Nutrition is often overlooked, but is one of the most important aspects of MMA.
With all of the missed weight cuts and poor performances, its vital that we develop a system. Eric Triliegi has developed a system and has helped some of the best UFC fighters prepare for their fights. His clients include Anthony Pettis, Miesha Tate, Jake Shields, Carla Esparza and many others.
In this interview we discuss:
- Nutrition Basics
- Weekly weight checks
- Starving and other weight cut mistakes
- Proper weight cut strategies
- Training schedules
- What to drink post weigh in
- Foods to be avoided
- and more.
BREAKFAST: Ezekial Bread French Toast w/ Apple, Pear, Agave Syrup and Scrambled Eggs
Prep and Cook Time: 15 – 20 minutes
3 eggs (free range/hormone free)
2 pieces Ezekiel bread
1/2 apple (diced)
1/2 pear (diced)
2 tbsp Agave (organic)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 dash of nutmeg (not to much)
1 small pinch of clove (not to much, it is a super strong spice)
1 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
Heat skillets on med heat. Scramble 1 egg & almond milk. Dip bread in eggs & cook in 1 tbsp coconut oil for about 3 min each side. Take remaining eggs & cook them in the other skillet with 1 tbsp coconut oil. While that is cooking make the syrup. Put diced apple, pear, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg & agave in the pot & cook until hot. When done pour over french toast & enjoy your meal.
DINNER: Baked Salmon with a Mango/Apple Salsa
Prep and Cook Time: 15 – 20 minutes
1 (3oz. salmon fillet)
1 mango (peeled & cut up)
1/2 cup cucumber (diced)
1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
1 apple (diced)
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 lime (juiced)
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves garlic powder Salt and pepper
3 fresh basil leaves (chopped up)
Season salmon with garlic powder & pepper, then bake at 400 for about 13 minutes or until done to your liking. Then take all the other ingredients, mango, cucumber, jalapeno, apple, red onion, lime juice, a pinch of salt & cilantro leaves and mix together in a bowl. When fish is done, cover with the salsa & garnish with basil then serve.
Eric is a Certified Molecular Level Nutritionist under Robb Wolf. He studied the art and science of performance nutrition under Robb who is a strength & conditioning coach and a former research biochemist. Eric studied the theory of performance eating, recovery and optimizing health and longevity, as well as, the practical implementation of Paleo nutritional concepts to support fat loss, muscle gain and improve athletic performance. He learned about basic pathophysiology related to metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and infertility. Additionally, he studied autoimmunity and systemic inflammation and how these processes impact performance, health and longevity.
Full Transcription of Our Podcast with ERIC TRILIEGI
COREY: Hey guys, this is Corey Beasleywith Fight Camp Conditioning. I’m on the phone with Eric Triliegi. Eric, how are you?
ERIC: I’m doing good bud, how’re you doing today?
COREY: Good, man. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today.
ERIC: No problem at all. I definitely appreciate you having me on. So thank you as well.
COREY: Absolutely. Now Eric, just for everybody that’s listening, give everybody an idea of what it is that you do.
ERIC: Well I kind of consider myself a Molecular Level Nutritionist. I’ve been doing nutrition for over 13 years without pro athletes and fighters, mainly fighters, MMA fighters, Muay Thai, wrestlers, things like that, athletes like that. Went to school for a little while, studied under Robb Wolffor a little while who was one of the leading Paleolithic and Neolithic nutritionist out there in my opinion. I basically just did a lot of certifications, private certifications, things like that to try to build my nutrition knowledge and I combined that with my love of cooking. I’ve been cooking since I was five years old.
So I combine those two and I create meal plans and do weight cuts for fighters like Anthony Pettis, Miesha Tate, Jake Shields, Pascal Krauss, Sergio Pettis. I worked with Tiffany Van Soest, Carla Esparza, worked a little bit withJessica Penneand just a bunch of fighters that are trying to incorporate good nutrition and good eating with their training so they can have proper weight cut to be able to perform their best.
COREY: Awesome. It’s absolutely a pretty big necessity these days.
ERIC: In my opinion, it’s one of the biggest necessities but yet it’s one of the things that are overlooked by — my opinion, when you have a fighter, his job is to focus on the fight. It’s the team’s job to get him ready and it’s the manager’s job to make sure that he’s managed. Like what is he doing with his eating [inaudible]? Is the manager doing weekly weight checks and things like that? It’s one of the biggest parts of your training, but yet in my opinion, a lot of people don’t give it the attention that it needs. That’s why we’ve been seeing a lot of fighters miss weight these days. It’s because they’re training so hard, focusing so hard on the fight, everyone’s focused on the fight. And no one’s really worried about the weight cut.
So I’m just going to ramble for a second. So what ends up happening in that situation is that a lot of fighters and I’ve spoken about this before, a lot of fighters wait to the last minute to do these weight cuts, and during that time, it’s crunch time. So they’re doing whatever they think is the right way to get this weight off, so they stop eating. They become mal-nutritioned in my opinion, low energy levels. I sunken in, things like that, those are signs of a bad weight cut. And so I just feel that in the years to come, there’s going to be a lot of change and a lot of emphasis on proper weight cut. And I accept that I can’t wait for that time to come.
COREY: Yeah absolutely. It is the kind of like, everybody’s kind of doing what they know. And maybe it’s what they’re wrestling coach showed them in high school or what they heard from the [inaudible] There’s no real science in it at all.
ERIC: Exactly. Yeah well, to me, there is a science to it and you have a lot of nutrition that’s out there that will say though, they’ll put out a book or they’ll put out some kind of nutrition information and it kind of lumps everybody together. And in my opinion, you just can’t do that because it is a science. It’s what’s your body fat? How much water are you used to pushing out in one sitting? Can you sweat a lot? Are you hypoglycemic? Like there’s so many things that come into play when you’re doing a proper weight cut that it actually, to me, it is more of a science than, oh, let’s do this, this should work or let’s do this, this should work. No. I usually take into account a few factors when dealing with a fighter; what weight class they’re in, what their training schedule is, what their sleep schedule is, what they’re used to eating, how much weight have they cut before in the past, what weight class are they in and how tall are they? So there’s a bunch of things you have to calculate in when you want to do a real proper weight cut to where you’re not hurting yourself on the day of weigh ins. Your body’s rehydrated correctly, you’re eating all the proper foods. That way, when you step into that cage, you’re able to perform at your highest level, because that’s what we all want our athletes to do is when they step in that cage and that door shuts, we want to make sure that they’ve done everything correctly to make sure that they perform at their highest level.
COREY: Absolutely. Eric, talking about some of the common things that people are doing these days, and we’ll just start with some basics with nutrition, what types of food and drinks and stuff like that that the guys are taking in. What are some of the basics of your program or recommendations that you give across the board that are just common basic checklist that they get when they’re doing that.
ERIC: So one of my main things I noticed a lot of fighters doing and that’s, when they step off that scale, they’re rehydrating with pedialyteor some kind of gatorade pedialyte mixture. And to me when you’re trying to rehydrate — just some basic information, when you’re trying to rehydrate the object in my opinion of rehydrating is to get your body rehydrated with using the least amount of energy to do that. So if you’re drinking something like a pedialyte that is manmade and has a bunch of sugars in it and things like that. Yes, it might rehydrate you, but you’re not going to absorb that 100%. You’re going to push a lot of that into your bladder, and you’re going to pee it out, excuse me, you’re going to flush that out and we don’t want that. We want you to absorb and maintain as much electrolytes as possible.
So I like to have all my fighters drink coconut water. The reason why I like coconut water is because it is considered — and this is young coconut water that’s from the young coconut; it’s considered what is called an isotonic solution. And that means that it’s really close to our own blood plasma.
A weird fact about coconut water is, in World War II, we could dilute the blood when blood supplies were low, with young coconut water because it was so close to our own blood plasma. So when you drink that, your body absorbs it right away. It can understand it and it can metabolize it easily. So I recommend all fighters or any fighter that has to rehydrate I recommend them using young coconut water for the simple purpose that it matches our blood plasma, not completely but it’s very close.
COREY: Right on.
ERIC: Another thing I suggest is proper sleep. Okay? Our body does certain things certain times of the night like our adrenals, I think they recharge between 10:00 at night and 2:00 in the morning, depending on where we’re at in the rising or setting of the sun or where we’re at in a time zone. So I always tell people to make sure that you’re done eating and in bed by about nine o’clock. You shouldn’t eat past seven. You want to have all your food eaten by seven, metabolized, digested and getting ready for bed pretty much on an empty stomach and getting ready for your body to one, for the adrenal to recharge, and for two, to hit a proper REM sleep, a proper rapid eye movement sleep. So to me sleep, getting the right amount of sleep is huge during a fight camp, and huge on the night of the fight.
COREY: Yeah absolutely. Those are a couple of pretty solid basics, for sure. When you’re talking about diet with these guys, and you go and do like what they should be eating, I mean, we talked a little bit about a post weigh in and we talked a little bit about sleep. Let’s say a guy hasgot 20, 30 pounds to lose over an eight week camp, you’re slowly kind of helping out, obviously nutrition plays a factor in the weight cut but it also plays a factor in recovery and replenishing the body of [inaudible] needs to repair itself.
ERIC: 100%, 100%. Not to go into a lot of detail but I like to use foods that during a weight cut are going to enhance a fighter’s performance. Those are foods that help promote the production of red blood cell, help promote the production of collagen and elastin, you know, ligaments and tendons are highly composed of collagen and elastin and some water. And then we do portioning, depending on what weight class and how much they weigh, then we do portion control because that’s huge, making sure that you’re eating five to six times a day, all the way up until the fight. We don’t want you starving yourself at all.
So I like to give my fighters a list of recovery foods, sports enhancement foods, and then foods that are kind of I ask each fighter what flavors they like, what’s their comfort foods, because then I try to incorporate comfort foods with nutritious eating during a weight cut so the weight cut doesn’t seem like what it is and that’s a weight cut. I try to take the weight cut, add foods that the fighters are going to like but are also going to help them perform at their best. So that to me is key – having the proper nutrition, having the proper portion control over that eight week period, make sure they’re drinking the right amount of water and then as the weeks go on we monitor sodium and things like that as the weeks go on.
COREY: Yeah. There are a lot of diets and stuff that are out there right now that are low carb or no carb or high protein, high fat, that type of stuff. What is [inaudible] some of that stuff with an athlete?
ERIC: To me, a lot of nutritionists have different opinions because there are so many different theories that are out there. But in my opinion, I believe, to perform your best, you need to be getting proteins, carbs and fats per meal. I tend to stay away from grains, corn, oatmeal, things like that, especially during a weight cut. Because those are things that spike your insulin, and they’re kind of empty. I’ll do maybe a little bit of gluten free pasta, some yams, depending on the fighter, depending on the situation. But I like my fighters to get proteins, carbs and fats.
The reason why is because the protein is going to maintain that muscle mass. Your carbohydrate is going to give you that carb energy that’s going to be your quick energy, and then your fat is going to be your secondary energy. So once you burn through your carbohydrate energy, you’re going to have that fat energy as well to tap into.
So in my opinion I believe a balanced meal of proteins, carbs and fats is what a fighter needs to be able to perform at their best.
COREY: Right on. I mean, it’s really just getting down to some basics. And then really if I’m hearing you correctly, you’re just going through in the protein, carbs and fats that you’re
talking about are all from natural sources. Right?
ERIC: Correct, yeah.
COREY: Just meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and different things like that, that occur naturally. Right?
ERIC: Correct. Correct. And then the closer I get to weigh in, certain foods I take out. I stay away from root based vegetables because those tend to be higher in sugar. So the closer we get to fight day, the more we tweak and take out things and make it so the body is performing at its best. So we take away sugars and things like that about four weeks out, to where some people leave in sugars. Me, I like to take them out because I want my fighter to be able to eat more without their insulin spiking. So we all know when you eat a sugar, when you eat food, your pancreas starts to produce insulin, which raises your blood glucose, aids in digestion.
So I like to stay away from sugars the closer we get to fight day because I don’t like my fighters’ insulin to spike at all. I don’t want them to overuse their pancreas. I want them to be able to have longevity in the sport and I want them to be able to live a long life. So pancreatic control and pancreatic function and production of insulin plays a huge part in my approach to proper weight cut.
COREY: Right on. So Eric, when you’re working with some of these guys, I know — you’re out here in California, correct?
ERIC: Correct, yeah. I now reside in LA.
COREY: You’re in LA. So a lot of these guys that you’re working with in the Midwest, in consulting and dealing with these guys, I know a lot of guys locally are actually preparing food for guys. You’re actually just consulting them at a distance.
ERIC: Correct. What I do — so say like with Anthony Pettis, he does have a chef that works with him. So I’ll send all my meals and meal planning juices, things like that. I’ll send that to his cousin and Chef, who’s a great chef. His name’s Angelo Pettisand he’s been cooking Anthony’s food for a while now. He’s been working with me pretty much really close every camp. And then Anthony usually flies me out a couple of weeks before his fight, and then I finish up cooking for him. We go to wherever the fight is at. I finish up the weight cut, do the reason hydration and all that.
So usually we’ll start out the camp, whether it’s Eric Kochor Anthonyor whatever the fighter, even with Mieshaand Jake, I would be out there the last week or two, help with that final weight cut because that I have an approach to doing as well so they bring me out for that. And then after the weigh-ins I do all the rehydration, all the pre fight meals, etc., all their carb loading ratios, things like that.
COREY: Right on. Very cool man. Sounds like you’re adding a lot of value to a lot of dudes’ lives right there.
ERIC: I’m doing my best. I feel that my approach to this nutrition thing and this weight cut thing is one of the best in the business. I’ve been doing it just as long as anyone else out there; lucky enough to have worked with some great fighters. I’ve helped Miesha Tatewin a World Title. I’ve helped Anthony on a four or five winning streaks [incomprehensible] me, since his last six [inaudible] which that fight, I don’t know if you guys know this but he had a bad weight cut. He came out to California, talked to me share about how she won her first world title, who did she work with. And then Anthony hired me from there.
So I won two belts with Tiffany Van Soest, who’s one of the top Muay Thai fighters in the world, and RFA Titlewith Mike Biggieand RFA Title with Sergio Pettis, Ultimate Fighter winner Chris Holdsworthlived with me for two years and I did his cooking and meals for those two years.
So I believe what I’ve learned and the things that I do are pretty good for the sport, and I just hope that I can keep working with good fighters or actually great fighters, like Jessicaand working with guys like you and everyone else has just been a blessing, so it’s been a good thing.
COREY: Yeah absolutely. Eric, guys that want to get in touch with you, do you have a website or resources, what’s the best way for everybody to get in touch with you.
ERIC: I do have a website, it’s called newtritionforlife.com. And it’s spelled N-E-W-T-R-I-T-I-O-N-F-O-R-L-I-F-E.com. I know that’s kinda long.
COREY: I’ll put the link below so everybody can find it.
ERIC: Oh, that’d be great. I’d really appreciate that.
COREY: And then if they’re looking at [inaudible] with you, obviously are you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram that type of stuff?
ERIC: Yes, I am. I’m on Instagram under newtrition4life. But it’s with the letter “4”. Same spelling as my website but it just has the letter “4” or under my name Eric Triliegi and then I’m on Facebook as well under Eric Triliegi as well, and on Instagram. So I’m on Twitter, at nutritionforlife, Instagram nutrition4life and on Facebook, Eric Triliegi.
COREY: Cool, cool, cool. All right guys, I will put that information right below this podcast and you guys will have all those links. Eric, thanks so much for talking with us. I know it’s little late in the evening and I’m sure you’re busy yourself. So I really do appreciate you sharing some of your tips and stuff with us, I do.
ERIC: No problem at all man. Thank you very much. Sorry if I rambled, nutrition is a passion of mine. So I hope I gave some good information that people can use and reach out to me anytime. I’d love to be on your show anytime you need me to.
COREY: Cool, man. Thanks so much.
ERIC: You’re so welcome and you have a great evening.
COREY: You too. Bye bye.
ERIC: Okay. Bye bye.