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May 9, 2023

Kick The Sugar, Optimize Your Training Fuel and Feel Better

Tatyana Grechina

Kick The Sugar, Optimize Your Training Fuel and Feel Better

Let’s be honest. We’ve all gone through periods where our eating habits suck. We’re talking – handful of gummies on your way out the door, Skittles for dinner, RedBull chugged five minutes before class.

Sometimes we simply don’t have time – or energy – to prep meals the way we’d like, and shortcuts feel like the only option to just get something in. Still, what we eat doesn’t just fuel our mind and emotional state; it really does have an impact on our physical, day-to-day well-being. 

If you frequently train in high-intensity sports like Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, you’ll want to make sure you fuel your training as sustainably as possible so you feel better and don’t burn out. When you’ve trained for long enough, you eventually figure out what works for you and can ramp it up during higher-intensity seasons.

We all know the basics: a steady stream of whole foods and veggies, proteins, fast-burning carbs and avoiding refined sugars when possible, but how can you tweak your plan for better performance? 

We asked Easton community members to share some of their natural fuel secrets!

[Nutrition Tips for Those Who Tain]

Embrace micronutrients 

These little guys don’t get enough credit. Macronutrients include your carbs, fats and proteins, but micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in small amounts, and not getting enough can cause big problems. 

Think – citrus, leafy greens, garlic. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants support cardiovascular and nervous system functions, produce enzymes and hormones, and have anti-inflammatory effects.


If you’re not the best at eating veggies but still want to fuel up, smoothies are a great way to pack in some micronutrients. Easton Boulder GM Matt Bloss shares the smoothie recipe that helped him daily after training sessions:

  • Beets
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Natural honey
  • Grass-fed protein powder
  • Microgreens

(Though since having a baby, Coach Matt relies on a lot of whole, natural foods and uses Kion supplements like their Natural Aminos, Omega 3 and some of the tryptophan sleep supplements!)

Matt Bloss with Coach Andre. Image: Rebecca Slaughter.


Ashley Dunn

Along with smoothies, juice makes a great alternative to eating whole fruits and vegetables. It’s cleansing, easy on digestion, and delicious. 

Coach Ashley Dunn from Easton Longmont used to own an organic juice bar in Memphis, and she loves juice for helping us get the natural probiotics and prebiotics found in fruits and veggies.

One of her favorites is a simple green juice:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 apples
  • 1 lemon
  • a few ribs of celery
  • a hunk of ginger

Ashley also recommends adding in fermented drinks like kombucha for gut health!

Substitute healthier options

Luma Murib

For Easton Social Media Manager Luma Murib, creating a food lifestyle which avoids foods like dairy, gluten, lectins and inflammatory oils, has become vital to her daily health and training. 

Instead, Luma builds her diet around lots of egg whites, natural peanut butter, dark leafy greens, an assortment of colorful vegetables and lots of berries. She also opts for high protein, 40 grams with each meal, like chicken breasts, ground turkey, steak, and fish twice a week.

“If you’re hungry for snacks,” Luma says, “you’re not getting enough protein!”

If your gut is sensitive, you may also want to try swapping some of your oils. Instead of canola, soybean or sunflower oils, try avocado oil, olive oil or flaxseed oils. 

The way we consume sugar also has a high impact on our gut health. Rather than going for high-sugar drinks like Gatorade, lemonade, and Redbull, Luma tries to substitute healthier drinks like Kombucha, Olipop, Celsius – all of which have natural sugars, are low in added sugars, and are great for gut health.

Some of Luma’s favorite healthy snacks:

To meat or not to meat

Nick Mavrick

Nick Mavrick, GM of Easton Littleton, relies on a high-fat diet, which makes fasting, training fasted and cutting weight easier. 

“For March, I did mostly meat and berries,” Professor Nick tells us, “which helped me cut weight for competition. I eat a lot of venison and other game meat.”

Coach and personal trainer River Mayfield from Longmont also leans into red meat like bison, as well as some leaner meats like chicken, turkey and fish. He’s also a huge fan of nuts and nut butters, and eats a lot of fruit, oats, sprouted grains and rice.

On the other hand, Arvada’s Professor Jason Kramer eats limited red meat and almost no pork, and Professor Huddleston avoids pork altogether, rarely eats beef, and instead opts for fish and other lean proteins. 

River Mayfeild

Replenishing your tanks

Joey Yaman (right) with Coach Phipps

When it comes to fuel for training sessions, personal trainer and nutritionist Joey Yaman focuses on hydration in addition to food. Beforehand, Joey makes sure to have some form of protein like a Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit, like an apple or berries.

If Joey stacks Jiu Jitsu on top of a heavy strength and conditioning workout, he’ll sip on some water with a half teaspoon of a quality salt and some lemon, or use a flavored salt packet by LMNT. Both of these drinks are loaded with electrolytes and help keep his muscles from cramping up.

Coach River also recommends LMNT electrolytes, as well as supplements like Ladder Hydration and those by Bare Performance Nutrition (BPN.)

When it comes to energy, River is a big fan of nootropics for later-in-the-day Jiu Jitsu training sessions/competitions. He also recommends JOCKO Fuel’s JOCKO GO energy drink as an alternative to sugary ones like Redbull and Monster.

Boost energy with supplements

If Joey needs an extra boost of energy, he likes to take a drink called Update. Rather than caffeine, it contains Paraxanthine – a new energy source isolated and refined from the caffeine compound. 

“It really gives you a different kind of focused energy,” says Joey, “and improves your mood too. I mix it up between that, a mushroom coffee or a pill that contains the cordyceps mushroom.”

The mushroom coffee, from Four Sigmatic, contains a blend of coffee, chaga, & cordyceps mushroom, and the capsule alternative Joey takes when he doesn’t feel like drinking the coffee comes from Shroom Tech Sport. The pill does contain some caffeine, but the mushrooms balance it out, making it a much cleaner form of energy, and Cordyceps helps increase V02 max (the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise) and overall endurance.

Essential amino acid supplements like Kion Aminos help with overall energy, stamina and muscle repair, and Creatine supports muscle mass and strength as well as reduces post-exercise fatigue. Creatine is also great for fasting!

Ezra Cox

Train Fasted

Many people, like Coach Ezra Cox from Longmont, find that their bodies actually react better training on an empty stomach, when they’ve mostly fasted during the day. 

“I stop eating at night around 5pm,” says Ezra, “and break my fast around 9 or 10 with a couple of cheese sticks. Then I train around lunch time, either Jiu Jitsu or kettlebells at home. I always follow up with a protein shake with creatine!”

Professor Nick Mavrick also frequently trains fasted, along with Coach Mike Phipps, and Professor Jason Kramer maintains a 4-6 hour eating window.

[Benefits of Fasting For a Healthy Body, Mind and Life]

Training Support

Sean Madden

For additional training support if he feels he needs it, Coach Ezra will opt for an apple or banana with a little honey, and a spoonful of natural peanut butter – something light in the stomach but good for natural energy. 

If Ezra decides to do a heavy lifting day with slow movements and not much cardio, he’ll eat something like white rice and a protein an hour or so before that heavy lift day. 

Coach Sean Madden prefers quick-burning carbs before Muay Thai sessions – nothing that sits too heavy. Foods like fruit, rice, rice cakes, honey, etc, make for a good fuel source for high-intensity training. Professor Alex Huddleson is a big fan of beets, with their positive impact on the cardiovascular system.

Besides these nutritional options, you can always use what Coach Derrick Betting from Longmont uses to fuel his training – “sheer will power and trauma!”


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