S2 EPISODE 46 - Making Weight, Combat Sports & Performance Nutrition w/ Dr. Doug Kalman PhD

Season 2 Episode 46, Dr. Bubbs sits down with nutrition expert Dr. Doug Kalman PhD to talk about the physical demands of mixed-martial arts, boxing and other combat sports, the pre-camp testing Doug likes to use to assess his athletes, how far out from competition is ideal to start cutting weight, the reality of making weight on short notice, the dangers of old-school weight-making strategies during weigh-in week as well as Doug’s preferred methods to achieve the target weight. Doug also shares how a fighter's nutrition changes from weigh-in to fight night, factors to consider when traveling, and explains how combat sports are “chess with consequences”. Great stuff here from Dr. Kalman!

Summary of This Episode

1:00 – How Doug got interested in nutrition

3:00 – What are the demands of combat sports?

5:45 – Pre-camp testing for combat sports

11:50 – Body composition assessment in fighters

14:45 – How far out from weigh-in is ideal in combat sports?

17:30 – Target weekly calorie deficits and bodyweight loss

19:00 – Meal frequency and weight-cutting

21:20 – Resting metabolic rate over a season with weight-cutting

23:10 –  Acute old-school vs. evidence-based strategies during weigh-in week.

28:20 – Post-weigh in nutrition to perform on fight night

36:45 – Pre-fight meal – factors to consider

43:00 – Combat sports = “chess with consequences”

45:15 – Doug’s one piece of advice for fighters 

Links to Research Papers

Nutrition and Weight Based Sports, MMA as a focus. NSCA-Japan Annual Conference January 2017

Resting metabolic rate in weight-cycling collegiate wrestlers compared with physically active, noncycling control subjects

Fight Club: How MMA Athletes Prepare and Make Weight

About Dr. Doug Kalman PhD

Dr. Doug Kalman PhD is the co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Nutrasource, Adjunct Professor of Sports Nutrition at Nova Southeastern University, Sports Nutritionist for Hardknocks 365 (MMA training facility) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), as well as a consultant to numerous professional and elite athletes. Follow Doug on Twitter @dougkalmanphdrd and Instagram @dougkalman.

Other Resources


Bookie Beatdown: TUF 21 - American Top Team vs. Blackzilians Fantasy Preview

S2 EPISODE 5 - Hydration & Heat Acclimatization in Athletes w/ Dr. Stavros Kavouras PhD

In Season 2 Episode 5, Dr. Bubbs sits down with world expert hydration researcher Dr. Stavros Kavouras PhD who runs the Hydration Science Lab at the University of Arkansas. In this episode, Stavros discusses how dehydration can impact athletic performance, differences between endurance and strength or team-sport athletes, the impacts of water loss on athletes trying to make weight, strategies for assessing for dehydration, if drink to thirst is sufficient for elite athletes, performing in hot climates and acclimatizing to warmer environments. Fantastic insights from one of the world’s best!


  1. Even a 2% reduction in hydration can lead to performance declines in athletes.
  2. Drink to thirst is an effective strategy in recreational athletes, but not performance driven people.
  3. Inability to heat-acclimatize is a major roadblock to performance.

The “Big Rocks” – Stavros' Tip

Personalizing hydration based on genetic information of the athlete

Research Paper

Check out Diagnosing dehydration? Blend evidence with clinical observations 

About Dr. Stavros Kavouras

Dr. Stavros Kavouras is a Professor and Director of the Hydration Science Lab at the University of Arkansas. His lab is studying the mechanisms by which water intake affects health and performance. Dr. Kavouras is the author of more than 100 peer review articles and he has given lectures in 28 countries and he is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine & the European College of Sports. Follow Dr. Kavouras on Twitter.