Weight Classes and making weight in Taekwondo are very specific fields in Sports Taekwondo. In this episode, we have a chat with Dr. James Morehen, a specialist in Performance Nutrition!
In this episode, Coach César Valentim interviews Dr. James Morehen, a renowned Performance Nutritionist, with vast experience in Combat Sports, from Professional Boxing to High-performance Taekwondo.
Check out his website at www.morehenperformance.com and his Wultimate Weight Cutting Course that is available online at https://linktr.ee/wientkd
This podcast is supported by Hawkin Dynamics and Athlete Analyzer!
Have you been looking for a Teon do podcast with qualified people who know what they're talking about, who help you keep up with everything going on in the Teon do world? Well, you found it. This is the Teon do podcast. Teon do news competitions in a of the events training in sports science, keeping the fans, coaches and high performance athletes up to date with the latest news and trends on Olympic TaeKwonDo. Let's do this. This is the TaeKwonDo podcast. And now your host coach Caesar Valenti team and Peter Nestle .Speaker 2:
Hello and welcome to Theono podcast. We're a podcast based out of Austria in English language for everyone out there who likes Teon in this episode, we talk with Dr. James more performance, nutrition . Welcome to our podcast. I'm coach Caesar , Valenti and me daughter , James Mohan . Hi James, how are you?Speaker 3:
Very well, thank you. How are you?Speaker 2:
Fine. Here I am on recording podcast. My new hobbySpeaker 3:
Yeah . Is good . Fun , right? Oh yeah.Speaker 2:
Uh , could you please tell us a little bit how about who you are and what are your involvement with the ,Speaker 3:
Yeah, so , um, I , I guess a , a whistle stop tour. So my name's , uh , James Mohe and I recently, well, I say recently it was a couple of years ago now, but I completed my PhD at little John Moore university, which is based in the Northwest of England near , uh , in Liverpool. Um, and , and that was really in the area of , um , body composition, nutrition , um , physi and , and applied physiology with professional rugby players. Um, I also got my undergraduate degree and master's degree program from Liverpool as well . And then in the last , um, few years I've been working in the applied field , um, probably most notably I had four years , um, with England football at the FA where I was looking after both the, the men's and the women's pathways with a , a good friend and colleague there. Um, and then recently I've moved back into rugby union and I now service the Bristol bears rugby union team. And , um, again, looking after men's women's and academy program there, so that's kind of my team sport and, and applied area with that. And then in , in particular to, I guess, combat sports and TaeKwonDo , um, I worked for around five, six years with Rocky FieldIn , who is a Liverpool based , uh , professional boxer , um, and, and supported that man over a five year journey to, to help him kind of go on and win , uh, the regular world, super middleweight champion built , um, against tyer in Germany. So that was a couple of years ago. And then , and Rocky most famously , um , attempted to defend his title against , um, Sal , uh , Alvarez Canello , um , Madison square garden in New York in 2018, unfortunately lost that title. Um, and then outside of Rocky , I've been supporting a , a cruiser weight boxer, Chris Billum Smith who's , um , a very good boxer, very good intelligent bloke. Um, and then it was really the last, I would say, 18 months, maybe I think, where there was a , a communication with none other than yourself via social media . Um , and then that , that was where I started to support some of your Olympic level athletes , um, and , and help them make the weight and fuel their training sessions a little bit better.Speaker 2:
Well, most of our listeners are coaches, but for those parents and fans who are listening, would you tell us why making weight and weight cut is important in combat sports?Speaker 3:
Yeah, so I think the, the , the first section that you spoke about there is, is kind of making the weight or, or what I would almost refer to a body composition manipulation. So those that are , um, you know, aware of team sport in , in team sport , we classically have a preseason period, and then we have the in season period. And the way that I like to refer that in, in weight making athletes is that your preseason period is the body composition manipulation. So it's the, the 8, 9, 10, 12 weeks prior to the, the competition week where you are really then focusing on , um, energy intake, nutritional periodization aligns to the training program, which we've spoke in depth about, and, and really allowing the UN , uh , the athlete to understand how to fuel for the work required also recover properly. And if , if the ultimate aim of that 10 week period say is to lose body by as to try and hit a certain weight before the acute weight loss happens, then that's where we really have to understand that the nutritional periodization , um, and , and that really is the art of understanding nutrition properly. Once you've finished your preseason or your, your 10 week period, we then enter that final week, which is where you, you refer to there almost , um, you know, the weight cut or, or making weight . And, and that is where I would refer to as a team sport that we're now in season, you know, this is all about competition, it's all about performance. Um, and that becomes a really interesting, and it can be a fun area, but also an area where people will really mess it up , um, quite badly. And it's really important that as we enter that final five to seven day period where we're almost in a bandwidth of between 2%, maybe 5% up to around 8% of the body mass that we wanna lose in that final five to seven day period through the acute weight loss strategies. And, you know, again , we've worked extensively on those and, and implementing different strategies with your athletes to help them make that weight safer. Um, the opposite is you kind of enter the, or 48 hour period . You are drastically above weight, and then it's, you know, the , the panic alarm gets pushed and everyone's stressing, everyone's worried. And then that's where we see athletes, unfortunately , um, resort to silly methods where they're dehydrate and far too much and losing too much body mass in that final period. Um , and quite frankly, you won't have an athlete that can go and perform then , and it won't be an enjoyable process.Speaker 2:
Of course, the , for the, for the people who are new to the combat sports, and they're new to TaeKwonDo at a high level, the advantages of competing in a lower weight class , uh , of course that you will be eager . You have a longer arms, longer legs, a little taller, a little reach that is increased compared to the opponents in your weight division . As far, the athletes try to compete in the lower weight divisions sometimes goes through to drastic weight loss , uh , weight cut strategies, as you just mentioned, very dangerous. And since weight cut is considered to be very dangerous due to the extremes people go through to, to make those advantages weight classes, would you suggest other divisions or criteria instead of the weight classes, like a combination of weight and height, for example?Speaker 3:
Yeah, it's a , it's a really interesting, I guess, area and discussion. And I , I should have added in earlier when I , when I lived in Liverpool was a student. I was fortunate or unfortunate that my , uh , housemate at the time was Dr . Cole and Cole , sorry, Dr . Cole Langan Evans, who , um, was a , a junior Tado and pick med list . And so I used to speak to Carl , or we used to have discussions together about how do you try and make weight cutting a bit safer and try and restrict or minimize these athletes doing these, these silly weight touch really. Um, and I , I remember speaking to Carl about it and , and one of the discussions was, do we, you know, do you bring in a, a height category instead of weight category per se , but I , I think athletes will always try and find a way to manipulate and gain that competitive advantage, whatever the , uh, way that the kind of categories are selected. And , um , I , I think look as , as a, as a coach and as a nutritionist, it's just important that we educate them to do it the right way, because look, we know now working together quite closely that athletes can make weight safely. It , it , it doesn't have to be a negative thing. They can make weight safely and they can do it strategically over a period of time. So those that are still wanting to do it in an unhealthy manner, then, you know, that's on them. If they wanna do that and put their self through , uh , pain and, and not perform properly, that's up to, but those that are willing to seek the expert advice and understand how that works, then you can make the weight safe and you can do it properly. So I don't think we need to start shifting up the rules yet. It's more about those athletes that are willing to learn and adapt will be the ones that make the weight safer.Speaker 2:
Well, you've been working with us for almost a year and a now , and you've known TaeKwonDo from before. You've been following up the , up to date regulations, competition systems, random weight in , and considering your experience with other combat sports, even professional combat sports, what would you say are the biggest differences about working with te Kondo athletes and coaches and what could we do better?Speaker 3:
Well, yeah, a good question, Caesar . I think , um, the , obviously the , my, my background in boxing compared to the , the TaeKwonDo before I met you, was that it was very, very clear that you would have a way in the day before competition. And that , you know, there's none of this , um , random selection of re weighing in , um , prior to co and petition . So it's almost, you can be quite strategic around, right. We know that we need to weigh in on the Friday at one o'clock and then we know that we're not competing until 8:00 PM on the Saturday evening. So you've got that wonderful period of replenishment and refueling, and that's where I've seen sun boxes , you know, gain six, seven kilos of weight , ready to go into that fight. Now we , and I've working with one of , uh , the athletes, the , the first female athlete that I worked with you, we couldn't do that. And we couldn't gain that substantial amount of weight because there was obviously the catch weight that we needed to be aware of in, in case , um , the individual had that. Um , and she got selected for a , and so that's definitely an area that I've had to adapt to for , from the TaeKwonDo world. Um, and it's an area that's of interest because it, it makes you be a little bit tighter on your strategies to make sure that, you know, you're not just telling the athletes to drink as much as they want, but you're now being specific about how much goes in, because we can't weigh too much the next day, just in case we , we get selected for the win . So that's an interesting area for me. Um, and what , what can TaeKwonDo learn from other combat sports or, or team sports? I think it's just the, you know, team sports , I would say, and, and boxes . Certainly the ones that we've worked in Liverpool have begun to implement genuine periodization around training very well now, you know, I'm quite , quite confident that Chris Ben and Smith, all I work with understands that he needs fuel at this period of the day, because he's going in for an eight round spar and in the evening he doesn't, and he doesn't need to rely on the carbohydrates at that window of the day. And I think that's where TaeKwonDo from what I've seen working with some of the athletes that me and you work together with, you know, we're still not quite understanding that still not really periodizing carbohydrates and, you know, the undercook of protein, you know, not really being aware of the, the , the magic of what protein can do in terms of body composition, lean mass, and, and obviously recovery and sleep and support there. So I I'd probably say those two things, genuine carbohydrate periodization, and then an increase of protein through the day .Speaker 2:
So you basically are telling that for the athletes to be aware of the car and the nutrition prioritization, they need to be aware of the coaches prioritization. So not only having a good trainings plan, but also the tools and communication with the players, for them to understand what's coming up in trainingSpeaker 3:
Hundred percent . So I'll , I'll give you two situations. So , uh , athlete a wakes up in the morning and doesn't know what training is that day. So they don't know what to eat. They just eat something random for breakfast , and then they go to training and then they realize that that training session is pretty heavy and they probably under fueled for it. And so then they're , they're now kind of undercooked because they didn't fuel properly. And they've had a really heavy training session. And then at lunchtime, they might start overeating because they're really hungry now because they're at a very tough training session, but actually they haven't got any training in the afternoon and it's now a rest. So they're almost consuming the fuel at the wrong time of the day. They should have had it at breakfast to have a good session athlete B um, looks at their training schedule, understands that, okay, I've got a really hard session in the morning, wakes up in the morning and fuels correctly for that session, knows that the afternoon is rest in recovery. And so still consumes a lovely amount of calories in the afternoon and evening, but the predominant macro would be protein with loads of salad and vegetables. And then they start to bring that carbohydrate content a little bit lower so that they're not over consuming when they're resting, there's two different athletes. So in my opinion, one would begin to manipulate body core position favorably. Well, because they understand this is what training looks like. Dayday, this is how I'm gonna eat with intent to fuel those sessions. But then athlete B is just someone that randomly gets up, eats what they want. They're not really thinking about it. And then they realize that they've had a , a massive training session and they overeat in the afternoon evening .Speaker 2:
So you've been working together for a while and, you know, I do use monitoring tools and I do use training planning tools, but you , as you mentioned, some athletes pay attention to it. Some athletes don't pay attention to it. Overall all think our sport is in related with other combat sports .Speaker 3:
I'm probably a little bit biased in the TA Kondo world, because I've only worked directly with yourself, but, you know, the , the way that you , um, use data , uh, you know, your, your data driven and you , you monitor most for better than some of the team sport I've, I've worked with in the past, not now, but in the past. And so I , I think the way that you do it is, is very forward thinking, you know , there's no real guesses, you know, we we've even done dexo scans with some of your athletes. We've done rest in Metabo rates. You know, we , we are genuinely trying to understand where these athletes sit from a body composition point of view and the metabolism, and then we're working together to design nutritional strategies to help those athletes make the weight better. So I , I would say you are , um, you know, without kissing your bum too much, but you are very forward thinking and , and you're doing the right stuff , um , in combats, but well , boxing, I I've seen it done very well, and I've , I've seen it done not so well. Um, and you know, someone like Chris and Smith again, is very forward thinking. He , he loves the data. He he's got all of the, the smart watches and the sleep acts and all sorts. So he's , um, he's someone that's very on it with understanding the numbers and, and monitoring and tracking. And it makes my life a lot easier because if I can then start implementing nutrition strategies and we see a , a better result in his sleep score, or, you know, he feels fresher the next day than we know that that's something that is working awesome,Speaker 2:
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You're listening to the Techon do podcast. Now back to your hosts, coach Caesar , Valenti team , and Peter Nestler.Speaker 2:
So welcome back. We've been talking, we author James Mor , and nice to have you here . You've been quite busy lately. You and your partner are about to bring a new baby into this world. You wrote a book with some interesting knowledge from other performance nutritionists. What have you learned from this experience of writing that book and what you think it brings to the performance coaches who are also listening? Yes ,Speaker 3:
The , the, the reason I wrote this book was because , um, you know, I , I , I'm not on my own here when I say this, but there's , uh , there's , there'll be a lot of nutritionists or sports scientists or S coaches in the industry that, you know, get messages on LinkedIn from junior students in the industry in whatever respective field is . Um , and I , and I was getting quite a few messages from younger students asking me for advice about how to gain a career in the industry, what experience they needed, could they do anything outside of the conventional degree program to improve their ability to be successful interviews. Um , and that translates across disciplines, whether you're a strength ion coach or fitness coach. Um, so what I did was I decided to interview , um, some good friends and colleagues of mine in the industry that all work as really good level performance nutritionists in professional rugby, the premier league football , um, three or four different clubs , uh, those that have got their own companies, or, you know, they might be working for Australia cycling , uh , team. And I decided to, I interview those people and ask them the same questions. You know, what have you learned in your career that you wish you knew when you first started? What's be , what's your biggest advice to someone starting in the industry now, you know, what do you think makes a successful performance nutritionist, all of these key questions that, in my opinion, you , you don't really learn on a degree program. You get taught a lot of the mechanism mechanisms and by , and all of the science on a degree program, but you don't get taught the real world practical side of it. So it was diving into that area, lifting the lid on 10 different practitioners. And I wrote that up into the book, which is called the performance nutritionist, and that's available on Amazon. Um, and it's been brilliant. I've had some amazing feedback from the nutritionist, but also S and C coaches, fitness coaches in the industry who just wanna learn about, you know, a little bit of self development and improvement and how people can make themselves stand out against everyone else in the industry at the moment.Speaker 2:
Well, I can say I loved it. I read through it, like on the first day when it arrived , I was really like, Bing on your book. It was very easy to read. I was still missing your autograph on it. I guess I would have to meet you for that. Uh , but not only with the book, you have an online course out there for athletes and for coaches. Can you tell us a little bit about it , the contents and who should , uh , actually take this online?Speaker 3:
Yes . Uh , the online courses , um, I basically put it together and it's, it's , um, the development of all of my experience of helping boxers and, and combat sport athletes make weight . Um, so there's, there's elements of the scientific literature in there from some of the seminal work from read real Louis , Gary Slater . Then you've got some of , uh , James Morton and, and Kyle Evans who applied case studies to show how we, we take the, the literature and the evidence and put it into practice on case study , uh , credibility, I guess. And then there's , uh , some of my own work from Rocky fielding . So that five year longitude and case study that I didn't with him , but the , the course is , is all about taking the, the, the student or the user from here's the literature, here's the science. And then importantly, how we can , um, put that into practice and, and how we can really embed that into the athletes that we work with , um, to ultimately help the, the athlete make weight and to , um, support them to step on the scale in a much better position.Speaker 2:
Thanks. We will link the course on our podcast information, our social media. Thank you, James. It was amazing to view as our first guest on our Teon podcast. Looking forward to seeing you again.Speaker 4:
No problem, anytime and allSpeaker 2:
The best. This was a Teon podcast. If you haven't already listened to our other episodes that are available wherever you listen to your podcasts, we are releasing new episodes. Every Tuesday, stay tuned, subscribe to the podcast, leave us a positive review and share it with your , for friends . See you next time.Speaker 1:
You've been listening to the TaeKwonDo podcast, keeping the fans, coaches, and high performance athletes up to date with the latest news and trends on Olympic Teon do your host coach Caesar Valenti team has almost 20 years of experience with high performance TaeKwonDo and has worked all around the world. As a TaeKwonDo trainer. Peter Nestler has been teaching TaeKwonDo for more than 20 years, and he's currently one of the top referees in Europe. We hope you enjoyed the show, make sure to like rate and review and we'll be back soon. But in the meantime, find us on Instagram at Teon do podcast on Facebook at Teon do , and the website tech one do podcast.com . See you next time.