Does your energy seem to fade when you need it most? Well, to have stamina like Ferguson, Poirier, and Khalib, besides training, you need to optimize your energy. These foods will help supercharge your body and prevent you hitting the wall.
First, you have to be careful of those energy drinks. They give you that instant pump, but they fade away quickly. And when they fade, you don’t just go back to normal. And that is not good going into the second or third round. So, understand food is the fuel needed for sustainable energy. Sustainability is the name of the game. Learn how to energize sustainability, rather than just energize. Know the best foods you need to eat to optimize your performance. Because, not all foods are created equal.
Water is essential for hydration. Water is so basic, yet it is the most critical and often forgotten to drink. When your body is dehydrated, it is difficult to train. Visualize it; when your car radiator has no water, it overheats and stops. Your body is the same. Without water and hydration, you will diminish your training and performance, allowing your opponent to toss you around like a rag doll or pound you like a piece of meat.
Drinking water will keep you hydrated and your body functioning to prevent fatigue and enhance your energy.
You can eat eggs how you want, but try to avoid the butter and the oils used to cook eggs. That’s the stuff that turns your energy into slow dripping molasses. Scrambled or boiled eggs are best! What is excellent about eggs is that you can eat them about an hour before your training because they are easily digested within an hour. Protein is important to have before training, and the timing as well. Eggs are loaded with amino acids, protein, leucine, iron, and zinc. Now, understand, that eggs are not used for energy. They prevent your muscles from breaking down too much during your training.
That is why carbs are essential with eggs and what optimizes your energy. If there is a hole in the gas tank, you lose fuel. Same as the body, if the muscles are not functioning well, you lose energy.
Alternative- Whey protein powder
Bananas are a perfect source of simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are essential at the beginning of training. And as they wear off, you have the complex carbs kicking on. Bananas are great before, during (of course not while you are fighting, LOL), and after your training. There is about 300-320 grams of potassium in one banana. And potassium is essential for your cells and muscles to function correctly. Much of your Potassium is lost through sweating.
Alternative- Avocado or Mango
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another simple and complex carbohydrate, mostly complex, that have a slower sustained energy release over time. However, sweet potatoes have a lot of fiber, making you less hungry and feel full. So, instead of trying to lean in and find that sweet stop on the scale to make you lighter, eat the sweet potatoes to make you full and eat less. They are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Everything you need to get you into the more prolonged bouts of training and matches. If you want your muscles to adapt to training longer and harder, you need the sustainable energy to do it. Or else, it is like trying to drive your car without gas, well, I should say, strain to push it.
Alternative- Pumpkin or Squash
Nuts are a great after-training snack. They replace energy quickly, and you only need to eat a few handfuls when driving your car home from training. So, instead of stopping at Burger King, which will trash your energy and recovery, keep a bag of nuts them in your car. Nuts have a ton of fiber, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and sodium—everything you need to rebuild cells and muscles and replace energy.
Alternative- Pumpkin seeds
6. Chia Seeds
Chia is another excellent and easily digested nutrient to optimize your performance. First, it stabilizes your blood sugar. And, from sweating a lot, which I knew you all do, will help replace and stabilize potassium and magnesium lost from sweating. Chia’s powerful benefits don’t stop there. They contain antioxidants like omega-3 and quercetin that keep your immune system strong. And, they have about 5-7 grams of fiber. Chia is great! You can put them on your eggs or sweet potato, drink them in your water, eat them with your banana, or combine them with nuts. There is no excuse not to use them nor like them. There is no taste. Just condensed power.
Alternative- Flax or hemp seeds
Learn to boost your energy. Don’t fall into the fatigue factor from training hard. You can train hard; however, energy is needed to train and prepare your body to function better, longer, and more demanding. Again, do you want to drive your car or push it?
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Stretching has a time and place. The research today indicates that stretching is not best for all sports. For instance, it shows that static stretching diminishes a muscles' springiness contributing to a decrease in your speed and explosiveness when running, sprinting, and jumping. On the other hand, Bruce Lee said that flexibility is essential for a martial artist. It is definitely required for kicking. With that being said, let's understand Bruce Lee's flexibility routine and his five important reasons it is essential to be a part of your routine
Bruce was ahead of his time in the 1960s. He was his own research as he experimented on himself all the time. Bruce Lee believed that:
1. Stretching improves your health and fitness.
He believed that stretching combined with strength was one part of your fitness. Bruce was right. Increasing flexibility with strength is essential. Too much flexibility leads to hypermobility. Hypermobility- loose joints, leads to flimsy ligaments, muscles, and tendons. And, too much strength leads to immobility. Both roads lead to soreness, pain, and strain in a martial artist when not appropriately balanced to maximize power through full range of motion.
That is why stretching with resistance bands, training the full range of motion, or using slow eccentric training in your strength movements like a squat or press, for example, works great. It provides resistance for muscles along with stability and tension, to move and stretch maximally, properly, and effectively through full range.
So, you cannot overlook the importance of strength and how it pertains to flexibility, which often happens today.
2. Bruce believed that stretching reduced the risk of injuries.
This is probably true in martial arts. However, according to research today, stretching does not prevent or decrease your chance of injury. Since flexibility is essential for martial arts, it fits perfectly in the world of martial arts to avoid strain and muscle tears, more than for other activities like running.
3. Stretching provides an excellent warm-up and cool-down after training.
Bruce often stretched throughout the day. He would stretch on the film set during breaks. And he would stretch before and after his training. But, he did not dedicate hours to stretching. He used stretching according to his need. He also believed it allowed him to recover faster and have less soreness.
4. Stretching will enhance and boost your athletic performance.
Bruce believed that a supple, more flexible martial artist would have an advantage over his opponent who is tight and immobile.
5. When you stretch properly, it is enjoyable.
Bruce said that stretching makes you feel good when you wake up in the morning. However, Dr. Stuart McGill, a well-known doctor in biomechanics said, wait about 30-45 minutes for the fluid to move into your spine and joints when you wake up before stretching. Without the fluid, you can injury your spine.
Bruce said that you must find your individual flexible stretching zone to stretch and improve your flexibility. Everyone is different and you cannot force the stretch. You must find your zone and when you find it, you will know what you need from your stretch. This is where you will receive the most benefit.
How to do the Exercises
Bruce's flexibility exercises were average. However, his flexibility using those exercises was superior, and he could generate high amounts of force through large maximal ranges of motion.
- Bruce says take 30 to 40 seconds to ease into each stretch.
- When you feel pain, back off slightly until the pain diminishes.
- After that, hold the stretch in that new position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Over time try to work up to one or two minutes holding your stretches.
Here is a video of Bruce Lee's stretches and some stretches using resistance bands.
The body needs to be flexible, resilient, supple, and strong. You need to find the balance between stretching and strength that maximizes your martial arts performance. You can't just stretch and neglect the stability and strength of your flexibility.
Understand why you need flexibility and how training methods like slow eccentric motions and resistance bands will provide a better result than static stretching. You will get flexible fast and instantly, and, at the same time, maintain the springiness of muscles and tendons to be explosive.
The five reasons for flexibility are from the book: Bruce Lee- The Art of Expressing the Human Body- compiled by John Little, Tuttle Publishing.
If you want to know more about strength, check out my
If you want to know more about stretching and flexibility, check out my book,
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Back to Burt Watson. Or Stitch Durant. Or Josh Gross. Or Mauro Ronallo. Or the endless list of fighters or staff of any promotion that were non-champions, manufactured stars, or support staff that have fought and bled in MMA competition or were instrumental in serving those that did. There are so many unknown people associated with MMA. Chuck Liddell has recently spoken about when he knew he was a star. It simply had to do with someone recognizing him who was unexpected. Someone who was not wearing a TapouT shirt – which for the uninitiated used to be a secret passcode to the club in a bygone era. George St. Pierre on the other hand – in order to keep himself grounded – notices at grocery stores how many people do not notice him. Saying something along the lines that an old lady with a shopping cart has no idea who he is. These two had the experience of stardom – whatever that means in MMA. What of those who don't?
Again, back to Burt Watson. For as popular as Mixed Martial Arts has become relative to its inception merely a couple of decades ago, it is still not fully mainstream when considered in a context of sports and entertainment globally. And without question, its stars are not at the stratospheric influencer level – and yes, this includes even Mr. McGregor (Quick! Extra points and without looking: how many N's in his first name?). You may have to dig a little to read of the unceremonious dismissals of Burt Watson or Stitch (Jacob "Stitch" Duran) from their posts at UFC events. If you do, you will likely see that the secondary actors in the history of MMA are not put on any pedestals or displayed in any halls. In fact, they can pretty-well be kicked to the curb.
We are a few years removed from Mike Goldberg being let go from the UFC broadcast booth. His tenure is not without its own brand of criticism, but his voice was in the fabric of the sport's beginnings. And then, he was just gone. We might expect this status decline in sloping fighters, but broadcasters and cutmen? The list could go on that includes the number of MMA supporters who helped embed the sport and its actors on our consciousness. From journalists like Ariel Helwani – ever vilified for daring to act like journalists are known to do – to late Senators whose value is only seen once they embraced the sport. Everyone has those people in their lives that, while not front and center, play valuable roles in their story. The classmate in school who did not join the bully. The coach or instructor that gave genuine encouragement. The neighbor that helped lift something heavy even when you did not know their name. MMA has lots of those supportive characters too. If we are not careful, those players who ought to be valued will be marginalized. Fans and paying customers can unwittingly be force- fed something and have their opinions hijacked which can perpetuate the cycle.
It might be worth reflecting for a moment on the fact that we rarely see the cooks in the kitchen at our favorite dining establishments. Strange because we may recommend said establishment and opine that it has "good food". Maybe the
promotion president restaurateur is out front greeting and assuring people they are getting their money's worth and are the face (for better or worse) of the business, but it behooves the customer to know what they are paying for (and who). While it can be a bad thing when there are too many cooks in a kitchen, it can also be bad when cooks that are there are not respected or appreciated. Eventually we might be handed frozen entrees labeled "fine cuisine" and think we are in a fine dining club. It is always incumbent in the process of building something that its participants grow in their acumen related to their subject. It may not be required to remember who Nate Quarry is or which states currently have not adopted the Unified Rules of MMA (how ironic – you know, because unified), but in order for healthy progress, some growth from casual toward hardcore in the fandom department might be a good thing. This could start with getting to know Burt Watson, Stitch Duran, or Josh Gross. If you know those names, welcome to the club.
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