For fighters of any combat or martial arts sport, a good, clean diet is a crucial for staying fit, improving energy, maintaining muscle strength and burning unwanted fat.
Every serious athlete know that protein is an essential part of a nutrition plan. The amino acids that make up proteins are used for building and maintaining strong bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
In this article you will learn the importance of including protein in your overall diet and nutrition plan and how it will help you improve your overall performance.
WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Proteins are primarily used as our body’s— building blocks.
Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. There are 22 different types of amino acids and the body needs all of them to function properly.
Amino acids provide the raw material for building proteins IN THE BODY. However, unlike carbohydrates and fats, amino acids are not stored in the body, therefore, requiring you to constantly replenish their supply in order to make new protein.
In other words you cannot survive without protein.
Protein is a vital part of any healthy meal plan, as its main responsibility is to build and repair the muscle and tissues in the body
WHAT IS PROTEIN FOR – HOW DOES IT WORK
Proteins (along with resistance exercise) actually help your body change shape by adding muscle and increasing your metabolism.
Protein also has what is called the “Thermic Effect”. Protein has a high thermic effect of eating. This means your body uses more energy just to digest protein, meaning the more protein you eat, the more energy you burn (less food stored as fat).
The body will actually expend a large number of calories just breaking that protein down, therefore increasing your total daily calorie burn.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN FOR FIGHTERS
The simple answer is to try and eat some protein with every meal of the day (including snacks).
For those of you that like numbers, aim to eat 1.4 – 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or roughly 0.6 – 0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight). For an 80 kg person, this would mean trying to eat around 112 – 160 grams per day.
For a fighter because you train at such at a more intensity level and more often, your protein intake should be higher than the regular person.
BEST SOURCES OF PROTEIN
High quality protein sources include fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, eggs (and egg whites), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein supplements (eg. whey protein powder).
What’s more is that if you aren’t taking in sufficient protein that your body needs to cover all its daily maintenance functions then it may start to rob protein from the muscles, bringing those amino acids into the blood. All in all, falling short in protein is a very bad move.
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