Many people would go to great lengths just to look like a Pro-MMA fighter for a day, their lean muscular physiques combined with flexibility and poise, making them the ultimate physical specimens. This is especially the case with those fighters down the weight classes, where making weight is a necessary grind, meaning diet and discipline are key to arriving on the weigh-in scales confident you won’t tip the needle too far in the wrong direction.
Read on, and once you know all about which fighters are on which diets you might think twice before selecting those UFC betting odds you’ve had your eye on, or ripping your friend about who he or she thinks will prevail in upcoming bouts. Here are some of your favorite fighters and the diets that turn them into MMA animals.
The notorious Irishman may well be spotted flogging his own brand of whiskey and partying hard during his downtime, but away from the cameras, he maintains his physique by adhering closely to what’s known as the SIRT diet. This diet tells its followers to restrict themselves to only eating a certain range of foods, which the diet’s creators describe as sirtfoods. These so-called sirtfoods are high in proteins called sirtuins that aid to burn fat and boost an athlete’s metabolism, even helping to stem the aging process, which for an experienced fighter like McGregor is ideal. Therefore, the foods and drinks that McGregor will be found tucking into on a daily basis are green tea, apples, lemons, limes, dark chocolate, and coconut water. This is a healthy diet for sure and one that helped McGregor pack on the pounds for his recent moves up in weight; however, some scientists have questioned whether sirtuins have quite the effect that the diet’s creators claim and also believe any weight loss made whilst on the diet is mainly due to the cutting of body fluids rather than the extra burning of fat.
Although retired, Brendan Schaub has been extolling the virtues of Keto diets for a while now, saying that they’ve not only helped him physically but mentally as well, a factor often overlooked by athletes when they’re on the search for a diet. There are many different variations of the Keto diet, each one designed for a specific purpose; however, in essence, all variations adhere to the simple principle of being low in carbohydrates and high in fat. If this sounds a lot like the Atkins diet, then it’s because there are striking similarities between the two, with both enabling the liver to produce ketones which can reactivate previously dormant areas of the brain as well as reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. The drawback of the diet for fighters is the energy they need to complete grueling workout routines is usually provided by carbohydrates. This means that although the Keto diet may be good for cutting weight at the start of a tiring camp, it may have to be modified as the training exercises ramp up towards fight night.
Mac Danzig is widely recognized as the first MMA fighter to limit himself to a vegan diet, but his example has been followed by a whole host of highly successful disciples since. After his famous victory against Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz credited his vegan lifestyle for the victory and poured scorn on commentators such as Joe Rogan who’d previously implied that vegan fighters wouldn’t have the strength to operate at the sport’s elite level. The main benefit of a vegan diet is that it drastically cuts the amount of chemicals and preservatives your body has to waste time breaking down. It also means that digestion is accelerated, meaning energy is released quicker and more efficiently. It’s only downside can be that vital proteins may be missed, so any fighter using a vegan diet must make sure they include the necessary protein-rich pulses and beans that will help their weary muscles recover after a hard day’s fighting and training.