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Weight cutting principles for weight class athletes with Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition

by Shaun Kober
April 19th 2021

In this episode, Danny and I discuss the similarities, and the differences between eating for health, and eating for performance.

We cover a lot of ground, and relate his nutritional princ... More

what does it mean to live life to the fullest train to your potential and perform at your best, leave nothing on the table. That's a non negotiable is that I strive to be better every day because if I'm not on top of my game, how is anybody else gonna follow me down the road? Keep demanding more of yourself to, to live up to that potential and to stay hungry. Training is progress. You know, when I look at the word training, I think of steps, baby steps to get somewhere that you want to be and that is basically your life journey. That's a mindset in itself man, it's like, it's not just about, I know that for you, a lot of that's about the physical, but we're constantly in training, whether it's growing our skill sets, whether it's growing up physical bodies, whether it's growing our relationships whatever and all of that is a training ground and that kind of goes back to the mindset that we just talked about. You underestimate yourself and you don't even start, but then once you start, you often surpass what you thought you could do perform at your best mate. That's, that's sort of what life is all about. You don't have the knowledge and have the fitness, the healthy ambition and drive that no matter what comes along.

When that next phone call comes, I can just say yes, I don't have to worry, just go and do it. Hey guys, welcome to the live transform podcast, I'm your host, Sean Cobra and joining me today is Danny. Lannan who is the man behind sigma nutrition and the ever popular sigma nutrition radio, which is an amazing podcast and just speaking of Danny, he's just hit roughly five million downloads. So very impressive. And something that I'm aspiring to since I've just started my own podcast journey Danny, welcome to the podcast mate. I'm excited to have a chat to you. Thanks so much for having me on china, really appreciate you inviting me and I'm looking forward to this conversation. Excellent mate. Um for the listeners, I reached out to Danny, we've kind of been in contact a few times over the last couple of years. I recently interviewed um luke lemon from muscle nerds and that was a great conversation and luke actually connected myself and Danny um and we've kind of been in contact on and off over the last couple of years. I've listened to one of Danny's recent number of Danny's recent episodes um and I was like, this guy's got some incredible knowledge that I want to tap into and I want to tie into some of my training philosophies as well.

So here we are and I'm excited to get into this conversation Danny for my listeners, can you give them a brief, quick and dirty five minute intro to who you are and what you do. Yeah, sure. So I'll try and keep it concise, but I'm happy to get into any particulars that you wish afterwards. So I run a company called Sigma nutrition, which essentially puts out educational content on evidence based nutrition and that's primarily done through the podcast, like you mentioned Sigma nutrition radio, but I've also been lucky to speak at quite a lot of conferences, run a lot of seminars and so on, and we also have an online nutrition coaching components of the business, so we have four coaches that work with a variety of, of different clients. Currently I don't work one on one with clients, but in previous years when I was working as a performance nutritionist, I worked with uh an array of clients, but a lot of that in the sports nutrition field specifically was related to combat sport athletes and then some other white class based sports like powerlifting, so worked with a lot of guys in boxing from amateur to pro and mixed martial arts, again amateur and pro and kind of that then ended up transferring into wanting to put out more information to help other nutritionists and the athletes I couldn't reach directly.

And so I wanted to put more and more content out and so that's been running for the last kind of seven years or so sigma nutrition previous to that, my academic background is a master's degree in nutritional sciences and my undergrad was in biology and physics, so that's a kind of quick overview, but like I said, I'm happy to get into any specifics if we need to Yeah man, something I wanna talk to you about um which we touched on briefly via email was I want to discuss um the differences between training, general population clients and professional athletes. Um we'll dive into that as we go through this session. I'm sure there's a number of principles that apply to both. Um but then we'll dive into the nuances between the two different types of populations. But before we get into that, one of the first things that I asked, my guest is A question around um some pillars of health and wellness. So I'm an ambassador for an organization in Australia called Swiss eight, which is a proactive mental health program designed to allow people to structure in and schedule eight of the most important pillars um to allow themselves to be better at life.

And those pillars are sleep, nutrition, discipline, time management, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism. Is anyone or does any one of those pillars stand out for you at the moment and if so, which one? And also have one of those pillars been more important or you've had them in different orders in different times of your life. Yeah, Yeah, that's a really interesting question and I think for something like this, it's hard to pick one because it's been my experience at least that when you have multiple of them working in concert is where you really get benefit and as you start to, it's hard to have just one thing working and making you feel good if everything else isn't, and it seems to be that there's a bit of momentum to it and I think a lot of people find this when they think about their say exercise and nutrition and their sleep, Those things particularly from a coaching aspect of noticed tend to tie in together that when people are uh training regularly and that's a sleeping well, then their nutrition becomes easier to build momentum with, whereas when they pick up an injury and they're not training or they are demotivated or they were chronically sleep restricted, things become a bit more difficult.

So I think those work together, if I were to actually answer your question, maybe pick one, I think one that seems to be an overarching concept that can apply to all the rest would probably be mindfulness in the sense that I got a very broad view of mindfulness of what you are consciously aware of is essentially how you're going to experience life and whether that noticing when suffering is being caused by some sort of thought pattern that you're stuck within and being able to pull back from that or just being able to consciously go and do things as opposed to things just happening happening to you and and you're just reacting to them and so it's a very difficult skill to cultivate and I don't think it ever stops and it's definitely been a struggle for me personally and it doesn't work all the time when things kind of get overwhelming, but it is a important skill for that, and I think it allows you to do those other things well right, if you're stuck in a kind of a thought pattern and I thought loop and, and a place that you can't zoom out of, then it's very difficult for you to be able to make appropriate nutrition choices or want to go and train or to be able to go into social situations and bond with friends or to have motivation to go and follow a passion, right?

Everything else kind of just disappears, Whereas if you can give yourself enough space by being able to pull out and and see essentially what your thought is that the thought isn't you, then that gives maybe enough space to actually take some moves towards those other components that you mentioned. So at least for me that's been my experience because um for me, when, when I, when I can't zoom out from that, it's very difficult to do the other things. So hopefully some of that ramble made some degree of sense, dude, I love that answer, man, and that was to be honest, that was not the, the answer I was expecting from you was expecting nutrition because because of your expertise, but you know, that's a really good point, man is, you know, all of those, um all of those principles work very well together and they all affect each other and at times, you know, some of them are going to take precedence over others, um but you know, to get the most out of every single day and your health and performance, you need to look at all of those different things and like you said, man, looking at the mindfulness thing, I think that's a great way of explaining it is that you know, you need to have a look at everything that's going on in your life, and then you also need to be aware of what's within your control, what's outside of your control and then manage those things that are within your control.

Yeah, that's a great answer, man, thank you very much, um I want to talk about the philosophy that's driving sigma, nutrition, talk to me about how that started, why that started and your vision for the future. Yeah, so essentially it it started without much of a big long term plan and I think as I've mentioned to you, I put a lot of things down in life to luck, whether that's good or bad luck, but most of it is luck, and I think the planet originally was, I need to get out my ideas and my philosophy, so people are aware of what I think and how I operate and then if they're interested in working with me in a nutrition coaching capacity to see it's a good fit and aware of from just a, purely from a business perspective that creating content is a good idea. So I think when we initially are in those stages, the urges to, I'll do everything. So I was like, I'll create Youtube channel, I'll do a blog twice a week, I'll be on all these social media channels and when I was starting my podcast was early 2014, so it was a very different podcast scene back then, but I tended to listen to a few podcasts and it's like, this might be a cool thing to try as well, but pretty soon after starting that I found like this was a thing that my skill set seemed to work best with, that I enjoy doing the most and also got the most amount of traction, I would say within the, that first while.

And so decided to put all my efforts into that as opposed to trying to stretch myself too thin and do everything. And so noticing that, yeah, maybe this is a medium that suits me, whereas for someone else that it wouldn't be suitable for them and they'd actually be way better at creating a, a website that does all written articles and it be fantastic and I know people that do that or similar people could create a Youtube channel that be their main thing. So that's how it started of like a way to put out content. And it seemed to just, people seem to enjoy it and I liked doing it and I like the medium and then over time, I suppose it has changed that because it's became a bit more successful and I'll be able to think more about what direction do I wanted to take and also start basing things on my own interests, which is why the topics can jump around quite a lot. And so with that it's been a, I guess the philosophy would be that as of right now nutrition is an area, as with many things where there is a lot of misinformation and that misinformation is not just benign, right, It's not just people making a quick buck over nonsensical diets, These things can cause real harm when people are misinformed, right, not only extreme cases where something is dangerous or causes someone physical harm, but even if it doesn't just poor ideas that make people very self conscious that make them feel guilty over eating certain foods that make them feel bad because they didn't stick to a particular type of diet things that can drive people towards more disordered patterns of eating.

These are all real harms that come from bad information that is perpetuated a lot online. So I guess our philosophy is the more we can get people to be well equipped with understanding evidence based nutrition, what those fundamental principles are, and not get dragged into the specifics about certain types of diets then those people that that can have real impact on people's lives, I guess. So, um yeah, the philosophy basically is how can we spread more evidence based information and most of our audience ends up being practitioners that work with people. So that's coaches, trainers, dieticians, nutritionists, physicians, all of those people have, then the capacity to take some of this information and then use that with people and hopefully benefit them in some way. Mm I love that answer man. Um and we're going to transition back to your podcast in a moment. Um but before we do that, I want to talk about, wrote down a couple of things as you're speaking then. Um so you did say that you got a little bit lucky.

Um one of my favorite quotes says luck is the meeting of preparation and opportunity. So you know, you need to be in a position to be able to take those opportunities, you need to be prepared for that. And that means that might mean, you know, you're working on your personal growth, your education, your professional development, etcetera, etcetera. So that when those opportunities do come up, you know, you're ready and you get lucky. Yeah, go on. I know I was thinking it's it's very similar to conversations I've had with friends who tend to not completely agree with my views on luck because again, yeah, I completely understand the point that luck tends to also manifest when you have to work hard, right? You can't just hope to get lucky and everything and you can certainly take steps to increase the chances of opportunities coming up. Um, but my my also my thought would be when I step back at it even more of a medal level and I don't want to get into like philosophy or anything.

But basically everything around that is also lock in some degree of the ability to be able to work hard and to be disciplined. I think that there has to be some sort of behavioral genetic component to that as well, that I don't think it's the same for everyone. And we can't explain why I was able to take that step to go and decided to start a business or when I did do it. That I yeah, sure. I put in a lot of hard work but was was that completely me or was it just like some sort of genetic thing or whatever. But yeah, then it becomes a kind of circular argument. So yeah, I was just ranting in my own mind. Uh, but I completely take your point yet. You you can tend to find those opportunities come up when you're able to put in hard work. So yeah, your point is well taken. Um for anyone who is watching this on Youtube, which is a new feature of the podcast. If you see a little thai lady walking around the background, my client is here cleaning right now.

So apologies for that. Um you spoke about when you start your podcast, you kind of looked at the different mediums that you could use. And instead of spreading yourself thin, you thought that starting a podcast was the best medium for you to get your content across and um, start putting out good quality information to cut through the bullshit essentially. And and and provide some um, Evans evidence driven nutritional information. Um, now talk to me about this. This is a principle that we're gonna talk about a lot throughout this conversation. But period Ization I'm assuming you had some sort of period Ization whether you knew it was a plan or not. But I'm assuming you put some processes in place and then you followed through on that for a period of time before you went on to the next thing before you went on to the next thing. Was there a Period Ization process for you starting your podcast? Yeah. I'm not sure if it was planned like some sort of a thing ahead of time. That makes me look particularly smart. I think a lot of it was trying something.

Yeah, well there is definitely a lot. But there's also a thing that I think I've done of, okay, I'm going to do this thing and then see how that pans out and give something a sufficient amount of time. And so that has been one way that I've tended to to work through these things. And so that's, that's about, it has ended up being paralyzed as in, I think you can't spread yourself too thin and do everything, you can focus on one project at a time, let's say, that's tended to be the way I've done things of, okay, this is the next project for x amount of time and let me put my attention on that. And once those things build to a certain level, then it's much easier to branch off and do other things, right? But initially it's not because it's just too spread out and there's no concentrated build up, there's no uh even a following behind a certain idea that you can build. So yeah, it's been working on one project primarily at a time and giving that enough time to actually see some results from a so if that answers that question, that's that's how it's tended to work for me, I think.

Yeah, no, that's great, mate. Um you spoke about organic following before. Um now I personally think that these long form conversations are extremely powerful for people to listen to because you can't bullshit a long form conversation, you know, people that are listening to this podcast, people that are listening to your podcast, they're there to learn something if I know I'm listening to Danny Lenin's podcast, I know that I'm learning about nutrition, I know that I'm getting this information from, you know, professionals in the space that have, you know, years and years of experience and have applied the science as well as the art. Um, so you know, I think it's difficult, man, we're competing with um, you know, those short form mediums of instagram, one minute videos and facebook is typically a little bit longer. Youtube's are typically typically going to be a little bit longer. But I like these one hour, one half hour conversations, these long form conversations where we can actually dive down into the weeds and you know, we're going to go through some nutritional principles and I'm going to ask you some questions and I'm sure most of the time your answer is going to be, it depends.

But I love these conversations and I think it's so important for people to hear. Yeah, I agree. I think there's just so much depth and nuance and context that you can get from a conversation like this, that you can't from some of those other forms and it's been my experience of, of people reporting that they've heard maybe ideas somewhere else but never understood why that was the case until you can have a long conversation. And even as someone is talking for an hour, the same point might come up multiple times, but it might be after the third or fourth time that it clicks with someone or they hear on multiple episodes, like now it kind of makes sense. So if we take an example, let's say someone comes across someone posting on instagram saying, look, I know you've heard, low carb diets are the best, but actually carbohydrates aren't bad for you, like you can have them in your diet so someone can understand that, but they might not actually know well, why is that the case? And why is what this low carb person said? Not accurate because they're making this kind of point about insulin and all this type of stuff. Why is that not true?

So they could have the right answer. So to speak of knowing carbohydrates aren't inherently bad, but they might not be able to support why they might be able to explain to someone why if they listen to our conversation about the idea, then they can see ah I see where this side is coming from and now I can understand where the sciences and now I can understand how we get to the conclusion of, I don't need to fear carbohydrates. So that's just one example of where you can have that context laid out in longer form conversation. And I think that type of information sticks with people better. Even if we think of education pedagogy of, of how you get students to learn a certain concept as you would introduce a concept, you flesh that out and then you summarize it again at the end and through repeated exposure to an idea is where we kind of acquire this new information as opposed to hearing at once and trying to memorize it, that's not really how most humans learn ideas, it's through repeated exposure. We acquire these new ideas. So if someone's listening to your podcast, for example, every week and they're getting hours and hours of content over time and they're hearing you talk about these principles.

Sometimes you might state those principles other times you might just tell an anecdote of what you've done, but it starts to click over time of ah, this all starts to make sense. And that's not really something you can get from a single tweet or a single Tiktok video or so on. Those things are useful to maybe reinforce that and to kind of spread a certain idea. But in terms of if someone wants to really learn an idea, I think long form content is the way to go. Yeah, I love that man. And there's there's obviously going to be a little bit of a self selection bias as well because people who are listening to these long form conversations, they're they're here to learn right. They want to know this information, they want to hear what guys like you have to say. Um, so yeah, I love that man. Is that one of the reasons why you started your podcast and has your content created over time and has your demographic, um, did I say content created content changed over time and has your demographic changed over time as well? Yeah, I think so. Well, I think with my kind of typical audience as that started to emerge pretty early on was this group of people who are, I would say intermediate to advanced level of knowledge.

So they're either already dieticians and nutritionists or people doing a nutritional science degree or personal trainers who really wanted to get more information about nutrition to work with their clients. And so when you have that group of people, then you start going, okay, this is the level at where most of the content is going to be pitched. But that almost proceeded that. And so if someone listens in and they're just looking for some tips about nutrition, they're probably better places to go that my podcast. So they're not really going to continue listening. So the audience then Select over time with the content. What's tended to happen with me is it kind of goes through cycles of different interests just with my own. So for example, back in 2015, 2016, 2017, when I was doing a lot of performance nutrition with combat sport athletes. More of the content was putting out was related to what I was doing there. I released an e book and some resources related to that. And then in more kind of recent times, a lot of our focus has been on nutrition for as it relates to health in the long terms like chronic disease risk, how that impacts cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and so on.

But I'll still jump around between that and sports nutrition and and body composition stuff. So it tends to go in cycles with the idea being that not all your regular listeners need to listen to every single episode. People have the ability to pick and choose and they probably most likely will because there's so many podcasts there and they don't have to listen every week. Some of them do, but some could say, oh, this is a podcast episode for me. And if that just happens often enough, then you're going to keep people coming back without needing to do everything. So it's a in more recent times, much more of the focus over the last few years has probably been on like core nutritional science as it relates to some of the chronic disease risk and things are kind of a more general population level of like how do we change the health of the population, But from time to time it will still dip into specific interesting things ready to, could be bodybuilding or combat sports or some of these more niche areas.

So yeah, so, so as of right now, I think the vast majority audience would be like a nutrition professionals, healthcare professionals, fitness professionals or people just really interested in the kind of nerdy details of nutrition science like myself. Right. Yeah. Cool man. Um, you touched on nutritionists and dieticians there, Can you explain the difference to my audience please? Okay, sure. So some of the registration will just differ based on where people are based. So just bear that in mind they would check with whatever country they're in. But essentially the easiest way to think of it is dietetics relates to clinical nutrition that's applied in a healthcare setting. So if someone goes to the hospital and they have that's their diagnosed with a kidney disorder or they have um heart disease or if they are a cancer patient and they need a consult with someone regarding how to eat or what way they're going to be fed throughout the treatment and so on.

Then the hospital dietitian will come and consult with them. So a dietician is qualified to provide specific nutrition advice in a clinical nutrition context and is registered to do so. So with a nutritionist again, this will depend on where people are based. But at least here nutritionist isn't a protected term in the same way that a dietician is. So anyone can really call themselves a nutritionist, so to speak or nutrition and coach. And uh there's no kind of global body or national body for that in the same way there is with dietetics and there's a different scope of practice there of course. And so you would not be able to prescribe someone a set meal plan to treat a certain illness let's say. Whereas a dietitian can sit down with someone, do a consult and to help manage their type two diabetes can prescribe a specific meal plan? Whereas a nutritionist is just a general term that like I say can be pretty much used by anyone and depending on where you are, what country you're in or even what state or region you're in.

There's different laws about who can and who can't practice certain degrees of uh of this. So yeah, but the most simple answers to think of dietetics as clinical nutrition applications. So how do we provide nutrition to support for people with a certain disease state? Mhm. Thanks for the clarification mate, let's segue into your core nutritional principles. Um for you know, as you said, you've been touching on a lot more general population um stuff about basically getting people healthy. So, talk to my audience about your nutritional principles. Sure. So I think the most important thing to start with is how we should view what our diet should look like. There's no such thing as one best diet and there's no one specific type of diet. People need to follow. What's a better way to conceptualize is something called a healthy dietary pattern. And this is what you'll see in most guidelines discussed of healthy dietary patterns have the following kind of fundamental principles.

So, what a pattern is, is over time on average, what do the typical foods you consume look like And despite what some people may say about the state of nutritional epidemiology, we actually pretty have a really good idea of what overall healthy dietary patterns are. And even between different types of diets and how different people and different cultures tend to eat. We have some fundamental principles that seem to be across the spectrum and none of these are probably going to be things that are shocking to anyone or they would have heard before. So for example, we know that diets that have a high consumption of fruits and vegetables and other plants, nuts, seeds, so on tend to be correlate with good health. We look at a certain amount of dietary fiber is beneficial. So again, whether that's from fruits, vegetables, whole grains etcetera. We know that limiting the amount of saturated fat in the diet is going to reduce risk of chronic of of cardiovascular disease.

So you see different recommendations. But Around the figure of less than 10% of daily calories coming from saturated fat would be correlated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk. And that's due to the impact saturated fat has on LDL cholesterol. Um you'd have a limit the amount of sodium within the average person's diet limiting the amount of added sugars. Now this is important to say that it's not banning any of these nutrients or none can be consumed. But there are certain thresholds above which an excess consumption of them correlates with increased risk. So very high intakes of such, Sorry, go ahead. Yeah, I was gonna say can we just pause there for a moment and talk about um potentially. So, you know the other side of the coin is, you know, what happens when sodium is too low and things like that. So, you know, it's it's uh we need to make sure we are optimal ranges, right? It's not just about looking at having too much, Sometimes it's about addressing, not having enough.

Yeah. And this is important where and this is where the individual individualization comes in. And so one of the points we we try to discuss on the podcast is what are appropriate. Public health nutrition guidelines differ from what you might do with an individual in practice. And sodium is actually a really good example here. So at a population wide level, we know that the majority of people in Western countries consume too much sodium and that has a role in hypertension and then uh increased mortality risk when sodium intake is very high. And the most of this is consumed from processed foods in the diet as opposed to added salt meals. So, we know that at a population level that if we could have a overall reduction in sodium intakes below a certain threshold, you would see reduced incidence of hypertension and related complications. Now, on an individual level, that may not be the case. And particularly I'm sure that you're very aware of and what I'm aware of.

And I try and bring up the people is when I'm working with someone, let's say who is an MMA fighter who is training multiple times a day oftentimes in hot environments is sweating a lot and losing a ton of sodium, then we actually need to be quite mindful of replacing that lost sodium because there's so much sodium being lost in their sweat. And that's why we would use things like electrolytes during and after training sessions or letting them salt their meals quite a lot. And that problem for those athletes can be even more exacerbated because if you think of how most dedicated athletes decide to eat is a lot of time they prepare their own foods or have whole nutritious meals, not eating a lot of heavily processed foods all day. Right? So they're, sodium intake is already probably not very high. So what we can do is make sure that we're appropriately replenishing their lost sodium and some of those other electrolytes, like potassium, for example, and that's so that's the difference between individual nutrition advice to one person that we would do on a coaching level versus what can we say is a good general guideline for the, for the general population, over what, how our dietary pattern should look.

And so if we're saying we should limit sodium, it's not saying you can never put salt on your meals. It probably means if you have a high intake of ultra processed foods that tend to be really high in sodium and that's a large part of your diet. You're going to benefit from reducing that sodium intake by removing those, it's not to say never touch salt again, or it's not to say some people actually will need to consume some salt because they lose so much of it. So I think yeah, that's a really good point you bring up and that that really highlights that that difference between individual advice versus what we know at a kind of overall general population level of some good fundamental nutrition principles. Yeah, man, very well said man, and that's why I want to pause you there because, you know, most people if they look at the typical Western diet is going to be highly processed and you know, we have an obesity epidemic in the Western in Western society, right? So, you know, there's obviously a problem there and if people are eating highly processed foods then yeah, they can definitely get away with or they should be reducing their sodium intake.

But you know, if you have someone that's eating super clean all the time, man, they're probably going to be lacking in sodium. You know, I'm I'm based out of Thailand and as you said, the athletes are training 2 to 3 times a day and they're gonna be sweating a shitload man. So, you know, we need to be we need to be putting that sodium back in their body, we need to get them salting their meals and you know, having electrolytes after every training session and things like that. So, you know, it comes back to what we're saying before, it depends and to tie that into what you were saying earlier about, you know, the short term versus along the long, long form, sorry, conversation. Um you know, if you if that someone puts a sound about sound body sound bite out on social media saying we need to reduce sodium intake and then people take that as gospel, then they could potentially be causing some health issues or implications. Yes. Absolutely. Right. And you also see that the reverse, right? You could see someone who is a high level athlete talking about how much sodium they're consuming and saying this is I feel great from doing this. And before when it wasn't consuming enough.

I was cramping up all the time and now I'm consuming all these kind of supplements or adding loads of salt my meals and this is really good or putting on the salt meals. No problem. And for the average person, the population, they look at someone like, oh, this person is in great shape and it's obviously healthy. So maybe I'll just try and eat how they do. So, yeah, I think you, with those sound bites, you just don't get enough context of how does this apply to different people? Mm hmm. May what I wanna talk about next is um the different nutritional principles that you apply when working for health and when eating for performance. Is there a difference there? And what are those differences? Yeah. So the way I think of this is there's the same fundamental pieces of the nutritional puzzle, but in each of those cases they have a higher or lower level of importance. So if we think of those pieces as things like overall energy balance, so calories in calories out the different macronutrients are gonna consume protein, carbs, fats, what are the micronutrients and vitamins and minerals in the diet are hydration levels, supplementation.

We could think of the social aspects of eating, We could think of how easy is to start to adhere to, right? So there's all these different factors that are important to take into account for each those context. They have a different level of importance. So as an example, if we're taking the uh an athlete then to maximize their performance, then not only do we really need to make sure their energy intake is appropriate, but we want to make sure also are they eating enough carbohydrates to refuel for these training sessions, particularly, we say, a combat sport athlete, we put them on a an intake that's way too low in carbohydrates, they're probably not going to be performing at their best. Similarly, a small drop in their hydration status can have a direct impact on their performance, which is what they care about. And we also need to bear in mind that their number one goal at that moment is how do I perform and recover the best, not necessarily, how do I feel the healthiest and the best all the time. And as as I'm sure, you know, most hard charging athletes don't feel super great all the time.

You know, training does catch up to you. So, um whereas on the health aspect it may not be as important of like just exactly how many carbohydrates are in the diet here, or are we making sure to get this exact amount of protein after a certain training session? Now it can play a role but it's just maybe not as important. So I would say fundamentally for just eating for health, we're looking at again, what on average is your overall dietary pattern? Are you consuming good quality foods as the majority of your intake to make sure you're getting enough of those various different micronutrients that are getting enough dietary fiber that you're getting a suitable amount of protein, that you're not getting a super high intake of saturated fat and that you're eating at an amount of calories that's suitable for what your goal is. So that is just to maintain your current body weight and and just be healthy. Whether someone's going to actively diet just to change the caloric intake to match what that goal is and that's going to provide basically the bulk of the benefit that over a long enough period of time, can you consistently do this on average most of the time.

Whereas with an athlete, we're probably going to zoom in more on short time scales. So it doesn't matter just on average, what are they doing each day? It matters. And also within the day it can matter where we time those meals. So particularly you have an athlete has two training sessions and they've just done a pretty intense session in the morning and they're going to go and do another one that evening, then we do need to think about what we time there, carbohydrates like that day or what we consume after that first training session. Whereas for the average person, that kind of timing thing doesn't matter as much. Um same thing, supplementation is still a small percentage of what an athlete should focus on, but it's more of an important issue than the person, the average population. Um So I think that's the way I conceptualize that the pieces of the puzzle maybe the same, but how much importance each one has will be, will be different. Yeah, I love that man. Um and to add to that, that's going to be different at different times of the year as well. So when we start looking at period ization now we're gonna start tying in what I do with training, strengthening, conditioning athletes and what you do with the nutritional side of things.

So um you know, when I'm looking at general physical preparation, I've got a bunch of fighters that I'm training all year round and it's all about general physical preparation. Can we um you know work on structural integrity. Can we improve their stability in every single joint and mobility. Can we improve their strength, their speed, their power, their endurance. I'm going through these different phases when they threw a general physical um preparation phase like they don't have a fight a contract signed for a fight. So we've got an opportunity to work on these different things. So um from your perspective when someone is going through that G. P. P. Phase and they don't have a fight um that they're they're not in training camp essentially. Water some general recommendations you could you would give to those fighters or athletes. Yeah so this would depend on where that athletes body composition is at that particular time point. So if we note for example that we have an athlete that actually is carrying a bitch bit too much body fat and if they were to be booked to fight in six weeks from now it would be a real struggle to make weight.

Then it might be a good idea to go through a dieting phase. However with those kind of caveats aside in a in most general cases through those G. P. P. Phases where you're not actively um aiming to gradually reduce body fat let's say And the athletes at their normal walk around wait then we would try and say how can we best support the training they're doing to allow them to recover maximally from those training sessions and to also feel good and to mitigate any injury or illness. So therefore we need to make sure that number one, they're consuming an appropriate of calories to support that. So we need to essentially get their calorie intake as high as it can without them gaining weight if that's not our goal, We want to secondly, support that with a high protein intake distributed evenly across the day, and let's say at least maybe 3-4 meals, high protein meals at least. And then we want to make sure their carbohydrate intake is matched to that training schedule. Now, this can be period eyes even across the week if we wanted to, or we can look at averages from week to week, depending on the athlete we're working with.

And so you probably would have noticed that if you've been working with an athlete a long period of time and you've built more habits and education with them, you can start branching off into more and more complex and nuanced things. Whereas if you've just started with an athlete and maybe their understanding of nutrition isn't so great right now and have no structure, we would keep it very simple and look at like an average carbohydrate intake, but to keep that at an appropriately high level, so that when they do go and do those conditioning sessions and those training sessions with you that they can feel good, recover from them and then also put their best effort into their actual skill acquisition. So this is the moment where we want them to be improving. We want them to be getting better from a not an sNC perspective but also in their craft. So the better they can feel and better their recovered, they can actually focus on getting better. And so in that sense that's how we probably approach most of the year round and then at certain times based on when they are likely to be fighting and how much the athlete may need to cut white, we would have to deviate from that.

But for those phases like you say that would be the overarching plan I think mm I like that um approach of making sure they're well fed with you know the right amount of calories, the right ratio of macronutrients, they're not nutrient deficient. Um So that they can support their training, you know their recovery mechanisms and all that type of stuff. They don't need to be completely dialed in and you probably actually want to get them eating a little bit more so you know we can start um we're essentially we're getting them to the start line so when they do sign a contract, when they do have a fight coming up in eight weeks time, you know they're eating whatever 3.5 1000 calories and their whatever 10 kg above their fight. Wait we've got plenty of fucking room to movement, you know? So I think that's a good point of being able to set them up the rest of the year so that when they do sign a contract. Alright cool. We've got a good base of strength, speed, power, endurance, energy system conditioning were in 3.5 1000 calories. We're alternating undulating our training, we're doing a heavy session once a day but then we're also doing a lighter technique based session or aerobic capacity session or something like that.

Where were undulating that we're not smashing them into the ground, they're getting enough calories so they can perform and recover. Um It's not affecting their sleep or anything like that and then once they sign a contract, cool, now we can start ramping it up now we can start maybe not even pool calories to start with. Maybe we increase their neat or maybe we start dropping out some of those lower intensity sessions and putting in, you know, an extra two days or three days of a higher intensity session where they're getting after their skill sessions and things like that, we do that for a couple of weeks. Alright, cool. Now we start adding in some um some extra steps and extra 5000 steps a day on top of that. Then we start pulling calories and things like that as we start getting closer to the fight so um that kind of leads into the specific physical preparation right now, we start dialing in the training. now we start restricting them now they start really fine tuning everything they need in regards to training and nutrition and recovery mechanisms and things like that. I've heard you speak to Jordi um the fight dietitian about this before man I love that conversation and right after I listened to that I was like I need to get this dude on this a great conversation.

I've actually got Jordi um lined up in a couple of weeks time once he's finished over over in Vegas with the UFC man. So um this will be a great conversation because I've already done one with luke lemon. Now I'll do this one with you and then I'll dive into the next one with Jordi man. So what are your thoughts on that mate? Yeah I think you touched on something really important there as well that we're not just considering this from a physical perspective in that G. G. P. P. Phase. It's also important to give the athlete a bit more flexibility with their diet. So if we have them allowed to eat more calories and like really kind of at the higher end of what we want. And we also want to kind of it might be more of a relaxed attitude to us. So it's not as dialed in. It's not as demanding of making sure we're really tracking everything they're consuming that they can go and have social occasions with their teammates that they can spend time with their wives and girlfriends or boyfriends then those things are really important because then when it does come to that kind of fight camp period where we are going to start dialing in your much more psychologically fresh and be able to do that as opposed to feel that you need to be dialed in the exact same amount year round and that you end up not being able to enjoy those other aspects.

And so I think where I see the coaches and whether that's technique coaches or S and C coaches or head coach is doing the best of their athletes, is realizing that if we have a healthy functioning human being, it's much more likely they're going to be a able to be a better athlete. And part of that is realizing that we can let them have this flexibility and that they are able to do these other things not to the point where it detracts from their training or mix their body composition, get out of control, but things that allow them to be psychologically relaxed while still hitting these main principles and then like you say, then we can dial in as we need to and it's much more like you're going to be able to really pay attention to the details of your diet. If you haven't had to have done that for a number of months if you're going to do that every day for 365 days a year, it's probably not going to work. So I think that's an important consideration to those phases of thinking that realization, not just in terms of literally what we're eating but also how are we viewing food?

What is the mindset around food? That should also be period ized I think, mm. Yeah. It's an interesting concept, mate, because when we when we look at fighters for the most part fighters or athletes in general look at food as fuel. You know, if they're at the elite level, whereas the average person looks at food for joy, they eat for the hedonistic value, right? Whereas athletes are looking at, right, what is this giving me? How is this fueling me? Um you know, so I think it's a great point that we do need to give athletes time to be a little bit flexible and start gradually increasing their calories over time. So they go through that metabolic adaptation, which is something we'll discuss in a moment. But um you know, they are eating a good amount of food to support their training, their recovery. Um they're not being super strict. And you know, it gives that, like you said, it gives them that psychological freedom, so that when they do sign a contract call, they've got a lot of they got a lot of tools that they got access to now. Whereas if they're dieting all year round and they're training three times a day all year round there, hammering themselves with every single session.

Once they sign a contract, that one they're gonna be fucking tired because most fighters never do a D load regards the nutrition or training. Right? So um when we give them that flexibility and these conversations where we educate them on this type of stuff, they go, oh cool, I can I can relax a little bit. I'm not going to blow myself out but I can kind of um reduce my stress a little bit around my eating and my training and things like that. Focus on the other areas, you know, the rehabilitation and um gradually increasing your calories and getting your body fat percentage up a little bit and supporting that performance and recovery so that, you know, essentially when you when you sign that contract, you're now at the start line in a fucking good place to be able to now put the put the pedal to the floor. Yeah. And I think what we know from white class based sports is a huge problem is this concept of low energy availability where essentially there is not enough calories coming in to support both the training workload and certain essential processes within the body. So what the body does and how it adapts it has essentially save energy and turn down energy expenditure from some essential processes.

So with female athletes, we see the super commonly where they experienced loss of their menstrual cycle. So Ayman area, which is basically a way of the body to conserve energy by saying right now, I don't need this reproductive function and I'm not getting enough calories in. So I'm just gonna turn this off. The same thing happens with immune system function. Something happens with digestive function. Uh Bone health. And so you see this classification of what's now termed relative energy deficiency in sport is where we have a chronic low energy uh availability state. You have this manifesting in various different body systems. Like I said, well, that's reproductive bone health. So that means it's increasing risk of like stress fractures or even long term complications like osteopenia. Um it's impacting immune system function. So now you have athletes more susceptible to illnesses and if you're ill, you're either not able to train properly or you've been missing training sessions. They stack up enough over multiple years. You're missing time.

That you're could be getting better at your craft. So there's all these components of of low energy availability and what's important to realize is sure we may need to dip into that state during the tail end of times. What we're getting super lean or an athlete's cutting weight. That's almost unavoidable. But we don't want that happening chronically over the long term. So when we don't have a fight coming out, making sure we have appropriate energy to fuel all those training sessions and getting plenty of calories coming in is the way to prevent a lot of those downsides. So that the athlete doesn't run into those, those very real problems. Mm That's a great point because when someone is in a caloric deficit for extended periods of time, um the body essentially thinks it's under threat, Right? It's fighting for survival. So like you said, it's going to start, you know, shutting down some of those 11 systems of the body or some of those systems are not going to be getting the required nutrients for optimal function. And particularly if you're training 2-3 times a day, you're literally robbing from Peter to pay Paul.

You know, you're taking that energy away from the body's physiological processes to fuel your training session. Right? So, you know, that's why I wanted to bring up this conversation. The difference between health and performance. Because those things really they kind of go in hand but they don't as well. So what I mean by that is we want someone to be healthy the majority of the time so that when it is time to put the pedal to the floor, now we can start training foot performance. Now we can start dialing everything in and we can go through that 8 to 12 week period of high stress um where we're cutting weight were um you know, building our strength, speed, power energy systems, um etcetera were sharpening our schools. Skills were sharpening our acts. Uh and we're reducing our weight as we get closer and closer to the fight, you know? But then on the other side, you know, the most people don't have that period. Ice planets. Just like All right, cool. I signed a contract. I don't know how many calories I'm eating, I don't know um how many macronutrients I'm having, I'm already training to three times a day, you know, where do I go from here?

You know, they've got to start pulling from somewhere, you know, and that's when you get into a massive calorie deficit and then you start creating metabolic adaptation and particularly on the other side of the fight or a weight class athlete competing in an event, then on the other side, people haven't been taught how to go through a reverse diet or have essentially a plan to come out of that. They've been restricting for long periods of time. We need to teach them how to come out of the other side. You know, Cool, go and enjoy yourself. Okay, but have it for a couple of days. Just understand your digestive system is probably going to be a little bit stressed out and you know, you're going to be super sensitive to certain things that come into your body like alcohol and maybe if you smash a heap of carbs and things like that, you know, you might cause some indigestion and bloating and things like that, you know, have that Understand that I have a couple of days to enjoy yourself, but also think like we've got a plan the other side of it where we start going through a little bit of a reverse diet and then we start changing our training as well. Where we you know we put our body under a shitload of stress for the last eight weeks, 12 weeks or whatever.

Let's have a plan nutritionally and training wise to come out the other side so we can start rebuilding those health markers and get ourselves back to a good position. Um Can you talk about metabolic adaptation? Sure. So yeah, this is a really important concept to be aware of and it's essentially relates to an important aspect of energy balance where calories in influences, calories out and vice versa. They don't work as two separate things in an output machine, they're inextricably tied. So what happens when we either go into an overfeeding or under feeding state is there is an adaptation by the body as an attempt to kind of maintain some degree of homeostasis? We can think of it, we're trying to balance out that intake and expenditure because in the long term the body chronically doesn't want to keep losing mass. And it also wants to prevent as much as possible from continually gaining mass or at least it's set up that way hormonally to be able to try and defend against and so what happens, for example when we go into a calorie deficit is as we reduce our caloric intake, there is an impact than our energy expenditure.

So the body will kind of turned down our normal energy expenditure by a certain amount. So this could be contributed from small things. Like we're obviously eating less food. So there's less thermic effect of feeding so that the energy we expend to digest food, but most of it is driven by changes in non exercise activity thermogenesis. So these small movements that we subconsciously do throughout the day that contribute to our energy expenditure can start getting turned down. Now the bigger the deficit and the longer it goes on we're going to get a greater metabolic adaptation downwards. So even though some an athlete that say drops their calories by 800 compared to their normal maintenance, intake. Their calorie deficit is probably not going to be exactly 800 because their energy expenditure would have dropped a certain amount and the longer they go there's probably gonna be a greater adaptation. And so at some point that deficit is no longer that big. And so this is why over time people see a slowdown in the rate of weight loss or they need to start changing their diet again or reducing intake again to continue losing at the same degree of white.

What we also know is that there's a huge degree of inter individual variation here that from one person to the next even to athletes, that's that maintain their body weight on the same number of calories. If we were to reduce their intake both by, let's say 600 calories per day, there may be a difference in that metabolic adaptation. So in other words, how much their energy expenditure decreases. And so we would see a different response in terms of the rate of weight loss between those two athletes and the reverse. Also happens when you go into an overfeeding state, you over feed beyond your normal habitual intake or what you actually need to maintain weight and your body can increase its energy expenditure. Some people, there's a bigger increase, some people a smaller increase. And this is why we would see differences in people who overeat by a certain amount, how likely that is to translate to weight gain over a certain period of time. So these are all just adaptive processes by the body to try and account for this over or under feeding. And this is kind of useful that if we think within normal circumstances, let's say we're not trying to overeat or under eat, we don't need to eat the exact number of calories every single day and match up with our energy expenditure to stay the same weight.

People stay in and around the same way for multiple months and years. So it's on this day to day fluctuation. The body is able to account for what we've actually consumed in our intake by slightly changing expenditure or having influences on what we're likely to eat the next day. And so that's the adaptive kind of thermogenesis idea of that when we change our calories in, there's going to be an adaptive response by the body to change our calories out. Mm Yeah. Great explanation made. And this is why there will be some fighters listening to this as well. Um so this is why when people are cutting weight as they approach a fight and they get closer and closer that fight, they cut, start cutting more and more calories. They're sleeping between training sessions because their body is literally like there's not much energy coming in, I need to conserve it. So I'm going to sleep between training sessions. Man, I had a fighter that I worked with um that I was just like, hey man, just make sure, you know, we're cutting your way, we're not going to cut too much, too much calories. I think I would end up like cutting 400 calories a day Over the course of a week, over five weeks or something like that.

Um but I was like, I just want you to create a little bit more of an energy deficit by getting more steps in, take a, you know, for the first two weeks, take 30 minute walk every morning and then for the next two weeks weeks, take another 30 minute walk in the afternoon, man. And he was like, didn't even need to wear a sweatsuit or anything bro. And he was like, that was the easiest fucking white cut I've ever done and performed well man dominated in his fight, right? Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah. So it's it's noticing that yeah, this these things happen unconsciously, that you will move around less throughout the day without even realizing it. So one way to counter that is exactly what you've done is like, well, that's actually program in that you're going to move around and and track that. So we can see how many steps you're going or for how many minutes are going to walk as a way to counteract that we know there's going to be a reduction in how much are moving when we diet. So let's try and put in place something to kind of offset some of that decrease. Yeah, I think that's an important component to touch on as well for people is like to create an energy deficit. It's not just about cutting food or doing more exercise.

You can do a little bit of both, cut your food a little bit, cut your calories a little bit um, but also increase your neat non exercise activity. Thermogenesis. Right? You're moving, you're not training, you're literally just moving to create a little bit more of an energy deficit so that your body goes, hey, you know what, let's start tapping into our stored energy. Yes. Yeah. And I think particularly for fighters where they're training schedule is already pretty hectic. There's not much room to add in more and actually we don't want to because every thing that's anything that's high intensity is going to take away from their ability to perform and recover from those other training sessions. So something like a nice easy walk. You're not getting any real major detriment, it's obviously contributing to more energy expenditure but it's not really doing anything that's going to completely drain them or really fatigued their muscles. So it's a useful like keeping energy expenditure up without having the argument. It's probably gonna do them a world of good. They're getting out there getting some sunshine, you know getting some vitamin D.

There um You know getting their lymphatic system working. Um They're getting a little bit of blood flow going to improve recovery and um you know the pushing the nutrients towards the cells that need them. Um I see so many benefits in it man, I'm just wary of the time mate. Do you still have a little bit of time or do you need to bail out? Yeah no we're still good for another little bit. Okay cool mate. Um now I want to discuss your kind of protocols leading into fight week. So let's say we've got a client who's um signed a contract, they've had 12 weeks to cut their weight, refine their skills, build their engine um and all of their different strength conditioning components et cetera were leading into fight week. My view is if you're working your ass off in that last week, your fight camp didn't go to plan. Mm Yeah. So the way we ideally set things up is we have a goal of where the athletes weight needs to be about seven or eight days before they're kind of way in.

And this will fluctuate with the athletes. So you kind of need to have a few fights to see. But as a kind of general cap, um, for a broad level, we would say, Okay, you don't really want to be more than 8% away from your weight class. If we're presuming this is a Lag time of more than 24 hours between weigh in and fight. So 8% for some people might be straightforward for other people, it might be too much, it might be less. But like that's a cap where I think we can, we can, we can do that without too much risk and too much detriment to performance. If we do everything right now, you can do a bad weight cut and even if it's 5% screw yourself over, but presuming we're going to use appropriate methods, something around 8% or less is probably a good target. Now, again, the caveat that certain athletes will be cutting more than that and can do that and perform fine. Uh, that's without a doubt. And there's other athletes that actually perform better when they cut much less weight than that.

So there is a big individual variation and actually one of the key things, I think for a lot of athletes is finding what weight class is best for them and what level of white cut is best for them and not presume it's the same as someone else because you're seeing now, I think particularly a lot of a rise of fighters that have gone up in weight classes to challenge at a higher weight class and they perform unbelievably and suddenly people are thinking, oh, like maybe I could do that, you know, as whereas for so many years to always have thought was if I could just get down to a lower weight class would be so much more competitive and I can understand why people think that, but it's not necessarily the case. So we start with having that frame of reference of, okay, we need to be at this weight by eight weeks or eight days out. If we can get to that point, then the structure of the of the week is pretty straightforward. We would do probably things that both athletes are hopefully doing to some degree, whether that's a water loading and water restriction where that's probably depletion of glycogen levels and probably one that's maybe a bit under used but is perhaps should be the number one thing they're doing.

It would be a low fiber slash low residue diet For 2-3 days before a way in which can can knock off between 0.5%, of their body weight commonly. Um A combination of different methods like that so that their actual, the final last part way of to cut water weight in a few hours or that the day leading into weigh in is as minimal as possible by that point. So we can get any of those specifics, but that's kind of outline of what we would aim to do and to speak to your point. Typically we would, I do hope that the athlete is starting to taper off with their training and usually if they're working with a knowledgeable coach, that's exactly what it looks like that. By the time we get to fight week, things have tapered off considerably and now it's just focusing on, okay, how can we just make sure that they make we make this process as smooth as possible. Yeah, yeah.

Very cool man. I want to dive into that last week. Um but before that I want to give the listeners a little bit of an understanding of the things that we're thinking about as coaches. Um So obviously let's say let's use an example, like I've got a girl who's 60 kg, she fights at 52 she signed a contract. She fights in eight weeks time. Alright, cool. I'm going to be looking at managing her energy balance over the next kind of 67 weeks. Um taking into account when she's flying, how long we've got, what she needs to work on etcetera etcetera. I'm going to start pulling calories. Um Not so much that is going to affect her performance and her recovery okay? But I might just, you know, I'm sorry, I'm gonna put her into a slight energy deficit, you know, it might be 200 calories a day less, it might be an extra 5000 steps a day, whatever it might be. Okay, we're going to see what's happening there were working on her, her skills, her drills, her strength and conditioning components, we're focusing on recovery. Um We track her body composition, we track her weight as she goes through that first week or two and then we start making some adjustments and we're fueling her to support those training sessions but also the recovery.

Now in my mind, I want to get her down to say 56 kg ish, roughly four kg off wait 3 to 4 kg off weight. Um She's in a good healthy position In those last 10 days, seven days somewhere around there depending on who they are. Um then we're going to start tapering with the training. So we've gone through this massive um training volume, training load, training intensity now we're going to start tapering that off walls were also managing her weight. So um it's going to be more about the super compensation effect of training, let her rest, let her recover, still do a little bit of work, focus on the skills and things like that. And obviously need to take into account different clients. Some people might need to do a heavy session here and there. Um So they can, you know, they've got that kind of um neurological drive and they need to keep that that engine ticking I guess. Um But let's say we get it's 10 days out a week out. Whatever protocol used eight days out from fight, this girl's 56 kg needs to drop another four kg in that last week.

What are some of the protocols you're using leading into the wayans? Yeah, so like I said, the first thing would be For three days, 2-3 days before that way. And we're going to make sure that that intake is a low fiber low residue diet. Um this essentially just means that there's gonna be less gut residue left in the gastrointestinal tract. And if there is residue essentially undigested food still in your Gi tract, that obviously has some degree of weight. So the less of that means less weight. That one is probably the starting point for for everyone because there is zero downside to performance. From doing that. All the others have some degree of performance detriment uh to some degree the with relation to body water. The way we would typically do that is use a water loading protocol from the start of that week, maybe even from like the sunday, depending on when the fight is of multiple days, probably at least three days of very high water intakes. Um so this could be something around um depending on the size of the athlete, 789 liters of fluid per day, followed then by a restriction day or restriction days.

And so there's a couple of different options we have there again, depending on time of way in and different athletes that we've tried a couple of different protocols. one that is probably the only one that kind of evidence based, I suppose that we have good actual data on would be the same structure as a study done by Read Real, who's currently the head of performance nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, and his study was in Brazilian jiu jitsu athletes where they did three days of water loading followed by one day of restriction and they saw that there is a greater degree of water loss when there's been water loading versus no water loading. So we have those three high days followed by a restriction day where it gets down to quite low levels, let's say it might be a leader of fluid or less. Again, depending on on the circumstances and then we would do a glycogen depletion or just very low carbohydrate intake. Now, this would again, depend on what the athletes training is look like.

And as you noted, some athletes taper off more aggressively, some actually keep more heavier, intense sessions in some do that at different time points. So it's kind of coordinating with them and their team what that schedule looks like. And we're trying to aim to we still want them to have to do those sessions, but by the time they're doing that, those last one or two really intense sessions, if we can have them on a low carbohydrate intake going into that, those sessions will use up a lot of that muscle glycogen. And then if we don't replenish that over in the final few days of that week, that lower amount of glycogen means a lower body weight. So you've lost glycogen from your muscle and liver and you've also lost the water that attaches to glycogen. So allows us to lose more weight and obviously all those things will be replenished afterwards. Um there's a potential to maybe use a low sodium intake for the last couple of days. So, again, this is where there is probably no real training going on. And again, the what we mean by low sodium in this context will depend on again, the athlete what their training looks like the environment they're in climate, all that type of stuff, but lower sodium tends to correlate with maybe or uh an increased loss of, of water.

So we can use a combination of all those things together that hopefully get the athlete down to close to making white and then we'll also have a target of where do we want them to be when they're going to bed the night before, way in. So if they've got away in in the morning the next morning for each athlete, we will typically know how much they tend to lose overnight. And then we can say, we don't you cutting more weight than unnecessary. We actually wanna time like set things up that you we way just on the dot don't cut any more than we need to. So we would have them going to bed slightly over their weight because we know just from overnight they're going to lose a certain amount of white. And so with that goal in mind we do that. And again, then other specifics like induced sweating, whether people use hot baths or saunas or so on um will depend on how big of a weight cut the athlete undergoes. The type of method can come down to athlete preference because we've seen athletes have different preferences for this and whilst we can make a different case for different methods, I think that how an athlete feels is super important.

Um So we've had athletes, for example, who really prefer a hot bath because even though they're still going through it and do sweating, they feel that okay, my my face at least is not facing the same degree of temperature as in a song, let's say, and for other athletes who only have maybe a very small amount to sweat out, they might actually prefer just to do kind of like a warm up just to kind of feel fresh. But they'll do it with multiple layers of clothes and that's enough to get off like that last half a kilo. So the method depends on how much we need to lose and what the athlete kind of feels comfortable with and and that will be for the very final amount. But the important thing is that's just to knock off the very final amount. And hopefully we've done all these other things to reduce body weight by a significant degree. And so when we think of what does that 8% reduction in weight look like over the final week? That is not 8% of your body weight being lost in a sauna, right? That is not a good way to go. It's losing multiple percent of all these other factors and then maybe the last couple one or 2% from from an induced sweating scenario.

So that's an overview of generally what a game plan might be like. Yeah, that's awesome, man. Thank you very much for sharing another point that I want to make. There is like, you have a plan that is a period ice plan, right? This is where they're at right now. This is where they need to be for weigh ins. This is where we want to be a week out. All right. What are the tools that I'm going to use that's going to allow them to perform, recover, leading into that. And then what are the tools that I can use in that final week whilst they are managing their weight and their refining their skills and their techniques and things like that. They're getting themselves mentally prepared physically prepared for what's coming on. Um Let's talk about the rehydration process before or after weigh in before they step into the cage, the ring on the mats, whatever. Sure. So, the things that we need to know that we need to replenish pretty soon in order for them to be able to perform well is obviously fluid because they're very dehydrated along with that electrolytes because as we mentioned through those sweating processes, they've lost sodium potassium, magnesium and so on. We also need to make sure we get as much carbohydrates back into their muscle as possible because we know for athletic performance that going in with full glycogen stores is is going to lead to optimal performance.

The same being fully hydrated leads to optimal performance. So, the kind of cruel thing about weight cutting in combat sports is we're doing two things that are inherently the opposite of what you want to perform at your best. So, we have this time period. Now, okay, how do we get hydration set us back uh to to to fully hydrated? And how do we get carbohydrates back into their muscles that they've got full glycogen stores and ready to go. So with the fluid, we would have a as a very kind of rough guide we could think about on average from the time after they weigh in until maybe a few hours before they go to sleep that evening. Can we rehydrate at about one leader per hour? As an average in the first hour. We might give them a bit more if they would like, because they're obviously gonna be very thirsty. But as an average over that time frame, rehydrating at that rate means we're probably going to be that is actually going to restore fluids as opposed to them drinking five liters in one, go feeling awful and just urinating most of it out.

We want to make sure it's just period ized over the rest of that day. Um And like I mentioned, being mindful that you probably don't want to keep aggressively rehydrating all the way up until sleep time because you don't want them waking up tonight to have to go to the bathroom. So you probably cut that off a couple of hours before sleep and then they can sip on some water, but not really aggressively rehydrate. Along with that, you're probably at least in the first few uh drinks that they consume. You're going to add in some electrolytes. Um So you can use this like just supplemental electrolyte powder that you're adding to some of those drinks? And then with carbohydrates, we typically start getting that through the first liquid meal they have after a way in. Typically it's easier for the athlete because of the dehydrated state they're in to be able to just tolerate a liquid meal first when they when they get off the scale. So we'll give them a beverage that has water, electrolytes and a carbohydrate powder. And again, we're just gonna make sure that we have enough carbohydrate that as much carbohydrate as we can without causing any G.

I. Distress. So one of the problems then you get with particularly carbohydrate powders or gels is it can cause gi distress if you have too much in one go. So it may need to be something like we're gonna get Um a that gradually consumed over the course of an hour. We're getting like a 60g from this carbohydrate beverage and that might be split up into two different drinks, something like that. And then we'll have their plan for their meals over the course of the rest of the day that we're focusing on high carbohydrate meals but are probably relatively lower in fat and maybe even lower in fiber. Just so we're focusing on glycogen replenishment. We want lots of carbohydrates back in and fat and fiber will slow down the transit time. So how quickly we actually digest those meals. So we'll just focus on at least the first few being high in carbohydrate and then we'll have some sort of lean protein source with their main meals. And then those snacks can be things like high carbohydrate, salty snacks. Um So that's kind of things like rice cakes or whatever is easy for the athlete to consume.

Uh The important thing here is with any of the meals were going to try and make sure they are meals at the athlete is used to consuming, you don't want an athlete starting to take a new supplement or a new type of meal or doing any weird strategies that they're not used to doing basically the same types of things they consume in around the normal habitual training, so we know that they tolerate it well, you don't wanna do anything strange, particularly like the carbohydrate drinks. So that's what we would do for the over the course of that day, and then the next day when we come to fight day, a similar type of structure of not forcing anything to the point where the athlete feels bad, but making sure we're keeping on top of regular hydration, uh make sure we're keeping the meals high in carbohydrate and ones that the athlete feels okay consuming and they're not experiencing g I distress from and run that up until they probably have their last meal multiple hours before competing obviously, and then with the fluid intake again, a few hours beforehand before they're gonna go and start warming up.

We would cut off any aggressive rehydration, so to speak and just let them sip away based on their thirst to that point, so they can focus on warming up, getting ready and not being worried about keep drinking or going to the bathroom. Um So that's the kind of overview, but obviously how it specifically plays out would be dependent on the individual athlete. Yeah, yeah, that's excellent mate. Again, everyone's an individual and you know, we need to pay attention to our athletes, um weight cutting history, their nutrition, their training, you know, the more metrics that we have, the more information that we have, the more um informed our decisions are going to be when it when it comes to that final week and in particular those last couple of days, the last couple of hours before weigh ins and then from there into stepping into the cage, the ring, the mats, whatever. Um That's an amazing conversation. May, I've really enjoyed this one. Um I want to start wrapping up. That's that's given me some excellent questions to um go over with Jordi when I get him on the podcast and I'll talk about coming out of the other side.

Um But yeah, that's an incredible conversation man, Thank you very much for sharing my last question um that I ask all of my guests is the name of this podcast is live train perform, which stands for live Life to the fullest train to your potential and perform at your best. What does that mantra mean to you? Uh That's that's really interesting. I think for me they're all one of the same thing in that. I mean in order to derive meaning from life, I'm kind of very much in line with maybe some of the existentialists as there's not one meaning that we all need to follow, meaning can be derived from whatever we end up feeling is meaningful to us. So there's no one meaning. But the good thing about there being no real meaning to life is that we derive it from what we place value in. So if you're going to do that, the way you derive meaning is by fully going into the thing you care about. So it might it might be something that most other people in the world don't care about, which is fine.

But if you care about it, then you do that to the best of your ability and you and that kind of speaks to what you're saying of like being able to perform to your best to be able to do those things. The fullest is when you find those things do them to the best of your ability and kind of forget other stuff. Like go all in those things that you want to do and that's the way to do it. And so yeah, they're all connected that the way I think to live a meaningful life is to find those couple of things that means something to you and yeah, go all in on them. Um and yeah, that's what that's what first comes to mind. At least love that. Thank you very much. Um I really appreciate your time and I'm really grateful for luke introducing us and I'm grateful for your time, your knowledge experience and you know, your podcast has definitely shaped a lot of my nutritional principles as well. So I want to thank you personally for that, mate. Thank you so much, very kind of you to say.

And it's, I've really enjoyed this conversation. Thank you brother, let's do this again soon, eh 100% cheers mate. And there we have an excellent conversation with Danny Lennon of sigma nutrition. I really enjoyed this one. If you did as well, please make sure you pass it off to your friends and family, anyone you think can benefit from this message. Any five star ratings and reviews are much appreciated. All of Danny's links will be in the show notes and I'm actually just about to purchase his weight cutting e books, so I'll let you guys know how that goes much. Love guys piece

Weight cutting principles for weight class athletes with Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition
Weight cutting principles for weight class athletes with Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition
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