Eat Right to Fight: Individual Nutrition, Part 1 (Revised!)


Written by Mark Mian of AlterCenter

[NOTE! I decided the original posting I wrote was a little hard to digest (pun intended). I’ve revised it to make the info more practical for everyone.]

Especially over the past two decades, a debate has been raging about the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat for humans to eat. It started with the “low fat” diets of the early 90s, and then switched to the more recent “low carb” and “high protein” diets. All of them have evidence to support their claims and you’ll find many scientists, nutritionists, trainers, athletes and regular people who will swear by one of them. Everyone’s got an opinion about what will make you fat or thin – but it’s usually based on a combination of their own and other people’s experience and ignorance. Don’t trust them.

You Are Unique
The problem is trying to find one diet to rule them all. The truth is that different people have different basic needs — as well as different needs in different situations. Your optimal diet depends on many factors, including these major ones:

  • Metabolic Type: How your body is engineered to use food and energy.
  • Lifestyle: Your activity type and level (eg, athlete) or sedentary (eg, potato).
  • Age: You have different needs at different stages of life.
  • Health: Whether you are healthy or sick, stressed, fatigued, or depressed.

Diesel, Unleaded & Hybrid: 3 Different Energy Bodytypes
About ten years ago, solid research about how different bodies use food became more public with the original book, The Metabolic Typing Diet, by William Wolcott.

There are three main types of bodies (“metabolic types”) that use nutrients differently. If your body doesn’t get the right balance of what it needs, it will have excesses and deficiencies. Whenever there is nutrient excess, then increased fat storage, fatigue and unhealthiness is likely. Whenever there is nutrient efficiency, then fatigue, muscle-loss, and poor health are likely. So this is why some people stay lean and energized on carbs while others don’t.

The 3 Metabolic Types are:

  • Slow Oxidizers (“Carbo Types”) Need a high-carb diet.
  • Fast Oxidizers (“Protein Types”) Need high-protein, high-fat.
  • Mixed Oxidizers (“Mixed Types”) Need medium quantities of all.

Know Your Metabolic Type NOW!
Your metabolic type is mainly based on your genetics, but can change with training and aging. When I used to compete as an endurance athlete many years ago, I was a Carbo Type. Since then, I’ve gained much more muscle and am now a Mixed Type. With both diets, my bodyfat stayed between 6-8% — but I experimented with a high-protein diet, my bodyfat went up and my energy and health went down.

The quickest way to discover your Metabolic Type is either by taking the longer quiz in The Metabolic Typing Diet and other books, or a brief, free version online:

Click Here to Take a Quick Metabolic Typing Quiz

Once you’ve discovered your energy type, you can know the balance of calories you should be getting from carbs, protein and fat:

  • Carbo Types: 70% Carbs – 15% Protein – 15% Fat
  • Protein Types: 30% Cabs – 40% Protein – 30% Fat
  • Mixed Types: 50% Carbs – 30% Protein – 20% Fat

World Class Proof: Different Eats for Different Athletes
Tour de France machine Lance Armstrong is ripped as a Carbo Type…
Read about his diet here
(Sorry about the nudity, guys – try googling a pic of him without a yellow jersey…).

But ultra-marathon king Dean Karnazes is also ripped as a Protein Type…
Read about his diet here.

Buakaw: also ripped to the max — but on a Mixed Diet. From what I observed and ate while training in Thailand, the healthy Thai boxer’s diet is a good mix of meat and seafood, vegetables, plenty of red or white rice, and noodles.

This is your first and most important step to laying down a solid foundation of nutrition for your unique body. Next month, I’ll get into details about refining your diet for training, weight-loss, muscle-gain, and other goals.

Web Nutrition Resources
Here are some other online web resources for you to explore and use for your nutrition knowledge and tracking: An amazingly comprehensive database of food values A simple way to log your foods and track your diet.

May this help you.



About Author

Mark Mian, CSCS, is an athletic coach and trainer based in San Francisco and a dedicated student of Muay Thai (under Jongsanan and Neungsiam). He's developed training and nutrition programs for competitive athletes since 1995, specializing in combat sports since 2004. He's worked as the head athletic coach for Team USA (IFMA), Team Fairtex SF, and the El Nino Training Center's Woodenman (Muay Thai) and Skrap Pack (MMA) teams. He's also the founder of AlterCenter, an alternative fitness training center where he developed his natural method of combat fitness training, called AlterWarrior, based on a decade of working with countless fighters – including running training camps for 6 Muay Thai and MMA world champions.


  1. If you eat junk food and a lot of carbs (rice, bread, spagetti, especialy sugar) you will never have a great looking body. No matter how much you train. Period. Unless if you’re one of rare people or you are in puberty, when you’re metabolism works at maximum and the body has very good carb tolerance. Remember that food is what you feed your body with and has about 60% effect when it comes to shaping body. That’s right, if you want to have six-pack then you need to eat proper food, no workout will help you achieve six-pack. You’re body needs essential proteins and essential oils (Omega 3 fatty acids). Remember that there are no essential carbs for human body. If body didn’t absorb glucose (most important of the carbs for human body) then the body will produce it using proteins or oil (acids). Overall, eat meat (and a lot of fishes), eggs, seeds, vegetables, fruit and oil. Eat carbs only when body needs energy and that is after workout. Your normal meals should consist of proteins and oils, I don’t even eat bread, instead I eat more proteins. Avoid sugar and specially mayonnaise. One more thing, people think that oil makes you fat. That is not true. Unsaturated acids like fish oil (omega 3) is essential and many researches show that actually decreases body fat. Ok, I had enough. Bye

  2. I’ve been vegan (no meat, no diary, no animal products) for six years now including the entire time that I’ve been fighting. Is anyone else out there in internet land vegan as well? I’ve been doing well with my diet but am curious as to others experiences.

  3. Deimian, primarily of how much you run of course, but partially also of your nutrition. If you absorb proper nutrition you fell feel better and be more powerful.

  4. Deimian: The answer is both. Running and other “cardio” exercise conditions your body to efficiently use the energy you get from food (ie, food is your fuel). If you don’t eat enough or the right food, you will run out of gas…

  5. you made a great article even better after the edit. i wish some of the fat ass mma guys at my gym could’ve seen this when they had to cut 15 lbs in 3 days.
    thanks ur proving to be a great addition to the already awesome blog!

  6. ummm buakaw he uses alot of energy against these guys how can long distance running be that effective

    the guy has alot of burst of speed and energy and he maintains it

  7. Deimian: as a fighter you need to combine condition, power and agility. So you need to perform conditioning exercises (running, skipping, jumping…), for power you perform power exercises (squats, weight lifting, …), and of course sparring that captures agility, explosiveness, hell you name it. Check out the daily training routine on PorPramuk site. Buakaw for example is a human machine, he trains 8 hours per day and 6 day per week. He’s one of the kind.

  8. Gusnark: whats the reason why people can’t see his kick coming

    for example his left kick he always throws his arms back usually wouldn’t htat telegraph his kick

  9. Deimian, it’s hard to see his kick period, when your sitting on the computer at home. Now try to see it, when it’s being thrown at you, and you have to look out for punches and knees too

  10. Mark-

    Great post, my Diet is probably the one thing I can have the greatest control over… I have such fond associations with shit food. It’s really hard for me to get disciplined with my diet.

    On a side note, I run quite a bit, and Dean Karnazes is an F’ing animal. For those of you who’ve never heard of him… just recently he did 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. The dude ran a marathon everyday for 50 day! It’s really quite ridonkulous.

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