Podcast Episode 16 Transcript – Nutrition for Making Weight in Sport

The Ideal Nutrition Podcast

Leah

00:00:07 – 00:00:54

Welcome to episode 16 of the Ideal Nutrition podcast. I’m your host, Leah Higl, and I am here with my co-host, Aidan Muir, and today we’re going to be discussing acute weight cuts. So, specifically acute weight cuts not talking about long term body fat loss. So, I suppose to set the scene, let’s talk briefly about the two kinds of weight loss. The first is going to be that more chronic loss of body fat and/or muscle mass to reduce your scale weight over time. Um, and the second is going to be the acute manipulation of things like sodium, water, and fibre in your system to reduce your scale weight. So, in today’s podcast, we are going to be talking specifically about number two. 

Aidan

00:00:54 – 00:01:31

Yeah, so making weight for competitions basically, like we obviously work with a lot of powerlifters, combat sports, other things like that where you need to make a certain weight class, and in some cases, it can be really favourable to be a little bit above your weight class in terms of size. Um, the big one, it obviously makes sense with fighters and stuff like that where it’s like if you’re 5% bigger than the person you’re fighting, like I don’t know. It’s very compelling, like it’s a clear advantage. So, like, there’s a lot of reasons why people want to do it, which does lead into, like, what we want to talk about, who should be weight cutting and who shouldn’t. I kind of want you to go first on that one before I say my piece. So, who should be doing weight cuts?  

Leah

00:01:31 – 00:02:08

I personally only advise weight cuts for people who are either like professionals in that sport or going for some kind of record. Maybe if you’re trying to podium at a particular event or competition, you could say maybe do a weight cut there. But if you’re not super competitive in the sport that you’re in, and you don’t necessarily need to do one, then I would always advise against it. Like there is some- like it puts a lot of stress on the body, and if it is going to be better for you to get 100% of your performance on the day, then it doesn’t make any sense to do a weight cut. 

Aidan

00:02:08 – 00:02:33

And like the reason I wanted you to go first, because that is the gold standard, like that is how we view it. And, like, I think I’m the outlier. I’m just like a little bit more pro weight cuts than most people. And like something that I think about, and why it shaped my view, is it’s like I do have the opinion that you can cut about for- like the research on fighters, which we’ll talk about it a bit, like the research on fighters is like 4% of- sorry four hour weigh-ins, and you can cut about 5% body weight the week of, 

Aidan

00:02:33 – 00:02:54

And rehydrate and everything like that and lose no performance. That’s what the research on file shows. That doesn’t mean that works for all athletes. That doesn’t mean it works for power lifters and everything like that, and doesn’t mean there’s no individual variation like some people will get better results and people get worse. But what I think about it, it’s like I’m a pretty mediocre powerlifter. I’m never going to podium. I’m never going to break records. I’m never going to do anything like that, 

Aidan 

00:02:55 – 00:03:21

But like I wanna get the best performance that I can get, and that includes to me being like my best power to weight ratio or whatever it is, or the best total or whatever body weight. Like I want to get the best that I can get. And if I went with that gold standard definition, I’d never be able to do that. And it’s basically telling myself I’d never be able to do that, doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything silly, like really push the boundaries or anything like that. But it does mean like if I’m gonna compete in the 90 kg weight class, I might weigh 94 kg a week out or something like that. 

Aidan

00:03:22 – 00:03:44

And it’s something that I’m more open to doing with certain competitors and stuff like that. Like if I have a powerlifting client who’s done competitions before and they’re not going to get a medal, or they’re not going to podium and they’re not going to break a record, but they want to do a weight cut, I’m not going to convince them otherwise and I’m going to try and help them do that. So, I’m pretty open to it, but the gold standard is that they probably shouldn’t be doing it. 

Leah

00:03:44 – 00:03:58

Yeah, and I think if you’re not using any, like if you’re being sensible about it, you’re not doing anything dangerous, and sure you can put your body through that. I think the whole process is absolutely hell and I have never done it. And I don’t think- I don’t know if I personally would ever do it.

Aidan

00:03:58 – 00:04:24

I suppose that’s another thing though, because I have obviously played around, like that’s how I justify to myself. I’m gonna play around because I’m doing this for a lot of clients. I need to know what it feels like. And so, I have done like 94 to 89 in a couple of days. I felt great, like I felt fine and like how was I going to know that without doing that? But it’s also- like not everyone feels like that. Like most people seem to feel all right with that kind of drop, when it gets 8%, most people feel pretty rubbish. 

Aidan

00:04:25 – 00:04:43

Like the higher it gets obviously the worse it gets, and the way I view it is like 8% is really pushing it, 10% kind of have to be a bit of a freak to be able to- like there are people who do that and they perform well and everything like that. But like they are the outliers, they exist. You can do that. But I’m not encouraging that basically. 

Leah

00:04:43 – 00:04:48

Yeah, and you definitely want 24 hour weigh-in if you were going to that 8% to 10% for sure. 

Aidan

00:04:48 – 00:05:20

So, that- that’s a really relevant point in terms of- because Olympic weightlifting, for example, and powerlifting Australia, I think maybe APU- I don’t know about APU, but like they do two hour weigh-ins. So, like that was- that’s the point we should touch on that like, I don’t really recommend manipulating all of these variables that we are going to talk about for those weigh-ins. I’d actually just rather you’re in your weight class or are very close to your weight class, and a big factor for that is we have this research showing that 2% loss of body work due to dehydration, which is part of one of the variables we’re trying to manipulate. 2% loss in weight makes you weaker.

Aidan

00:05:21 – 00:05:48

It makes you less coordinated, like that level of dehydration actually affects your performance, and we know you can only rehydrate so quickly. If you lose 2% body weight and then you’ve got to go out and compete, you’re not going to be at your optimal. The reason why I talk about this is like we got this research on a four-hour weigh-ins for- they can do 5% and we work with clients who sometimes have 24-hour weigh-ins, 5% seems a lot more comfortable considering they’ve got 24 hours to rehydrate.

Leah

00:05:48 – 00:05:49

24 hours is a long time. 

Aidan

00:05:49 – 00:05:54

It’s stupid like it is- it’s pretty dangerous. People can push that. 

Leah

00:05:54 – 00:06:23

And I know a lot of amateur boxing- so professional boxing in Australia, I believe you get 24-hour weigh-ins. Um, but they will do 2 to 4 hour weigh-ins in amateur boxing just to prevent people from trying to do these really crazy weight cuts. Um, because I don’t know how you feel about this, but in powerlifting, I feel like our culture is getting a little bit better than it used to be in regards to weight cuts. Like I don’t see that many people doing crazy things anymore. I still see a lot of things in combat sports.

Aidan

00:06:23 – 00:06:55

Yeah, exactly. And like, to be fair, that’s also part of why I started talking about this a lot more over the last few years as well, because it’s like powerlifting does have a weird culture about it. Where it’s like either people do not cut at all, and they have that opinion being like no cuts, I’m not gonna do it at all, or they cut too much, or they cut in a bad way. Like there is no middle ground. That is why I’m trying to talk about this. Whereas like in fighting, they do- they do big cuts. Like a lot of times, you could argue that it is too big, and they might do it in dangerous ways or whatever. But the- 

Aidan

00:06:55 – 00:07:05

There are very few people like, no I’m not going to cut because if you don’t cut and you’re fighting somebody who’s 10% bigger, even if they didn’t do it perfectly, that’s a rough matchup. 

Aidan

00:07:05 – 00:07:13

In combat sports where pretty much everybody is doing it, you’re at a clear disadvantage if you don’t partake in it, in some- in some way. 

Aidan

00:07:13 – 00:07:39

Whereas we don’t have that clear thing in powerlifting, and I also think it matters less in powerlifting. Like, let’s use the 94 to 89 kg kind of example. Am I that much stronger at 94 than I am at 89? Like it’s not that big of a difference, whereas- like it seems to matter more in fighting and stuff like that. And the other thing to add is powerlifting is not as mature of a sport. And what I’m getting at in terms of like the gap between people is pretty big because it’s not that popular of a sport as well. 

Aidan

00:07:39 – 00:07:58

Um, like a lot of fights are close. Competitors choose fights that they’re meant to be close to, but you watch like GPC states or GPC nationals and stuff like that. There’s- like there’s big differences between the levels of a lot of lifters. Like there are some close competitors and stuff like that. But often the person who wins is pretty far from the person who comes second, is pretty far from the person who comes third. 

Leah

00:07:59 – 00:08:39

Yeah, exactly. And I think if you’re in a particular weight class, I think there’s definitely an argument for being on the higher end of that weight. Even if you’re not going over it. Like if you’re in the 75 kg weight class, you probably want to be at least, you know, 74-75 kg almost rather than like 68 kg and be just within that weight class. Um, but when it comes to weight cuts, yeah, I think it’s just questionable whether someone should do it or not. It really depends on how long they have to weigh-in. Like that- that’s going to be like one of the biggest variables in whether it’s going to, like, affect your performance or not. Um, and how much you’re trying to cut obviously. 

Aidan

00:08:40 – 00:09:02

Yeah. So, to get into some specifics and obviously talking in regards to longer weigh-ins as we talked about. Um, I think some- one of the big mistakes a lot of people make is they overemphasise one tool, and typically it is just water, like they just stop drinking water or something like that. Um, and that does work. But if we go back to that line about 2% loss of body weight, etcetera, etcetera. Like if we go back to that hurting your performance, 

Aidan

00:09:02 – 00:09:37

It makes sense that we want to pull from other areas as well, if possible. Um, something you said is like fibre, and like also food volume ties into that. Like if you eat half a kilo of food and that’s in your stomach when you weigh-in, that’s half a kilo increase. Does that affect your performance? Is it not affecting your performance? Like if you instead had 200 grams of food, for example, you would weigh in 300 grams lighter, and you’ve done nothing to hurt your performance. So, like that’s like an obvious example, but like that’s something to think about. You can manipulate your fibre intake. You can lower your fibre intake. You can lower your food volume for, say, two days leading up to it, which we’ll talk about, and then salt. 

Aidan

00:09:37 – 00:10:10

This is a debated one or sodium- like a bit of a debated one. But like obvious one is that we hold on to more water when we have higher salt intakes. Like if you go out to a restaurant and then weigh yourself the next day- which is going to lead into another point. Typically, your body weight is higher because you’ve had a higher carbohydrate intake. Every gram of glycogen you store- you typically store around 2.7 grams of water as well. So, it’s like you eat a lot of carbs, you store a lot of water. You have a lot of salt; you store more water as well. But there is also a bit of a lag effect for 

Aidan

00:10:10 – 00:10:36

Sodium and storing water due to the hormones, aldosterone and ADH. So, we can play around with some stuff with that, where it’s like you can actually go really high salt, or high sodium, for the week of, and then drop that at the end. Almost once again, like tricking your body into like, um, basically excreting more water. And then the last variable is obviously water intake. Anything else that you thought of in terms of variables or anything like that, or how you would go about weight cuts, or how you wouldn’t go about them?

Leah

00:10:36 – 00:11:01

Yeah, so I guess when it comes to those particular variables, like if we’re talking about an athlete that doesn’t have much weight to cut, potentially you would just use things like your food volume and your fibre to manipulate a kilo or so of body weight if you’re really close to that. Before even touching on things like, um, dehydration, like playing around with water and sodium. Because it’s the water and sodium manipulation that’s gonna affect your performance. 

Leah

00:11:02 – 00:11:22

Um, so if I can, I try to focus on a reduction in fibre, food volume, and a reduction in carbs. See how much we can get out of that, and sure if we have to okay, we’ll do the water load, and everything we will speak about in a minute. But we’ll do like the water load and try to get some dehydration involved. 

Aidan

00:11:22 – 00:11:39

And even though some of those points, that’s also where it’s like- I always talk about, like, spectrums and stuff like that. But that’s why I say like you can do a little weight cut like if you’re competing in the 90 kg weight class. Like no reason why you can’t be 91 kilos or 92, it’s such an easy drop from there, with those little things you just talked about. 

Leah

00:11:39 – 00:11:50

Like if you have a two-hour weigh-in and you’re just manipulating carbs and to a certain extent- and fibre, and food volume, you can fuel back up. You’re fine. But as soon as you start playing around with water, that’s where we have to be mindful. 

Aidan

00:11:50 – 00:12:07

Yeah, and even like using powerlifting. It’s like a two hour wait- is actually more than two hours because it’s- like it’s two hours and then you start squatting or whatever if you’re in the first flight, and then like you’ve got your first opener is like- it’s still like a warm up block. And then you’ve got the entire day before you get to do it. It’s- like it’s really more than two hours but yeah.

Leah

00:12:07 – 00:12:32

Yeah, you’ve got- you’ve got time. Um, as far as another thing I would briefly want to touch on is variables that we wouldn’t use but some people do use. So talking about things like induced sweating. So, saunas or even people putting on a bunch of garbage bags and going for a run, um, and things like laxatives, diuretics. So, yes, there are all things that are used, but not things that we would suggest. 

Aidan

00:12:32 – 00:12:45

Yeah, I’m open to using saunas as a last ditch maybe. Like sometimes if somebody’s got a big weight cut, I’m like let’s do all these things. But, like, maybe look at having a sauna if you need it. 

Leah

00:12:45 – 00:12:52

Yeah, I feel like if I can’t be there to monitor that person, then I do feel a bit irresponsible recommending it. 

Aidan

00:12:52 – 00:12:56

Yeah, I messaged them every day and try to stay in touch.  

Leah

00:12:56 – 00:12:58

Are you there? You’re like- would you be there during the time? 

Leah

00:13:00 – 00:13:13

Because I see like the fight dietitian and obviously with their athletes, they are there with that athlete monitoring them. Um, it can be dangerous to induce sweating like that if you’re in a sauna for a few hours. 

Aidan

00:13:13 – 00:13:14

Yeah, I’ve never had someone do it. 

Leah

00:13:14 – 00:13:32

I have had someone do it. But I had made sure that their coach was there too during that process, and they were monitored during that. Um, so it’s one of those, like, question mark ones where I’m not completely against it. I think it can have its place. Um, it’s just not something that I recommend consistently. 

Aidan

00:13:32 – 00:14:02

Yeah, and then when you’re talking about stuff like laxatives and diuretics, like they’re more likely to harm performance and stuff like that. Something that I think of, like every time I hear laxatives and weight cuts, I think of the Scott Watson story. Yeah, so I can’t remember- I don’t want to butcher it, but something about how he had to make weight, he was doing 100kg down to 90 kg. So, like 10%, bit over 10%. It’s pretty hectic, and he’s- I think he’s a bit- like he used a normal serve or something like that. And it wasn’t enough, or he just didn’t feel anything. So, they use more. I’m not sure if that’s right. 

Leah

00:14:02 – 00:14:14

Yeah. So, he had the laxatives. I think this is right. He had the laxatives, and he didn’t feel a response in the first hour or so. So, he took, like, the same dose again and then ended up having- 

Aidan

00:14:14 – 00:14:21

Yeah, he was- he was on the toilet the entire night and obviously got no sleep and like-

Leah

00:14:22 – 00:14:22

Yeah. 

Aidan

00:14:22 – 00:14:52

Even like when nothing was coming out, he still was on the toilet. He just like, yeah, I couldn’t get to sleep. It’s like well obviously not getting sleep for any time is just gonna hurt your performance. Yeah, so yeah, like that always scares me, like that’s like a horror story, but like I don’t know, like yeah. Little things like that aren’t going to go wrong with other stuff basically more simple stuff. Um, talking through a protocol. So, let’s talk through it as if we had, like, a Saturday weigh-in for a Sunday comp, 24 hour weigh-in, how would you approach that? 

Leah

00:14:52 – 00:15:10

Yeah. So, if we’re doing a Saturday weigh-in, I mean, how many days I actually do this protocol for depends on the person and how much weight they have to cut. But let’s talk about average. Um, so maybe we’d start, like, the week before. Like the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday- 

Aidan

00:15:10 – 00:15:19

I look at the- definitely Sunday for, like, an 8% style cut for a start. One- but for a smaller one, probably Monday, Tuesday. Yeah. 

Leah

00:15:19 – 00:15:49

Yeah. So, this can definitely differ. It’s so individual client to client, person to person. Um but we can talk through what we’d roughly do. So, I suppose for the first four days, we’re going to go fairly low carb, but we’re going to keep normal fibre still. So, we don’t want to cut that too early because that’s definitely not going to be a good thing. Um, and we’re going to have a high water intake, so starting a bit of a water load and starting that high sodium intake that you talked about. Um and then after that, 

Leah

00:15:50 – 00:16:13

Say 2 to 4 days is done. Um, we will still keep that low carb diet, but we’ll also add in the addition of low fibre for the- that last kind of 2 to 3 days of that weight cut. Um and this is where we will also reduce our salt intake or sodium intake, but we will keep water high to normal. So, we won’t actually restrict that until the day before. 

Aidan

00:16:14 – 00:16:33

Yeah, and then Friday, basically, they’re saying- or the day before sorry, the same as the day before that we’re- but the only change we make is restrict that water. The number I go with is about 1% of body weight, but like you should really- so like, for somebody’s 80 kg, it’s like 800 ml of water. It’s not a lot, um, particularly if you drink a lot normally, 

Aidan

00:16:34 – 00:17:07

But like by then you really know where you’re tracking. And it’s like that protocol that we kind of just laid out, low carb- like we’re even talking like less than 30 grams of carbs for some people, like it’s pretty low. This is like how when people start Keto and they drop like crazy, like this is the same mechanism. Yeah, yeah, yeah, like you do that, and that probably- it’s protocol probably gets about 8% off from you. And as we spoke with- like, I don’t really like people doing 8% cuts, like I tried to keep people away from that. So almost everybody we probably work with, um, we wouldn’t do that full protocol, like we would scale it back like instead of going like less than 30 grams of carbs, 

Aidan

00:17:08 – 00:17:11

Like maybe less than 100. Like if they were having, like, 300 grams to start off with, like- 

Leah

00:17:11 – 00:17:58

It’s all relative to how they start. Because I always think about it as well, because obviously as I talk about it all the time, but I work with vegans and with plant-based people, you think about the habitual fibre and carb intake of a vegan compared to someone who isn’t. It’s really, really high. So, when I work- when I do weight cuts with these people, like I guess what would be helpful is like when we’re talking low fibre, we usually say under about 10 grams, and then low carb like less than 30 grams. Traditionally, when I work with plant-based people, we’re aiming for under 20 to 30 grams of fibre. So, like the normal intake for someone who is plant-based because their habitual intake is like 60 to 80 grams. Um and then also the same thing for carbs is, I might just not be as aggressive with that. 

Aidan 

00:17:59 – 00:18:39

So yeah, like I say, like, 1% of body weight. But like, you’ll know if you can go higher and obviously you go as high as you can while still making weight obviously, um, and another strategy I sometimes use- like it depends. Like if somebody hasn’t had to do all the other stuff, like they’re a little bit over and I might be like, okay, well, don’t eat much food or drink much after five PM on the day before weigh-in. Um, some bigger guys- like this one guy who I worked with who was 114-115 kg, and that’s all we did, and he dropped under 110 like such a big change. I think 114. So, he dropped five kg just by doing that. It’s like he’d normally need a lot of food, drink a lot of water, all those kind of things. 

Aidan

00:18:39 – 00:19:09

Then the next day, so call it a 10 AM weigh-in or whatever, you just wouldn’t eat or drink before that unless you’re comfortably under. Once again, you know. So, if you have room to move and you could eat and drink and whatever, then yes, obviously do that. But if you’re cutting it fine, then obviously you wouldn’t eat or anything like that until after. Um, yeah, so I suppose the other stuff that I also think about- it’s rare, but like I’ve had one client get constipation during this process, because obviously we cut fibre. 

Aidan

00:19:09 – 00:19:29

Some people cut caffeine as well, just as part of this process as well. Like it doesn’t actually- it’s just incidentally that they do that, they do it for other reasons. And like sometimes that helps people go to the toilet. So, like if they cut that, it could be a factor, cutting entire lot of food volume, being dehydrated, that can lead to constipation. Like all of those factors together. Do you have strategies for what you do if somebody’s got constipation? 

Leah

00:19:29 – 00:19:59

Yeah, I’ve only- again, I’ve only had one client as well that this has happened to, um and we just used OsmoLax. So, that’s basically just a stool softener. Um, so we still had three or four days before the weigh-in, um, so I knew that was enough time where stool softener would be able to fix that problem. Um, not a laxative. So not a laxative, but a stool softener might come in handy if you do experience constipation after cutting carbs, fibre, and caffeine and whatnot. 

Aidan

00:19:59 – 00:20:17

Yeah, exactly. That’s my- that’s my approach now. I don’t actually- I don’t introduce it until somebody has had an issue first. Like if I’m doing multiple weight cuts for somebody, and they got on the first, and only one person, but it’s obviously a risk. So, it’s something to think about, but I wouldn’t introduce until somebody has harder issues like I wouldn’t just pre-emptively do that just in case. 

Leah

00:20:17 – 00:20:23

I wouldn’t do that for everybody. But potentially if someone was prone to constipation, it’s something that I would consider. 

Aidan

00:20:23 – 00:20:51

Yeah, for sure. So, then the next step. This is where a lot of people mess up even more, being honest because they don’t really plan it out, is rehydration post weight cut. If we know that you- if you know your rehydration, theoretically you can cut more weight and get back to your starting weight or ideal weight more effectively. You can cut more and do that. Like if you have a terrible rehydration strategy, you couldn’t cut a lot of weight and get back to it. 

Aidan

00:20:52 – 00:21:11

So, like really nailing this is pretty important because it actually allows you to cut more if you wanted to, or at least feel better on the day, which is the goal. So, there’s a few goals. One is obviously rehydrating in terms of water. Another one is glycogen. My kind of rule is you want to get back to a similar weight to what you were at the start of the week. 

Leah

00:21:11 – 00:21:12

But not exceed it. 

Aidan

00:21:12 – 00:21:45

But not exceed it yeah. I talk about that as well, because we know that 2% rule. It’s like your 2% under then yes, it will probably hurt your performance, but exceeding it like you’re not- you’re not gaining any muscle in that timeframe you know. Like you’re not doing anything that’s really helping your performance. But it is a game. A lot of people turn into a game that they’re like, how much weight can I regain? And like, I- even this is just anecdotal, but like, is that leading to an increased risk of cramps? Like is there a massive fluctuation in electrolytes and stuff like that? Like, are you just gonna feel really bloated? 

Aidan

00:21:46 – 00:22:25

I don’t know. So, like, that’s why I say get back to the starting line. So, the actual protocol, um, that like I’ve developed over the years, is basically I have three separate drinks for my clients. So, I have a 250 ml protein shake that’s just protein powder and milk, or even just water, depending on what you prefer, I add creatine into that. Obviously not fully- because you probably have taken creatine out for the weight cut. Like if creatine holds onto water, like it makes sense to take creatine out. You’re not going to fully saturate yourself with creatine obviously in this time frame, but does help you hold onto a little bit more water, particularly if you have it multiple times. It’s almost like doing a loading phase. If it takes 5 to 7 days of loading to get to full saturation, 

Aidan

00:22:25 – 00:23:05

Even just 24 hours of the loading phase is actually moving the needle a little bit. So, a protein shake with some creatine in it, 500 ml of Gatorade or Powerade, or just grab a 600 ml bottle like don’t overthink this, and 250 ml of Hydralyte. And it’s intentionally meant to be around one litre, because that seems to be- that is about as much as healthy kidneys can kind of excrete, and that doesn’t really differ much between sizes of people as well. So, like that one litre is pretty consistent for pretty much everybody, and you sip on it slowly over the course of an hour. Like I don’t know- have you seen charts on like hydration with different products. Like there’s like dairy, like milk in there, and like water and like- 

Aidan

00:23:06 – 00:23:45

So, like those charts are pretty interesting. But like one on those charts as well. If you get the same chart showing that- like the reason I brought that up, like for the audience, is basically just thinking about in terms of like milk actually hydrates people slightly more than water and like, is it- it’s due to the food matrix, it’s due to the sodium in there, it’s due to a combination of things. But sometimes these studies also go and compare if you scull it in one go versus if you sip on it slightly, and people seem to absorb more of the fluid, as in, they don’t need to urinate as much pretty much, like they absorb more of the fluid if they sip it slowly. So that one litre of fluid they just laid out, you sip slowly on that over the course of an hour,

Aidan

00:23:45 – 00:24:20

And if you do a small weight cut, like a couple of percent, I’d probably have that once and then move on to food after that. If you did an 8% kind of weight cut like a larger one, I’d have that every hour for four hours. If you did something in the middle, then do something in the middle. I could have something like that for, like, two hours or whatever, because- I can’t even explain it all now because, like, there was a lot that went into that protocol in terms of, like, how much fluid can we absorb? How much- how much carbohydrate can we take on and store as glycogen? All of those kind of things. Um, the reason why protein is there is not necessarily just for muscle growth, but also because- it’s too late, you’re not gonna grow muscle, 

Aidan

00:24:20 – 00:24:59

But because it also helps you with glycogen synthesis, like the combination of that and carbs, like there’s a lot that goes into that. So, it’s like that is the perfect kind of thing for the first couple of hours, and then after that, you move on to food. We know that on average the body can store about 10 grams of glycogen per kilogram of lean body mass. So, for somebody who’s 80 kg 10% body fat, that’s about 720 grams of carbs. Like the whole point I’m getting at with that is that’s a lot of glycogen, that’s like 720 grams of glycogen. It is a lot of glycogen, and if you are fully glycogen depleted, which for a weight cut you most likely would be close to, 

Aidan

00:24:59 – 00:25:28

That would kind of be the target to kind of replenish over the next 24 hours. You have to fully get there. Like most of the sports, like powerlifting in particular, you know, it’s not like you don’t need full glycogen stores or anything like that. But if you were trying to maximise that, like, you could go up to as much as 720 in that case. If you’re larger or had more muscle mass, you’d go higher. If you were smaller, you’d go a little bit lower than that. Like that’s kind of the goal. And it might be near what it takes to get back to your former size and everything like that. So, in terms of introducing food, 

Aidan

00:25:28 – 00:26:05

It makes a compelling argument for not necessarily doing what you call it, like a see-food diet, which is where you just, like, eat everything in sight. It’s not what a lot of people do. It makes sense to focus on carbohydrate rich foods. And in terms of glycogen synthesis rates, the highest most people seem to be able to take on is 1 to 1.85 grams per kilogram per hour. But- and like absorbing everything like that, but that’s under optimal conditions. That’s like a post exercise state where it’s easier to absorb glycogen. And that’s also, um, when you haven’t just been fully glycogen, like when you haven’t taken on carbs for a week or something like that, you’re not exactly primed for glycogen. 

Aidan

00:26:06 – 00:26:22

So, putting into context, like how I’d actually put that in practice like, personally, I’d go like 50 grams plus of carbs every two hours during the first kind of part. And then after that, just divide that target of like say 720 grams, or whatever it is based on your size, over multiple meals. Is there anything else you do differently? 

Leah

00:26:22 – 00:27:01

No. Yeah, I do it like that. I guess the only thing that would be a caveat to that is obviously it’s dependent on the weigh-in time. So, you don’t want to get that full amount if you have a two-hour weigh-in because obviously then you’re capped at how much glycogen you can store per hour. So that’s what more you want to- like that’s what you want to look at if you have a two-hour weigh-in like you could really only get in 1 to 2 grams of carbs per kilo per hour, as opposed to that total for complete glycogen repletion. But I guess on the flip side of that, you don’t want to be completely glycogen-depleted if you only have a short period of time. 

Aidan

00:27:01 – 00:27:28

Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, that’s roughly how I’d do it. I’d focus on foods that make you feel good and foods that, you know, sit well and everything like that, like pretty simple. I just wouldn’t overthink it too much. Like, I just focus on higher carbohydrate foods. If you want to be really pedantic like you could do the maths on everything that I’ve kind of said, but like I would just have that kind of shake or like those three separate drinks or whatever for the first hour or two, maybe four if you need, and then go into food, focusing on carbohydrate-rich foods that sit well after that. 

Leah

00:27:28 – 00:28:01

Yes. So, I think what you said about not eating everything in sight and going for, like, going to Pancake Manor and eating a bunch of doughnuts, obviously some people do. But it’s not ideal, but at the same time, you also don’t need to overthink it and just focus on really carbohydrate-rich foods in that time period that you have whilst doing that- like that fluid drink protocol as well. So, this has been episode 16 of the Ideal Nutrition podcast. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you enjoyed this podcast, and we’ll be back next week.