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Do it the Healthy way

Its not uncommon to hear about taking a sauna the morning of the game to get under the 85Kgs.

But dehydration will only make your game suffer. The body needs that water in every cell to function and it can not be replaced an hour before kickoff.

Diet, nutrition, eating, weight management this is all very well studied and yet a highly controversial topic. This advice shouldn't be taken as professional advice. It is my journey to get from from 96Kg's to 84Kgs.

Men can suffer from eating disorders too.
Let others know of your plan, approach and why's and be aware there is plenty of disinformation out there.

Rugby players goal

Lets first talk about weight loss in regards to a rugby player.

We don't want to be dehydrated on the day. If you are dehydrated your blood is thicker causing the heart to beat harder to move the much needed oxygenated blood to your muscles. Dehydrated muscle cells don't work without water and under high exertion, worst case, the cell breaks down and you lose it. It will also affect the functionality of your brain. You won't react as fast and fail to make better decisions.

We want to retain our muscle component, even grow it. Reducing our fat content is the target but we are not trying to eliminate it. Fat is a energy store with 30x more energy than other sources. It is slow release but once released it is great. It keeps you playing the 80 minutes. Keep in mind our muscles burn the fat the most so the fitter they are, (I avoid using the term bigger) the more they will burn.

So importantly, for a game we need to be hydrated and we need our muscles so a diet does not want to sacrifice these things and this leaves us with reducing our fat content. We want to be under weight on teh day with full hydration and muscles packed with energy to play. Anything less and we are sacrificing our best.

Golden Rule
If you eat more energy than you exert you put on weight.

The combo

Your exercise and diet should compliment each other working towards the same goal. Your exercise is using the stored energy, your diet is replacing enough energy and the right nutrients for us to continue.

If you just starve yourself the body will start breaking down muscle tissue. First because you aren't using it so it gets rid it. You may be losing weight on the scales but that weight is coming from the loss of the heavier muscle and blood mass. Your body may be gaining more fat because it starts to panic that you are in a ice age and it needs to grab and store fat as much as it can for survival.

Your diet needs to keep you healthy. Don't take on 'Fad' diet. Stay away from them. I have never heard of a professional athlete on the 'Juice cleaning diet'. It has to be a balanced diet. You look to reduce the wrong things more than eliminate them.

My Story

Here is an outline of what I did followed by some advice and experiences I had. Keep in mind that this took me 10 weeks. The first weeks were slow, the middle fast, the last two KGs took the longest.

What works for me may not work for you. That's the thing about being a unique human. You need to find the balance of it all that works for you and to do that talk to others read, questioning all and repeat.

My exercise regime was as described in the Fitness 101 page. At the start I did a lot more of the long slow runs these are the better fat store targeting runs.

My diet.

No eating after 8pm - There is research to show that eating before we go to sleep delays burning fat while we sleep. In effect it uses the food in our gut as well as turning it into fat and storing it. I didn't like it but I did it.

Reduce carbohydrates - Bread and potatoes were the two big ticket items for me but pasta will be one for others. I stopped eating all pasta and potatoes by about 90%. Bread as well except I replaced my white bread with Vogel's sprouted grain bread. More on this below.

More Protein - Lunch and dinner meals were based around meats. Chicken, beef, fish and my favorite eggs. It wasn't kg's of meat, it was small-medium portions and I doubled the vegetables I had with it. An example, when teh family had burgers, I replaced the bun with my toasted Vogel's, with good thick meat patty and big layer of coleslaw and mayo and tomato sauce. No chips, just one burger and water.

No limit on water - Drink plenty. When I was feeling the hunger pains, which was every two hours day and night. I had a drink of water. Another hunger killer was a coffee. Tried to keep them to two a day but not uncommon to have three a few times a week.

Plenty of vegetables and fruit - Go for it in each of your meals.

Don't skip breakfast - It always the easiest meal to skip but don't. Put that food in so you have energy for the day.

Fiber - Make sure you have plenty of fiber in your diet. Really important to keep your bowels and gut healthily and regular. Especially when increasing your meat intake. My breakfast always included two Weetabix.

Two Weetabix, a chunky nut muesli and yogurt w some chocolate or honey.
This was my every day breakfast and desert.

Eat after exercise - After my runs, I always had a protein meal. I would in most cases look to do the run before my lunch or dinner.

Three meals a day - The only exception was when I did exercise that wasn't immediately being followed by lunch or dinner.

The Experience

This wasn't hard but boy was it hard. Watching other people eat or looking at food in the fridge while having hunger pains. That's was the hardest for me. So I had to adapt, I always delayed starting my meal so I wasn't the first finished. I felt hunger when I was doing nothing so I had to keep myself busy, which included going for another run or talking the dog for an extra walk.

They say don't watch the scale when losing weight but that worked for me. The thought of going backwards after doing the yards kept me committed.

Weigh yourself at the same time it get a better indication of progress. Ideally, weigh your self at 12:30 as you would on a Saturday.

I did this in season so I did the prescribed exercises plus my rugby training, games, coaching and referring tasks. I imagine this extra stuff helped a lot in my progress. So don't substitute a touch game for your daily run.

I changed to lite beer and just one or two.

The bread (flour) we eat today is from processed grains which cause problems for our gut to break down and process. Sprouted grain bread uses grains that have germinated. This means that that break down has already been started for us and we process it a lot easier so it gives you a lot more nutrients out of it. It is also overall lower in carbohydrates than white breads. 

Vogel's do a Sprouted range which I substituted for all my bread. Yuk cold but fine toasted so I used it for toast,  eggs on toast and toasted burger buns. I also tried Keto bread, 3g of carbs it claimed. Couldn't stomach that. It was also half the size of other slices of bread so you had to eat twice as much to get the equivalent. 

The start will be slow. As you exercise you will develop more muscle tissue and blood which is a lot heavier than fat. But soon that will plateau as that development starts turning into being a more efficient system at using fat to fuel the muscles.

Shakes and pills. Not a replacement for any food. I did have a small protein shake after exercise. I took a men's-multi in the morning and a magnesium pill in the evening for muscle recovery and sleep.

It takes time, the first two weeks were no big signs then after that it was a kg per week. So plan on that. For every KG you need to lose, add two and that is the number of weeks it should take you. If you go faster than that you may be falling into a unhealthy process.

Keep in mind that this should be a lifestyle change. A very bad scenario is you lose 6 kilos and then put on 6 kilos later. After my effort I still maintain aspects of the diet and exercise and conscious about keeping myself under 87Kgs. 

Don't kid yourself. You may have cut out the carbs but if you are pilling on the meat it's not going to work. Keep in mind the golden rule from the start.

Don't expect this to be easy. Expect struggles and be prepared to acknowledge that you have one and how to deal with it. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

 

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