Jesus Garcia, M.D.
Education: Bachelor of Science in microbiology (December 2010)
Master of Science in anatomy from St. Louis University
Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kansas
McNair Project: Body Composition and Diet in Military Combatives Participants (2009)
Mentor: Mark Haub, Ph.D.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting is a full contact body sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques used in competition. Fighters lose weight to be in specific weight classes, and the weight of most fighters fluctuates between fights due long waits between fights (3-6 months). Controlling weight for these fighters is important since the more lean mass and the less fat mass one has the better the overall performance. Currently, there is little information to help these athletes decide what and how much to eat. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the associations between what fighters eat and their body composition. Army fighter participants (n=14) provided 3-day diet records at the end of a 5-week training regimen as part of the All-Army Combatives Program. Body weight and body composition were, also, measured. Pearson Correlations were used to determine relationship between dietary intake and body composition. These results were different from what we were expecting given the understanding of energy balance; we were surprised that macronutrients were not highly correlated. We had to take into consideration the importance of honesty; trusting people to accurately report intake. We also found the need for databases to include other nutrients since some nutrients were absent in some of the foods. Now that we obtained a list of foods that may help fighters better perform, the next step is to incorporate these foods into a diet the fighters would normally consume.