Meal Plan for a Fighter to Maximise Power to Weight Ratio

Being big or heavily muscled can be a disadvantage in fighting sports like boxing and martial arts, but being strong and powerful is always an advantage. With contact sports, you want to be strong and powerful and agile enough to be able to use that muscle power on your opponent.

As it isn't possible to gain muscle size or strength while in an energy deficit and that it isn't possible to lose fat whilst in an energy surplus, the trick to weight loss whilst gaining muscle is to fluctuate your body between energy surplus and deficit at different times of the day, or on different days of the week, through diet and exercise. However, if your goal is to lose body fat as efficiently as possible, then it is not possible to gain muscle at the same time as losing body fat, as energy reserves are far too insufficient for muscle growth. Here the priority is maintaining muscle mass. So, as you're wanting to maintain or even gain some strength whilst losing fat you'll need to be in energy deficit for much of the day, but have excess calories for growth in the hours post weight training.

Meals must be small but regular, and in order to keep your strength, it is essential to keep protein intake high. The key to effective fat loss lies in careful manipulation of your intake of carbohydrate foods, i.e. carbs should be low, but not omitted. Consume low glycaemic starchy carbohydrate foods regularly, but in small portions only, and avoid treats and junk food. For more information see here. See our Glycaemic Index Tables for GI values of foods.

Following a regimen such as the meal plan below should keep body fat down, both weight and cardio training must remain intense. You will be able to continue to train hard as your calorie intake will not be mega low and you'll have regular carbohydrates. Sparring, pad work or cycling will help you achieve results; try to up the intensity and make sure your fighting training is done on a different day or at a different time of day to weight training so as not to interfere with nutrients required for strength gain.

Wake 7.30am
7.30 am
1 scoop whey protein in water

CARDIO - e.g. cycle ride or sparring session

8.00am Breakfast
Large bowl porridge made with 250ml skimmed milk + 2 tsp sugar
3 egg whites + 1 egg yolk scrambled
200ml orange juice + 1 tbsp flaxseed oil
100g chicken breast
2 oatcakes
Large banana
200g tuna (canned in brine, drained) + 2 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt (to bind)
2 slices granary bread toasted + olive oil-based spread
Tbsp sunflower seeds
Mixed salad
Serving MRP in water
45 mins pre-workout
100g chicken breast
2 oatcakes

TRAIN – weights or fight training

Immediately post workout
2 scoops whey protein
150g white fish or 120g lean steak
3-4 small boiled new potatoes or 3-4 pieces sweet potatoes or
50g boiled basmati rice
Large serving of vegetables
2 oatcakes + 40g low fat soft cheese
Celery, cucumber and/or raw carrot
150g cottage cheese

As with all the meal plans this is merely a guide and must not be stuck to rigidly! You must eat a variety of different meats / fish / alternatives, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water. Adapt the plan to suit your own needs according to your results in order to attain a steady loss of body fat and respond to how you feel strength-wise. Varying portions from day to day, along with hard training will help maximise progress.

Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.