What are the best fats and how should they be taken?

Elite nutritionist Freddy Brown runs through the importance of timing and quality when using fats in our training diets and where we can find the best sources

17 December 2012    |    0 Comments

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To read Freddy's full healthy eating guide, click here to get yourself a copy of last month’s issue of Fighting Fit. To buy this edition via our app, please click here.

Fat is a valuable fuel for exercise and training generally increases an athlete's capacity to burn fat as they increase their aerobic fitness. Eating fat as part of a calorie-controlled diet, particularly if carbohydrates are scarce, stimulates the oxidation of fat for fuel. Endurance adaptations may benefit to a degree from high fat feeds, as the body will become more efficient at oxidising fatty acids at moderate intensities, and time-to-exhaustion may even be enhanced. However, 'fat adapting' by eating a high-fat, low-carb diet undermines sprint performance, which will be detrimental to a fighter. A high-fat diet also undermines insulin sensitivity and protein synthesis.

A good starting point for fat intake would be to go by the European Commission’s current health guidelines and aim for 20-35 per cent of your daily calorie intake coming from this nutrient. This will vary depending on your goals and carbohydrate intake that day (e.g. for a 70Kg fighter: from 55g if cutting weight, to 110g if maintaining weight on a lower-carb, higher-fat day). Generally, if you are cutting weight and consuming carbs to support training, I would keep fat intake as low as 50g or under, but if your are bulking up or reducing carbohydrate intake around endurance training, then fat will constitute a more important source of energy.

FAT FILE
To make room for the carbs on high-intensity training days, you need to drop fat. When eating a higher-carb meal, a lower fat intake can be achieved by using techniques other than frying: steaming/grilling etc, roasting/frying using spray oil OR dry-frying using the minimum amount of oil possible to grease the pan (some evidence would suggest that frying with a small amount of coconoil may also support fat-loss strategies). Simply heat the coconoil in a pan and turn it to coat the base, drain off the excess and coat the whole pan with a thin layer by wiping with kitchen paper/a cloth.

GOOD FAT CHOICES
Oily fish (mackerel, kippers, salmon, trout)
Flaxseeds
Walnuts
Pumpkin seeds
Hazelnuts
Almonds
Avocados
Olives
Liquid vegetable oils such as soy beans, corn safflower, canola, olive and sunflower

To read Freddy's full healthy eating guide, click here to get yourself a copy of last month’s issue of Fighting Fit. To buy this edition via our app, please click here.

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Fighting Fit is published by Newsquest Specialist Media, the world’s leading combat sport publisher. Other titles include Boxing News, The Boxing News Annual and The Boxing News Health & Fitness Series

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