Nutrition for weight-category based athletes (WCBA), has traditionally been pretty simple in the past… eat everything in sight. Information on the subject is sparse on Google and non-specific. Most of the information on diets for WCBA (e.g. Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Boxing, MMA) lean towards eating lots of carbohydrates and protein then cutting water weight at the last minute.
But is this beneficial for WCBA with regards to their psychological profile and neurotransmitter dominance in relation to the athlete and the energy requirements of the sport?
Probably not. Plus you might be wondering what these terms even mean. Most nutrition plans are very simplistic, generalised and aimed at body composition. They tend to focus on calories in vs. calories out and macronutrients but don’t even look to consider hormone or neurotransmitter balance of the person.
However, information on nutrition for WCBA is limited or brushed over which is why I thought I’d spread some light on the subject in this short eBook.
The Current State of Nutrition in WCBA
Many WCBA understands the importance of nutrition when it comes to performance, yet are following plans for aesthetics or that drastically hinder performance. Weightlifting and Powerlifting, in particular, have very different energy requirements compared to bodybuilding thus very different nutritional needs.
Not only that, people interested in weightlifting aren’t neurologically “built” like bodybuilders. Based off the current NeuroType work from Christian Thibaudeau, individuals who are drawn to the sports of weightlifting will generally have certain neurotransmitter dominance – dopamine in these cases. What this generally means is that they will have poorer insulin sensitivity and a greater demand for amino acids and essential fatty acids.
On the flipside, bodybuilders tend to be more adrenaline dominant and good insulin sensitivity, thus can eat more carbohydrates without putting on unwanted body fat. In fact, carbs make them more anabolic as a result of reducing their cortisol levels.
As a result of this neurological difference between Olympic Weightlifting and Bodybuilding, maybe we should eat a bit different and maybe have different requirements?
In accordance to this, I see many weightlifters reenacting the diets of bodybuilders or MMA fighters when it comes to competition time. The problem arises as they are are not designed to eat a bodybuilding-style diet as a result of their neurological type and hormonal profile. By following the correct plan that suits a weightlifter’s profile, it would help prevent them from having to perform painfully, last-minute weight cuts before competition by sweating all the water out of them, to then performing short of their expectations in competition.
Whereas, I see and know some weightlifters who try to move up weight categories by drinking litres of chocolate milk and eating junk food only to put on lots of unwanted weight, feel sluggish and halt their progress due to excessive inflammation.
Whilst others just eat everything in sight, not knowing or understanding macronutrient ratio requirements or the importance of neurotransmitter regulation in and around training.
Who’s guilty of this?
But don’t worry I was exactly the same. By just altering a few things in your diet, you can easily transform not only your performance but also your physique, ability to recover from training, daily energy and your flexibility.
The World of Weight-Category Based Sports Nutrition Needs to Change
International athletes are now caring about what goes in their mouths. If you feed the body rubbish then you are going to perform and look like rubbish.
As a weightlifter or fighter, you are dealing with lots of stress both mentally and physically, training with a high frequency and intensity, having to coordinate and synchronise large movements within a split second over and over again, they are expected to perform all this again the next day.
Not many other athletes, or other sports, go through this type of stress.
WCBA is now eating differently and not just eating everything in sight. They are now becoming educated in the role of calories in-calories out, the importance of nutritionally-dense natural foods, improving gut health to strengthen your immune system, the role of supplementation to correct micronutrient (vitamin/mineral) deficiencies and implementing planned “cuts” to make weight but also boost performance on the platform.
This a great step forward, however, if you want to boost your performance even more and be able to reach your goals in record times, without PED’s, then you need to dig a little deeper. You need to understand the needs of the sport, your neurological dominance and how to periodise your macronutrients according to the period of training you are in and for what purpose (weight loss, maintain, gain weight).
What WCBA now need to start learning is that eating for bodybuilding and performance isn’t the same. So although some WCBA has made steps towards eating better and healthier, they aren’t quite hitting the nail on the head when it comes to specifically eating for weightlifting, powerlifting or fighting to maximise your performance, weight and body composition goals.
Out With The Old … In With The New
The new reality is that nutrition for WCBA needs to be done differently. The “seefood” diet followed rapid water cut approach doesn’t work, neither does the bodybuilding prep diet. More often than not for WCBA, this leaves them carrying excess fat, low energy at the competition and underperforming.
The traditional nutritional format for a WCBA would be to eat lots of calories, carbohydrates and fats until 4-6 weeks before the competition – where they would then switch to a “cutting” style of a nutritional program in order to lose the weight (5-10kg) they’d gained in the preparation stages for the competition.
To me, this makes no sense at all and it’s extremely counter-productive for performance. In fact, WCBA needs to do the opposite of a bodybuilding-style nutrition plan.
Why start cutting calories and carbs when you are expected to train your hardest in the last 4-6 weeks? Training at 90-100% intensity is extremely taxing on the nervous system and requires more energy, ATP-production and greater recovery needs.
WCBA need to eat totally the opposite way around to bodybuilders preparing for a competition.
In my new book Power Grub, I share with you an exact 12 week totally periodised method to get you in the best shape possible for competition WITHOUT having to cut weight at the last moment.
I portray a very different, more logical and more specific approach, to eating for weightlifting/powerlifting/MMA which is totally different to the current concept but will produce much more profound results and less stress for you and your athletes.
Why should you listen to me?
You’re probably wondering why you should listen to me.
Since 2012, I have been listening, reading, watching and studying under some of the greatest nutritionists and biochemists the world has to offer. I have tried and tested my methods myself and on my clients.
Just because I don’t have every nutritional accreditation or qualification after my name, doesn’t mean that I don’t know anything about nutrition. Nutrition is actually a pretty simple topic which is unfortunately over-complicated by others, so that they can sell their products.
I actually don’t like nutrition…to be honest.
Over the last couple of years, it has given me multiple headaches trying to keep up with the latest trend, fad diet or nutrition guru.
I’ve gone totally full circle with nutrition over the years.
I started out super strict – for instance, I have …
- Eaten a ketogenic-dominant diet with zero carbohydrates for 3 years (no joke!) going from 105kg-93kg and dropping from a maintenance body fat level of 18% to 7% year round.
- Drank only antioxidant rich water, from a glass bottle with a water filter containing coconut charcoal shavings.
- Dropped fluoride-based toothpaste for cinnamon bark and need alternatives.
- Weighed all my food and would almost cry if I was a calorie over my target for the day.
- Rotated monthly post workout protein sources between Whey, Vegan Proteins and Colostrum in order to not build up sensitivities towards them.
- Eaten crab and mussels only, for a month, as they were my lowest inflammatory producing proteins according to my food sensitivity test.
Trust me I’ve tried most things out there and realised that most of it is all a marketing scam and actually nutrition is very simple and just over complicated by people in order to make you feel left out and that you can’t live properly without using their product or doing it their way. Most people worry about all the small things that will give you 1-2% change, rather than first fixing the things that will give you 20-30% increase.
It’s like having a family of mice living under your floorboards. It’s annoying hearing them squeak and crapping on the living room carpet. However, you have a ginormous elephant in the living room taking up all the space, leaving even bigger droppings and making a tonne of noise.
What would you get rid of first? The elephant or the mice?
Same goes for nutrition. Don’t worry about cutting plastics out or micronutrients out until you have sorted out food quality, macronutrients and digestion first.
But this is where I want to chip in and really contribute, to filter out these misconceptions, so you don’t have to.
When I first started weightlifting, I would use extreme cutting methods from MMA to diet down for competition. However, MMA cutting is very different to weightlifters/powerlifters having to cut.
Because MMA fighters weigh in the night before the competition, whereas weightlifters/powerlifters weigh in 2 hours before their first attempt. This gives MMA fighters a lot more time to rehydrate and replenish glycogen levels thus allowing them to perform more extreme cuts, whilst in most cases, competing at a much heavier weight.
But they have 24 hours extra. Weightlifters don’t!
When I used to perform these extreme cutting protocols before a competition I was totally sapped of strength, dehydrated and just wanted to sleep – not try and lift maximally.
So I thought there must be a better way…and there is!
Since using my new strategies these last two years, they have helped not only improve my body composition but also my health and my lifting. This is why I decided to write this book because I want to help others change their weightlifting nutritional habits so that you can attain the benefits with yourself or your athletes. I’m never going to be the best lifter, but I know plenty of younger and more talented individuals who could be even more successful in the sport of weightlifting if they took a little more care with their diet.
But it’s going to take some dedication, patience and trust. Going against the grain isn’t easy and will take a lot of willpower. You will hear lots of other myths and advice from people telling you to get back on the chocolate milk. But just stick to it and you will see the results.
I will teach you all the steps needed to make weight, with zero stress, and have the energy to reach your goals and smash your PB’s. I will help you get rid of the “elephant” first, before giving you a few SECRETS to help you get rid of the “mice”:
- The optimal peri-workout supplemental protocols for both morning and evening training.
- How to naturally boost your anabolic hormones to boost your strength, recovery and fat loss.
- The #1 reason why people struggle to lose fat and build muscle at the same time.
- The Yin and Yang approach to carb cycling and weekly nutritional programming – the total opposite to what you’ve been told.
- 12-week Periodisation models for if you’re too light, too heavy or want to maintain your weight in your weight category.
By following this simple nutrition plan you will not only be able to do the “impossible” and shed fat and build muscle but also be able to train more frequently, lift heavier weights and prevent injuries from occurring.
I trust this book turns out to be a valuable resource for you. I hope it not only helps you to boost your performance but also helps you to become healthier internally, look better externally and give you an abundance of energy day-to-day. By reading this book, you are taking personal responsibility for your own health and wellbeing. I trust you will be rewarded for it.
To find out more on this and begin this great journey, click on the link below for a great deal on my new book.