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Training and nutrition before a fight

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One of the harder areas to learn is how to manage nutrition and weight cutting in preparation for a fight and how to manage preparation just before and during a fight.

Our resident sports scientist has put together the following tips for you



•    All training up to the week before should be to improve fitness and technique.,Train intelligently, not just grinding out rounds.

•    The week before a fight slowly taper off maximum effort training. This means you should still work on your cardio and technique however at a lower the intensity and volume. Reduce pure weight sessions to half normal amounts. This is to avoid injury and catabolic states. 

•    With 1 week left your body is unlikely to gain any physiological improvements however the stress hormone cortisol will at high levels. The best way to combat affect is to eat well and change your training.

•    Focus on improving technique rather than cardio, whether it is for MMA or BJJ. Drill  escapes, submissions, transitions or stand up. This will maintain conditioning with minimal risk of injury

•    Focus on stretching before and after sessions as well as during the day. 10-15 mins 3 times a day will lower risk of injury, improve muscle memory and range of motion. 

•    Workout a pre shot routine or mental imagery. 


A pre shot routine is simply a small easy routine that you perform before a fight or match that helps you calm down, remember techniques that you’re just learning and keep alertness and stress at a beneficial level. The routine can be as simple as putting on your wrist straps slowing while listening to music.
Sit down before a match and visually imagine the way the fight will turn out or perhaps performing successful takedowns on a training partner. Whatever suits you mentally


Nutrition the week before a fight is critical and will improve results better than excessive training

•    Instead of eating 3-4 big meals a day focus on having 5-6 smaller meals. This will increase your metabolism which helps burn stored fat and increase the absorption of ingested food.

•    Stay away for simple sugars, caffeine, alcohol and energy drinks. These will cause more cortisol to be released resulting on slow digestion and cause you to put on fat.

•    Focus on eating whole foods such as fish, chicken breast, steak, vegetables, spinach, rice, fruit, oats and potatoes. Only steam your veggies.

•    Stay away from anything deep-fried, sweets, soft drink, breads and pasta. These will keep you bloated and store water which wont help for weigh in’s.

•    Drink 2-3 litres of water a day to increase digestion and maximise recovery. 


•    Breakfast: half a cup of oats with fruit and eggs
•    Depending on how close you are over/under weight have a glass of water if you can afford the minimal weight.



•    Breakfast as per above
•    About 2.5 hours before a fight have 1-2 pieces of fruit preferably a banana and apple and if you can spare the weight a small serving or rice and tuna.
•    About 20-30 mins before a fight have 300-400 ml of Gatorade/Powerade or an orange. The simple sugar’s contained in these products is the direct fuel that your body will use during the fight.
•    Utilise your preshot routine or mental imagery.

If you’re fighting more then once on the day, recovery is key. Do not  sit down and do nothing straight after a fight. This will cause lactate to build up in the body greatly slowing recovery and absorption of essential fuels. Go for a very light jog or even walk for 5-10 mins varying speeds. This will cause the lactate to enter the blood and be broken down far quicker. Follow with a very light 10-15 min stretch working on calming down and getting your focus at the optimum level again.

Quickly refuel your body with 300 ml of a sports drink again followed by water. The water intake is essential so drink as much as you can without affecting your weigh in. If your have the time eat some fruit or rice/potato with some chicken. You will need to restore your body with glycogen and amino acids otherwise you will simply not recover.