When you cut weight for a fight , the one thing that motivates you and keeps you on track is the knowledge that in 10 weeks, you will have to get on a set of scales and weigh 10 kilos lighter. Not every fighter cuts the same , but for MMA fighters in particular , the weight cut process can be gruelling and sometimes unachievable. Many methods can be used, but generally for me, it makes the most sense to just cut out the crap and be strict with it. So my first rule when losing this weight is no cheating. There are treats on the diet as I’m only human and sometimes emotions take over if you constantly work your body with no reward. However this leads to the second rule which is no refined sugars. You will be surprised how sugar creeps into many products you would swear were sugar free. I’ve seen it in smoked salmon, pre cooked chicken, it’s in nandos sauce, even many vitamin drinks that claim to be healthy. Reading ingredients is essential on this diet. Make sure there are no hidden sugars or sweeteners in the products you consume. It makes it very difficult to eat dinner out but if you keep it simple , (no sauces or dressings) it’s usually going to be ok. The third rule is unrefined carbohydrates only. These carbs have not been processed so they still contain important nutrients you need to fuel your body with energy. Refined carbs are usually stripped of these by bleaching ( bad carbohydrates are usually white) . They are what I would call empty carbs , and they add calories but have no use to your body. Stick to anything whole grain . Oats, brown rice , quinoa and pasta. Sweet potato instead of white as again the white is just starchy and just bloats you out.sweet is slow release energy and it doesn’t spike your sugar levels causing you to have sugar crashes. Fourth rule is no dairy. This rule is possibly the most difficult for me as I love yogurts. Although yoghurt is not awful for you (natural and Greek) , dairy is not beneficial for a weight cut. It may contain protein but it also carries fats that are non essential. Dairy also inhibits your cardiovascular which will affect your fat burning workouts. In addition dairy contains sugars that are not energy efficient they effectively weigh u down. I do make an exception for post work out protein shakes as most of them contain whey protein. However if you are really serious you can convert to plant based protein shakes like hemp or pea protein both of which I find disgusting. You can blend the hemp with banana to take the edge off of it, there is no helping the pea protein.
Fifth rule only natural oils. Avoid refined vegetable oil like the plague, it’s heavily refined and does you no good. Coconut oil is your new oil best friend , use it as much as you can , I even put a teaspoon of it in my coffee. If you can’t handle it other oils are rapeseed, sunflower and olive. Only use these in small amounts. Rapeseed contains extra omega 3 so that is preferable . Sixth rule only lean meat. No pork, lamb or fatty beef like minced meat. The occasional steak is fine but generally stick to fish , chicken breast and turkey steak. Seafood is ok but most of them contain crap as before they are caught, they ate crap. Seventh rule is broccoli. Eat it as much as possible and don’t be shy with how much. Eighth rule is drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres a day. No fizzy drinks or even fruit squashes. They are full of sweeteners and chemicals and do no good for your digestive system. And one of the hardest thing is absolutely no alcohol at all. Not even if it’s Betty’s 50th or Tonys leaving do. Not even a sip it’s not worth torturing yourself. It’s t-total. It’s an added achievement and you will feel much better for it. Ninth rule reduce your sugar Intake towards the end of the day. Basically have a heavy vegetable and meat based dinner without carbs if you can. No fruit too late . If you crave a treat try 99% chocolate. It takes getting used to but once you cut out sugar your taste buds adjust. You should be eating based on what you are about to do. If you are going to the gym you will need an energy meal such as wholegrain pasta or oats and banana. If you are about to go to bed avoid sugar dense meals.Tenth rule eat little and often. Basically you can eat every 2-4 hours to keep your metabolism going. Snacks like natural bars (nakd bars) nuts, fruit , apples buttered in peanut butter keep you satisfied so your not going hungry. Being more in tune with eating when you are hungry rather than just it being a typical time to have a meal (12pm lunch) . You will feel no need to eat until you are completely full as you know you can eat again in another 2 hours!
These rules are what I follow when I do my weight cuts. As long as you are determined , the rules become easy and you can start to enjoy experimenting with natural foods and have more energy being sugar free. The main thing is that you have to really want to be successful with your goal. Setting a strong motive and goal is the only way to do this weight cut.
Too many times when someone starts a diet (even with myself) you start with all the best intentions. You do a super healthy food shop, drink gallons of water and you feel great about yourself. Unfortunately the western world is so full of temptations with the help of pretty advertisement. Im still dying to try the new magnums because their advertising was so strong. But we all know as soon as you slip off the band wagon, it’s a slippery slope from there.( no idea why wagon would be on a slope though). There are ways around this. Because high sugar junk is cheap to make and easy to sell , companies have more money to promote them. But if you invest some time into ways of eating tasty treats that are guilt free you may be pleasantly surprised! I’ve made things from pancakes, ice cream and cheesecakes all cheat free! All you need to do is find recipes that don’t contain a whole lump of butter and a mountain of refined sugar. Pancakes can be made with just a banana and an egg. Freeze chopped bananas and then blend with peanut butter and honey and you have ice cream! Cheesecakes can be made simply by blending nuts with fruit and a base made from dates and ground almonds. All becoming exciting now? There are endless recipes and possibilities , I spend far too long on Instagram and Pinterest drawling at delicious natural deserts. Of course these treats come with a little effort. So what if you are desperate for a quick fix and a snickers is calling your name? Never fear there are natural treats that can be found in most supermarkets. Nakd bars are amazing, and they are getting better. At around 50-75p a bar they can be an expensive hobby but it makes treat time limited,but more special. They are upping their game with new flavours such as Bakewell tart and choc mint (which tastes like an aero) . They also have started making nibbles which honestly are delicious! Strawberries and cream is my favourite. It feels like you are eating sweets. If you are a yoghurt lover like me , there are many new coconut milk based yogs and ice creams. Coyo do a variety of plain, vanilla and chocolate. All disgustingly good. If you are looking for an energy pick up try having nut butters on fruit. Meridian do three types , almond, cashew and peanut. Just chop up an apple or dip a banana in. It’s a Great pre work out snack as the fats in nuts are a good energy source. (You don’t always need carbs for energy). Last year my girlfriends went to Morocco and brought back a great treat idea. Chopped fruit and just a dusting of cinnamon . It’s weirdly addictive, after Muay Thai training every Saturday me and my boyfriend would be on the fruit and cinnamon. The best are oranges and pineapple. Once you cut out sugar , you will soon notice that things that may not have been so sweet suddenly become sweeter. I was eating 99% chocolate during my weight cut. It’s not for the faint hearted but once I was sugar free, I enjoyed it more than regular chocolate. It tastes so rich and creamy, I’d treat myself to 2 squares mid day for a pick up , and it’s actually an anti oxidant so it’s a treat with health benefits!
There are many ways to cheat without cheating. And there’s nothing more satisfying than having a cheeky treat that actually isn’t bad for you. Time to redefine the word treat.
2) no refined sugars
So what is a refined sugar? Basically anything refined means it’s been processed or tampered with. Refined sugars are used to make things tastier at a low cost. They can be found in almost everything. You may be familiar with labels that say no added sugar, or sugar free, but most of the time when a product harks these phrases it just means it’s been replaced with a sweetener chemical substitute. You never see no added sugar on packets of fruit and vegetables as it’s common sense we should be eating those things, but things we are not so sure about need these labels to reassure you that you are not being unhealthy. That’s marketing and it’s evil. So what’s an unrefined sugar? This is natural sugars that can be found in fruit. Unfortunately once you have lived in a sugar engrossed world , your taste buds have become accustomed to artificial sweetness. It’s as if fake sugars and chemicals put a shield over your taste buds so you can never fully appreciate how sweet an orange is for example. Having given up sugar I’ve been amazed at how different things taste without the fake sugar shield. I started to enjoy coconut water , and drinking my coffee with a spoon of honey instead of brown sugar. The beauty of eating less sugar, is the opposite of what you would expect. Society justifies sugar eating by suggesting it increases energy levels and boosts alertness. However it’s quite the opposite. Refined sugar causes blood
sugar to spike temporarily ( this is when you feel alert and energetic) . After an hour or so this high will soon become a low and you will feel a sugar crash. You will feel tired and drained. That’s when you reach for another chocolate bar or sugary drink to give you another hit. It’s a vicious cycle. Once you become accustomed to natural sugars only , you are no longer dependent on sugar hits as your sugar levels are never dramatically raised or dropped. These dramatic sugar level changes are what alerts your body to store fat. Sugar doesn’t make you fat it’s the intensity at Which you consume it. That’s why some people reject the idea of fruit because of it’s high sugar levels but as long as you aren’t eating 5 bananas all at once, your sugar levels should be fine. This is why even though pressed fruit juices are good, their high levels of sugar can increase blood sugar levels too dramatically.
A good example of how this happens with refined carbohydrates is with white potato. Have you ever had a big jacket potato, or had roast potato with your Sunday dinner then not long after felt the over powering urge to have a nap? This is a sugar crash, and due to the high levels of sugars in refined carbs it spikes your sugar levels. Stick to slow release energy carbs like sweet potato.