In the heart of chilly Denver, Nate Marquardt prepared for his
middleweight bout at UFC 128. Nate’s approach to nutrition
is one that I recommend to all the aspiring athletes I work with. He
starts his training camp at a desirable body weight so his nutrition
regimen serves to fuel his rigorous training schedule and promote fast
recovery between workouts. Without worrying about the need to lose
weight during training, Nate’s meals and snacks keep him energized and
focused on his goals.
Let’s take a look at a few of the staples of Nate’s diet.
A cup frozen mixed berries
½ sliced banana
¾ c oatmeal
Scoop of whey protein
Dash of low fat milk or water
Handful of ice cubes
A breakfast shake is convenient complete breakfast when pressed for time in the mornings. Nate’s shake offers a variety of complex carbohydrates & complete protein. The banana is rich in the electrolyte potassium and the berries offer potent antioxidants to help his body recover on the cellular level.
Tip- Frozen fruit is just as healthy as fresh fruit! Frozen fruit is picked and then immediately frozen at peak freshness in the summer months. It’s often less expensive than imported fresh fruits this time of year.
Steamed broccoli or asparagus
Baked sweet potato or brown rice
While this lunch is simple, it’s a great midday meal for any athlete. Skinless grilled chicken (white meat or dark meat) is rich in protein and low in fat. The broccoli and asparagus offer fiber that helps maintain an efficient digestive system. Broccoli in particular is beneficial because as a member of the cruciferous vegetable family it helps support the liver’s natural detox functions. Sweet potato and brown rice are two top-notch sources of nutritious carbohydrates that fuel all kinds of high intensity workouts.
Tip-When it comes to green veggies, either steam or stir- fry them with a little olive oil. Only boil green veggies if you plan to drink the liquid like in a stew because the water-soluble vitamins seep out into the water when boiled.
Marinara sauce with lean ground sirloin
Mixed veggies on the side
Eating a diet that has 50-60% of total calories from carbohydrates enables an athlete to increase their stores of muscle glycogen. That’s like being able to enlarge the size of the gas tank in your car to store more fuel. Nate’s evening pasta meal will help him do just that!
Tip-When it comes to red meat, look for the word “loin” on a label. Lean sirloin and tenderloin are healthier choices than other types of high fat beef. Red meat fans will also benefit from expanding their palates to try things like lean wild game meats such as venison, bison and ostrich.
Low fat yogurt with dried mango & raisins
Low fat cottage cheese
Hummus with baby carrots & whole-wheat pita bread
In order to add some more variety, I gave Nate this zesty sweet potato fries recipe.
Sweet Potato Fries
1 medium sweet potato
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
½ tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Garlic Powder
Pinch Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potato in half lengthwise then cut each half into long strips about ¼ inch thick. Spray a baking sheet with some nonstick cooking spray and lay the potato wedges out. Sprinkle with seasonings then bake for 20 minutes flipping half way through. If you want the potatoes crispy, cook them under the broil setting of the oven for 5 additional minutes.
Tip- Sweet potatoes are yellow inside whereas yams are orange. Both are healthy options that offer more nutrients and fiber than white potatoes.
PR Cole is an accredited Registered Dietitian (RD) with the American
Dietetic Association. She holds a masters degree from Columbia
University in nutrition and applied physiology. Cole is the founder of Fuel the Fighter LLC and is the nutritionist at the TapouT Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Follow her on Twitter @FueltheFighter.