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Episode #90 Clint Wattenberg – Director of Nutrition for UFCpi

Episode #90 Clint Wattenberg – Director of Nutrition for UFCpi

October 23, 2018

Episode #90 Clint Wattenberg – Director of Nutrition for UFCpi

October 23, 2018

FREE Download –> Performance Analysis of the UFC Athlete

Clint Wattenberg was a 2X All American wrestler at Cornell and a member of the US national team.  He is a registered dietician and earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology.   Clint is currently the Director of Nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute. In today’s podcast we talk about lessons learned, good nutritional habits and details about cutting weight.

Clint Wattenberg

In this Episode We Discuss:

  • Clint’s Wrestling Background
  • Fueling and Food Selection
  • Evaluation, Assessment and Interview with New Athletes
  • Coordinating with Other Coaches
  • Common Mistakes Cutting Weight
  • Struggling to Make Weight Over Time
  • Personalized Approach for Each Athlete
  • Implementing New Eating Habits
  • Fight Camp vs Fat Camp
  • Cutting Weight Protocols
  • Fight Week Checklist
  • and more!

Clint Wattenberg comes to the UFC after spending 19 years at Cornell University as a student athlete (wrestling), Assistant Wrestling Coach, Graduate Student (Exercise Physiology-Ithaca College), Sports Dietitian and Eating Disorder Nutrition Counselor. As the Coordinator of Sports Nutrition for the past 4 years, Clint has worked with all 37 varsity teams and nearly 1,100 student athletes, but none closer than the Big Red Wrestling Team.

Through his own practical experience as a college wrestler struggling to make weight, a student of nutritional sciences and exercise physiology, a coach and a sport dietitian, Clint has worked extensively to systematize and simplify nutrition and weight management for weight class athletes. Clint speaks on the topic at a variety of conferences and wrote a comprehensive eBook on the subject entitled “Performance Nutrition for Wrestlers” that guides athletes, parents, coaches, athletic trainers, and even sport dietitians through the nuances of fueling throughout the season including weight management and weight descents.

As an athlete, Clint was an NCAA All-American and three-year captain for the Big Red and represented the USA Freestyle National Wrestling Team. As a coach, Clint has coached several All-Americans and NCAA Champions and has coached wrestling and counseled on nutrition for MMA athletes.

Stay in Touch with Clint on Twitter: @SportRd_Clint

Download –> Performance Analysis of the UFC Athlete

 

Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Nutritionist Clint Wattenberg from UFCpi

Interviewer:   Corey Beasley

Interviewee/Guest:   Clint Wattenberg

———————————————————————————————————————

 

COREY:         Hey guys, this is Corey Beasley with Fight Camp conditioning and today I’m here with Clint Wattenberg, the Director of Nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute. Clint, how’re you doing?

CLINT:          Doing fantastic. Thanks for having me, Corey.

COREY:         Of course, man, I appreciate you cutting out the time to talk with us. So Clint, just to give everybody the two cents of who you are and what you do, give us a little bio on yourself.

CLINT:          Yeah, so here at the UFC Performance Institute, as the Director of Performance Nutrition, I oversee all aspects of food nutrition fueling and how that affects our UFC athletes. So it can range from providing food and counseling around food selection here on campus here in Vegas. A lot of education and counseling both here on site and remote. We integrate our nutrition assessments into our exercise testing protocols. So a lot of really cool Exercise Science integration, and then building on what we do to events and in supporting fighters and athletes in their efforts to make way to fuel up for the competition and then perform to their peak capacity. So really, really diverse set of experiences that I get to have with athletes and it’s just a great opportunity for me working with such a great staff.

01:23

COREY:         Of course you guys have put together a heck of a team. So Clint, just to give everybody a little background on you, you have a background in wrestling, am I right?

CLINT:          Yep. So any wrestler would say for life you know, I’m a wrestler, identified in that. I started wrestling when I was five years old, competed till I was about 28, trained through the LA Olympic trials.  I grew up in Northern California so had enough success in high school to get recruited out to Cornell University. It was a two time All American at Cornell University, never quite reached my dreams of being an NCAA champion. But that fueled my passion to continue to compete internationally. I was on the US national team from ‘06 to ‘08 for the men’s freestyle national team trained with the likes of Daniel Cormier, Mohamid Lawal, competed against Moquite a bit. Chris Weidman, Patrick Cummins, a bunch of the active kind of UFC former wrestlers. So it’s pretty cool to have that experience. In a way I retired from competing myself, went back to school to get my certifications and whatnot around Dietetics. So I’m a registered dietitian. And as I was training, I guess, ‘04 to ‘05, I got my Masters degree in Exercise Physiology. So the balance of nutrition experience and then my competitive background drive the experience that I have kind of as a dietitian working to support athletes in all their various endeavors around nutrition.

03:17

COREY:         Yeah, right on. So Clint, with your experience, I mean, you have a ton of experience competing and I imagine growing up in Northern California, you’ve been doing it since you were a little munchkin. Right?

CLINT:          Yep. Yep.

COREY:         Now from your experience, in just competition side and then getting into the dietetics and then the Masters in Exercise Phys. after the [incomprehensible], what are some things that you learned along the way, or mistakes that you made as an athlete?

CLINT:          I mean, that’s the perfect question. What drove me to continue building my experience and my passion in this nutrition area is having made mistakes myself. And studying nutrition as an undergraduate, Nutritional Sciences is truly biochemistry within the human body and trying to apply that in a really functional way to my own training and recovery and performance efforts was not an easy endeavor. And when I look back to just kind of the weight making efforts that I had in college and obviously the rules are different with an hour weigh-in for college and for the UFC now it’s somewhere between 30 36 hour gap between weigh-in as a competition, but a lot of the fundamentals do rain through especially in the preparation for making weight. And I would do a lot of things in a way that I thought was good, but was actually quite backwards.

As an example, kind of critical to being efficient and making weight is that you eliminate things that are not going to contribute energy to your training recovery efforts. To be lighter on the scale and to be more efficient with the calories you get in as much you want to make sure you have protein to support tissue repair and then fat as a primary energy source because it’s really dense. Back when I was struggling to make weight in college, early in my collegiate career especially, I would go grab a big bowl rice, which is starchy carbs that loads a lot of glycogen in your muscles, and a big bowl of salad or cooked broccoli, which is nothing but fiber and provides no energy. So that weighs you down on the scale and doesn’t give you the energy you need to do the work. So that’s an example of something that was done in good faith thinking about the lessons I was learning in class but then applying that into this really nuanced sports setting requires almost a paradigm shift in some of these areas.

05:54

COREY:         Right on. I think that’s something we all made. I remember when I was younger, it was as a matter of what was lighter in my hand and throwing a chew and my lip, from Wednesday to Friday, [inaudible] our approach, cutting a bunch of weight stuff. So it’s good to hear that things are changing because I know that takes a toll on the body as well. A lot of guys talk about being able to make weight maybe in their mid to late 20s but then they struggle to make the same weight as they get a bit older. Is there a scientific explanation that everybody can understand that gives them a little background on what’s happening there?

06:32

CLINT:          Without a doubt, and the impact of restrictive weight descent, weight management, dieting and weight cutting, does manifest and does kind of come back to haunt athletes as they continue along their career and it’s not the first couple of times that it impacts them. These athletes, these fighters or wrestlers or whatever discipline, these are some of the toughest dudes and gals that I can imagine working with, but it’s when their body starts to slow down metabolically that the hard weight cuttingand the restrictive weight cuttingthat they did earlier in the career comes back to haunt them.

07:12

So really what it is, and there’s a model that I look to for a lot of the education that I provide is called relative energy deficit for sport. And if you chronically provide insufficient energy to not only support training efforts and recovery efforts, so that’s the energy that the body is using to do work, but also the base metabolic and biological functions, then the body down regulates really important and really critical biological functions. Sometimes these are visible in terms of tissue repair. So things like digestion, metabolic function in the way of hormone production, menstruation for women, but testosterone development and hormone regulation for both genders. And if you think about the impact of food and energy on the biological system, there’s not a single system that is not affected by food. And we see this in areas of famine and in areas where people don’t have enough food, but we don’t necessarily apply that to when we’re restricting purposefully to make weight.

08:24

The fact of the matter is the human being requires food and energy to do work and to be efficient. And so the model that I really try to think about is supporting all of these different areas of the biological system with nutrition. And so as I do an assessment, as I’m starting to understand how an individual, how an athlete’s body is working, I’m trying to tap into and to better understand and to assess whether it’s via subjective or objective assessment how each of these different systems within the human being is working. And so we can target those to make sure those are functioning to support the development of that athlete versus holding that athlete back.

09:10

COREY:         Right on. Now, I know you guys have quite an extensive eval and assessment process that you guys have there at the UFCpi. When an athlete does come to your facility or contacts you via email or phone, where do you typically start with those guys?

09:28

CLINT:          Great question. And it can be overwhelming when you have all sorts of fancy tools and things to use that you’re [incomprehensible] to assess an athlete but quite honestly it starts with an interview and conversationaround what is an athlete doing, what is an athlete experiencing and what are they looking to accomplish from nutrition console or any sort of nutrition program. Some athletes will have an agenda that is very different than what I might see objectively. So first and foremost, that always starts with a conversation, trying to understand what their experience has been around nutrition and the areas that nutrition have fueling touch. So that primarily is going to be energy recovery, appetite, immune system, and just general kind of metabolic function and how the body is working.

Once we get an understanding of those systems and what the athlete’s expectations are, especially around their upcoming fight if there’s something scheduled and some acute needs, and then we tie them into some of ourmore specific technologies. Those can include things like any number of body compositionanalyses where we’re continuing to evolve but really kind of streamlining our assessments. We’re using a DEXA Scanto get a baseline. Because of the radiation, we’re limited to using that only once or twice a year for our athletes, but that’s a really good snapshot because we get bone mineral density as well as body composition. We’re following up more consistently with our Bio-electrical Impedance, which is another form of body composition analysis, but it really utilizes the water fluctuation to — and the conductivity of the athlete’s cells to provide feedback about nutritional status.

11:31

And then the third modality that we use around body composition is bit of a lower tech option, but it’s called ISAKand it’s Kinanthropometryto profile and to develop an understanding of how athletes bodies are shaped. And those three together are providing some really powerful information in terms of how a body is derived.

11:55

Now those are fairly static because we’re looking at a snapshot in time. We bring that information to live using our metabolic assessments. So we do resting metabolic rateand metabolic efficiencytests. These both are using indirect calorimetry. So gas exchange, oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide exhaled, both at rest and then through a sub max exercise testto understand how the body is functioning metabolically but also what type of substrate is preferred for that athlete is that can really impact not only body composition and adaptation around body comp, but really ties into our Sport Scienceand our energy system assessment and developmentas different substrate that is being used can really put somebody in a different situation around fat oxidationversus glycolitic oxidationof carbohydrates and gives us some real insights into those energy systems development.

12:59

COREY:         Now when you’re talking about once you’re analyzing all those different systems and different athletes respond differently to different substrates. Can you elaborate on that and put that kind of in layman’s terms? So what [inaudible] with different people?

CLINT:          Yep. So essentially, at rest, we can look at how much energy somebody’s burning compared to what we predict for somebody’s height, weight, age and gender. On top of that, we see are you predominantly a carb burneror predominantly a fat burner? Now, you want to be somewhat of a mixed fuel burner because if you’re exclusively carb, obviously you’re relying upon blood sugar always. That’s not ideal at rest. You want to be a slightly fat adapted especially for the type of energy systems that our athletes need, which is a fairly aerobic base with some anaerobic capacity. We want to be a slightly fat burner, but not all the way because then again, we lose our ability to be glycolitic and to use carbohydrates as energy source. So we’re assessing the type of energy that’s being used at rest.

14:11

And then when we start to exercise somebody in a sub maximal tests, usually it’s a, to walk to slog to jog to run protocol takes about 45 minutes, we can see how the body adapts through those increasing intensities and how they go from being ideally fat burner at rest and at low intensities and then carb burner high intensities. What that allows us to do is to see are they efficient at using one of these substrates at certain intensity? And then at what point do you crossover between being a fat burner to a carb burner, that gives us a really important data point, especially the track longitudinally and then beyond that, we get to see what is the range this athlete uses bad as a preferred substrate and at what level? This gives us a range for our low intensity cardio, for our aerobic development phase, for our S&C and our sport science programs to build specific protocols to build out these energy systems while targeting with specific nutrition tactics to optimize both the nutrition and the adaptation for body comp, but then also the energy system that we’re trying to target for that athlete.

15:26

COREY:         It’s very just, I mean, it’s incredibly individualized. We hear a lot of stuff about different diets that some people say; Well, everybody should be on this type of diet, or everybody should be on that type of diet, when the reality is, is that each one of these athletes has an individualized response to different types of foods and a need for different types of training that you guys are exposed and really digging in and finding the root cause of, right?

CLINT:          Well, that’s 100% true and there are fundamentals that – and in philosophical fundamentals that are really cutting across everything that we do here. But we also are using personalization and the assessment capacity that we have here, which is fairly unique, but it’s really the philosophy of, okay, we have these fundamentals but we need to better understand the athlete. What is their history? What is their — we don’t know their genetics, but we can understand their history and their predispositions to different protocols. And then we need to get their perspective on what their preferences are, that’s a very overlooked concept within this high performance is, yeah, we know certain things to be true but we also need to balance that with athlete needs and preferences. And then we really need to personalize based on specific objectives, right?

A specific athlete is going to have different demands, immediately post fight vs. as they’re preparing for a fight camp versus two weeks before their fight. And so making sure that we are adapting and adjusting everything that we’re providing for athletes in order to meet their personal physiological demands, but also to elicit the adaptations that are required at that moment in time. And so those are critical pieces that we’re trying to balance.

17:30

COREY:         I know with a lot of people we have more information in front of us than we ever have in history. Right. So I’m going with the internet, new machines that are getting in, digging in and really given us more data and stuff like that. There’s still people side. So let’s say you go through all these assessments and evaluations and interviews, you go do all the testing and you coordinate with your team on what you need to do with that athlete at that particular moment and maybe to their camp before the fight, the implementation. So in your experience dealing with all these different athletes, what are some things that you’re doing to ensure that the athlete is following what you’re saying and staying up to date?

18:23

CLINT:          I couldn’t agree more Corey. At the heart of everything that I’m doing and I think that each performance service has its own inherent kind of pitfalls and challenges and nutrition is I think it experiences the most of those because we have to do nutrition on our own time most of the time. Whether it’s preparation or just kind of finding food that meets our needs. There’s a huge social component to it, food is not just micro or macronutrients, it has a lot of emotion and a lot of extra feelings to it very often.

COREY:         Sure.

CLINT:          So I really have to work with — as a nutrition professional, we really need to work with athletes around what are their inherent needs around food. One of the things that I say up front as I’m doing an intake or as I’m trying to get to know an athlete is that, hey listen, here’s my background, I try to introduce myself so they understand my background, my strength and some of my judgments as well coming from what I did, but I have some skill and I have some understanding around nutrition and how it might help you. But you are the world’s leading expert in you. And you know what’s worked, you know what has not worked, and we can definitely find some things that I can help you with, but you need to be in charge of what we’re doing.

And so what I try to do is provide a framework with which we build specifics with the athletes. If they’re in charge of the planning, if they’re in charge of the development of the specific plan, they’re buying their connectedness to what we’ve developed, is going to be at a higher level, and really establishes them as the expert in what they’re doing and gives them a lot of ownership and autonomy and establishes me as the nutrition professional, as a consultant in that journey. And that’s really what I am. I’m not there to be the expert in to direct people to eat specific things that I like or that I feel are valuable, but to work within a framework that we establish as positive and in the right direction and then empowering them to drive that train.

20:55

COREY:         Right on. I think that’s an often overlooked piece. Right? Everybody’s bouncing from diet to diet trying to figure out what’s working and maybe over time they do. But from thenumbers, it seems like most people don’t. So getting involved and getting them involved in that process I think is a really intelligent way to approach it. That’s good.

21:17

CLINT:          Yeah, and what our philosophy here at the PI is we’re fairly agnostic in terms of the specific training modalityor the specific nutrition paradigm. We want to support athletes, however, they need to be supportive of where they’re at. And that’s where we want to pick and choose from different options, different strategies that meet athletes at that exact moment in time. There are times when we’re adapting macronutrients that it makes it look like one specific names diet, and there’s other times even with the same athlete where we have to shift it around and the macronutrients and the distribution and everything else looks like an entirely different diet. So we’re not beholden to any specific one philosophy around program development or nutrition program or whatever that may be but we really want to pick and choose based on that personal or athletes specific demands of that moment.

22:22

COREY:         Right on. Well cool and I mean as these guys are getting kind of a more I guess better habit I guess is an easy way better eating habits better nutrition habit, they are kind of improving over time. There does come a time when guys have to make weight. When you’re talking to these guys, when we’re talking about offseason, we’re talking about in-camp, are you putting together some kind of a checklist or marker points like hey, let’s try to hit this weight at this date as they’re kind of going through camp to kind of ease them towards their weight without having this massive drastic cut at the very end?

23:07

CLINT:          Absolutely. Big part of our initial assessment or even an update to our assessment and goal setting when somebody will get a fight is establishing an ideal way to set that’s both moderate and achievable, but also is getting them to a point coming into fight week, that makes that final weight and water cut, something that’s not going to be really deleterious to their health.

So, sometimes we’re up against it, especially if somebody comes in heavy or if they come and see us late and we have to do things that are more aggressive and a little bit more drastic than we would like but ideally what we’re doing is we’re working well upstream to establish good solid practices and habits that then carry us into that fight camp so that it could be a fight camp instead of a weight loss camp. The last thing we want our for athletes is just to have to focus on dieting or camp and not their skill and strategy development which is really what fight camp ought to be used for, especially if an athlete is trying to get better at the sport of mixed martial arts.

And so by establishing a moderate weight descent planand following up regularly, ideally, if somebody is here in house we’ll meet with them once or twice a week, obviously see him around at the fueling station or around the cafe, help them order food, or if we’re doing remote consultation, that would be a weekly, oftentimes a phone or a Skype chat, followed up with facts Q&A, just to make sure that we’re a resource that they can call on whenever they have questions or concerns about what’s going on.

So building that plan in the weight descent well ahead of time and communicating what that looks like and how and when to be concerned and then providing next steps as we have to adjust things is a critical component to that.

25:10

COREY:         Yeah, you guys are I’m imagining you’re using all the data that you guys ever acquired through your technology. Right? If those kids had been in there. Now as they’re doing that yellow [incomprehensible] informations for people that don’t have all that information, are there certain percentages off fight weight or things like that, that we can use that are a little bit more low tech? So guys can realize if you’re 15 20% over your fight weight, like that’s when the red light starts flashing or something along those lines where people can get like a ballpark?

CLINT:          Yeah, absolutely. So based on the weigh-in regulations that UFC athletes have to deal with, and this is different if you have a different weigh-in regulation like NCAA or UFC wrestling are very different. But for UFC and most mixed martial arts, at least professionally, they’re weighing-in the day before competition. For our athletes we recommend that they show up to fight week no more than 8% overweight. That’s not always accomplished but that’s absolutely what our recommendation is. That allows the weight cut and that’s a relatively well fueled and definitely well hydrated state, that’s not a restricted dehydrated.

26:29

Sometimes we’ll get people showing up to fight week 8% over and then they miss the weight by seven pounds and it’s like, oh what the heck happened?And they showed up in a pretty dehydrated state. So what 8% does, it allows them to continue to work down to weight, lose fiber, lose glycogen, lose water, without impacting the musculature, the structure of their body, so that then they can rehydrate, refuel and fight somewhere between 8% and 10% over their body weight, come Fight Night. That’s about the upper limit that that we feel comfortable with as something that is going to support not only their health in that fight, but their long term development as a fighter.

27:16

Now beyond that, the body can only lose about 1.5% of their body as fat per week. So if you’re going to build a weight descent plan, from fight, we can move backwards I would say no more than six to eight weeks can you really lose fat in that aggressive of a manner. So if you have an eight week fight camp, and you’re trying to descend to that 8% over, what I’d say is about 1% of your body weight per week. So that puts that athlete if they’re going to start an eight week fight camp, you want to be within about 16% of your fight weight in order to be able to descend through fueled training, recover through fight camp, improve or kind of optimize body composition through those eight weeks, cut weight effectively and efficiently, rehydrate, refuel and compete with an 8% to 10% over your weight.

And then set yourself up for a balanced [incomprehensible] between fight period, so that you’re not gorging and overeating as a response to this starvation. There’s a biological response to starvation, that is both overeating and fat storage and that’s where we — if we’re able to be moderate in that fight camp in the weight cut you’re setting yourself up for a solid next fight preparation because your body is not overcompensating between fight.

28:47

COREY:         Right on. It’s awesome info. So as they get — that’s really good just being able to reverse engineer that back so that guys can have those stepping stones that they can hit throughout fight camp so that they know they’re on track. When they do come into fight week and let’s say they’re 8% over they’ve done really well, they’ve been disciplined and they’ve [inaudible] things a bit, that fight week comes along and things can be [incomprehensible] right?

CLINT:          Yeah.

COREY:         So they got nerves, you got media you got all these other obligations going on whether they’re if it’s a regional show they’re selling tickets and answering a billion emails, but that fight week is hectic. So as they are cutting weight, do you have any just kind of broad stroke tips for guys as they are going through that week on things they should eat, things they should avoid? Like you said, I was chewing tobacco and you were eating bowls of rice. So I mean, we both had it going back in the day. So what are some good practices that guys can have during that fight week?

29:51

CLINT:          Yeah, another great question. Essentially what you want to do over a fight week is eliminate things that are not going to contribute to your musculature, your skeleton and your ability to do the work, right? So on fight night you want to be well nourished, you want to have muscle glycogen in your system, you want to have all the sodium and electrolytes and fluids in you, but at the weigh-in those are not required. So for our fighters, we’re generally weighing in on Friday. So Thursday is the day that our big bigger water cut is happening.

So essentially, I like to work backwards from that moment in time. So, on Monday, that’s about four days ahead of weigh-ins, what we want to do is actually increase fluid consumption, water consumption to keep the body, the kidneys and the sweat regulation and the urination to continue to increase. And that continues to stay up and maybe even increase all the way through Wednesday. So that the body is well hydrated, well profuse of water, so that it’s able to lose fluids when the time comes without feeling stressed, that’s the biggest thing is helping the body to avoid feeling stressed. So the water goes up on Monday, on Tuesday, takes about two days or so to flush any fiber, the bulk of the fiber that’s in your system, you can flush in two days. So on Tuesday, we’re changing the content of the food that we’ve been eating. We go from a high fiber training diet, our training diets can be high in fruits and vegetables that are rich in micronutrients, rich in fiber that is good for blunting of the blood sugar response and is really good at balancing appetite. On Tuesday of fight week, we pull that out and replace it with just really proteins and fats, are going to be the basis of our fight week diet so that we can continue to provide energy and protein to support tissue repair.

32:02

And through fight week, we want to make sure we’re eating early and eating often just like we do during our training diet. So that’s going to look like three meals and a couple of snacks that are obviously composed differently because of the fat and the protein versus having starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, those are all getting pulled out.

And then on Thursday afternoon, we’re going to start to eliminate the water consumption and then get the body ready to do that final water cut on Thursday evening so that we can make weight on Friday morning. So those are the main things that we’re looking at to be able to pull fiber, to be able to pull water off over a fight week, and then to be able to put those back on going into the fight.

32:55

Two things that I didn’t talk about are the carbohydrates, those are going to pull back over fight week as well because we do not want to store a lot of energy in our muscle glycogen that’s very heavy. So Monday, Tuesday, those are going to be eliminated, potentially a little bit of starchy carbs before any actual training sessions over fight week.

And then Sunday, Monday of fight week, we’re going to be looking to pull any sodium out of our diet that might contribute to water retention over that period, because that’s just going to delay the sweat mechanism that’s going to help us to lose water over fight week.

33:34

COREY:         Cool. Now when the boys did all those tips, they made the cut down, they cut a little bit of water. They step on the scale [incomprehensible] they made weight. Right? So then we got to get them ready to compete. Right?

CLINT:          Yep.

COREY:         So we got a 24 to 36 hour window. I know I’ve heard you talk about reintroducing foods back in after weigh-in. So how does that process look for guys after they hit the scale?

34:02

CLINT:          It’s variable depending upon how far somebody pushed their body I would say. For those that are on the struggling end of things, they may not be able to tolerate solid food right away if they’ve not eaten as well over fight week or if they’ve really had to push their system the last couple of days, we may have to be a little bit more conservative. Those that are more efficient with their weight cutting process, we’re going to be able to reintroduce solid food a lot quicker. The focus post weigh-in is going to be to replace our electrolytes, first and foremost, our fluids, our carbohydrates and our glycogen and all the while providing protein to support tissue repair along that process. So first things first, you’re going to look for an oral rehydration beverage. Typically it’s going to be fairly high in sodium. There’s a number of different products on the market, Pedialyte is a popular one, we use a product called Ceralyte and Cerasport that is really balanced for osmolarity, so that it provides the nutrients, the fluids without causing a big rush of fluids to the stomach which can cause GI Upset. Either way, we’re looking for something with electrolytes, fluids, and oftentimes including some protein in that helps with the fluid absorption.

35:30

Next thing we want to look at is getting some starchy carbohydrates, potentially with a little bit of simple sugar depending on how the gut tolerance is at that time, but that’s going to start a bit of the digestive process as well as replacing some of the glycogen that was depleted from the muscle stores.

Those are the main things and once the body can tolerate some of those moderately processed carbohydrates, I’m looking at pretzels and crackers and white breads, those types of things that can be very easily digested, then we move on to more of a meal focus. And once we start eating solid food, we’re thinking about the classic glycogen, carbohydrate loading process, similar to what we were thinking for a marathoner trying to carb up for a race, same thing as what we’re trying to replete our glycogen and provide carbohydrate energy substrate for the fight. So we’re looking at about four to one carbs protein for all the meals wants to start eating solid foods till about between three and five hours pre fight. We want to have small, medium size, small to medium sized meals that are carb rich, that’s going to starch up the body for that high intensity effort that’s required during the fight.

36:45

COREY:         Right on. That’s incredible info Clint. I know a lot of people struggle they don’t have a checklist. They don’t have a plan of attack. So I mean from start to finish, from the assessment, the eval, the interview, as well as getting that athlete involved in the process, through detail obviously if you’re working with somebody and you’re coordinating with them on their schedules and stuff like that, but a lot of great info and from fight week to post weigh-in and my goodness you see so much variability and people that are picking and choosing cherry picking information and they’re still struggling to make weight and then not only just to make weight but then to perform after the fight. So that’s super helpful.

37:36

CLINT:          Yeah and all Il’add Corey as well is, so much of the focus in the area of mixed martial arts is just around making weight and using and oftentimes abusing nutrition just to make weight and then it’s forgotten about, it’s not used as a performance paradigm in a way that it really could. The groundwork for any training and as a strength coach and physiologist, I know that this is near and dear to your heart, you’re not going to prepare for the fight in the last three weeks. Same for nutrition, you’re not cutting weight and using and abusing nutrition to make weight, it’s not the maximum utilization of this performance paradigm.

38:18

We can build habits, we can build a foundation between fight period that can really carry athletes through that fight in a much more holistic and supportive way. And that’s where we around about work within and building those habits and not being on a diet post fight but having some performance focus and just being consistent is a really critical component to being able to build and accelerate and to get better through those fight camps.

38:48

COREY:         Yeah, absolutely. So I know that this is a super — it’s relatively new and in all this, the S&C side and nutrition side and recovery. This is all relatively new to combat athletes. Especially MMA, MMA is a young sport anyway, but a lot of this you got a great job pushing everything forward and really bringing great information out and making it available to the world. So I appreciate what you’re doing Clint and as well as your whole team. You guys are doing a great job.

CLINT:          Thanks so much, Corey. Thanks for having me on too.

COREY:         Yeah, man. Absolutely. If people are wanting to get more information about what you’re doing or find some, what are the best ways for them to reach out?

39:31

CLINT:          Well, there’s UFC performances too, we have some social media handles, Twitter and Instagram. I have published an ebook called Performance Nutrition for Wrestlers. It’s available at mywrestlingnutrition.com. So all of the fundamentals that I talked about, I break it into kind of periodized planning off season in-season and in kind of the preparation for competition and I really try to share as much information as I can. I’m available on especially Twitter at sports are at @SportRd_Clintand that’s probably the best way to follow me. And you can always if somebody has specific concerns or questions, I’m available at the cwattenberg@ufc.com. I don’t do a ton of private consultation but I’m happy to do what I can to push the knowledge base and just the inside around performance nutrition in the combat sports forward as much as I can.

COREY:         Cool, so guys, I’ll put some of those links and that information down below so you can just click on it. Clint, thanks again for sharing dude. I appreciate it so much.

CLINT:          Yeah. My pleasure. Take care.


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