One thing we know about George Lockhart – the guy ain’t lazy. He’s crammed a boat load of professions into his 29 years. He’s served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and as a martial arts instructor at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. He has fashioned an impressive 10-4 record as a welterweight pro fighter, most recently competing on this season’s “The Ultimate Fighter,” where he lost to Bristol Marunde in a bout where the winner assumed one of the 16 slots in the house.
A married father of three, Lockhart is also lead instructor at Brian Stann’s Warrior Legion Gym in Atlanta. These days, the chiseled and assertive Lockhart is best known as the nutrition architect for many amateur and pro fighters, including the aforementioned Stann and Rory MacDonald, who battles BJ Penn Saturday night in Seattle (UFC on FOX, 8 p.m. on East Coast, 5 p.m. on West Coast). Past Lockhart clients have included UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and Kenny Florian. We caught up with Lockhart recently for his unique insights on fighter nutrition, touching on Rory MacDonald’s camp and how it feels to manage the diets of two fighters – Mike Easton and Raphael Assuncao – who happen to be pitted against each other this weekend in the city that gave us Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains.
EASTON VS. ASSUNCAO
I’ve worked with each of them a long time. My job is to make them feel in top shape, and that’s it. I brought it up to them … everybody laughs about it. They’re cool with it.
ON RORY’S WEIGHT CUT:
The weight cut for Rory is a joke. He really doesn’t have a lot of weight to cut because he is very nutritionally disciplined. It’s not that he’s light – he’s actually a good-sized 170-pounder. He has so much muscle mass. But cutting 20 pounds for Rory is a walk in the park.
An hour before Rory goes to the gym he’ll have some Kefir (fermented milk probiotic), which is nothing but protein and probiotics, some berries, and a little flaxseed oil.
LUNCH AND/OR DINNER
Avocado, greens, spinach, quinoa. We advise our athletes to eat raw vegetables, but it’s up to them. My athletes will eat until they go to bed. You need energy from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. So you’ve got to fuel your body a lot. A typical dinner might be broccoli, cauliflower, a big salad, avocado, Mahi Mahi, Salmon, Tuna, or Tilapia.
Right before Rory goes to bed, during fight camp, he might eat 1 or 2 tablespoons of almond butter. It has fat so his body stays anabolic and has something for his body to eat off besides muscle.
One big thing we give fighters is fermented milk, Kerif, because it’s got a digestive enzyme. It has more probiotics than any other food out there.
Sodium bicarbonate, which is basically baking soda, is a leading supplement I recommend to increase endurance.
I recommend Chia Seed, flaxseed oil, which gets rid of inflammation. I don’t recommend almonds or peanut butter much because they cause inflammation. Omega 6 fatty acids cause inflammation. So we recommend walnuts, macadamia nuts because they have lower Omega 6 and more Omega 3’s. Now, understand, there are exceptions. During fight week they eat almonds because it has magnesium and it helps keep their Ph balance high, which allows their body to release water a lot easier.
Rory eats Wild Alaskan Salmon, which is higher in Omega 3s.
During fight camp, hormones in the body change. During aerobic exercise, your body runs off mostly fat. Your brain runs mostly off glucose, so we have to fuel the brain. We have to fuel the brain without spiking insulin, so we eat apples, blackberries, strawberries, grapefruit, spinach, broccoli, asparagus.
The fructose will go to the liver without spiking insulin. If you spike insulin then your body will store energy, which if your body is already full, will be stored as fat.
We give them simple sugars and easy-to-digest protein before a workout (either via Kefir or a shake).
During the workout they can have can have candy to prevent their insulin from going down. Licorice is loaded with dextrose. Rice Krispie Treats are awesome, too.
It’s not hard for an MMA fighter to burn 800 calories in a workout. After a workout we give them a fast-acting, simple carbohydrate such as dextrose or Fat Free Pringles. You want a 4 to 1 carb to protein ratio when you replenish the body. We like to use a protein shake with whey protein isolate plus dextrose because it’s fast-acting and easy to digest. Our athletes have a 20-minute window after a workout to take the shake. One hour later they eat a specific meal to recover.
I have worked with guys from Jon Jones down to amateurs. Some guys at the amateur levels are just trying to scrape by so I’m not going to tell them they have to eat organic. If you’ve got the money, get the top grade stuff. If I see the benefit then I’ll tell my guys to get it.
But if you look at the hard science, I can see both sides. So I’m not really for (organic) or against it.
The biggest thing I’m against is hydrogenated stuff, trans fats. I don’t let my guys near that s---. I try to keep ‘em away from processed foods. So no protein bars, no white bread, no pastas, anything like that. Basically, if it comes from the ground, we eat it, with the exception of pharmaceutical grade dextrose and stuff like that.
Brian Stann drinks 3 gallons of water the week before his weight cut (to train his body for water dump before weigh-ins). Rory will be closer to 2 and ½ gallons. He normally drinks 2 gallons a day. Yeah, they put down at least 16 pounds of water a day.
George Lockhart - Managing Diets for Rory, Easton, Assuncao
Read on for the latest installment in UFC.com's weekly series of articles on proper nutrition from the biggest names in mixed martial arts...this week, George Lockhart