A Lifetime 'Making Weight' on Low Carb Food
I've only recently found this forum yet in no time I've come to realise how valuable this place must be for the many people coming here from typical CW diets and the typical issues that brings. I've been moved by the many journals I've read and the obstacles they are valiantly overcoming so I thought I would share my story and how low carb, high fat eating has played an enormous part in my life since I was about 13 or 14 years old.
As a 4 and 5 year old I was extremely hyperactive and my folks were working very long hours running a restaurant and a pub which meant they were always busy in the evenings and unavailable to entertain me. As a result, my dad found lots of physical activity for me to do after school and i went to clubs every night of the week including diving (into a swimming pool off a springboard), gymnastics, skateboarding, pony riding and all manner of stuff.
When I was 6, dad saw an advert for a Martial Arts school just down the road that were taking children beginners and he went down and got me enrolled. You were supposed to be 8 but I was (and am) big and he persuaded the sensai to take me on. Cut a long story short, martial arts became my whole life, I started competing and winning tournaments from around 8 years old. I quickly rose through the ranks and reached National Championship standard by 10 years old and was totally committed to winning.
The puberty struck and I grew, and grew, and kept on growing rapidly. And this is where the need to make weight came in - I was competing in weight categories starting from under 45kgs as a 10 year old and ending up at under 71 kgs as a 14 year old. Now, it has to be understood that when you're 12 and you have to go up a weight category then the likelihood is that you are going to be facing older, more experienced competitors and that it is going to get tougher to win
And this is exactly what happened to me. From the moment puberty struck I was fighting a losing battle, desperately trying to stay in my weight category so as to avoid the older boys in the next weight up. So, I quickly realised that I could not do anything about weight gained by growing and muscle building but I could make sure that I was as light as possible by stripping as much fat from my body as possible.
It was around this time that I met an old time boxing trainer who was used to getting fighters to 'make weight' for a fight and he took me under his wing and guided me on how to do it. He advice was to avoid all carbohydrates apart from those in green leafy veg, to eat lots of eggs, meat and fish, no fruit, no fizzy drink and to go out for very long slow jogs in the morning before school.
So, from about 14 years of age, I was up long before school and out jogging every day for at least an hour then coming home and having eggs for breakfast. My packed lunch at school was a chicken leg and half a cucumber with mayonnaise or similar and dinner was steak and greens with butter. I was aware that I ate very differently from my school buddies but there was a purpose to what I was doing. I was driven by a very strong desire to win and putting weight on and going up a category was the biggest threat to achieving my goals. There's nothing like a strong motivating factor to keep you on the plan. Many times I arrived at tournaments dehydrated having not drunk any fluid for days, skipping rope in the sauna the night before weigh-in and absolutely shredded. I could put put on 10 lbs easily between weigh in and first fight time.
Of course, as an adolescent I was building muscle and burning fat very easily as I was doing lots of sport specific training and there was very little fat on me at all. I continued to compete in my sport right up to 28 years old, at very high level, until a career ending injury occurred. All the way through, I shave stuck to the principles first given to me by the old coach and I have maintained very low body fat ever since. I have tried some high carb food but I react very badly to it (ice cream is a killer for me in particular).
I now enjoy long distance cycle rides, rebounding, rowing, hiking as well as continuing to practice and teach Martial Arts. I work as a Physical Therapist and use my experience as a fighter to advise my clients, many of whom are very obese, on how to lose weight and feel better. The hilarious thing was that I was told I needed to go and do a CE/CPD course in 'Nutrition' provided by my professional body and when I looked at the syllabus it was entirely high carb-low fat CW advice. I find that my clients do listen to my advice because I m nearly 50 and I maintain around 12% body fat all year round apart from in summer when I cut up a bit.
Anyway, just thought I would share, hope it's neither too long or boring. I wanted to point out that low carb eating has been around for a long time in weight-category based combat sports like boxing and others.
thanks for reading