Saturday, January 12, 2013


We have a new ebook soon hitting the net: Nutrition The Easy Way A Primer For Combat Sports.

Here's a brief excerpt.

 CHAPTER  4                                  THE TQC FACTOR

TQC has to do with the timing, quantity and composition of the foods (macro and micro) one eats, all important factors when outlining weight-making plans for elite athletes. There are three actual tiers here: before, during and after workouts when you want lipid lysis and lipid oxidation highest while trying to manipulate fat storage during the day. Your nutritional plan should consider the daily training load accordingly.

For this reason fat-burning work like running should be done if possible early in the day before breakfast after your overnight fast. Both the pace and duration should be moderate. Recall that eating stimulates insulin production to balance blood sugar, but insulin also suppresses lipolysis, the breakdown of fat. So if your goal is to burn fat and build lean muscle mass, eating before you run is working against yourself. In fact, research shows that fat breakdown was reduced by nearly 30% for 8 hours during recovery if carbs are eaten before rather than after exercise.

That brings up another point, what researchers call substrate utilization, meaning what fuel source, carbs, fat, etc., provides the necessary energy for a certain level of exercise intensity. Research shows that once intensities reach greater than 65% of one's VO2 max, carbs are the body's fuel of choice. More important the longer exercise at moderate levels goes on free fatty acids from the breakdown of fat (lipolysis) not carbs become the fuel of choice.

This same principle doesn't necessarily apply to your other more intense, sport-specific training like sparring, high intensity (HIIT) or pad work. Here you will definitely need some fuel on board in the form of good low glycemic carbs preferably consumed a few hours before the workout. Note that your training and nutritional goals are to maximize fat loss during exercise and recovery while minimizing fat storage daily. In so doing you're manipulating work loads and food intake.

So you have to keep in mind that these levels of intensity will most likely ramp up protein oxidation causing possible loss of lean muscle mass, not something you want when you're seeking to generate power and explosiveness. Remember: power=(force x time). So your elite athletes will need much more protein than what is usually suggested and not all of your protein will come from food. You will need some supplementation, best in the form of protein shakes with both whey and casein. Casein is a slower acting protein and has a less insulin-producing effect thereby cutting down insulin's suppressive action on lipolysis or fat loss.

How much protein? Well, the vague answer is it's athlete dependent. What 's worked best for us to help maintain muscle mass and offset daily dietary deficits is 2-2.5g/kg of body mass. A 70kg man weighs 140lbs, so 70 x 2g = 140g and 70 x 2.5 = 175g. For the detractors, most of whom have never trained anyone, who might claim this is too much, remember these are elite athletes, not desk jockeys, who frequently train three times per day. To put it mildly they're tearing down some muscle--i.e.--protein. That muscle has to be rebuilt.

 We also use another formula. Say your athlete begins camp at 150 lbs and make-weight contract is 135. We invert these numbers usually starting off giving the athlete 135g of protein/day and increasing it to150g/day the closer we get to the weigh-in, perhaps adjusting it somewhat during the taper down period when we begin cutting workload. Much has been discussed and written about the importance of recovery. Proper rest is only one element of recovery. A lot of athletes, trainers and coaches don't  understand that nutrition is recovery; that after a hard workout it's the first step and it begins way before bedtime and sleep.

One of the first macro elements to get cut is carbohydrates. As previously noted one of the important roles of insulin, especially in the presence of carbs, is to decrease lipolysis; in other words, slow the process of breaking down fat, just the opposite of your intended goal of decreasing body fat and building more lean muscle mass. There is plenty of evidence in the literature showing that hard training in the presence of reduced carbohydrates actually accelerates fat loss by enhancing the oxidative power of skeletal muscle, ironically the exact opposite of conventional wisdom that one needs a high carb-diet to support intense daily workouts. So don't be too afraid to ramp up the protein to somewhat compensate for those reduced carbs. Those hard-working muscles will love you for it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fruits, Veggies, Beans and Water

A lot of us forget to drink enough water, stay hydrated, especially during hot summer months.

Probably nowhere is this more important than with athletes who perform in weight-making sports.

Rehydrating after long, strenuous workouts is vital. It's also necessary for good health.  Deydration affects many vital organs from the brain to the kidneys to the muscles, not to mention the all-important circulating blood volume.

Relying on thirst to keep you chugging away those pints of water won't do it. The thirst mechhanism in your body is a notorious unreliable indicator. It actually turns off well before one is completely rehydrated. Besides, forcing down much of that water gets boring.

So here's a tip.  Ramp up your intake of "solid water" sources, fruits and vegtables and beans. That's right, fruits and veggies contain lots of water. Yes, beans! They have a surpringly high water content.

These sources of water also have high fiber content which aids in losing weight and giving you that full feeling.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Choice Versus Chance

Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out that life is about choice not chance.

Most people mistakenly believe that they eat with their mouths. True, that's where the food goes into, that big round opening on the front of their faces.

But they really eat with their minds. The decision what to eat is made there, in the mind, long before any food passes their lips. It's called choices, hotdogs and soda versus vegetables and fresh fruits; steamed versus deep fried; natural versus processed.

So the next time you feel hungry, take a chance and make a better choice. Twenty years from now your body might thank you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Having Trouble

If you're having trouble getting your athletes (fighters) to eat correctly, take a gander at their background. Where did they grow up, inner city or what?

Now days it doesn't much matter, but it could help. Most have been raised on fast food; it's just a fact of life. If you have an inkling of what good,wholesome,healthy food is, try a week long fast-food binge and get back to me.

If words like ugg!, awful, nasty come to mind, you know what I'm talking about. Forget streamed brown rice,egg whites or oatmeal with coconut milk and walnuts. That's your concept as a coach or trainer of healthy eating, not theirs.

Forget all that babble about water-retaining electrolytes. Most of these kids come from S&S Land, sodium and sugar.

Concepts are often like political parties: never the two shall meet. That fast food is big-time tasty and normal to them, probably makes you want to gag. Ever notice those big paper plates you see at parties and picnics,how they're separated into three sections,one large and two smaller ones?

Well, that's how you should have your charges view their daily nutrition plan--25% protein, 25% fruits and veggies and 50% carbohydrates. For the purists out there who are saying: "What about fats?" What about them?

It's a simple plan to help begin closing the gap between two comcepts about healthy nutrition--yours and theirs.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are you wating for? Next time you want to make a point or share some ballpark breakdown about macro-nutrient proportions, grab yourself one of those paper plates.


Saturday, July 7, 2012


What's your definition of aging? Here's ours: loss of flexibility, physical and mental.

Flexibilty has to do with mobility. Yes, there is such a thing as mental mobility, think problem-solving.

What's one of the first things they do after you have surgery? Get you up and make you move around. It's been repeated that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. There are, to be sure, other certainties in life and here's one: We get less flexible with time.

Yea, we know it's a bummer.........especially if you're an athelete. Loss of flexibility leads to stiffness, decreased mobility and injuries, a vicious circle if there ever was one.

So here's our prescription whether you're a fighter or whatever. Too many go into the gym and just pound away. Flexibility for the most part is ignored or at best a distant orphan. So take some time to think and work ankles, hips, knees, shoulder and thoracic spine areas with specific exercises. Think range of motion here, not power.

Muscles are not alone when it comes to the use-it-or-lose-it adage. And neither is conditioning. So why would joints be any different?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The modern world is awash in acronyms.

Scratch any card-carrying bureaucrat and you'll find an acronym. Scratch a psychologist or psychiarist and you'll get a whole pasel of them. In fact, if you go to you'll discover there are 862,000-plus acronyms, initialisms, alphabetisms and other abbreviations. You'll also find 249 for SIS alone, from Snickering in Silence to Springtime in Sweden.

In our case SIS stands for short, intense and sweet, as in the results you'll get from following short, intense training, the kind that pretty much sums up our philosophy: Don't waste time; put in the work and get your butt out of the gym.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Little Philosophy

In an earlier post we noted we're different.

We're different in many ways, our approach to strength and conditioning and in our approach to nutrition, just to name two.

We don't make better weight lifters; we make better athletes, in this case fighters. We're not interested so much in how little you can lift at the beginning versus how much you can hoist at the end of camp. Not that this isn't useful information; it can be.

We're not number chasers. We're interested in flexibility, explosiveness.
Sure, we promote power, strength and muscle endurance. Any self-respecting S&C coach does. Conditioning is paramount in our view. A well conditioned fighter will train well. He or she will fight better and have more confidence. And that's a huge difference.