MMA athletes are unlike any other. Some sports force you into focusing on strength and size, while others emphasize endurance, power, and quickness. Of course, the typical MMA athlete would laugh at this because it’s the only sport where you have to have all characteristics simply in order to compete. Throw in the ability to think quickly while your head is buzzing from that left hook you didn’t see coming, or the choke-induced absence of blood to your brain, and you’ve got an impressive diverse athlete.

Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide is a free form gas that is produced in the body and is used by the body to communicate with other cells in the body. To produce this gas, enzymes in the body break down the amino acid Arginine.

Nitric Oxide is a molecule consisting of one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen. The production of Nitric Oxide occurs when the amino acid L-arginine is converted into L-citruline through an enzyme group known as Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS). The fact that nitric oxide increases blood flow should make it of interest to MMA fighters, as increased blood flow will serve to deliver more nutrients to muscles, thus helping muscles become larger when subject to stress.* Nitric oxide also affects the endocrine system. It affects the release of gonadotroptin releasing hormone, as well as the release of adrenaline from the adrenal medulla. Adrenaline is vital in combat situation; in the cage or in the street.


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the bloodstream. It is considered a “conditionally essential amino acid” because it can be manufactured in the body, but under extreme physical stress the demand for glutamine exceeds the body’s ability to make it. Most glutamine in the body is stored in muscles followed by the lungs, where much of the glutamine is manufactured. Glutamine is important for removing excess ammonia (a common waste product in the body). In the process of picking up ammonia, glutamine donates it when needed to make other amino acids, as well as sugar, and the antioxidant glutathione.

MMA athletes who train excessively may deplete their glutamine stores. This is because they are overusing their skeletal muscles, where much of the glutamine in the body is stored. Athletes who overstress their muscles (without adequate time for recovery between workouts) may have lowered immunity and may be at increased risk for infection or slow recovery from injuries. This is also true for people who participate in prolonged exercise, such as ultra-marathon runners (or a five round fight). For this select group of athletes, glutamine supplementation may be useful. This is not true, however, for most exercisers who tend to work out at a much more moderate intensity.


The most common form of energy supplements is a class of supplements called thermogenics, also known as stimulants. Thermogenics are substances that cause the body to increase its metabolic rate. This causes the body to start burning more calories, resulting in an increase in energy. The most common thermogenics are caffeine and Synephrine (bitter orange).

MMA thermogenic supplements with ingredients that provide very diverse actions ranging from thyroid gland support to aiding in mental focus and motivation.  These products stimulate fat loss in general, but also combats fat specifically in stubborn areas for localized fat loss.  Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants aid by increasing the metabolic rate and also provide the body with energy, increasing  training intervals and intensity. Note: The human body can build up a resistance to stimulants, so only use these products in cycles or only when needed for a boost in energy levels or during weight cutting phases.

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BJJ Black Belt and Team ALS Coach

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