So here I am at the beginning of July, my after-school Judo classes are coming to a close, and, I have begun to find myself actually having a little spare time in between training sessions once more. With virtually all the books I own read twice, all the films known by heart, I reckons it may be time to pay a little more attention to blogging again!
During the 12 months passed since my last post life has been evolving around 1 goal, qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the -73kg (11.5 stone) weight category. Although I walk around heavier than 73kg, normally between 77-80kg depending on what specific training block we are in, or, how drastically strict I am on my nutritional front, it suits my confrontational fighting style to make the drop down to 73kg where I feel physically bigger and stronger than the majority of my opponents.
I am asked questions fairly regularly by friends, students and fellow Judo/BJJ players regarding diet and ‘weight loss’ but, before I go any further with this post, I will add that although I have attended a number of nutritional lectures and briefly studied Sports Nutrition as part of my Sports Coaching qualification, I am not qualified to give anyone any dietary advice. I am merely stating what I have found has worked for me over 20 years of competitive Judo; with the information provided from my own training and food diaries, my personal nutritionist (Paul Ehren), and, my own research in the subject.
Below are the key strategies I follow for reducing my body weight.
Fat Removal (Lowering the body’s fat content whilst retaining as much muscle mass as possible):
Consume 1 pint of cold water immediately after waking in the morning (fires the metabolism).
Eat between 4-6 times during the day, minimum of 2 hours between each.
If possible, perform training/exercise before first meal.
Consume a strong black coffee 60-15 mins before exercise.
Aim to consume around 2 grams of protein per kg of desired body weight, e.g 73kg= 146grams.
Perform resistance training, e.g weight training, Judo, BJJ, rowing etc.
Consume energy foods (fats, carbohydrates) only around training.
If struggling with hunger drink a glass of warm water.
I make protein the main base for all of my fat loss strategies as it aids the maintenance of strength and muscle mass and is highly beneficial to recovery. As mentioned above I will aim to consume around 2 grams of protein per kg of desired body weight, so that will always be somewhere between 140-155 grams a day. Obviously the quality of different foods will alter the protein content but a few general examples are:
1 egg- 6 grams
Medium chicken breast- 25-35 grams
1 scoop of whey protein- 20 grams
I like to see my protein intake as a game of numbers as I find it easier to stay stricter. This system also helps me to be confident that as my body weight starts to drop that my strength and muscle mass will be retained.
I normally aim to have around 40 grams of carbohydrates before and after training sessions, normally by way of:
Brown rice- 125 grams
Porridge oats- 60 grams
Mentality is massively important regarding any change in diet or lifestyle, for me, eating the same things at the same times every day would quite quickly get monotonous. So, if I wake up fed up or feel that I need to do something different I will ‘calorie count’. That day I may only eat three times or twice etc, as long as I hit my required protein intake and don’t exceed 2000 calories then I will mentally feel better about being stricter again the following day. Obviously staying strict is the best thing physically however, for me, performing this ‘cheat day’ will stop me from cracking completely and having a wild pig out! On the opposite side if I feel very inspired to stay strict, the odd day I may not consume any energy foods at all, however this doesn’t happen too often!
Weight Cut (Removing water from the body to reach a desired body weight, and if still required, fat and muscle):
Continue the fat removal strategies.
Consume 1 pint of hot lemon water before bed (1 sliced lemon plus boiling water).
Around 36-12 hours prior to weigh in begin to restrict fluid intake.
Research ‘water and vitamin C loading’ strategies.
I have found that I feel at my best when I am dehydrating around 2.5kg. I feel sharp, strong and find that I can rehydrate fairly comfortably. Around 6 to 9 percent over fighting weight I find to be an adequate training weight, I still feel sharp but slightly more robust and at lesser risk of injury.