Nutrition Plays a Vital Role in Mixed Martial Arts Training.

MMA training without a good Mixed Martial Arts nutrition program is like driving a car without gas. You will not get very far.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why diet and nutrition play such a big role…

  • Proper nutrition keeps you healthy. If you are constantly getting sick then you will be missing important training sessions and/or fights. That or having to train and fight when you are sick.
  • Diet plays an important role in recovery. When you train hard, your body breaks down and you need to be able to rebuild it. The only way to do that is to have the right raw materials. A Mixed Martial Arts nutrition program will supply those.
  • A good diet helps you manage your weight. This is a sport with weight classes, so you may need to do some weight cutting to get into the right one. Or maybe you want to pack on some pounds to go up one weight class. The right mixed martial arts diet will let you do it.
  • Good nutrition improves performance level. If you have the right fuel in you, then you can train more intensely and fight harder.

So you can see just how vital nutrition is to your success.

Now let’s look into what a good Mixed Martial Arts nutrition program needs…

  • The right types of calories in the proper amount.
  • The vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy and train hard.
  • The proper supplements to help you reach your goals faster.

With these elements in place your nutrition program should be a success.

Further Reading

Learn why conditioning is just as important as your mixed martial arts nutrition program.

  1. […] A good diet will give you the fuel you need for your mma conditioning program, learn about it here. […]

  2. James November 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I am in need of gaining about 30-40lbs to get where I wanna be, any advice on how to do this safely?

  3. luke December 30, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    im 13 and wiegh 175 pounds need to lose 20 pounds and stay strong while i do it


  4. Me January 2, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Grilled chicken, tuna (in spring water) straight out of the can, fruits and vegies and absolutely no fast food. Diet alone wont work, cardio and circuit training are importaint in cutting weight.

  5. BIG MIKE January 2, 2008 at 8:20 pm


  6. MMAISMYGAME January 6, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Ok, i need real help. I’m a female fighter in need of dropping 20 to 25 lbs. to get into the 125 lb. weight class – how can i do this with leaving only very little weight for the Sauna ;)?? Please HELP!

  7. Greyd January 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    i weight 227 im 5’10 full of muscle training in BJJ but i have that stubburn belly fat. I lift weights alot and have tried diets and some conditioning but I really want to get down to be able to compete in the middleweight range what kind of info on nutrition or conditioning regimne can you give me to help me accomplish this goal.

  8. Marks January 30, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Comletely agree with you, when you say the right typr of calories in the proper amount. All to often people think that eating grilled chicken breast and veg is good, NO MATTER HOW MUCH. Of course this is wrong. eating even to much of this can be bad. good article!

  9. MuayThaiStriker January 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    30-40 lbs. is a lot of weight to gain… To safely gain that kind of weight without steroids will take a couple years of hard work and good diet. Set smaller goals, like 5 lbs. increments. You are more likely to accomplish your final goal this way. I weigh about 225 and used to weigh 165, it took me about 4.5 years to put on that much weight. So keep training, and eat as much protein as you can every day. Good luck.

  10. Kelainefes February 6, 2008 at 11:54 am

    It depends a lot on what kind of weight you need to loose.
    Muscle or fat?
    If it’s fat, one suggestion could be to cut all the crap food (snikers, fast food, fried stuff), use as little oil and butter as you can, never forget to eat your veggies but don’t exagerate with fruit (it’s got sugar),
    pick fish and white meat over red meat, drink milk with reduced fats.
    Eating more than three times a day (without increasing the total calories) also helps loosing weight.
    Ask suggestions to your doctor regarding your diet, he can probably help you more than us.

    For your training, cardio should be the way to go, but remember that humans usually start burning their fat DIRECTLY only after at least 40 mins (when your sugar reserves run out) of nonstop aerobic activity such as running, swimming etc..
    So it doesn’t really matter if you go real fast, the really important factor is time.
    Most important of all, be patient and don’t rush things with crazy and stressing dieting/exercising programs, results obtained slowly are kept easier.

  11. erik February 6, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    How fast did you need to cut the weight? Is that the weight you will consistently fight at or is this a one time thing?

  12. nick February 11, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Breakfast: Oatmeal fruit, wheat toast.
    If you drink coffee have it black, or mainly drink lots of water.

    Lunch: Grilled Chicken with black beans.

    Snack: Apple or Orange.

    Dinner: Steak with vegetables. Or grilled chicken again. If you don’t want to over due chicken substitute tuna fish for your lunch or even have fresh Salmon.

    Stay away from sodas, juices, breads, rices.

    You must do 4-6 days a week at the gym. Start off doing 15-20mins on the eliptical with about 15-20 mins of strength training. 2 weeks in do 25 – 30 minutes of eliptical training. And make your strength training 25mins. Keep it up and you’ll lose the fat and gain muscle.

  13. Mani Sharplin February 12, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Hi, I am a mma fighter bassed in Jiu Jitsu and have been fighting in light heavy weights for quite a while and would like to move up to heavy weight to super heavy weight quickly. Which means I will need to gain at least 7 kgs. Maybe my eating plan and training program needs tweaking??? Thanks. Mani. 🙂

  14. Joe February 20, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Im 14 5’5 and 132 pounds
    I need to drop about 10 to 15 pounds before i start fight training. What should i be eating to get down to this wieght. i use circuit training to burn the calories. but what should i eat to help loose the weight

  15. philly February 25, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I agree with Kelainefes. The only way to lose weight is through healthy carb cutting and cardio. It doesn’t matter how many crunches you do in a day, you are not going to see those abs until you preform long lating cardio exercises.

    People have said that running on an empty stomach say in the early morning is a safe bet but nothing works for everybody. You are the only one who knows your body and if you do cardio on an empty stomach (4hrs without food) when you are done you need to take in some calories, and for the old school athlete who doesn’t partake in the whey protein shake after a workout, a safe bet is always white bread (yes white) and chocolate milk within 30 mins of a workout .
    On the other hand, never weight train on an empty stomach, always eat something light sometime before hand

    Results don’t come quickly, but if you stick with your training regiment, eat smart, and listen to your body you should do fine

  16. colton March 17, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    i am new to fighting and Mixed Martial Arts i need help in dropping some pounds like 5o or so how came i do this safely

  17. Tapout April 13, 2008 at 9:33 am

    i am 12 years old and want a good training facility in Michigan and if anyone knows of a place i would say aroug detroit that would help i am training with my self and i would like better help

  18. Tapout April 13, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I am brand new to mixed martial arts and would like to lose like 10 pounds and get stronger so if anyone knows how could they help me

  19. mormma April 23, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    hey im 19 5″10 and fluctuate between 180 and 170, first is this normal and secondly, how can i drop down to 155-165 lbs while still keeping and gaining muscle? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks

  20. Cason24BJJ April 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    A good way to drop weight it to keep your matabalism up, eat about 5 times a day

    breakfast – fruits oatmeal

    snack – protien bar

    lucnh – tune nuts

    snack – protien bar

    dinner – boneless skinless chicken breast veggies

    drink lots of water all day long

    recipe for protien bar:

    2 scoops of you favorite whey protien
    peanut butter
    favorite fruits

    blend all together

    bake in oven on 350

    cut into bars wrap, and store in freezer

    i read this quote on another MMA forum

    “your matabalism is alot like a furnace, if you pile a bunch of wood on it at once, its not going to burn right, but if you feed it small amounts regularly its going to burn strong.”

    made sense to me.

  21. Kalvin April 30, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Im 16 and weight 50 im under weight and trying to build my body up..
    How do i do this?
    I am currently eating all the right foods and am on a protein shake and go for runs in the morning and goto gym after school…
    Please help

  22. Sage May 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    First, I hope you have some time to safely “lose” weight before the fight.
    Assuming you are a young female, I recommend the following:
    Work out a minimum of four days per week.
    Definately lift weights; especially compound movements, (i.e. squats, bench press, power clean.) DON’T WORRY, YOU WILL NOT GET BIG!!
    You’ll only gain lots of mass if you kick up your protein consumption. I have lifted with many female bodybuilders who struggle to gain weight while eating 200 plus grams of protein per day AND juicing!
    Mix your cardio up as far as what you do: bike, run, eliptical
    Always, Always do cardio first thing in the morning prior to eating OR right after lifting as this assures you are burning fat, not muscle or your carbohydrate energy stores.
    Eat only protein prior to going to bed to so your body does not consume its precious muscle.
    Eat 6 or more very small meals every day (even on off days. This will kick your fat burning into high gear and supply your new muscle with energy to burn the fat.
    Eat around 1 gram of protein per body pound spread out over your 6 meals:
    Assuming you weigh 100 lbs;
    6 meals x 16 gms protein per meal=
    96 grams protein.
    That’s only 1 half can of tuna per meal!
    It’s easy as long as you have discipline.
    I know you do!
    Please let me know that this helps.


  23. nick May 26, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    i heard eating pasta is very good for gaining “good/proper” weight…my fav is probably spaghetti or pasta salad

  24. joe June 4, 2008 at 6:09 am

    im just starting training today and i cant get myself on a diet. can you tell me how to become a good mma fighter. i cant get to a mma school because there too far and to expencive for me

  25. rob June 4, 2008 at 6:13 am

    im 15 and i want to start mma fighting i weigh 210 pounds and need to get down to 170 can you help meget on a diet to help me reach my goal?

  26. Chris June 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    hey whats up im 15 6 foot 165 pounds and ive been practice boxing and wrestling since i was about 11 i got jumped in my hometown i run track and play football anyways if u want to gain some wieght quick i would advise eating alot of protien and working out with heavy wieghts and if you want to lose wieght run your ass off and eat low calorie foods with alot of fiber the lighter you are the quicker you are but you have to have muscle to back that up belive me i love fighting and have been practicing my whole life one day ill be in mma or ufc and you can to ya just gotta reach high and work for your goals and dream and never quit hard work and dedication is all it takes good luck getting into shape!

  27. Hunter July 6, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    i would reccomend any of the animal products from universal nutrition. also 6,000 or so calories a day, sticking with carbs and protein. you can get a mass gainer shake mix at any gnc and that will help, but mainly LIFT and EAT TONS

  28. Heavy Hitter July 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Sup I come from a long line of shory stocky men. I am 5’5 315 lbs. I am looking to begin training MMA and want to get all of my info. in order. As alot you may have noticed there are not too many short guys in the ufc, which could be and advantage or disadvantage. I need a diet plan to help me cut mad weight. I could fight in the heavy weight class, but I feel I would be a more effective fighter at 205. Anyone got any sure fire diet plans to lose that kind of weight safely and effectively?

  29. Danny July 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Lifting weights typically isn’t going to help your mid section as much as other workouts will. Plus, muscle is heavier than fat, so that’s just adding to your problem. I’m no expert, but I’d suggest more aerobic exercise, meaning workouts that involving oxygen moving to your muscles over an extended period of time. Examples of such exercises are jogging and skipping, among other things. Ask your instructor for advice, as well.

  30. Jack July 29, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    I am 21, 6’4”, and weigh 365 lbs. I want to train in MMA. I began an intense cardio routine about 3 weeks ago and have since dropped 14 lbs; on my way to dropping a 100 lbs. Does anyone know where I could get the proper training in the D.C., Maryland, or Virginia area metro area?

  31. steven ortiz August 25, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I have lost 60 pounds in 2 months. I have went from 350 down to 290. I am eating a 600 calorie breakfast and 4 200 calorie meals throughout the day. No carbs after 6 pm and workout at least 4 times a week

  32. Daryn September 3, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    About a year ago i started getting into mma the problem was i weighed about 220 pounds and was only 5’9 i started training at a local gym and eating a lot i mean a lot of protein and few carbs i know you hear this all the time but i promise you it works i’m now a crisp and cut 155

  33. John David September 18, 2008 at 10:54 am

    “your matabalism is alot like a furnace, if you pile a bunch of wood on it at once, its not going to burn right, but if you feed it small amounts regularly its going to burn strong.”

    thats great!!!!

  34. Tim Hickman October 13, 2008 at 10:55 am

    your 14 dont try to cut weight its not worth it at your age. I did my jiu jitsu black belt at 15 i also did tae kwon doe and boxing,I tried cutting weight and it fucks you over, Your still growing, I trained 3 hours a day 4 days a week and the thing that helped me beet the competition the most was rock climbing, try it a few hours a week trust me it works on a lot more than you think,especially if your trying over hangs. trust me, when your holding your body weight by 1 hand or your heel your laughing, try it 😉

  35. reggie October 20, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    im 44 y/o male, i love the sport of MMA, I dont think I will fight due to any injury that may hamper my work ie. ff/medic. But I would like to get into better shape by eating right, im a former powerlifter and currently takeing hapki-do. I dont look to bad nor in real bad shape, could be better. I do train at least 3-4 time a week and i have increase my cardio, i weigh 209 would like to be at 185-190 any suggestion? reggie thanks.

  36. reggie October 20, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Hi again, i most def have discipline problem, my witching hour is anytime after 9pm pls help. i do suppulment with bcaa and protin, multi vit, fish oil taps, any suggestion that i can mentally over come the urge to eat sweets and leftovers. reggie

  37. TXMMA October 22, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Train MMA for 6 months consistently and you’ll get what you are looking for. Add nutrition and weight training and you’ll be amazed at the results.

  38. reggie October 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    hey guys i havent heard any response to my questions, help me out guys or whoever

  39. John October 27, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I’m 27 5’10 and 205. i was at one point 280 after years of junk food and beer. I got to where i’m at by eating the right foods like chicken breast, whole wheats, and lots of protein. just about every food now a days you can get low fat or fat free. I run intervals for 45-50 minutes a day and lift weights 3 times a week before work. I joined a mma gym at 220 pounds a few months ago in cincinnati ohio just to get the rest of the pounds off. now i wanna compete in 185 range and i’m on my way. my point is that if your willing to WORK HARD and push yourself than nothing will get in your way of whatever goal you have.

  40. Cj November 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    There is a safe way to gain 30lbs and safely.
    Bruce Lee gained his 30lbs of muscle by eating rice, lean meat, and vegetables; milk is a good way of gaining weight to and if you workout this weight will be muscle. Since milk especially 2% milk has a good fat that helps build lean muscle and has Good vitamins. Also, here is workout that Bruce Lee did to get that extra 30lbs.

    Clean and Press 2 x 8
    Sqauts 2 x 8
    Barbell pullovers 2 x 10
    Bench press 2 x 10
    Barbell Curls 2 x 8
    Pull Ups 2 x 10

    This takes about 20 to 25 minutes a day if breaks aren’t too long. Also, cardio will help lean the muscle and strenghten legs. Do about 30 push ups a day as well, not all at once, but spread out. Another exersice that can burn calories and gain muscle is really kind of fun. Play on a jungle gym if you know some martial arts, do some cool stuff with it. Be careful though.

  41. justin November 8, 2008 at 12:32 am

    hey, i need to drop 10 pounds A.S.A.P whats the quickest way?

  42. Mike November 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    For me it helps to listen to songs or watch videos that inspire me. I also think of my fave fighters like GSP and Sean Sherk and think to myself, to get where they are, I can’t cheat. It also helps to remove the temptation by getting the foods out of the house

  43. pin140 November 19, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    i am a high school wrestler with a background in fighting how can i strenghthen my tecnique without straying far from the wrestling focus?

  44. Gino November 20, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Hey Im 16 and i am planing on fighting as soon as a turn 18, i’ve been involved in mma training for about 2 months but im a long time fan and watch and study it alot… anyway, im about 5’10 172 lbs

    i plan to fight at middleweight (185) but first i want to cut some of the fat off my body, i was very overweight as a kid and over the last 1.5 years went from 210 to 170-175. the thing is that wont work very much anymore, besides running/jogging and diet what type of weight training should i do to burn the fat off me faster.. i was focusing more on reps then weight but im not expert….help lol

  45. anthony November 21, 2008 at 1:30 am

    I lost 20 pounds in a month and a half cutting transfats (margrin, hydrogenated oils) and high fructose corn syrup… I train with kettle bell as well. hfcs are in a lot of things… always read the label even on breads… all natural wheat bread is the best but again check for hfcs… corn syrup by itself is ok… its not great but its better then the synthetic blended crap… fruits and veggies, and lots of protein… I eat just as much as I did before just no more crap… I feel better and my strength has doubled… avoid doing situps if you are trying to lose weight… it is good for muscle growth but they release cortosol into the body which can actually help you gain weight… good rule of thumb for protein is that the less legs the animal has the more protein in the meet… fish are great for protein followed by birds. when training, gatorade sucks because it has hfcs, stick to water. natural fruit juices are okay once and a while. the best sugar for you is un messed with fructose (any fruit)… oatmeal is cheap, easy, and nutriosious for breakfast, to add sweetness use a single touch of real honey. and the most important thing to remember is all things in moderation… don’t under do it… don’t over do it… eat atleast every 4 hours… and don’t snack… if you are still hungry after eating eat veggies. lettuce is crap… spinach is the best.

  46. Mr. Sal November 22, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Hey Reggie,

    Perhaps no one has responded because it’s obvious!

    Increase energy expenditure, decrease calorie intake. Make sure you have 6 small meals a day. Make sure any snacks are fruit/nut or vegetable.

    Drink plenty of water throughout. Treat your self to your indulgences once a week.

    Increase your cardio using a varitety: Treadmill, cross trainer, rowing, swimming. If you are stuck for time, utilise an Interval training structure.

    Incorperate a weightlifting programme at least 4 times a week.

    Remember you win it in the gym but lose it in the kitchen!

  47. Mike December 3, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Jack, check out Capitol Jiu jitsu, there is a facility in Alexandria, Va and one off of rt 606 in Loudoun County. They have a workout called Crossfit!!! It is the most intense workout you’ll ever get. It’s like circuit training only MUCH, MUCH better and it is a coached class.

    As a matter of fact any other questions asked on here regarding how to lose weight, trim up, build mucsle, and get in shape to fight MMA….. Simple answer. CROSSFIT.COM

    Also, the perfect diet for fighters is the “ZONE” diet. A little hard to get a grasp of at first but it provides you with perfect nutrtion and is scaleable.

  48. alex December 4, 2008 at 11:34 am

    i was in shape back in high school, i guess football helped alot…after graduating i gained weight like crazy, plus i work at a mcdonalds and full time college kinda hard to eat right…any suggestions???

  49. alex December 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    i was in shape back in high school, i guess football helped im a full time college student and work at a fast food restaurant..kinda sucks and is not helping my 5’11” and 195lb…but my muscle is slowly disapering…any help will be great.. thnx alot! !

  50. Deck December 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Hey everyone, my name is decker. I am about 6’0″ and weigh about 150. I would love to get some tips on muscle weight gain because i love to play football and to spar. I want to be at 180 by next football season so i need to get started right away. If any of you have any ideas or tips, they would be very much appreciated.

  51. Rhys December 23, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I need to gain around 30 pounds and wanting it to be mainly muscle and diet and exercise tips?

  52. david frost December 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    hi, my name is david frost, i live in greenville tx and my family runs a martial arts school there (a.k.r. martial arts and combat sports and fittness). just thought id drop you a line, thought id give you some good advice. you wanna lose weight and stay strong? heres how you do it.

    -first of all cut out all your sugars, NO SODAS, no candy, not even gum, sucks i know but it’ll work.
    you can eat a serving of natural sugar for breakfast, and before workin out if you want (fruit, a spoon full of honey

    – cut out all starches, this includes bread and weat products, cereals, and white veggies(corn, potatoes, squash, rice, ect.). after you get down to your desired weight and establish a consistant excercise plan you can reincorporate the starches back into the diet. but not until you youve lost the weight, then exercise at least an hour a day dont do anything on sunday your body needs to recover.

    -and last, the best part is you can eat any meat, dairy,and you want… just dont overeat. thats why food is broke up into servings you can eat fried meats, but i dont reccomend it.

    the only working out you really need to do is 3 sets of 20 pushups a day (i dont know if your able to but if not do them on your knees until your able to do the advanced pushups). try to walk 15-30 min a day. and do 2 – 3 sets of as many set ups and crunches that you can force yourself to do.

    just the diet alone will let you loose weight, but to boost it into super speed do those little work outs its easy to do as long as you watch what your doing.

    drink as much water and juice as you want, just make sure the juice you get says “no sugar added” and get real juice not juice flavored drinks.


  53. JOE December 28, 2008 at 6:41 am

    hey there, if you could make it to coldwater, you could train with legend dan severn at michigan sports camp, its very afforadable and hes got a decent team of instructers. i dont know if your still interested since you posted the article in august but thought id pass it along, he even has a weekend seminar coming up that you might look into.

    website is

  54. JAY January 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm


  55. christina January 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Hi, i am a 20yr. old female. My goal is to become a mma fighter. First i would like to start prepping my body I currently weigh 114lbs and i am 5’4. What would i have to do to gain weight (preferably 20 pounds) in muscle mass because i hardly gain fat. I would really like to know what would contribute on the nutrition and exercise tip. Thanx!

  56. Dave January 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    eat apples for 3 days if you want to lose 10lbs. I went from 155 to 145 but I wasnt trying to lose weight I was trying to get rid of my acne. You only drink water for those 3 days to. What this does is get rid of toxins in your body it will be a painful 3 days as you will probably get stomach cramping as those toxins get broken down so just try and fight through it to get that 10lbs off.