Ever catch yourself wondering, “Why does Ronda Rousey look so lean at the weigh-ins, or even small, and then, a day later….look, kinda CHUUBY??” Well, being a personal trainer, I’ve actually been asked this question, on this particular circumstance more than once.
There’s a few things your should know. Your body changes more than you know daily, even hourly. These changes can be drastic in just a period of 24 hours. Nutrients being transported, foods and fluids being digested, muscles healing, glycogen replenishing (or leaving), cortisol developing, any many other millions of things happening but these are some than you might recognize or be able to feel or see personally as they take effect.
One of the methods many competitors use to make their weight for a fight or any competition, especially bodybuilding, is something called a water cut.
Everybody carries a certain amount of water weight, some more than others, but on average, 8-12lbs of water. So when you step on the scale and your weight is fluctuating daily that is certainly something to keep in mind.
You can flush out water weight in about 5 to 6 days, this does make you look leaner, but it is certainly not healthy. You may notice that Holly Holm didn’t change TOO much from the weigh-ins to the day of the fight.
Here’s what happened…
They both did a water-cut, and carbohydrate cut the week of the fight, then loaded up after the weigh-ins. While what is listed out below is not exactly what they both specifically did, as each fighter and person has their own variations of diets and fight prep, this will give you the general idea of what’s happening with the body.
Here’s how this works. Really dry foods, even boiled, such as boiled turkey and potatoes but loaded with sodium, the first two days of the week to prep the body for flushing out water.
Say the fight is on…Saturday
2 Gallons of Water
Salty food-Salted Chicken or Turkey with potatoes
1 & 1/2 Gallons of Water
Salted Chicken or Turkey with potatoes
1 Gallon of Water
Dry Turkey or chicken with few potatoes (boiled)
1/2 Gallon of Water
Dry Chicken or Turkey (with maybe plain veggies)
1/3 Gallon of Water
Dry Chicken or Turkey (with limited rice cakes)
Dry Chikcen or Turkey (limited rice cakes)
This will flush your body of water and trim off any bit of fat possible.
Pretty much whatever they want, minus crazy gorges on sweets. Focus is going to be hydration (lots of water) healthy carbs, (fruits, rice, sweet potato) and some healthy fats (avocado, natural peanut butter) and of course lean protein (lean steak, chicken or fish)
This is the same strategy pretty much any bodybuilder or fitness competitor goes through to look super lean and dry on stage. But at the right time, they will load up on carbs but still with a limited amount of water to make their muscles look as “full” as possible.
What does “full” mean? While there are several components than can determine your muscles looking bigger, tighter, thicker, and more “full” looking, we’ll look just at one in particular:
– a source of energy stored in muscles which comes from glucose.
We know that glucose comes from sugar, and carbohydrates get converted into sugar as a source of energy and transported through your blood stream when you consume them. Simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars) (fruits, and sodas and such) convert into sugar faster than complex carbohydrates (brown rice, potatoes, oats, grains, etc)
By refueling the body with carbohydrates after depletion, your body has been deprived therefore your insulin sensitivity is higher, and more ready to deliver these carbohydrates to your muscles. But, over eating can cause, to simply put it, an overflow, and you end up spilling all of the carbohydrates and only a select few go into your muscles (figuratively speaking) and you actually can even put on more fat, or look much fatter for a period of time if you consume too much too soon or too late. In order to prepare for the fight both fighters are going to need to obviously refuel and hydrate their bodies. Being a very physical sport, aesthetics is not really a concern.
BUT! Why does Holly Holm look so much better? Leaner? More fit-looking? As a personal trainer my take is, she is simply more conditioned and I’m quite certain she’s more consistent with proper nutrition. Holly is more dense, with more muscle, so there is not as much of a fluctuation with her weight and appearance as Ronda.
SO! I suppose we’ll see if Ronda is able to make any changes to her conditioning, nutrition, and certainly stand-up game in UFC 200, but until then…..she has to be in a few movies? Ok, well I guess her priorities are straight?
In the mean time, HOLLY HOLM YOU’RE A BEAST AND A CHAMPION! SO much respect!