Professional athletes in any physical sport are some of the most in-shape people in the world. This is because most have spent years practicing their craft and honing their bodies through diet and exercise to compete in their sport of choice successfully. But when assembling a list of the most chiseled athletes out there, fighters have to be considered at the top.
Whether it be boxers, MMA fighters, or other fighting disciplines, it’s hard to find a fighter with a less-than-perfect physique. But acquiring and keeping this sort of physical perfection requires the right combination of diet and exercise.
Before getting further into this article, we want to be clear that we are not talking about weight cutting when we discuss ideal weight. If you are unfamiliar with the term, weight cutting is done in weight-categorized sports, like fighting, where competitions are based on weight class. This practice is especially prevalent in MMA fighting.
Here’s how weight cutting works: the fighter will maintain a certain weight before a bout. This weight is usually 10 to 20 pounds above the weight class they are attempting to qualify for. Let’s take, for example, the Men’s Welterweight division, which is between 155 and 170 pounds. The fighter will carry around 190 pounds as their ideal weight. Then, the week before the fight, the fighter will undergo a regime that includes a strict protein diet with no salt and a process of dehydration. Within that week, the fighter can lose 10 to 20 pounds to qualify for that weight class. Once they have weighed in the day before the match, the fighter then rehydrates and follows a different eating plan to balloon back up to most of their original weight. This weight-cutting procedure gives them a distinct weight advantage during a fight. However, this is an unhealthy practice and not recommended as part of any weight loss or maintenance program.
Keeping Your Ideal Weight
Other than the practice of weight cutting, much of what fighters do to keep their ideal weight are completely healthy practices that you can follow as well.
The first thing you will notice with any fighter’s photograph is the amount of muscle they have achieved. Muscle is important to the fighter for obvious reasons of power when throwing a punch or a kick. However, muscle may be the most important element for anyone who wants to maintain their ideal weight. This is because 10 pounds of muscle burns approximately 50 calories a day while at rest. Therefore, the more muscle in your body, the more calories your body naturally burns in a day.
Weight lifting is the most established way to build muscle. Find a weight lifting routine that is right for you, and stick to it. Be sure to start slow and work your way up to higher weights. There are different ways of building muscle — some for bulk muscle and some for lean muscle – so you can gain the kind of muscle that is right for you.
Another thing that fighters do to prepare for a fight that will also benefit you is aerobic exercise. This type of exercise not only strengthens your heart, lungs, and stamina but also burns fat. Be sure to make an aerobics routine part of your overall exercise program. As with any exercise program, start slow. It’s fine if you just start by walking around the block. Begin with that, and as your stamina increases, you can increase your amount of aerobic exercise.
Fighters follow eating plans that will help them maintain lean muscle mass while shedding unnecessary fat and water. Here are a few components to the most common eating plans for fighters.
Lots of protein – You have to have plenty of protein to rebuild muscles after you exercise. Protein also doesn’t attach to water molecules, so it doesn’t increase water weight gain. Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, legumes, and soy are all great sources of protein.
Low processed carbs – Processed carbohydrates turn rapidly into sugars within your body. In addition, these carbohydrates attach to water molecules and increase water weight gain. Let your carb intake come from healthy vegetables, especially of the dark green variety.
Low or no salt – Salt contains sodium, which ties to water and causes weight gain. Find a no-salt seasoning substitute instead.
Drink plenty of water – Your body will try to hang on to water if you are dehydrated. By drinking 3 to 4 liters a day, your body will not try to hang on to the water, and the H2O will flush toxins and boost your metabolism. In addition, sometimes, when you feel hungry, you are actually just a little dehydrated. By drinking a few cups of water, you may avoid that additional snack. It is also a good idea to drink a few cups of water before every meal. Not only will this help to keep you hydrated, but it will also cause you to eat less.
Come to the Fight Doctors for All of Your Wellness Needs!
As a group of physicians, we take your health very seriously. Not only are we interested in the health and wellbeing of the fighters who come to us for help, but we are also concerned about the health of all of our loyal customers in general. From the fighters to the gym enthusiasts to the at-home treadmill aficionados, we want to supply you with the information and support you need to be successful.
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