The Fighter Series: The importance of nutrition to keep the body at optimal levels

A fighter’s training is undoubtedly intensive, especially in the lead up to a fight, thus it is of absolute importance that he or she takes care of every element of his life so as to keep the body at optimal levels and achieve maximum efficiency from training. Other than getting enough rest and recovery, what are the rest of the little details that a high-level athlete like mixed martial artist (MMA) Eddie Ng pays attention to?

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Eddie Ng, ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) top lightweight contender and Berocca ambassador, trains two times a day, five to six times a week with each session lasting at least two hours. “It is a gruelling routine for even the most-well-conditioned athletes,” he shared.

Sessions can include training of the various martial arts such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and wrestling, as well as strength and conditioning workouts to improve the different attributes the athlete wants to work on.

“Attention to detail is absolutely critical in achieving the best results from each training session without pushing the athletes over the edge and causing injury, sickness, loss of motivation or any other symptoms involved with overtraining,” Eddie explained. “Managing the duration, volume, intensity and type of training are very important to achieve the desired results, but an often overlooked area of an athlete’s toolbox is the nutrition programme.”

The amount of training that MMA athletes go through puts a huge amount of stress on the body, thus the body’s immune system declines. This is why a solid nutrition programme (which includes supplementation) is needed to synergistically provide the body with all the right macronutrients and micronutrients.

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Eating well

Eddie emphasises that “a solid nutrition programme starts with the right food in the right amount at the right time”. Eating foods that are nutrient dense should provide the main bulk of the programme; they may not always be high in macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat and protein) but they are full of micronutrients, which are essential vitamins and minerals the body requires to function correctly.

Foods high in micronutrients include fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes and proteins such as eggs or salmon. MMA or any other sport that requires the athlete to be categorised by their weight makes things a little more complicated. This means having to watch the weight more carefully so you are able to cut weight successfully for the fight.

They not only need to eat the right types of food, but also need to watch how much they eat and eat at the right time. For example, eating 100g of carbohydrate right before sleep is not the right time even if the food is the right type.

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An example of a meal for Eddie: Salad which consists of kale, carrot, red cabbage, sunflower seed, cranberry, blueberry and raspberry; a handful of almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts; a mixed greens shake and a tablespoon of coconut oil


According to Eddie, eating the right types of food in the right amounts and at the right time is the main priority, but adding supplements into the daily routine adds that extra 1% that separates the best from the rest. There are thousands of different supplements available in the market that are said to improve performance, recovery, strength and muscular endurance.

For someone looking to start adding supplements to your eating plan, it can actually be very difficult, not to mention daunting, to choose what types to take and from which brand. Many individuals take supplements in order to improve performance. However not all supplements are made equal, some products that claims to boost performance and increase energy are actually loaded with sugar, caffeine or other stimulants.

Health benefits

When Eddie talks about supplements, he is referring to those backed by scientific research to actually give health or performance benefits. For example, he likes to supplement with a high quality multivitamin to act as ‘insurance’ to his nutrition, to ensure his body is attaining all the essential vitamins and minerals.

Berocca Performance is the multivitamin that he takes daily. It helps because of its ingredient profile (plus it has a refreshing taste). “Many people are zinc and magnesium deficient – both are essential minerals – and a deficiency can massively affect performance. Along with these two, Berocca also contains a Vitamin B complex that boosts energy levels and Vitamin C to support the immune system, perfect for preventing illness during a tough week of training!” he added.

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The other thing that Eddie has is fish oil, which is proven to improve the overall health in ways such as reducing inflammation, reducing cardiovascular disease as well as aiding fat loss.

Remember that you are what you eat, so if you want your body to function well, you need to feed it with the right fuel in order to perform… like how you will top up a Ferrari with the best grade of fuel.

*This post is sponsored by Berocca.