Making weight for Muay Thai part 2: Down to Business
By SBG Performance & Nutrition
Read from Part 1 here
So with 19 days and 9kgs to shift we threw caution to the wind and got stuck in. Jordan was back at training after a week or so off to allow the cut on his eyebrow to heal. I believe that he was holding on to excess water as after the first 2 days (7 hours training) he had moved down to just over 64kgs. By this point we had cleaned up his diet so there were no sugary drinks or unhealthy snacks involved. The meal plan he was on was purely natural, non-inflammatory, one ingredient foods complimented with water and electrolytes for hydration.
When the body is well hydrated and is getting the nutrients it needs, systems within it function better which is why he was able to drop the initial weight so rapidly. A small portion would have been fat as well because of the nature of his training. Due to the length and varying intensity of his sessions he would have been switching between fuel sources quite nicely. We were monitoring his weight before and after training sessions to see roughly how much weight he was losing through sweat and moisture in his breath. This allowed us to try and get him adequate fluids throughout the rest of the day to keep him hydrated in the unwavering heat of Phuket. I also asked him to monitor the colour of his urine to make sure it was nicely diluted and clear. The pee test is still a reliable way to tell if someone is hydrated or not!
Over the course of the week we kept monitoring weight, hydration, energy levels, sleep quality and performance during training. He kept dropping weight steadily over the course of the next few days, roughly .3kg every day. Normally I would say that this is too much, especially for someone of his body fat percentage (just under 10% when we measured as he started the meal plan), but because of the limited time frame we had it wasn’t really up for discussion. I was keeping his vegetable and mineral content elevated to offset any negative effects of the weight loss as much as possible, but it was still far from ideal. Himalayan pink rock salt was used to season most of his dishes. It has a superior mineral content to normal table salt which is we why used it to help replenish what he was losing through sweat. Towards the end of the second week of the meal plan his weight plateaued at around 63kg which, in a way, was good as it meant we had found his maintenance calories. It meant that he was still 6kg from his target weight but at least I had everything I needed to be able to use the strategies needed to get him to his fight weight of 57kg by the following Saturday (8 days away).
We decided that it would not be optimal to drop his calories further as we did not want his training or recovery to suffer. We both felt that he was close to the edge on that one anyway, in fact we added in an extra snack in the evening comprised of cashew nuts and a large portion of raisins to try and bring the balance up and stop any cravings he might get. However, this managed to backfire on us. I received a phone call from Jordan on Saturday morning (7 days from weigh in), saying that his weight had jumped up to 64.5kg! Understandably he was a little shocked and started to panic. I explained to him that I thought it was an anomaly and it may have been down to a number of things, including holding on to excess water. We decided to switch his trail mix for a protein shake with some nut butter and greens, just in case it was the extra carbs from the raisins that had caused the sudden change in weight. He trained as he normally would on the Saturday then switched to a lower carb, higher fat diet on his rest day, Sunday. It did the trick because the following day he was a very respectable 61.7kg, just 6 days from weigh in.
The nature of Muay Thai training in its rawest form is brutal, at best, and the intensity he was training at leading up to the fight was starting to take its toll. We didn’t want to risk increasing calories because it would then make the following week more of a struggle if he gained even a small amount of weight. This is why the evening shake was a good compromise. It provided extra protein which helped with muscle repair and protection and it was also low carb which is essentially the opposite of what he was having as a snack before. Now, I know this isn’t optimal but had Jordan not sought my advice he would have already had his sweatsuit on 2 weeks out from the fight and have been skipping meals. I think you’ll agree which is more desirable. I kept green vegetable intake high so as to give him as much chance of decent recovery as possible.
In the next blog I will discuss the week leading up to the weigh in and the alterations and techniques used to help Jordan hit his target weight of 57kg. Stay tuned….
Find part 3 here