Eat for Successful Fighting Performance

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Being a muaythai fighter, I need to eat for performance to ensure my diet supports all my athletic endeavors.

You dedicate majority of your time to various other aspects of your chosen sport. How much time is left for food preparation? You are what you eat. Consequently, fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

While your ultimate goal is to be successful in your sport, eating for performance is a key aspect in achieving that success.

Our genetic make-up will dictate what works for you. No book can tell you exactly what will work best for you. Trial and error.

Your daily caloric intake will depend on your goal and finding the optimum intake takes time. Increasing calories gradually until you find the optimal intake whereby you are not gaining or losing weight and achieving the most out of your training sessions.

A strong performance requires well fed muscles.

As a car fanatic, I compare my body to a sports car. I wouldn’t put watered down junk fuel into my Lamborghini’s fuel tank and expect peak performance. Fueling the body with good quality food leads to improved performance.

Fats don’t make you fat! You make you fat. Eat wisely.

Fats are good for the body and can be a great source of fuel. Fats such as avocado, coconut oil and natural peanut butter have numerous health benefits.

Don’t be afraid of carbs, I was petrified of them. Carbs assist in building and repairing muscle tissue. They are essential for energy during training, and to ensure your glycogen levels are high for a stronger and prolonged performance.

The body can use fats for energy, however the brain cannot.

Coordination and concentration levels drop when your brain does not have sufficient fuel sourced from carbohydrates. Complex carbs such as legumes, starchy carbs, and wholemeal grains are smart choices.

Choose vegetables that are high in fiber, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

My general rule of thumbs is every single meal should contain a source of fats, carbs and protein, even your snacks.

Meal preparation can be time consuming and a burden to some. Set aside two hours and prepare meals or ingredients for the week. Pre-prepared meals, whether self-prepared or bought, allow you to feed your muscles sooner after an intense training session.

If the dedication required for food preparation is all too hard, then you are not cut out to be an athlete and not as committed as you claim to be.

Avoid giving yourself treats, you are not a dog.

To minimize cravings, build your diet to accommodate some of the foods you enjoy. Less restrictions, increase your happiness and overall well-being, everything in moderation.

Balance is the key.

As a female, when you already have the mental stress of an upcoming fight, adding food deprivation encourages the body to hold onto more liquid, heightening the struggle to make weight.

Example of a typical day in my diet on the fight week.

Breakfast: 45g Oats with flax meal, 120 blueberries, 20g almonds and a protein shake.
Morning tea: 200g Greek yogurt, 500g homemade vegetable soup, 40g almonds.
Lunch: 200g Brussels sprouts, 150g brown rice, 150g broccoli, 100g grilled chicken.
Afternoon tea: 120g brown rice, 120g blueberries, 120g egg whites.
Dinner: 150 sweet potato, 100g turkey, 150g snow peas, 100g avocado.
Daily water intake: 4-5 liters.

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Yolanda Schmidt
Yolanda Schmidt, from Sydney, NSW is the Australian national champion in Muay Thai. In addition, she is a two-time bronze medalist at IFMA world championships. She is also a teacher at Menai High School in Illawong, NSW. Schmidt is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she covers women's kickboxing and Muay Thai.

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