Issue 201

January 2024

Some people can live a lean lifestyle while making it look effortless. Ray Klerck offers a collection of weight loss options that you’ve probably never thought of so you have to cut less weight for your next fight.

Frankie Edgar. Israel Adesanya. BJ Penn. Excluding the heavyweight division, it’s a rare fighter who fits into their weight class perfectly. Most fighters become someone they’re not through dehydration and weight loss. Fighters who stay close to their catch weight may look slightly leaner at the weigh-in but much the same in the Octagon. They know how to add a few lifestyle tweaks to give a healthy way of eating, staying power, and results. Most diets meticulously map out every meal, but cutting weight can be challenging, especially when you remember the delicious In and Out cheeseburgers you used to eat. The result? According to research, just 20 percent of dieters stick to their weight loss scheme in the long term. The main reasons people failed were that they timed their meals poorly, didn’t get enough sleep, and underestimated the calories eaten while overestimating the calories burnt during exercise. These are all common sense, but you can use a few other lifestyle dietary feints to stay fight-ready all year. 

Submit to your night-time craving

Night-time and carbs go together like toothpaste and orange juice. But after a long day at work, you’re probably thirsty for carbs, especially if your job is mentally taxing because your brain runs on carbs. It’s okay to give in to these carvings, but only if you have most of your daily carbs at dinner. This increases satiety and reduces your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, says research in obesity. This strategy makes you secrete more hunger-suppressing hormones. Remember the fine print: They didn’t eat carbs throughout the day and saved their carb intake for the night. You can’t have your cake and eat it. 

Brown rice isn’t great

Brown rice does have redeeming qualities, like minor amounts of protein and fiber, but those alone don’t make brown rice worth eating. You can get each elsewhere. The issue with brown rice is phytic acid. This is the compound that gives it its color. It can inhibit the enzymes you need to digest food and grab onto minerals, making them less available for digestion. So, if you’re eating a stir-fry, there’s a chance you’re diminishing the effects of all those veggies. Stick to the basmati style, which has the phytic acid stripped out and has a lower glycaemic index, so you’ll stay fuller for longer. 

Yo-Yo is not a failure

Yo-yo dieting has often been pegged as a knee strike against safety, but fluctuating body fat is nothing new. Think back to your ancestors. It was always a feast or famine where we’ve been at the mercy of Mother Nature. To accommodate this, research in the journal Metabolism found that as much as 40 percent of people yo-yo diet, and it doesn’t mess around with weight loss efforts or alter their metabolism in the long term. So, if your weight has had more ups and downs than Tony Ferguson’s elbows, keep at it. It’s not harming you physically. 

Take your run outside

Treadmills worsen your running mechanics, so it’s best to hit the road, Jack. Running the ‘mill means you’re lifting your feet rather than propelling yourself forward. This altered stride means you'll torch an extra 10% calories by taking your run outdoors. The wind is the difference maker, providing additional resistance. In numbers, you'll burn an extra 60 calories by jogging with the breeze in your hair. That's 3lbs you'll melt away by the end of the year running outdoors 3 days a week. If you’re running anyway, you may as well do outdoors as this reduces stress, another weight gain catalyst. 

Breathe to calm down 

Chronic stress down-regulates tissue growth while lowering testosterone. That’s a one-two punch for weight gain, thanks to elevated cortisol levels. If you’re angry, let it out first verbally and discreetly, then look to calm down using your breath. Navy SEALs are taught to regulate emotions with ‘Tactical Breathing.’ When you’re stressed or panicking, breathe in for a four-count, hold it for four, breathe out for four, then hold again. Do this 3-4 times. You’ll activate your parasympathetic nervous system and relax (almost) instantly. Lower stress levels give your ticker a break so you can put more gratitude into things in life you’re grateful for. 

Spend your money in the right places

The big-name supermarkets might be dishing out a few cheap shots for your health thanks to their discounting shenanigans. Research in Nutrition & Dietetics found supermarkets are less likely to reduce the price of healthy drinks and products in favor of the discounting of products high in fat, sugar, and calories. This tactic can make it challenging to walk past the stupidly cheap 6-pack of soda. The solution? Do most of your shopping at local markets, fruit and vegetable shops, butchers, and fishmongers rather than at one supermarket where you risk succumbing to the lure of discounted junk foods. Going to more shops might mean more effort and time, but shopping is much less strenuous than interval training. 

Adjust your plate colors

What you serve your food on can be as influential as what you eat. A paper in the Journal of Consumer Research discovered that folk dished up 30% less food when their plate's color contrasted with the color of their food. So, a dark green sushi roll on a white plate lets you know there is food in this space. Net saving is nearly 500 calories per day (eating the average 2500-calorie diet), which means that over the month, you'll have 4 lbs of belly fat that has gone AWOL. There’s also the unproven theory that by eating off a 10-inch plate, people served themselves fewer calories than when using regular 12-inch plates. This tactic is a no-contest, so stick to the concrete stuff instead. 

Bank a vitamin D supplement

Despite vitamin D being free from the sun, its deficiency is a global epidemic, affecting an estimated 1 billion people. It’s a tougher vitamin than a rat sandwich in the winter months, which might explain the winter bulk-up. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed two sets of an older population for a year, and those who had their vitamin D levels topped up lost an astounding 7lbs more than those who remained deficient. If you can't rope in the sun, visit the supplement store to get your daily D with 2000iu's. Ensure you absorb it with healthy fats and get enough magnesium - a daily handful of pumpkin seeds kills both birds with one stone.