UFC diet guru Mike Dolce reveals how to ditch the pies and eat wise.

When you hear, ‘The Dolce Diet,’ what images come to mind?

Since my program has become synonymous with world-class weight cuts and career defining performances you might picture Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson proudly howling on the UFC scales, shredded and ready to roll having shed 45lb in just eight weeks.

Maybe you recall the nervous anticipation of Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta crowding the UFC stage to glimpse the scale as Thiago ‘Pitbull’ Alves confidently throws up an awe-inspiring front double-bicep pose as he easily – and healthily – weighs in at the welterweight class limit of 171lbs for UFC 124 after nearly being dropped from the organization for missing weight just a few months prior.

Of course, there is always Chael Sonnen, throwing Anderson Silva around the cage for four-and-a-half rounds with such unrelenting cardiovascular output that arguably even Clay Guida couldn’t have kept pace.

They accomplished these feats not only through training, but by fueling their bodies with a carefully selected menu stemming from the principles upon which The Dolce Diet is based.

How did I construct these principles? In a nutshell: From a life of nutritional experimentation starring myself as the

petri dish. 


What the MMA world doesn’t know is that I spent nearly a decade devoted to the pursuit of power, both as a power-lifting competitor and coach of considerable reputation.

My methods aren’t simply regurgitated research material found on the Internet or information gleaned from someone else’s seminar that I’m trying to pass off as my own. I personally took my bodyweight from a tiny 114lb as a high school freshman to a 210lb senior. In that time, I also trained my squat up from 140lb to 525lb.

Before you go giving puberty all the credit, as a competitive power lifter I began my career in the 181lb division with that same 525lb squat and finished my career eight years later weighing 280lbs with an 840lb squat.

I then decided to try MMA where I dropped all the way back down to 170lbs and set the record for fastest knockout in the International Fight League. I also earned my spot on Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter with another first-round knockout, having kept much of the power I developed while weighing much more. 

As you can see, I am not only the owner of The Dolce Diet; I am also my most-obsessed client.


About 10 years ago, I was focused on Performance Nutrition (PN).

As a competitive power-lifter, I was focused on increasing my bodyweight as a means to intensify my power. I decided I would increase my weight and hang with the heavies at 275lb. That evening, I came up with a plan of action.

To truly commit to my goal I had to set a completion date. I gave myself nine months. My training system was pretty darn effective so I didn’t need to recreate the wheel here, just continually evolve my methods with an open mind.

My goal of weighing 275lb sounded like a fun one [yes, I got to eat more!], but as a dedicated athlete I was eating only as a means to improve my leverage points and increase skeletal density, enabling me to safely handle heavier weights. 

To do this I needed a lot more nutrients. To move up from 181lb to 238lb I’d been eating nearly 4,000 calories per day of nutritious food pairings of lean proteins, healthy grains, fruits, vegetables and the occasional cheat meal.

Not too different from what a modern MMA athlete should be eating, except I was eating a lot more of it.

While researching new dietary approaches I picked up an old copy of Powerlifting USA and read an article by bench-press phenom JM Blakely. The topic? Eating to gain weight. 

“If you want to beat the man, you’ve got to out-eat the man!” he wrote. And, that’s what I did.


I began eating; well it was more like gorging. My diet was something like this:

Breakfast - Eight, whole-egg omelettes with half a loaf of bread, half a gallon of whole milk and a few bananas for breakfast. 

Lunch - A double dinner portion of penne chicken in vodka sauce, a cheeseburger, French fries and an entire loaf of garlic bread with double cheese, washed down with two cans of Dr Pepper and a quart of whole milk. 

Dinner - A 24oz steak on the drive home from my office to my house and eat more appetizers with it than a family of four. To top it off, I’d end my night with an entire pepperoni pizza that I’d cover with a half-pound of provolone slices, a half-gallon of Breyer’s chocolate ice cream and a king-sized Snickers bar.

The first month went pretty slow, but after four weeks, I weighed 248lbs. I’d gained 10lb and was handling heavier weights.

I thought I was off to a good start. For another two weeks, the scale didn’t change and a few times my weight even dropped, though my calories didn’t. I became so obsessed that I would actually weigh myself after each meal, desperately trying to break the 250lb barrier.

Finally, my weight shot from 247lbs to 254lbs in two days and, from then on, there wasn’t a single day I stepped on the scale without gaining weight.

Before I knew it I was 280lb and starting my training for my first ever 800lb squat attempt.


Although it was great that I had nearly achieved my goal, the reality was that this was the most uncomfortable point in my life. 

Everything I did revolved around weight – bodyweight, barbell weight or the weight of massive amounts of food I needed to fuel my bone-shattering training sessions.

In my younger years, I thought this was glamorous.

Looking back now, I know I was a complete idiot! I was exhausted 22 hours of the day. The only time I felt energized were the two hours I spent in the gym each day. Every other moment inside my skin was horror.

I developed a severe case of sleep apnea from my own body mass crushing my ability to breathe. My resting heart rate shot up from the mid-60s to the mid-80s.

I had to bring ‘back-up’ shirts with me to work because I would sweat through my original shirt by day’s end. But, boy was I powerful. 

So powerful in fact that I blew past my intended goal of 800lb and squatted 840lbs. Mission accomplished, but at a very heavy price – my health was collateral damage.


Scared for my well-being, I immediately turned my focus to longevity nutrition and was blessed to work with some of the most brilliant minds in the field of life extension and disease management.

Today, I walk around at about 192lb at 7% body fat. Ironically, I’m a more powerful athlete now.

This version of me could beat the living tar out of the 280lb me on 99% of all athletic measurements and 100% of all health indicators!

Now, I squat 500lb with no belt or knee wraps for 20 full reps.

I have bench pressed my bodyweight 32 times and I can run 10 miles any day of the week. My resting heart rate hovers in the low 40s, and I can easily maintain a heart rate above 170 bpm for over 30 minutes.

The reason for such improved numbers is what I truly consider to be power eating and the exact principles I’ve been advancing for the past 10 years of my career as a peak performance coach and sports nutritionist for MMA’s elite.

You’ll find that many power nutrition meal plans involve lots of meats, cheeses, milks, pastas and sugar. Yes, these are high in caloric energy units but they’re also very high in disease-inducing materials like saturated fats. Athletes have been pushing barriers for thousands of years, and we have had the scientific means to analyze the impact of training and nutritional methods.

From all that’s been said, and more importantly done, the answer is very clear. If you put your health first, your goals of power will quickly fall into place; a lesson well learned.


Template diets do not work for those concerned with fulfilling their true health and performance goals.

It would be incorrect of me to assume I can throw a few recipes on this page and send you into the gym to become a more dominant athlete. However, I can offer a list of the basic power foods on which I center most of my meals for my clients.

PROTEINS: Whole eggs, lean red meat, chicken, wild-caught salmon, plain yogurt

CARBOHYDRATES: Oat bran, quinoa (KEEN-wa), brown rice, yams, whole grain bread

VEGETABLES: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, spinach, kale, red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes

FRUIT: Oranges, blueberries, apples, lemons, avocado

NUTS/OILS: Flaxseeds, almonds, extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, hemp seed oil


Skinny Sumo Stir Fry


> 6oz top round beef (thin sliced)

> 2 cups broccoli.crowns

> 1 cup bean sprouts

> 1 cup mushrooms

> Peanut oil

> Low-sodium soy sauce

  1. Place skillet at medium heat and add enough peanut oil to cover the bottom.
  2. Then, in a pot with a lid, add ½ inch water and bring to medium heat.
  3. Thin slice the top round beef and add to your skillet.
  4. Add broccoli crowns to the pot and cover, to steam.
  5. Stir the steak often. As it begins to brown add in your bean sprouts and mushrooms.
  6. Pierce the broccoli with a fork to test its tenderness. (Feel free to run one under cold water and taste.)
  7. Once your steak is browned on all sides and your sprouts and mushrooms have softened, add one tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce to the pan and stir.
  8. Drain the broccoli and add to plate.
  9. Drain the skillet and pour on top of the broccoli for a flavorful yet eye-catching power-packed meal.

This contains:

460 Calories / 60g Protein / 20g Carbs / 16g Fat / 7g Fiber