Ok, here is my take on things. My perspective is from coaching both athletes and physique competitors at the amateur and a couple at the pro ranks (although no names really. you could say the only recognizable name I trained for an appreciable time was Dave Rickels). This is stuff I have noticed with them and also things I have learned for myself.
- Fighters, by and large, are fucking miserably terrible at supplementing. Either they don’t do any supplements (good frigging gravy that’s like 20+ year old nutrition methods there), or they waste money on BS (understandable with salespeople and internet BS).
SUPPLEMENT. Supplement supplement supplement your workout. Damn it if I had only one thing to say that you remember burn this into your brain! Supplement ALL YOUR WORKOUTS. ALL. Weights, sparring, cardio, technical fight work, everything.
Let me ask you a question: what is the most energetically demanding time of your entire day? That’s right, the workout period. Unless you do construction work or something.
Supplementing your workouts with protein and carbs, and creatine or beta-alanine is essential. It is the very first fucking thing I make people do when I coach them and the very last thing I drop when I have control of their weight cutting. It’s that important. Guidelines are very simple for starters: no fancy shit, just get liquid protein and carbs down–whey protein and gatorade powder. If you can do more $, then go for Surge workout fuel as your carb source and whatever whey protein you want, or do the whole Biotest shebang. I personally feel strongly about them & use MAG-10/workout fuel but it’s all about your budget and what you feel comfy with. Just don’t waste money on super pre-workout amp formulas instead of the basics if money is tight. Fuel is not caffeine, it’s protein and carbs.
Guidelines are as follows: weights–35g protein, 60-80 g carbs, add creatine or beta-alanine if you have 'em. Cardio 30+ to 60 minutes–15-20g protein, 30-45g carbs. Cardio in the 30 minute area you can just do 10-15g protein and 25-30g carbs. Sparring gets the same treatment as weights because it is so intense, possibly adjusted down 5g or so on the low end of the range. Technical work is dependent on how much it drains you and how much time it takes. Start at about the upper end of the 30+ min to 60 min cardio guideline and adjust upwards.
Drink it in 1/3rds. 1/3 about 20 minutes before your warm-up, 2/3 spread during training and finish any leftovers in the 10 minutes or so following training. Usually mix in about a liter or a bit more of water. This probably seems like a ton, but this would be a minimum for me personally for somebody trying to keep weight up while adding in a lot of cardio and conditioning work. THAT SAID–if you feel like you’re getting pudgy and soft back off food during the rest of your day. If you’re still getting soft, back of on the amounts of stuff during workouts. Honestly though, I’ve never seen it be a problem for anybody I’ve trained or myself–usually it’s something else making you pudgy haha!
Contrary to my respected friend Aussie Davo, it is in fact possible for you to lose muscle even if you aren’t starving yourself. More importantly and a bigger worry, however, is the “fuel tank” gets depleted and you lose water and glycogen you could put to good use in training. Muscle loss is dependent on a number of things but most importantly how long you have been able to maintain your current heavier weight.
Supplement. Please. Aids recovery, kills soreness, keeps weight up and helps it not to fluctuate. win/win/winning.
- Your strength training isn’t talked about in your original post so hard to say what the set-up is, but get a mix of power exercises and strength exercises in there, and don’t train like a bodybuilder. Avoid drop sets, isolation work (unless it is helping to rehab or correct an imbalance), and don’t go to failure. Going to failure is probably the biggest thing: leave something in the hole every time every set. Still try to improve, but never miss a repetition. In other words, train within your limits and focus on strength and power, as well as unilateral leg work for balance and flexibility. You can have a finisher in there or something, but don’t make the bulk of your strength workouts like that. If you keep getting sore I would drop your finisher before you drop any of the meat of your s&c program.
Do not emphasize the lowering/eccentric portion of lifts. That shit is responsible for making you sore along with failure and drop set training.
- Keep food intake up. Simple but overlooked :). But everybody else has hit on this already lol.