MMA Fighters Diet During Fight Week - Part 1

by Jordan Sullivan - Head of Nutrition Services & Dietitian for thefightdietitian.com August 28, 2019 3 min read

MMA Fighters Diet During Fight Week - Part 1

During this article, I will outline how Kai Kara-France and I go about his Nutrition for his upcoming fight on UFC Fight Night 157 in Shenzhen, China. We will outline the preparations for the week, the food he consumes, and how we conduct his final weight cut.

I arrived in Shenzhen a couple of days early to make sure I could source some high-quality food for the week ahead. When it comes to making weight, many people make the false assumption that the fight week is where all the hard work lies. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you follow a good Nutrition Plan during your Fight Camp, then making weight during fight week should be no troubles whatsoever.

Tracking Progress

Kai and I have spent the last 8 weeks strategically periodizing his Nutrition to get him as lean as possible. To track our progress, we completed body composition scanning every fortnight. Without giving out specific numbers, we were able to reduce his body weight by 8.8kg by significantly reducing his body fat.

We were able to do this by carefully tracking what he was consuming, and what calories he was burning during his training sessions. Using a heart rate monitor, we measured the intensity of Kai’s sessions based on the time he would spend in pre-determined heart rate zones.  

This allowed us to get a good idea of his energy output during specific sessions. We could then target sessions that were to be completed in a high, moderate or low carbohydrate availability. This system is important to ensure that Kai is correctly fuelling his training sessions, but also in the appropriate deficit needed to manipulate his body composition.

Where To Get A Healthy Meal Plan?

Kai has great support from the team at Thinkfood NZ, a meal prep company based in Auckland. I would adjust his numbers every three days, send them to Thinkfood and they would send Kai freshly made meals. This not only made it convenient around his busy training schedule but allowed us to make sure the meals were matching his needs as close as possible.

Weight-Cut Strategy

This well-executed strategy has left us going in to fight week just 8% from our contracted fight weight. It’s been shown how dehydrating greater than 5% of your body weight can have negative impacts on the fighter’s health and performance. This is why it is imperative to get as close as possible to fight weight, before having to use resort to dehydration.

This is my third fight week with Kai, and I know that by utilizing a low residue low fiber diet, glycogen depletion, water loading and reducing salt intake, we will be able to effortlessly bring his weight down to within 3% the day before weigh-ins. This means that the morning of weigh-ins, all we have to do is have a relaxing warm bath or move around in some warm clothes for a short period of time and we’ll be on weight.

Nothing strenuous and Kai will get to enjoy a good amount of food each day throughout the week. Too many fighters focus on making weight during fight week and not on the fight itself. The focus of fight week should be to put the fighter in the best position possible to get their best performance, not just make weight.

Follow along with this series as I detail these Fight Week principles from theory to practice getting one of the top UFC Flyweights ready for war.

Read: MMA Nutrition: How To Manage Your Weight For MMA - Part 1


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