Weight Cutting Tips for Combat Athletes (Guest Post – James Bee)

WeightCutMissing weight is one of my biggest pet peeves in combat sports. You know when you are fighting, you have ample amount of time to get your nutrition on point and be discipline so when it comes to the week of the weight cut, you have very few pounds to lose and it’s a piece of cake.

But I understand that sometimes it’s not lack of discipline but lack of knowledge on how to cut weight and the best ways to get it done, so you are always on weight, full of energy and ready to fight.

Today’s guest post is from my buddy James Bee, author and creator of The Lean Performance Diet: 8 Week Cutting Guide, and is the founder of JB Fitness Systems. Listen up because he knows what he’s talking about.


Weight Cutting Tips for Combat Athletes – James Bee 

Making weight is an integral part of combat sports whether we like it or not. Although controversial and sometimes dangerous, you have to admit it takes discipline and a seriously strong mind to do what these guys do.

I mean, imagine having to train hard, mentally prepare for a fight while trying to sharpen your skills, dealing with fatigue, life’s stresses AND cutting weight, it’s pretty damn admirable. – Anyone who shows this kind of true dedication to their sport has my respect.

Ainsley Robinson_Funk RobertsBut have you ever wondered how professional fighters you see on TV seem to cut all that weight so easily? and why is it that some guys suffer and struggle to barely make weight, and show clear signs of performance losses yet you see other guys casually roll up on the stage, make weight, and then 24 hours later look a million bucks and perform like a boss?

Some of you may be saying it’s because they have expensive supplements, a team of special dieticians and doctors, or they are on performance enhancing drugs etc… Some people may argue that it is all because of the paleo diet or intermittent fasting.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s none of the above, none specifically anyways.

Fighters and coaches over the years have come to realize something. And that is – successful weight cuts don’t happen by starting cutting the week of the fight, or even 1 month before the fight.

They happen by following a purposeful diet all year round that focuses on an outcome of performance, body composition and health.

Now that the fighters and coaches are realizing how important nutrition is to a fighter’s performance – they are becoming more organised, more professional about their diets. This is why you’re seeing bigger weight cuts, and bigger performance.

MMA-Diet-Layout_FunkMMA_Funk Roberts

By following the fat burning tips below from my new cutting guide, you will learn some of strategies used by professional fighters to get on weight, and performance optimized.

How to adjust your calories for fat loss

To start the fat burning process, you need to first adjust your calorie intake. The amount of energy going out has to be greater than the amount coming in, for a combat athlete this isn’t usually a problem as training requires a great amount of energy.

By doing a simple calculation you can work out how many calories you should be eating each day for rapid fat loss. Below is an easy way to figure this out:

For rapid fat loss your calculation is: 10 x bodyweight in lbs.
I’ll use an example of a 178lbs man looking to cut to 158lbs.)

Example: 178lbs x 10 = 1,780 kcals
(To work out your own simply multiply your bodyweight in lbs x 10).

For most people, this low calorie intake is a little bit of a drastic change, especially if you’re over weight. So you can still start by lowering calories to 11 or 12 x bodyweight in lbs. The main thing is you’re in a slight deficit. Once you have done the calcs divide the number into 4 meals. 2 shakes 1 lower carb meals during the day, 1 high carb meal.

For example:
1780kcals \ 4 meals = 445kcals each meal. (Roughly)

The number of meals you eat in 1 day isn’t really important. The total amount of calories consumed is. Remember, this lower calorie intake is not a long term plan. Once you are at your weight goal you can then adjust your calories to maintain weight. This is done by simply calculating 13 x bodyweight in lbs.

You can expect to lose around 500g per week. If you’re goal is to lose weight faster than this rate keep in mind your likely lose lean muscle mass.


FunkMMA_Nutrition for MMA_three-essential-macronutrients

When it comes to macro nutrient split – (the ratios of proteins, carbohydrates and fats) most people don’t realize it is a very individual thing. It depends on important variables like your body type or genetics; carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity, current condition of health and your ability to absorb nutrients, the type of training you’re doing etc….

With that being the case, I generally advise weight loss clients not to focus on this too much. Rather just make sure you’re eating lots of good quality real whole foods, organic whenever possible.

rsz_scaleAim to get a variety of proteins, carbs, and fats in your diet, while putting an emphasis on veggies. That way your calories will be naturally lower.

But for all you fighters and athletes out there who want to really optimize your performance, here are some guidelines that my fighter clients use.
Protein: You should aim to consume around 0.75-1g of protein per 1lbs of body weight. Or around 1-2 palm sized portions in each meal.

Beef, chicken, fish, tuna, eggs, beans, dairy: cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, cheese, etc. Plant sources: Quinoa, hemp protein, nut butter, tofu, lentils, beans, etc.

Benson Henderson_FunkMMACarbohydrates: The dietary guidelines advisory committee has suggested a minimum amount of glucose intake of 150g to meet basic energy needs and supply the brain with enough energy. I prefer my athletes to go no higher than 100g carbs when cutting and they usually do this amount pretty comfortably. Depending on individual carb tolerance and work load, this can be adjusted.

For rapid fat loss, experts say 50g is still ok short term. Starch/wholegrain: Brown rice, potatoes, oats, quinoa, yams. Fruit: apples, oranges, banana, pineapple, mix berries.

Fats: Fatty acids have certain key roles in the body. They provide the structure of our plasma membranes, they help regulate hormone function, they help transport certain vitamins and minerals in the body.

They also act as the largest fuel depot in the body. You should include at least 2-3 full thumb widths of fats in each meal.

Decrease this amount by half when combined with a high carb post workout meal. Food Examples: fish oil, olive oil (extra virgin) coconut oil, nuts, almonds, cashews, flaxseed oil, peanut butter, etc. Important Note: increase fats on days off training.

Cutting meal plan example

Below is an example meal plan from The Lean Performance Diet – 8 week cutting guide showing you how all this nutrition should look. It starts the day of with a super shake for easy digestion and absorption, has a low carb high protein and fats meal for lunch. The day ends with a higher carb meal for post training.

Meal 1 (Breakfast Shake): 25 gram protein, 200ml almond milk, handful mixed greens, 1 pitted date,1 tbsp. coconut oil.
Meal 2 (Lunch): 150-200g ground beef, 1 handful broccoli, 10 walnuts (or other nuts) 6g fish oil.
Training: Water with BCAA, Electrolyte powder.
Meal 3 (Post workout protein Shake): 25 gram protein, 200ml water, 1 banana, 1 handful frozen mixed berries.
Meal 4 (Main Meal): 150-200g Chicken, 2 handfuls of veggies, Sauerkraut, Medium Potato or sweet potato.

JB’s Breakfast Shake

triple_berry_smoothie_2_resizeOne of the things you may want to consider during your cut is a protein supplement. This is to make sure you’re getting adequate protein to support your metabolic rate, and muscle mass while in a calorie deficit.

Below I have added one of my favourite meals of the day – the breakfast super shake.

If you’re not interested in using a protein supplement, you don’t have to. It’s just a great way to start the day and always makes me feel awesome.

Cals 339, Protein 25g, Carbs 34g, Fats 14g

• 1 Scoop whey protein
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil
• 200ml Almond milk (organic)
• 1 banana
• ½ tbsp. cacao nibs
• ½ handful raspberries (frozen is ok)
• ½ handful blueberries (frozen ok)

1. Pour almond milk into blender
2. Put in the banana and berries.
3. Add 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
4. Add the cacao nibs and coconut oil
5. Hit blend, pour into glass, drink – be happy.
(If you want a thicker shake, add some ice cubes – the more ice the thicker it will be)












About the author:

rsz_photo_13-03-2013_10_36_27_pm-300x400James Bee, author and creator of The Lean Performance Diet: 8 week cutting guide, and is the founder of JB Fitness Systems. As a fitness coach, JB specialized in weight cutting for athletes like Muay Thai fighters.

He has been working with professional fighters to develop a diet plan that is focused on performance, body composition, and health, and it can help you shred major amounts of fat in record time.

It’s specifically targeted at muay thai athletes but has been used by power lifters, cross fitters, and general gym goers to get lean and ripped with many of the users seeing a difference in the first week of the diet.

The book is compiled of evidence based information, insider secrets, and the knowledge gained from working with professional fighters who have made mind blowing weight cuts and fought some of the best in the sport.

The guide includes detailed step by step instructions, example meal plans, and a quick start guide to speed up the process + as a bonus is a free recipe guide.

The guide can be used by men and women. JB swears that women can cut weight just as easily as men and should be following their diet and training the same way.

Want to find out more?

You can get more weight cutting advice at JB’s new website – JB Fitness Systems, or follow him on Facebook. To learn more about his 8 week cutting guide click here now.

JB Fitness Systems: http://jbfitnesssystems.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jbfitnesssystems

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