Many people try MMA as a way to get healthy in the first place, often as a way of losing body fat or gaining muscle mass. However, it’s also important to talk about how to stay healthy while training. Rigorous training puts the body through a lot and on a consistent schedule, and if you aren’t careful, you could start to see some negative health issues pop up as well. If you’re dedicated to maintaining your overall health during intensive training, here are some tips to discuss with your healthcare provider.
Get Proper Nutrition
The foods you eat will dictate how you feel and how you perform, so it’s important to think about what you’re putting into your mouth. Many foods that are advertised as “health” foods may be low in fat or sugar, but they don’t offer any real nutrition. Lean protein, whole grains, and fresh produce will have you feeling and performing your best. If you’ve got a busy schedule or dietary restrictions and you’re struggling to meet all your nutritional needs, you might want to try multi vitamins to fill the gaps. Vitamins are essential for hundreds of bodily processes, and if you’re not getting enough, you may get sick easier, or heal more slowly. This can really hurt your training goals, especially if you’re working with a timeline.
Repetition and consistent training are keys to success, but so are rest and relaxation. Your muscles need time to heal, and repetition without breaks can cause repetitive stress injuries. If you don’t listen to your body, those injuries can become permanent and impact your fighting career. Experienced fighters can typically get back to work after a day of rest per week, but if you’re just getting started, take two days off per week and switch to one as you adjust.
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This is a great time for you to plan your time at the gym for the week, run errands, and meal prep. You can use this time to go over new things you learned, or even watch videos of your form and study how you can improve. It’a also a good time to give your attention to your needs and interests outside of the gym. Connect with family and friends, play with your pets, and pick up the hobbies you’ve been neglecting. The gym will be there when you get back, but don’t miss out on opportunities elsewhere because you’re too focused on continuing your training.
When you’re fighting, it’s important for you to react quickly, make decisions quickly, and strike accurately. All of these things are impacted when you don’t get enough sleep, or your sleep quality is poor. If you’re exerting yourself every day, you may even need more sleep than you did before. When you prioritize a healthy sleep schedule, you have more energy and optimal cognitive function. If you want these benefits, cultivate an environment that will allow you to fall asleep quickly. Eliminate screens and naps too close to bedtime, and try to sleep in a room without too much noise or light.
Many beginner athletes see stretching as a waste of time, but stretching before and after you train can have a huge impact on your workout and overall health. A light warmup of cardio and stretching before training can lessen your chances of injury, and stretching after can reduce muscle soreness and stiffness as you recover. Plus, as you age, it’s important to stretch to retain your mobility and flexibility. If you dislike taking a day off every week, that’s a great time to find a stretch routine that works for you. You can get some gentle activity in while still taking time to relax.
It takes an enormous amount of dedication to train regularly, and any number of issues can keep you from meeting those goals. When you keep your overall health in mind and strive to form healthy habits, you can keep up with your training schedule and consistently improve.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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