Jorge Rivera: Eat Smart, Fight Hard

Being a professional athlete and a father leaves Jorge Rivera with a tight schedule. Even though his days are packed with workouts and as much family time as he can manage, he makes the time to plan out a top notch diet during his training camp that fuels his workouts and promotes efficient recovery from tough sessions in the gym. 
Jorge already had several solid nutrition habits when I first started working with him before the Nate Quarry fight. We worked on building new sports nutrition tools, and I recently checked in for a peek at a day in his diet as he trains to take on Michael Bisping at UFC 127:

Whole grain Total cereal with skim milk along with a multivitamin and an omega-3 fish oil supplement.

Having breakfast every day is a must since it jump-starts your metabolism and helps your body prepare for intense workouts. A whole grain cereal like Total offers 5 g of protein and 4 g of fiber per serving. Having both fiber and protein in the morning can help keep you feeling fuller longer. Jorge chooses skim milk because he knows that 2% milk is too high in artery clogging saturated fat that can promote inflammation.

Post-Workout Snack
Whey protein shake with a banana and a cup of strawberries.

After a workout Jorge needs both carbohydrates and protein to help his body recover for the next training session. The carbohydrates help to replenish muscle glycogen stores and they signal the hormone insulin that oversees how your body uses the amino acids in the protein to repair muscle tissue.

A sandwich with 100% whole wheat bread, lite Swiss cheese, mustard & skinless chicken breast.
A salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, red, green & yellow bell pepper strips with fat-free balsamic vinaigrette.

Jorge chooses spicy mustard instead of high calorie mayonnaise on the sandwich as a simple way to cut back on calories. He also chooses low fat cheese as a healthier way to include dairy in his diet. Making sure that all of his poultry is skinless is another easy strategy to cut back on calories and fat.

Working in a colorful salad in the middle of the day is yet another means to promote recovery. All of those vegetables offer different antioxidants and phytochemicals that help his body maintain repairs on the cellular level.

Afternoon Snack
100-calorie pack of almonds, 1 orange

Nuts offer heart healthy fat and are a great afternoon snack since they digest slowly to keep you feeling satisfied. Buying the 100- calorie nut packs or portioning them out yourself is a smart way to ensure that you don’t go overboard on portion size.

The orange is rich in vitamin C that supports the immune system and helps bruises heal.  

Grilled chicken or salmon with whole-wheat pasta and a repeat of the same salad from lunch.  

Even though this dinner is simple, it’s a great mix of quality protein, carbs and veggies. These types of foods can be made in bulk over the weekend and then enjoyed as leftovers throughout the week for quick meals.

Evening Snack

Cole’s Peanut Butter Cup “pudding”
6 oz non-fat French Vanilla yogurt (any brand around 100 calories)
1 packet diet hot chocolate mix
2 teaspoons natural peanut butter

Jorge is very disciplined in his diet, but sometimes craves a sweeter snack in the evening. This twist on vanilla yogurt that I made up hits the spot.  

PR Cole is an accredited Registered Dietitian (RD) with the American Dietetic Association. She holds a masters degree from Columbia University in nutrition and applied physiology. Cole is the founder of Fuel the Fighter LLC and is the nutritionist at the TapouT Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Follow her on Twitter @FueltheFighter.


Watch Past Fights


Open workout for fans and media during UFC Fight Night Open Workouts at Times Square on November 25, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu / Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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