As the proverb says "you are what you eat" a diet has a tremendous impact on your well-being and your physical ability.
Making a few changes to an unhealthy diet may significantly increase your performance. Let us take a look at it from the Muay Thai fighter's perspective.
#1: Don't start a completely new dietary plan straight away.
It may be easier for you to introduce some changes to your training diet gradually. This way it won't feel like such a sacrifice and you will more likely stick with it. There is no point in forcing yourself to eat things that you don't like - healthy doesn't mean untasty. A healthy diet for training can be tasty once you give it a chance.
The diet needs to be balanced but that doesn't mean that you cannot treat yourself from time to time - increased metabolism due to systematic training will take care of some extra calories. That said, there are certain products to avoid if you want to make good progress.
Let's take a look at a good Muay Thai diet. It has kept me in good physical condition for many years.
A proper diet will also improve your post-workout recovery process.
#2 Consume all groups of foods.
The main "trick" lies in properly balancing all of them and not avoiding some of them, like fats, and overeating some others like proteins. Just be sure that you consume quality fats, like virgin olive oil, and avoid trans-fats.
Good fats, in general, are beneficial for you since our bodies need fat to absorb protein and maintain a hormonal balance.
This reminds me of the funny story of my friend who is a bodybuilder and a very healthy man indeed. I never saw him sick in his entire adult life.
Once he went for a very restrictive almost pure protein diet for a few weeks, eating cooked chicken and eggs and almost completely avoiding eating fat.
What happened is that he deregulated his immune system and contracted cold in a perfectly good, warm weather. So when someone tells you that fat is bad it is partially true: excessive intake of saturated and trans fat is bad for your body. Moderate consumption of mono-saturated fats is good for you.
That's one of the reasons why it is so important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and not a restrictive one.
Even if you eat 5000/6000 quality calories and train like a devil an increased metabolism due to training will take care will take care of it and the increased muscle volume will burn it.
#3 Types of foods which are beneficial for your training:
Fruits and veggies, but there's a catch: some fruits like grapes and pears have a large quantity of fructose which is not very good for, healthy and sporty, you. Bananas are better since it has low fructose levels and it is a good source of fiber (starch)
Gelatin: if you don't get enough of it from your food you should consider supplements. Gelatin is great for your joints and makes your bones stronger which is a must with intense training.
Beef, pork, and also yogurts contain gelatine. I can't recommend gummy bears or peeps as a gelatin source cause most of those products are just pure sugar bombs.
#4 Types of foods to avoid in your training diet:
Eliminate bad carbs like white bread - whole wheat bread is better for you. Reduce the consumption of pasta and potatoes (not sweet potatoes) in your diet. Consume fewer sweets and alcohol, which has a lot of 'empty' calories. I will more about alcohol and training at the end of this post.
#5 Schedule your meals:
Eat regularly so your body is always powered and able to recover and rebuild after regular training. The common wisdom says that breakfast is the most important meal, and that's true.
Breakfast gives you fuel for the rest of the day and it should be rich in carbs, proteins, and some quality fats. It is also wise to avoid heavy meals late and in the evening and have a rather modest supper.
Have a light healthy snack before training and let it digest before you start your workout. Banana or a nutrition bar: carbohydrate bar, not a protein bar which is better after a workout.
This will give you the fuel to have longer and more intensive training. A proper meal schedule is a cornerstone of an effective Muay Thai diet.
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