Best MMA Supplements (Train Harder for Longer)
As you probably already know; there are no shortcuts in the world of mixed martial arts. There is only hard work, grit, and determination.
But there are compounding benefits. If you recover a little faster or push a little harder during training. it add up. And over time and you’ll notice a large, compounded difference. This is where certain supplements come in.
The best MMA supplements are your secret sidekick as you strive to reach your full potential in both training and inside the cage. The only problem is; where do you begin?
Below you’ll find a list of the best supplements of MMA, BJJ and all combat sports. As suggested by UFC fighters themselves.
At A Glance:
6 of the Best Supplements for MMA and UFC Fighters
Here are 5 supplements that will help you train harder, for longer. We’ve listed a few BCAA’s since they are by far the most popular for UFC fighters. We’ve also included a few creatine supplements, and an everyday health supplement. Some fighters are even using mushroom supplements these days to boost performance and recovery.
If you’re not familiar with these supplements and how each should be used, click here to read our buying guide.
1. Optimum Nutrition BCAA 1000 – Best BCAA Supplement
- Vegan friendly
- 200 servings per container
- $0.30 / Serving
Optimum Nutrition are one of the world’s leading producers of MMA supplements on the market today. Their BCAA 1000 is a product that you can use to gain more energy on the mat and make your workouts more efficient. As it contains all of the essential amino acids, it boosts your energy levels and allows you to work harder and for a longer period of time when putting in those hard sparring rounds.
Optimum Nutrition BCAA comes in a form of a capsule. The capsules provide a highly convenient form of a simple BCAA blend. Each serving delivers 1 g of BCAAs to help keep the body supplied with a steady supply of amino acids. If you use it the right way you will have up around 200 servings, which makes this product an excellent choice based on the money you spend.
The Optimum Nutrition BCAA is one of the best recovery supplements for MMA that will help you recover faster, and also make your muscles more resistant to failure during training.
Should you use this supplement? Pro and amateur fighters are among the best suited for BCAAs. Using it as part of a balanced diet will help you to maximize your results. Fighters can find its benefits very desirable.
2. Warrior Amino Blast BCAA – Budget BCAA Supplement
- Vegan friendly
- 30 servings per container
- $0.66 / Serving
Widely seen as one of the market leaders as far as pre-workouts are concerned, the Warrior Amino Blast BCAA is a perfect choice for MMA athletes. Warrior Nutrition Amino Blast is a BCAA drink that builds lean muscle while speeding up muscle recovery.
If you are training every day or doing two sessions a day, this is the pre-workout you want to take. It is one of the finest recovery supplements that is going to help in keeping you functioning throughout the week. Make sure to get enough rest also in order to fully reap its benefits.
Its combination of caffeine anhydrous, green tea extract, and sodium bicarbonate, will give you a perfect boost when training at a higher output than usual. Also it has great nutritional values and is vegan friendly. 1-3 servings of this powerful supplement 20-30 minutes before training will keep you energized and allow you to give it your maximum.
It is not a surprise that Nutricost is one of the largest companies for health supplements in the US. Nutricost L-Glutamine powder has been tailor-made to revitalize your body with one of the most abundant non-essential amino acids it produces.
Not only does it assist with post-workout recovery and the biosynthesis of proteins, but it also reduces muscle catabolism post-workout, boosts your immune system, and promotes a healthy digestive system (1).
The key point for those that don’t like the taste of most supplements too much is that the powder is flavorless. According to the manufacturers, consume it immediately after finishing with your exercise to fully reap its benefits. You can also take another serving prior to bed. For general use, consume 1-4 servings daily.
Getting enough protein is important when I train, to help build muscle and recover, so I’ll supplement with protein shakes
Should you use this supplement? Glutamine by itself aids in recovery – which is essential for MMA supplements. With benefits in mental acuity, it’s clear that glutamine should be a top priority for those doing combat sports.
Opti-Men MultiVitamin is a dietary supplement that is specially designed to promote everyday health.
It is effective in supporting your performance and vitality. Given that it has more than 75 ingredients in the blend, it will support the nutritional needs of an active athlete. It also helps in the development and growth of lean muscles that are needed for sports like mixed martial arts, while also improving athletic endurance and energy levels.
Opti-Men MultiVitamin blends together vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and enzymes to form a multi-vitamin blend that enhances various aspects of one’s health. One of the most beneficial ingredients within this is Korean Ginseng.
Korean Ginseng improves thinking, memory, and concentration – something that is obviously very important when training combat sports. Also, Opti-Men MultiVitamin contains a large number of amino-acids, which are important to improving exercise performance. Three capsules per day are optimal.
Is this supplement for you? Though geared towards athletes, anyone who does any type of exercise can use this supplement. If you are, in fact, healthy it will support your good health even more. For active athletes it can provide you with amino-acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, all the necessary ingredients to make you more energetic and focused.
5. MuscleTech Creatine MonoHydrate – for Muscle Growth
- Vegan friendly
- 80 servings per container
- $0.15 / Serving
This supplement contains 100% creatine and folks at MuscleTech made sure that it undergoes strict quality control to ensure the maximum amount of purity. MuscleTech Creatine MonoHydrate will enhance your strength and improve recovery.
In theory, it should also increase your punching power and ability to handle body blows more efficiently. Your recovery will improve dramatically and also your power output will sustain longer throughout the sparring sessions.
As it is unflavored some people may find it unattractive. By eating properly and implementing it in your diet wisely, you should expect great improvement to your training and fighting capabilities. It is incredibly versatile – suitable for use as both a pre-workout and post-workout. Creatine monohydrate is considered one of the most consumed gym supplements in the world.
Is Creatine for you? At an affordable price this supplement is a great option for your pre- and post-workout needs. Overall, I would recommend it to mixed martial arts fighters or combat athletes, although it should be taken with care and a lot of water.
6. Scivation XTend Grape Drink Mix – Cleanest BCAA Supplement
- Vegan friendly
- 90 servings per container
- $0.66 / Serving
This pick is a great all-rounder if you want one of the best supplements for MMA athletes that contains exactly what it claims to.
Scivation XTend BCAA powder is inexpensive and packed with helpful extras that are sure to boost your performance. It has glutamine, electrolytes, citrulline malate, and Vitamin B6. With those, you are certain to push your limits when going hard at the gym.
It’s also available in a lot of flavor options and doesn’t contain stimulants. That said, this product isn’t certified to be free of banned substances, and the high sodium intake, which is part of the electrolyte formula, might be a turn-off to some people – especially pro MMA fighters.
It is a vegan-friendly product and you get a fair share of servings per container. Overall, Scivation deserves its reputation as it has one of the best BCAA products and overall MMA supplements out there.
Who should use this supplement? The Scivation XTend Drink Mix is for athletes and fighters that want a clean BCAA without any caffeine or other stimulants. It also works for people that don’t want to spend too much money but want a good flavor. This product is the perfect one for you if you are convinced that B6 and glutamine are going to help you reach your goals.
Recognize a quality product and the possible benefits you can expect from it
How To Pick The Best Supplement For MMA Training
In our opinion, compared to some decades ago, the standard of supplements these days has reached a high level. If you are a pro MMA fighter you probably already have some knowledge regarding this topic. If you are somebody who just started taking MMA classes then this section is going to be gold for you.
Also for more experienced fighters, you are going to learn some new information that might be helpful in your future training.
Lets explain how to recognize a quality product and the possible benefits you can expect from it.
Ingredients and Form
The most important part when buying a new supplement is knowing what it contains and how the ingredients are going to elevate your energy levels. You will need to have at least some understanding of several key points.
The first one is the contents of the product.
Does it contain amino acid, creatine, or any other type of substance that can help you push when doing MMA training?
Once you have figured that out, the next step is to know which form the supplement is provided in. Most of the best MMA supplements come in a form of powder, tablet, or capsule (2). Each of these forms can have a slight difference in how your body absorbs the ingredients.
Back in the day I took a lot of supplements and tons of amino acids. Still do. But back then it was pretty unusual. That’s how I got the nickname ‘The Chemist’.
But don’t forget the power of diet in maintaining energy! Here’s a clip from the Joe Rogan Podcast that talks about how individual diet requirements are based on the type of training you’re doing:
Are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) The Best Supplements For MMA fighters?
As far as supplements go, BCAA gives the body all of the essential amino acids that help your organism in protein synthesis, restoring muscle fibers after heavy sparring sessions. It also protects against the catabolism of its own proteins.
Perhaps the most important benefit it provides you with is additional energy for those long rounds on the mats. No strong evidence exists to indicate that BCAAs are bad for you.
BCAA’s have few calories and serve as fuel for your muscle growth. They are also perfect for relieving hunger and fatigue. Within seconds, your body will have all the BCAAs it needs to support and enhance muscular generation.
What exactly is BCAA?
Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAA is one of the best supplements you can incorporate into your daily diet (3). Anyone who is involved in any regular or moderate physical activities is sure to feel the benefits of BCAA.
Because of their unique branched chemical structure, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine are commonly grouped together and referred to as BCAAs.
BCAAs are essential and must be consumed alongside dieting, making them quite handy if you don’t have time to cook. BCAA is also vegan-friendly, GMO, and gluten-free.
When to use BCAA?
The best time to use it is half an hour before your workout routine. It can be seen as a pre-workout supplement, but some fighters will use it pre and post training
Should Creatine & L-Glutamine be used as MMA supplements?
Creatine is an organic compound that is used by many different types of athletes. The body produces its own creatine when you eat protein. Creatine converts to adenosine triphosphate, which the body uses for explosive exercise.
Taking creatine from supplementation increases the body’s ability to produce energy more rapidly, and also it can dramatically improve recovery during the hard 6-8 week training program that fighters embark upon prior to their fight.
Don’t forget your diet and only focus on MMA supplements. Both are important.
L-Glutamine is an important form of glutamine which consists of L-Glutamine and D-Glutamine. L-Glutamine is produced naturally in the body and is found in many foods.
Due to its role as a building block of protein, L-Glutamine is a supplement that improves muscle gain or exercise performance. A perfect supplement for MMA fighters as it decreases muscle soreness and improves recovery after intense exercise (4).
Glutamine’s immune system benefits are related to its role in intestinal health. When you are clean from the inside, you can perform better on the outside.
Glutamine is also essential in the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract and sustains general mental ability in a person
MMA fighters do, of course, take supplements ranging from pre-workout supplements to whey protein powder and creatine. However, given the rigid testing that is now in place due to USADA’s presence within the sport, many fighters aim to keep their intake of supplements as simple as possible – so as to avoid contaminated supplements that may cause major problems. Fish oil is an example of the best Omega 3 sources that can act as a source of vital nutrients.
If you combine it with a steady intake of water every day it can help your muscles recover faster. It enables you to train harder and for longer – allowing you to refine and build muscle mass. One of the downsides is that creatine makes your muscles retain water, which can be bad when you need to make weight. It can lead to kidney damage as well as cause cramps during hard training so make sure to drink a ton of water (5).
Yes. Creatine is not on USADA’s list of prohibited substances within the sport of mixed martial arts. Like many of the other supplements we have listed above, it is a natural compound that your body produces itself – unlike some of the recreational drugs and other substances that are banned. Things like fish oil and protein powder are generally considered low-risk for regularly tested athletes.
- The effects of oral glutamine supplementation on athletes after prolonged, exhaustive exercise. Retrieved from: http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(97)83036-5/abstract
- Nutritional Supplements – Which Form is Better. December 12, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.drrathresearch.org/latest-news/item/88-tablets-vs-capsules
- BCAA Benefits: A Review of Branched-Chain Amino Acids. November 25, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bcaa
- Glutamine: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects. January 13, 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/glutamine#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4
- Creatine and Combat Sports. February 15, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.earthfedmuscle.com/blogs/articles/creatine-and-combat-sports
Hi, I’m Brandon, editor here at MMA-Today. Mixed Martial Arts has been my life long obsession as long as I can remember. I was introduced to Muay Thai at a young age, but ultimately fell in love with BJJ and grappling in my teenage years, and have never looked back. My goal with MMA today is to inspire people to train and enjoy mixed martial arts more every day.