Weight Cut and Weight Loss in MMA

scalesIf you have followed my blog for a while, then you’d know that in January 2012, during wrestling practice I ruptured my ACL, torn my meniscus and MCL. I had to wait until June to get the surgery and then started my rehab; both physical and mental (you can see the journey at http://mmamindpower.com/category/30lbs-with-raptured-acl-series/).

Having recovered very well and quickly, I started boxing in September, Kickboxing in October and in January 2013 I was able to go back in full MMA training. On the 11 December I weighed 205lbs. Last Sunday 20 January 2013 (6 weeks later) I weighed 184lbs. That’s a cut of 21lbs and I have done it while making sure that I fed myself enough to train and not only maintain but increase both stamina and strengths.

In this post I want to share with you what I have done both in terms of diet and psychological work in order to make this an easy, sustainable and effective journey. Please note that you should always seek the opinion of a professional and of your doctor before you start a new diet or exercise regime. What follows is only my opinion and may not be suitable for everybody.

The Goal:

The first thing that I did is to make sure that I had a clear goal in mind. Without a clear goal you will be more likely to fail and that is mainly because of that fact that you will not be able to measure your results against a desired outcome, you will have no clear compelling vision and you will have no sense of temporal progression. So set your goal before you start (follow the Goal Setting guide which you can find at http://mmamindpower.com/why-mma-whats-your-goal/)

The Strategy:

You have to have a strategy; if you don’t you are several times more likely to fail! Having a strategy means knowing exactly what you need to do to achieve your weight loss goal. This must include:

  • Your mile stone goals
    In my case I had to be 198lbs by the end of December, 183lbs by the end of January, 172lbs by the end of February and 155lbs by weigh in day at the end of March). This way it is easier to monitor your progress and adjust if needed.
  • Your knowledge
    Make sure that you talk to someone who not only knows nutrition but preferably someone who has achieved a similar task to the one that you are facing! This way you will avoid putting all the effort in for something that may or may not work. Although the same diet may not produce the same results for everybody, you are more likely to succeed if you get advice from someone who has first-hand experience and can recommend supplements and small tricks which make all the difference. I was lucky enough to get advice about nutrition from an amazing athlete who has achieved and will achieve great heights – Thanks Jack Mason.  
  • Your food
    Once you have your diet, you must plan for it! You must plan ahead what you are going to eat in the coming days; make sure that you monitor not only what you eat but also the amount of food you eat. If you plan ahead, you can shop accordingly; imagine that after a long day at the gym you get home at 10pm, ready to eat what you need to refuel and at the same time lose weight and all you have in the fridge is cheese and ham! Are you really going to make it out the house to buy the right food? Chances are slim! So you end up either eating what there is or skip the meal altogether; both very bad ideas! So plan ahead and shop accordingly. Lastly, planning allows you to prepare mentally for your meal.
  • Drink at least 4lt of water + what you sweat
    Why? Just because! Just do it! This advice was given to me by another amazing athlete who is now in TUF17! – Thanks! Luke Barnatt 
  • Have a “cheat day”
    A day of the week (typically weekend) when you can eat more freely. I personally prefer to moderately eat a little more freely at lunch and a little more freely at dinner instead of pigging out on only one meal and then right back on track after that. Check with the person who is helping you out with your diet.
  • Your training camp
    This post is targeted at combat-sports athletes and so I assume that you are cutting weight for a fight. Therefore it is important that you monitor your performance in training in terms of stamina and strength. Make sure that you are not losing strength and if you are you must address the problem correcting your diet and/or supplement intake.
  • Be realistic:
    It is important that you set a realistic goal! I am trying 155lbs for the very first time in my life; I have never made this weight before. My strategy is that if after having done absolutely everything I possibly can, I do not get to 172lbs by the end of February or the very beginning of March, I will change plan and fight at 170 instead! This does not represent an excuse to fail but rather a calculated change of plan at appropriate time in case I cannot make that weight (only because I have never done this before – so it’s is about weather my body can do it rather than weather I can).If you have made this weight before or if, because of your body fat percentage, you are certain that your body can make that weight, this point does not apply.

Your mental attitude:

Lastly, you must change your attitude towards food. You can do that in many ways, we have audio tracks and other programmes for that. However, one of the easiest ways is to follow the instructions outlined in the Goal Setting procedure and then create mental strategies which can help you associate pleasure to dieting as opposed to pain. Some tips include:

  • Weigh yourself once a week one the same day at the same time (first thing in the morning – better the day before your “cheat day”). This would set some sort of competition which as an athlete you are likely to enjoy and be motivated by.
  • Always write down what you are going to eat for the week ahead so that you do not have to make impulsive-emotional decisions bat rather rational ones. Then you will be only acting on what you have decided which takes away a lot of the temptation and the pressure.
  • Reward yourself always after a good week. Even if just verbally or by buying yourself something nice, like a new piece of gear. This will create positive associations between dieting and results (happiness).

These above are exactly all the steps that I am following and that are bringing fantastic results. Not only have a lost weight and keep on loosing it, but I am also feeling stronger, faster, more durable and of course, because of all of the above, more motivated!

Good luck!


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