Keto for MMA


Athletes need to eat differently than others. Their bodies have different requirements and a different set of rules to follow. They are constantly building muscle, depleting carbs and nutrients at high rates, and using all of their reserves of energy. To summarize, athletes are constantly pushing their bodies to perform at its max, way past their normal limits.

One of the most stress-inducing sports on the body is training for the mixed martial arts. Here you are working on endurance, strength, speed, and agility, all in one. In addition to all the physical requirements, mental health is just as important. With all the strategic fighting techniques that need to be mastered and executed at quick speeds, the mind needs to be in tip- top shape as well.

There are many diets that athletes use to ensure they are in optimal health, one of which is the keto diet. The keto diet has been a bit controversial for the average person but is gaining a significant amount of popularity in the athletic world.When followed properly, it can indeed give a martial artist everything he needs to sustain his energy, built and maintain muscle and outperform his or her opponent. 

What is Keto?

The keto diet is a low carb diet forcing the body to produces ketone to be used as an energy source. Also known as the ketogenic diet, a low carb diet, or low carb-high fat diet, LCHF, it utilizes the natural process initiated by the body to help it survive when food intake is low. The goal of this diet it to force the body into a metabolic state where it is pushed into a starvation state of carbohydrates. 

How is Keto Good for the Martial Artist?

According to recent studies, the ketogenic diet has been shown to be an amazing tool for increasing athletic performance. The increased presence of ketones in the bloodstream were linked to muscle maintenance, increased cognitive thinking, and higher athletic performance.

In addition, athletes who became "keto-adapted" were shown to have amuch higher rate of fat oxidation while training than the non-keto adapted athletes.

The 4 Quickest Ways to Get Your Body Into Ketosis

You must get your body into ketosis mode before the ketosis diet will work, and is not an easy thing to do. It takes time and patience. You are literally changing your body's entire system in which it burns energy. Maybe a system it's been using since birth!

Upper and Lower Body Workouts. One of the key elements in ketosis is in the lymphatic system. This system is responsible for moving such things as protein, white blood cells, fat, and nutrients through your body, while simultaneously shoveling away the bad things. The lymph nodes act on an entirely separate system from the bloodstream. To be even clearer, fat does not move in conjunction with the heartbeat, it relies on muscle contractions and the lymph nodes. If we jump start this with proper upper and lower body workouts we can manually assist the mobilization of fat through the body. Advocates for personal fitness and the keto diet recommend pumping the action from the bottom and working the way up to the top glands, then into the liver. You can find more details on this process on the video by Thomas DeLauer, Celebrity Trainer and Health Author.

Caffeine Consumption. In a recent 2016 study, it was proven that the more caffeine an athlete had in their bodies, the more ketones in the bloodstream. In fact, when moving from 1-3 cups of coffee a day, to 3-5 cups, ketones were shown to double. Having caffeine in your system will help you with your Keto diet, but don't go overboard, and choose healthy caffeine sources such as green tea, or yerba mate. Fats get mobilized and converted quickly into ketones.

MCT Oil. Harvested from coconuts, this unique oil is popular with athletes as it provides optimized energy for both brain and body. The oil gets delivered directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the liver, and becoming a direct source of energy. Doubling up on MCT oil after a cheat meal, or when getting back into the keto diet is a great way to speed up the ketosis process.

Fasting. This method is only suggested if you have already been using the keto diet, took a break, and are now re-entering. When your body enters a fasting mode, it signals the body to get rid of excess carbs into the bloodstream for burning towards energy. Once all the carbs are used up, the body begins to break down protein and fats. If your body is used to the keto process, it is used to running on fats, and will automatically default to it. Fasting for 18-24 hours is best for optimal results.

Examples of Some Great Keto Meal Plans

Here we have a great example of what a keto Diet looks like. Below is an example of what an athlete might consume during the day. Keep in mind, in keto diet you are aiming for high protein, high fats, and low carbs, throughout the day. Since the diet usually lacks in electrolytes, it is a good idea to add seasonings, such as other salts and spices. Just beware of any added sugars. 

Meal One

●6 eggs

●45 g of bacon

●85g broccoli


●49g of fat, 53 g of protein, 6 g of carbs

Meal Two

●10g of coconut oil

●112 g of cooked chicken drumsticks.


●18 g of fat, 21 g of protein, 0 carbs

*Using drumsticks is more flavorful due to its natural fat content. Chicken breasts often end up being dry and bland.


●1 cheese stick

●32g of almond butter (make sure the brand has no added salt or sugar)


●20g of fat, 13g of protein, 7g of carbs

Meal Three

●224 g Salmon

●84g Cauliflower

●15 g coconut oil

●seasoning, light


●25 g fat from the salmon's omegas and the coconut oil, 59g of protein, 4 grams of carbs

Meal Four

●1 scoop BPI Iso HDProtein shake


●1 g of fat, 25g of protein, 2g of carbs

* It's best not to have the last meal too late in the day to allow your body full time to digest. Eating early also enhance a better night's sleep.

Full Macro Count for the Day

●1799 calories

●113 g of fat

●171 g of protein

●19 g of carbs, 7 being fiber, netting 12 g of carbs

In conclusion, it is important to remember that the keto diet is not for everyone. It is a great diet for athletes such as mixed martial artists as long as they maintain the necessary protein and fat intake that their body requires. It is a difficult diet and may affect energy levels during the adaptation phase where the body moves from the process of using glucose for fuel to burning ketones. It is smart to implement the keto regiment when you are not in training, or in an off season.

Example Keto Meal Plans


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