In most combat sports, MMA included, there is pressure from the top down to fight in lower weight classes. You have heavyweights weighing in at 270lbs, so the 230lb heavyweights will drop down to 205 to gain an advantage. But now the natural 205 pounders will be at a disadvantage, so they’ll cut to 185 and so on.
Being able to effectively cut weight without diminishing performance will give a fighter an advantage over an opponent who is less skilled at properly cutting weight. If you are cutting weight the wrong way you will lose strength, endurance and speed, basically dooming yourself to failure.
Nutritionally speaking you need to maintain adequate protein in order to maintain muscle. Muscle is made up of proteins and you need to feed your muscle with protein to maintain it. Generally speaking you should be taking in about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Protein shakes are a good way to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of protein as they give you large amounts of high quality protein without excess calories that can store as body fat. You should be looking for protein shakes that combine both whey and casein like Intek Evolution protein, or Optimum Health Pro Complete 40.
Most individuals will have the best success eating small frequent meals which allow you to feed your muscle tissue, recover from training sessions and keep your metabolism moving. While you are cutting you will want to reduce carbohydrate intake but make sure you are getting carbs pre and post workout which will allow you to maintain intense training sessions and allow you to recover from training. Fat intake should primarily be coming from healthy fats like flax oil, fish oil and other essential fats.
The two most important aspects of cutting weight will be your total calories and the quality of the calories you are taking in. In order to drop weight properly you need to create a slight calorie deficit. This does not mean you should drastically drop calories as this will only get your body to shed muscle and hold onto fat. Anything more than a SMALL calorie deficit will also cause your performance to take a nose dive. The first things you will lose are water and glycogen (carbohydrate stores in the muscle and liver). For many fighters this will be enough weight to allow them to make their weight class.
Keep in mind the quality of the calories you are taking in also makes a difference you need adequate protein to maintain muscle and performance and you need some carbs both pre and post workout.
Managing carbohydrate intake will make the cutting process easier. When you reduce carbohydrate intake the body will look for an alternative fuel source. As long as the supply of carbohydrates is adequate it is much more difficult to get your body to use fat as fuel source. Reducing carbohydrates will also reduce calories so you can use the carbohydrate reductions to help create the slight calorie deficit you need to drop weight.
It is a common misconception that drinking less water will help you lose water weight. The opposite is true; by drinking more water your body will actually excrete more water. Drinking less water will dehydrate you and cause your body to become very sensitive to water intake. Any water you do consume will be retained. Drinking adequate amounts of water and using a potassium sparing herbal diuretic like Optimum Health Deplete is the best way to take off water weight and maintain athletic performance. Deplete uses several herbs including dandelion and uva ursi to safely shed subcutaneous water (water just under the skins surface) from the body.
Supplementation can definitely give combat sport participants an edge in their everyday training as well as helping them cut weight properly leading up to a fight. Protein shakes are invaluable as they give you an easy way to take in quality calories, especially protein, and keep your metabolism cranking.
The other products which can give you an edge are pre-workout formulas like Muscle Sport Lean Revolution and BioRhythm Juice. While cutting weight most athletes will lose strength and energy levels will decrease. The pre-workout formulas mentioned above are excellent for increasing workout intensity and strength and helping to buffer lactic acid which allows you to train longer and more intensely.
Post workout nutrition is vitally important you need to take in fast absorbing carbs and protein which is easily digested and absorbed quickly. We recommend BioRhythm After Glow as it meets these requirements and has added glutamine, BCAA’s and cortisol blockers. Even while cutting you need to take in some carbs after training. A good recovery drink while cutting can make all the difference in the world as it is going to allow you to train intensely and recover fully.
Any time you reduce calories your body will tend to slow its metabolism. The body likes to maintain a set weight point and tends to fight changes. A metabolism booster with 7oxo dhea like BioRhythm Synthrolean will help keep your metabolism from slowing when you start your weight cutting process. This makes it much easier to drop weight and tends to speed the process up. This product does not have stimulants in it. Most fat burners on the market are nothing more than large amounts of stimulants and they do nothing more than provide energy. People feel the energy from caffeine and other stimulants and assume the product is doing something. Unfortunately most of these products do nothing to affect metabolism.
For more information on this topic or any questions on supplementation we encourage you to stop into any one of our stores