Competition Preparation Part 1: Weight Loss

It’s a brand new year, happy 2019! I hope your belly has had it’s fill of good food and drinks from the holiday season; I know I have. Now that the festive season is over, I hope you’re all just as excited as me to get back on the mats. What better time to drop a post about dropping that holiday weight and getting back into shape?


I recently competed at the World No-Gi Championships held in Anaheim, CA. I decided to compete as a light-feather weight (61.5kg) in NoGi for the first time ever. That meant I had to lose roughly 4kg from my usual walking weight. I actually started a bit heavier than normal at 66.3kg, 7 weeks out from comp week. Those that know me will know I don’t have much to lose already.


In order to get to light-feather weight, I had to approach it from both nutrition and training fronts. First and most importantly from my experience, food intake. I’m sure you’ve heard all the analogies about treating your body like a performance car, and only using premium fuel etc. This is 100% true in my eyes.


I’ve recorded what I’ve eaten in the 7 weeks leading up to the competition in the table below.


TL:DR version, I minimised complex carbs (such as bread, rice etc.) and junk food snacks, kept to mostly wholefoods and simple carbs (e.g. from fruits and vegetables). A lot of good fats, proteins, a lot of coffee, a lot of fruits and vegetables. As I was training daily, carbohydrate intake was still important, which is why I still had small amounts of rice and bread to complement. I did have setbacks during week 5 & 6 and indulged too much on snacks and treats, especially when catching up with friends on the weekends. As you can see from my weight tracking, this slowed the weight loss significantly.


This has demonstrated that feeding on fresh and natural whole foods is the key to a good diet, especially for weight loss. The first couple of weeks when I was getting used to the routine, I did feel a bit lethargic towards the end of the week. After the first 2 weeks, I felt strong during training, didn't feel like my body suffered energy-wise, and I was able to train as planned. The photos below shows what my homemade meals looked like.


In addition, I have been following a time restricted feeding schedule, whereby I eat within a 10-12 hour window on a daily basis (12 hour window during weekdays and 10 hour window during weekends). My breakfast (besides a black coffee) is usually around 11:30am, and my last meal around 9-10:30pm depending on the day. There is research that suggests time restricted feeding is very effective in assisting with weight loss and fat reduction.


Dr Satchin Panda is leading the research right now into Time Restricted Feeding and if you have a short attention span, watch his TedX Talk here.

If you’re interested in a more in depth discussion, you can find two long form podcasts with Dr Panda on the Found My Fitness Podcast.


You can probably tell, I’m a nerd that keeps records and photos of what he eats. I blame it on my engineering background. Of course I also tracked my training, strength, and conditioning in the 7 weeks, that will come in part 2 😉


Left : ~65kg - Right : 61.3kg

The morning of my intercontinental 13 hour flight to LA, I weighed in at 61.3kg. I was so stressed about gaining weight, I only had the fruit platters on the flight, and avoided the bananas and random sugary snacks the flight attendants kept trying to stuff onto my tray. I also had a 600ml bottle of water as my main form of hydration.


After the flight landed, I weighed myself in a hotel gym at 60.9kg, the lightest I had been since high school. This good news meant I could have some eggs and a long black coffee to reward myself. I eventually weighed-in at the competition at 61.2kg.


Unfortunately, it was a BJJ competition not a weight loss competition. I lost the first round by 2 advantages. I made one crucial error in my preparation, and that was to compete on the same day as a 13-hour intercontinental flight without any sleep. Long story, but I will NEVER do that again. I would've been much better served having arrived a day or two earlier to fuel up and hydrate properly and have a good night sleep. Lesson Learnt.


I hope this will give you some ideas of how to lose all that holiday weight, I know them feels, my Christmas weight is 68.7kg, we’re in this weight loss together haha


Happy new year and happy grappling in 2019!

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