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  • Mixed Martial Arts

    I'm 20 years old and train MMA. I'm about 6 days into Primal, and I've already lost 10 pounds. However, I feel now like I have no energy when I'm training. It was recommended to me that I should incorporate SOME carbs into my diet, but I know this is also supposed to shift my body into a fat-burning state. I'm just curious if anyone else has done MMA and Primal, and what they're suggestions are, as the MMA workouts are EXTREMELY intensive.
    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Did Muay Thai. Took a couple weeks for my energy levels to balance out. I was eating around 80-100 carbs a day, from fruit and veg.


    • #3
      I dont train MMA but I know when I started primal it took a few weeks for my energy levels to balance out I was lifting a lot running and biking, I think at that time I was in a similar range of 80-100g carbs a day, give it a little bit and see if your energy levels stabilize if not you may need to increase carb intake to find what balances your energy levels


      • #4
        It will take a couple of weeks, maybe a month, and you'll feel awesome. But yes, this part kinda sucks.

        Don't be afraid of loading up on sweet potatoes or white rice on particularly intense days. Fruit is great too. For someone pretty young that is working out a lot like yourself, I'd even say that small to moderate amounts of sugar aren't going to hurt you, assuming no other underlying health issues.

        A lot of people use a carb-cycling approach of doing high-carb, low-fat on intense workout days, and high-fat low-carb on rest days, but it seems like you're not really getting any rest days. Personally, I don't have the kitchen discipline to pull it off, so I just eat more carbs on workout days, and whatever I feel like/have in the kitchen on non-workout days.


        • #5
          MMA = High carb, there's no way around it if you train seriously (4+ times a week). It's one of the most demanding sports you can do, and you don't want to add dietary stress to your body on top of that. I've tried low-carb, a few guys I train with have tried it, and after three weeks there won't be any miraculous adaptation, you'll just crash and burn like never before.

          Eat clean, but don't freak out about carbs. Potatoes, plantains, bananas and sweet potatoes are your friends.


          • #6
            I've been training Krav Maga while in keto for the last 6+ months, it can be done, but carb re-feeds every now and then help once your adapted.


            • #7
              eat carbs. especially if you don't really have weight/fat to lose. paleo/primal does not equal low carb. especially for active people


              • #8
                eat tubers, don't sweat it too much and enjoy the MMA, it is a killer workout


                • #9
                  36 year old male
                  recreational athlete
                  i train with college wrestlers and cross train bjj with some high level athletes
                  lifting 2-4hours/week (strength zones or endurance zones, avoiding volumes of lactate work/8-20 rep range)
                  wrestle/bjj 6-10 hours/week (same as above)

                  a couple of us go keto every once in a while to lose body fat without undue training stress.

                  a key point is to match your workout demands with your nutrition scheme. you cant look at one without addressing the other. this is where too many people go wrong imo.

                  if youre blasting high intensity sprints or grappling at super high intensities for relatively large volumes of work then things arent going to work out for you in my experience.

         if you can allocate strength work into low volumes and increase your amount of time spent doing skill work in aerobic zones (while upping your lactate thresh hold via this work) then you can easily sustain "work" in these sports.

                  most people DONT work in these zones. they like to blast and go hard all the time. wrestlers (more so than bjj guys in my experience) in particular seem to have 2 modes: on and off. its either fight to the death or go so light that things become TOO cooperative and its hard to get skill work done. there IS actually something in between

                  i agree with hank, once youre adapted THEN start randomly refeeding to keep decent glycogen stores for times when you do blast. if you try to carb up/ refeed during the first week of keto youre just never going to get there.

                  we are lean athletes anyway, just looking to get a few free pounds of fat off. you CAN do this via high intensity workouts..the problem being you cant stay in those crazy lactate/blasting zones all the time so its nice to have an option where you can maintain strength, build skill, improve aerobic qualities and lose fat without being really stressed.

                  ill stay in ketosis til i feel its time to start pushing lactate power and capacity at which time i will start eating more carbs to fuel the workout demands.

                  winterbike, you only crash and burn like never before because you start upping your glycogen demands via higher intensity work. if you keep things in the range i was discussing above its completely do able. ive seen it too many times to say that its not. im also talking about annual planning here..not just deciding to randomly go keto when im usually training at high intensities. you really have to look at your skills and know what you want. i plan a decent strength block/phase prior to switching to keto and then do my best to maintain through the keto/skills block. it works pretty good but you have to know when its not working.

                  another thing to consider is that newbs in anything arent going to have good skills/efficient technique so basically everything is hard work. the same goes for a return to a sport after a lay off; your skills/tech wont be up to par so youll end up doing more work even though you might "be in shape". look at it this way: if my skills are better than yours, my strength is better than yours and my aerobic conditioning is better than yours then i dont HAVE to do a lot of work that is high glycogen demand even though you may have to when you face me. thats one of the reasons i like to pair skill work with this phase; it increases the focus on what it is im trying to do. i will accept that my lactate capacity is not going to be as good as it can be but thats ok becuase its not part of my training right now, i will phase into it later.


                  • #10
                    to the original poster,

                    you dont have energy because you are going to hard/inefficient technique and or you arent eating enough carbs. see the problem? back off on your intensity because you are probably drilling bad technique..or eat more carbs til you develop better technique.

                    dont ever hold your breath.

                    try and stay as relaxed as possible during all practices.

                    dont make winning the goal. your goal should be improving technique.

                    work more on yielding rather than always using strength to overcome your opponent--you will develop great control if you do this correctly.

                    good luck!


                    • #11
                      my training partners and I are eating around 50gms carbs a day.
                      my averages for 6'1" 180lbs with the above schedule are
                      up to 50gms carbs on typical days but average is higher given 1 smaller refeed per week (100gms carbs)
                      200-300gms fat with intake coming from organic butter, olive oil and coconut oil. also organic animal fats and heavy creme.
                      lots of veg.
                      i can fast for a day and then grapple for hours with no problems(im not advocating this).
                      i could not have done this the first week. give yourself time to adapt.
                      read up on low carb and increased sodium requirements..its night and day with your energy levels.

                      in general i wouldnt recommend low carb for any one who is already pretty lean and working really hard..too many variables to juggle.
                      Last edited by ryry; 11-07-2012, 11:25 AM. Reason: add macronutrient info


                      • #12
                        side note: in another 3 weeks when we start phasing into lots of lactate/blasting/grinding work i will lower my fat intake considerably and be eating around 400+gms carbs per day i know from experience that i will still lose body fat during this phase but the total workloads will be considerable and nothing someone can tolerate year round.


                        • #13
                          update: average macro intake over seven weeks
                          36year male
                          under 10%body fat

                          carb: 65
                          pro: 150

                          marked improvements in conditioning/strength and even lean mass gains (which i did not expect to see). as a matter of fact nearly all of the markers we use are up except for maybe limit strength (slow heavies) which we pretty much avoid as the payoff isnt worth the risk. power markers like sprints, vert, broad jump, 70-90% 1rm lifts (dynamic/reactive) abilities all up. obviously this is coming from great programming/training but im showing myself that it can be done. could i do it with a mixed or high carb diet? probably! ive done it plenty of times before. i also had to work a LOT harder to lose fat down to single digit ranges and definitely did not have the option of fueling off of fat/ not needing the carbs.

                          my training partner wrestles even more than i do (albeit at a much higher skill level so possibly less glycogen dependant..) and has gained a noticeable amount of muscle while losing body fat. scale weight has maintained at 147-153 but he is obviously more lean and more heavily muscled. we have not tried an actual cut (as per 24hour weigh in) but judging from post practice weights i will be able to cut to 175 and he will be able to cut to 140 without too much suffering

                          his averages are
                          24 male
                          under 10%body fat and steadily declining

                          carb: 50
                          prot: 140

                          no problem maintaining energy levels as long as we strive to avoid high volumes of lactate work. most of our work is skill, drills, brief/high intensity and lots of work in aerobic (play) zones. the few times we have really turned it up in practices/workouts to more than twice a week (hard wrestling/grappling for 1.5-2.5 hours) we have both noticed decreases in overall energy levels. we didnt need the work, we were just experimenting. we have settled on 1 high intensity/lactate interval type practices/workouts per week. with the occasional 2 workouts at long, high intensity durations.

                          eating like this has been a disaster for the few people ive seen try to do it with really high training zones in the lactate realm (ie wrestling practice 5 days a week). i think this is why keto gets such a bad rap from athletes [they are not correctly programming their training].. too much intensity too often.
                          Last edited by ryry; 11-27-2012, 07:34 PM.


                          • #14
                            we are currently NOT planning on phasing into a higher lactate training template. the gains are coming really easy right now and are in line with both of our goals.


                            • #15
                              I've fought MMA on VLC. You won't know if it works for you until you try it.
                              The Champagne of Beards