5 Quarantine Health Tips from UFC Performance Institute
Nutrition is a vital part of performance, recovery and overall health and wellbeing.
Clint Wattenberg is the Director of Performance Nutrition for the UFCPI. He and his team members (Charles Stull, Alexa Eisenberg and Nina Escobedo (intern) out of Las Vegas, and Reid Reale and Taylor Wang out of Shanghai) are at the forefront of ensuring athletes’ nutritional needs are being met during these tough times.
To help both athletes and readers at home, the team have listed 5 ways to stay healthy and fueled while in quarantine:
USE MEAL TIMES TO PLAN YOUR DAY
In order to keep life as normal as possible, it’s going to be imperative to plan out the day. Wake up and go to bed at the times you normally would to keep your body on a schedule. This daily schedule can include times and components of meals and snacks, workouts, and pre/post workout fuel. Ensure your meals have a variety of food groups that include protein, whole grains, fats, fruits and vegetables. Focus on making your plates colorful by fueling with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
It’s important to consume food every 2-3 hours to ensure proper nourishment and to keep metabolism revving. Lastly, be conscious of portions and try to avoid kitchen snacking and eating foods out of a container or bag. Try portioning and plating your food and take it with you to the table. This can help reduce mindless overeating that often happens without even realizing it.
KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG
Now, more than ever, is an important time to keep your immune system strong. The basics are the most important: wash your hands, get adequate sleep, fuel properly, and stay well hydrated. Along with these preventative efforts, including the following nutrients in your diet can help the body stay healthy. Vitamin A, C & E are powerful antioxidants that keep our immune function high. These can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Zinc also has shown to have an immune system benefit. Zinc is found in meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Probiotics are imperative to keep our gut healthy. This is very important since the gut plays a role in preventing pathogens from causing harm to the body and is extremely vital to immune function. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Protein is important to synthesize lean tissue but is also needed to synthesize key immune factors. Water and staying hydrated is critical because water carries nutrients to the cells and helps flush the body of toxins.
UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith talks with UFC Director of Performance Nutrition Clint Wattenberg.
PLAN AHEAD AND STOCK UP ON NUTRIENT-DENSE FOOD ITEMS
The uncertainty of this pandemic has left a lot of grocery store shelves empty, making trips a little more chaotic and stressful. In order to get the most out of trips to the grocery store, minimize the amount of times you go by planning ahead. Make a list of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options for at least 5 days. Consider buying in bulk so you can have leftovers for a few days to come. Take this shopping list with you so you will be less likely to forget items. Stock up on nutrition-packed food that will stay fresh for a week or longer. These items include, but are not limited to fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, grains (breads, oatmeal, pasta), milk, cheese, and beans/legumes.
Getting a consistent amount of fiber from many of these foods also helps you feel fuller for longer and is important for regular bowel movements and overall digestive health. Consider buying frozen or canned fruits and vegetables to last longer (look for canned fruit in 100% juice and vegetables without added salt). They have the same nutritional content as fresh items! If some of these items are out of stock, it’s ok! You can make food like fresh fruit, veggies, and bread items last longer by freezing them.
FOCUS ON PRE AND POST WORKOUT FUEL
Consuming foods before and after your workout can help fuel the body for both the workout and recovery phase. Fueling with starchy carbs and protein prior to exercise can help support those high-intensity efforts and muscle building/repair. Some examples of starchy carbohydrates can include: oatmeal, rice, quinoa, and potatoes.
Consuming protein with a quick sugar (such as fruit or honey) can help the body recover from the workout, avoid crashing, and support muscle/glycogen repair.
Here are two quick and tasty post-workout shake recipes:
|Whey Isolate – Vanilla||1 scoop||Muscle-building and tissue repair|
|Berries||1 cup||Quick energy and muscle/glycogen repair|
|Beet powder||1 scoop||Cell growth and cell proliferation, increases stamina, skeletal muscle hypertrophy|
|Flax seed||2 tbsp||Caloric density, anti-inflammatory|
|Dairy or non-dairy milk, water||1 cup||Flavor, texture|
UFC flyweight Joanne Calderwood enjoys a shake in the UFC Performance Institute.
STAY ACTIVE AND CONTROL STRESS
No gym? No problem. Make sure to check out the UFCPI Strength and Conditioning at-home workout list. Make an effort to get outside and go for a walk or run. Sunshine can provide an adequate amount of Vitamin D which is important for bone health, cell growth and immune function. High stress can cause a variety of negative effects in the body including anxiety, digestive problems, weight gain and sleep problems. Make sure to control stress by practicing breathing exercises, using a meditation app, or taking on a new hobby.
It is possible to still achieve your health goals despite the current circumstances!
Focus on implementing a few ideas from the list above, setting small goals and taking it day by day. Nourishing yourself properly will not only help your physical health but your mental health as well.
An important note: No dietary supplement can diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, including COVID-19. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to understand that no dietary supplement, no diet, and no lifestyle modifications – other than the recommended social distancing and hygiene practices – can prevent you from being infected with the COVID-19 virus. No current research supports the use of any dietary supplement to protect you from being infected with the COVID-19 virus.