a 150 lb fighter, that equates to 75g carbs. 

Jackie Kaminiski, MS, RDN/ LRD finishing fight camp after  providing expertise on nutrition for multiple fighters

Many of you may not be hungry or want to consume that many carbs so close to the fight. Well, guess who has an alternative for you? ME! A small snack of at least 60g of a simple carb will be best.

In my video, Fueling for high intensity Workouts, I discussed simple carbohydrates and their benefits as well as which foods fit that description. One of those small snacks 1 hour before the fight should top off your glycogen stores and provide you with plenty of energy for the fight!

Don’t forget, continue drinking fluids throughout the day. Stay hydrated- you’ll need it!

Hope this was helpful guys and I’ll see you on the mat!

-Jackie K

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