The MMA community has been shocked recently with the news regarding usage of IV fluids for rehydration. The UFC’s new anti-doping program, led by USADA, has announced that the use of IV fluids as a rapid rehydration technique will be banned starting October of this year. Numerous MMA fighters are starting to express their concerns regarding this new policy stating various health and safety reasons.
Cutting weight for competitive advantage in mixed martial arts is perfectly legal and has been practiced for decades. Losing 15 to 20 pounds of weight in less than 5 days can be incredibly gruesome, but through discipline and close supervision, these professional athletes can actually regain all those lost pounds of weight and still be in their best fighting shape for the bout in less than 24 hours. Of course, there are a lot of techniques on how to gain all the lost weight back. However, because of the upcoming changes in the UFC policies, athletes are now starting to look for new ways on how to get regain those pounds without violating the rules.
George Lockhart, the person behind top MMA fighters’ nutrition such as Cris Cyborg, Rory MacDonald, and the one responsible for the successfully getting Kenny Florian, Dustin Poirier, and Brian Stann down a weight class, has given some expert advice on how to rehydrate safely without using an IV.
According to the nutrition expert, using an IV for rehydration doesn’t give much of an advantage as opposed to going through the oral route. If anything, IV rehydration just takes the hard part of doing the proper (and meticulous) process of rehydrating out of the equation. If oral rehydration is done properly, athletes are looking into the same rehydration result as if they had done IV rehydration. Lockhart emphasized, however, that the key to get the same rehydration level after using IV, athletes must know how to execute oral rehydration the right way.
Lockhart said that the basic principle in rehydrating safely, without the use of an IV, is to load the body up with the sodium and sugar that it needs. For an instance, a 1000 ml saline bag contains 9 grams of sodium chloride, which is basically 9 grams of table or sea salt. A teaspoon of sea salt contains roughly 2,500 mg of sodium chloride. This means that in order to get the same result when getting IV saline bags, athletes are looking into an equivalent of around 4 teaspoons of table salt to be taken orally.
Another option to properly rehydrate the athletes without using an IV is through the use of supplements. Instead of buying expensive supplements on the market, Lockhart strongly encourages athletes to make their own supplements. According to him, getting supplements available on the market can be effective, but athletes can actually make their own cheaper and more effective version of it. Mixing right amounts of salt and the right kind of sugar, according to Lockhart, is simply the way to go. Aside from this mixture, athletes need to have BCAAs (or branched chained amino acids) as well. These BCAAs play a really important role in the recovery phase and helps the body restore the muscles by making it more accessible to reabsorption of carbohydrates.
There are plenty of techniques that can be utilized in rehydrating the body safely. For best results, keep in mind that oral rehydration techniques should be done properly and safely.