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Fighting has been part of Robert Whittaker’s life for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Sydney’s southwest, he found himself weighed down by insecurities. So he started to fight. He liked it – he was good at it. At age seven his father enrolled him in a karate school. Within six years he’d earned a black belt.
From there, Rob went on to make his UFC debut in 2012, following a win in the UFC-produced reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes. Now, as of 19 January 2021, the mixed martial artist is not only the first Australian and first New Zealand-born fighter to hold a UFC title, but #1 in the UFC middleweight rankings and, as of April 12, 2022 he is #15 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings. Pretty. Damn. Incredible.
But to stay at that peak level takes more than physical fitness, and that’s something Whittaker knows too well.
To support his training, Whittaker makes sure to have a balanced diet – avoiding processed and deep fried foods where he can – and stocking up on veggies, making sure he eats some form of greens every day. “As the fights get closer and I need to lose a couple of kilos, I start to clean up my diet and so I avoid things like breads and eat foods closer to the source like potatoes and rice. I also try to clean up the meat, so I’ll shift to white meat, fish and up my grain intake. I follow the 80/20 rule, and I’m not going to say I won’t eat a chocolate bar now and then.”
Supplements are also a very important part of his nutrition plan.
Before training Whittaker takes Musashi Pre-Workout: a unique formulation that contains a blend of citrulline, beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine and amino acids to act as a pre-workout catalyst to take his training session to the next level. “Having the right supplements at the right times alongside healthy eating is very important,” he explains.
An ambassador for the brand, the athlete also uses the two other products that come as part of their MMA Bundle Pack
The Musashi 100% Whey (a formula that acts as an ultimate protein source to meet the needs of athletes and bodybuilders looking to maximise lean muscle and optimise recovery), and the Musashi Intra Workout (a high performance blend of BCAAs, EAAs, Glutamine and Ornithine, as well as vitamins and minerals including magnesium to support muscle protein synthesis).
As many other athletes would agree, Sport Nutrition is incredibly relevant to improve your performance. And as the team at Musashi explain, ‘it is important to take a target-driven approach when selecting the best supplements for your diet. Decide on your personal goal i.e. fat loss, muscle gain or athletic performance and then determine which supplements can help you achieve it.’
What are you waiting for? Sign up to the Musashi Performance Lab today and you can get the ultimate insider knowledge from professional athletes to help you maximise your training goals through sport specific training programs and nutrition information. Sign up here.
As for training, the 31-year-old follows a special training program drawn up by exercise physiologist Justin Lang at Live Athletic in Sydney. According to Lang, the progressive program combines flexibility, gymnastic and barbell strength training, and aims to build unrestricted movement while inoculating against injury.
“Any system is limited by its weakest point,” says Lang, “so whatever the weakest capacity in Rob’s body, we’re trying to find it and strengthen it.”
“My daily routine at the moment is split up over week blocks,” adds Rob. “My performance coach manages a lot of my loads and works out how the sessions are structured so that I don’t hit peaks, or I don’t go too hard or redline too often. We’ve structured the daily workout to a 9-5 workday. I start at 9am with my strength and conditioning, boxing, grappling consecutively and then I’m finished by 5pm. I spend nights with my family. I have dinner with them, I put the boys to sleep and I can relax a little bit. It’s a little hard on the body at first, but you get used to it.”
To check out more nutrition information from Musashi, head to musashi.com.