3 Ways MMA Fighters Can Pack on Muscle Fast

By Brandon Richey

Are you training or competitive in MMA, or another form of martial arts?

Are you interested in learning how you can pack on some lean muscle gains for MMA and other martial arts?

Are you serious about your training and understand what variables to work on in order to achieve these variables?

So you’re looking to pack on some lean muscle mass for fighting and fitness.

There are several ways you can go about doing this, but today I want to try to outline three simple strategies here that you can immediately start applying to your strength and conditioning program for MMA.

Cycling Your Food Intake for Caloric Surplus

So for this model to work and for the sake of today’s article, let’s assume that you’re on point with your training 4 to 6 days week with a mix of strength, conditioning, and martial arts training. This is going to set your metabolic rate higher which will determine your caloric maintenance, caloric surplus, and caloric deficit.

A nice rough estimate to figure out your caloric maintenance is to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 15.

The number you get will be the approximate amount of daily calories you need to maintain your current bodyweight. If at the end of the day you are under that number you are going to be in a caloric deficit and if you’re above that number with your day’s calories then you’re going to be in a surplus.

Obviously if you’re in a deficit you’re going to lose weight, but if you’re placing your body in a caloric surplus then you’re going to put mass on, particularly if your training is dialed in the way it should be.

To steadily increase the amount of mass you want to pack on try getting into a surplus 5 to 6 days a week. By doing this and coupling it with your training you’re going to be able to observe some steady weight gain, but our goal is to gain lean muscle.

Intermittent Fasting

Depending on how aggressive you want to be in your attempt to pack on lean muscle for MMA you want to learn your body and you want to be conscious of how your body responds to the changes in your diet along with your training.

In the last section I mentioned maintaining a caloric surplus for up to 5 or 6 days out of a given week. With that being said that still leaves one to two days of the week to figure out what to do about your caloric intake.

Let’s say that you’re wanting to be very aggressive about your lean muscle gains.

I would recommend getting into a caloric surplus for 6 straight days and then go into a 24 hour fast on the 7th day to get you back into a caloric deficit and to help stimulate some serious fat loss while allowing you to maintain the lean muscle mass you’ve worked hard to build in your training.

If a 6 day surplus followed by a 24 hour fast is too aggressive for you, try to experiment with your body to see if pulling back a day would work better.

For instance, if you go 5 straight days in a surplus then do a partial 12 hour fast on the last two days still making sure you are in a caloric deficit during those two days.

Just keep in mind that this model is ONLY going to work if you’re training your ass off and if you’re consuming a lot of food. To get into that surplus you need to be eating enough food so that you are in a constant state of energy balance.

You should be able to train intense and for longer periods without getting depleted or feeling weak.

Eat for Your Energy Expenditure

So the key to maintaining a surplus means that you are going to obviously have to eat more, but this should also coincide with your weekly training demands as well.

You may be looking at getting into a surplus, but that surplus may be less of a surplus on your pure conditioning days as compared to your lifting days.

To clarify what I’m saying here I structure my training programs like my 90-Day MMA Strength and Conditioning by following a peak and base intensity when looking at a given week’s set of training.

In other words, there are days half of the week that include heavy lifting and conditioning workouts which make those days more peak (higher intensity, greater energy demand) and some days that are in a base (lower intensity, lower energy demand).

Granted, you want to maintain a caloric surplus for both peak and base parts of the week, but at the same time the surplus demand is going to be even greater during those peak portions of the week compared to the base workouts listed in the week.

The thing to remember is that in order to maintain the surplus you want to be especially conscious of getting in those calories during those peak lifting days.

The Takeaway

Just remember that in order to pack on lean muscle you’ve got be aggressive with both your food intake and your training.

You need to have a structured plan of attack in place and if you want to see the results they can happen a lot faster than you may realize if your plan and your adherence to that plan is consistent.

If you want to learn more about how you can build that lean muscle and kick your training into high gear make sure you visit me at my website, Brandon Richey Fitness.



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QUESTION: Coach, got some insider SEAL tips on fat loss?

ANSWER: Yes–check out this article: Tips to Healthy Fat Loss.

QUESTION: I tend to lose motivation easy. Do you have some ideas for me to stay on top of my goals?

ANSWER: Check out this article—10 Tips for Staying Motivated.

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