Fifth meal of the day — 8:15 p.m.
Sixth meal of the day — 10:52 p.m.
Many days I eat seven, eight or nine meals a day. Depends on whether it’s a light training day (two or more light training sessions) or a heavy intense training day (two intense sessions plus one drilling session).
Week 10 — and I’ve effortlessly kept off 14 or 15 pounds as I prepare, age 45, for the IBJJF Masters World Championships here in Las Vegas later this month.
What has surprised me is the growing number of people and athletes (several BJJ black belts included) who message me or inquire: “What are you doing with your diet? What do you eat? What should I eat?”
Why are they asking?
Perhaps because I don’t look close to 45 years old and I certainly don’t feel it. Because I usually keep pace with athletes 20 years my junior. Because they trust me and know I’m ALL NATURAL in a sport where most high-level competitors are not. Because I’ve had ruptured discs, broken hands, dislocated shoulders, knee surgeries, chipped teeth, bone fractures and hundreds of injuries over the years … yet I don’t take any painkillers, rare is the year that I take even a single aspirin or ibuprofen, and for the most part I’m pain-free and sleep very soundly these days. Those who know me know this: I put my faith in hard work and don’t believe in short cuts.
I’m the Happiest “weight cutter” you’ve ever seen in your life.
I never deprive myself and thoroughly enjoy the food (and drink) I consume. Any approach other than that is a absolutely doomed to failure. As one recent major study I read reported, most people who lose weight on a diet will regain all of that weight back within two years PLUS have an even higher body fat percentage than when they started. If you pay close attention to your friends who lose a lot of weight, you will likely observe that yo-yo dieting is the norm not the exception (confirming the study’s findings).
You must enjoy food. It’s essential. It’s one of life’s simple and great pleasures. But it must be food and drink that brings out the best in you. Every Bite Matters. Make Every Bite Matter. That’s my philosophy.
I’m 138, 139 pounds most days and roughly 5 percent body fat. All Natural. No steroids, no HGH, no TRT. Ever.
No Creatine. No Whey Protein. Very little meat, though if you like it have it (I won’t judge you).
Energized and full of zest. My recovery between intense workouts is perhaps the best it’s been in the past 15 years (I didn’t start training BJJ until age 30, by the way. Relatively late in the game, but having a wrestling background helped me prepare and adapt, of course).
Quite frankly, what I do is a lot harder than average people losing 30, 40, 50 pounds or more. I’m stating that as a matter of fact, not ego gratification. It’s very hard to be super lean when you start a weight cut — 8 percent body fat or so in my case — and keep shedding pounds yet feel incredible and then 15 pounds later still be able to perform at a high level at an advanced age. It’s an Art Form. You absolutely MUST know what you’re doing to pull it off and be able to train intensely three and four days a week and be ready to compete against some of the world’s best three or four times in a day.
I lost a lot of weight and you can’t tell by looking at my face. My face doesn’t have that sunken in look, that paleness, that worn-out look so many people get when their body fat is really low. I’m not leaning over exhausted in between intense workouts, I’m not calorie-deprived and drained, as is the case for so many weight cutters this late in training camp.
For most people, the reality of losing weight is simple: No matter what “diet” you subscribe to or implement, if you burn more calories than you consume, you’re going to lose weight. If you’re really overweight, then it’ll be easier for you to lose a lot of weight if you merely start exercising and burning more calories than you ingest. Even if you eat McDonald’s every day — yes, there are documentaries of people eating only fast-food and still losing a lot of weight. It’s possible, though not advisable. A great many trainers throughout this city and around the world can help you lose weight if you do what they say.
But in my mind, that’s the tip of the iceberg. What matters is not weight loss, per se — but the quality of the weight loss. The sustainability of the weight loss. The Inner Impact that your Food and Drink Choices have on you at the Cellular and Soulular Level. The energy levels. The recovery in-between intense workouts.
When I talk about my eating regimen — far and away the best of my life — I’m talking WAY BEYOND weight loss. I’m talking longevity. I’m talking mind-blowing energy levels and mind clarity. I’m talking about feeling 15 years younger — all naturally and literally. That’s what my journey embodies and that’s what I have learned how to do based on 31 years of trial and error, 31 years of mostly learning what doesn’t work (the wrong way to do things), 31 years of successfully making weight for hundreds of grappling matches and usually performing well despite the weight loss. But again, the deeper I went down the Rabbit Hole, the more I sponged and eventually found what works.
Here’s the problem most of you will encounter: Every other person is an Expert on something these days. Often times, those “experts” conflict on what works.
YOUR PROBLEM: Which “expert” is the real expert? Which expert do I listen to?
I’m telling you, people who have degrees in a certain area are often blinded by their degree, slaves to regurgitation and close-mindedness and dismissive of anyone who has learned things via EXPERIENCE AND TRIAL AND ERROR AND RELENTLESS RESEARCH rather than simply reading the mainstream books their professors told them to read. Most of those “experts” leave many stones unturned. They’ll tell you something is bad for you — and they’ve never even tried it.
In my case, I’ve experimented with a wide spectrum of what works and what doesn’t — and discovered that while some features of nutrition are certainly individual to each person, there are many constant and correct principles that apply to most everyone.
This is not a Frank Forza Diet — This is a “This Diet Will Work Wonders for the Vast Majority Who Faithfully Practice It” Diet.
Nothing against steroid or Performance Enhancing Drug users — your body, your decision, and if you’re a friend of mine then I still love you even though we operate differently. I’m simply a fan of full disclosure. People should be 100 percent honest and authentic about how they produced their results so that the paying customer can gather all the information they need to decide who they want to listen to and who really knows their stuff.
So again — I’m not a registered dietician nor nutritionist. Not a doctor nor food scientist. (The legendary “Godfather of Fitness” Jack Lalanne earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree but was considered a nutrition expert; Steve Jobs never took an engineering class at Reed College before dropping out; instead the legendary businessman and inventor took classes on calligraphy, poetry and literature). So never allow anyone to claim superior knowledge to you on the basis that they possess a formal certificate and you don’t. I could write a book about experts on subjects they never studied in college (for the record, I NEVER TOOK A SINGLE JOURNALISM CLASS IN COLLEGE and yet I did very well for myself in the profession for a good 15 years, winning 23 professional writing awards and interviewing more than 20,000 people).
What I am, what I bring to the table on nutrition– is that I’m a relentless researcher with a philosophy degree and many years as a professional journalist. I’m a Relentless Pursuer of Peak Performance and ALL NATURAL AGE DEFIANCE. That’s my expertise. And it’s based 100 percent on real-life experience and intellect and creativity and open-mindedness NOT on my having earned a degree in a certain field. As far as my eating regimen goes — I invented absolutely none of it. I simply found the right experts. I simply learned how to combine different diets and principles and produce an outcome that is far and away the best eating program I’ve ever practiced and one that has me convinced I will continue to get better and better with each passing year in most facets of life.
What I am is a combat sports athlete who, over the course of 31 yeas and counting, has trained in wrestling, boxing, MMA, jiu-jitsu and sparring. Well north of 10,000 hours of live combat sports training, and being forced to make weight for more than 300 matches. Peak performance has long been an obsession of mine; age defiance for the past 7 years.
The person who has a Harvard M.B.A. may have extensive contacts and know a heck of a lot about building a business and making millions. But history is full of college dropouts and those who never attended college rising to mastermind status as well — often exceeding the financial prosperity of those who attended prestigious universities.
My authority as a combat sports expert comes, not because of my wrestling pedigree and BJJ black belt, but because if you debate me on a related topic I promise you I am generally very hard to beat. I promise you.
I know Eating For Performance and I know it extremely well. I’m proving it every day with my body, with my all naturalness and age defiance, with the best recovery I’ve ever experienced since starting BJJ 15 years ago. If I used steroids, etc…well then you could give a lot of the credit to the steroids … which is why I always emphasize that point. If someone is having great success on steroids well then you should have to right to know that — and it might occur to you that they really don’t know that much about diet or Healthy Eating at all. In that case the Secret Sauce might be a needle, not food knowledge. But they usually don’t tell you that, right?
Again — we’re all adults. Do whatever makes you happy. I’m just noting that I’ve done things a certain way so that THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT that my EATING AND DIET are on point. Nothing else steals the credit.
FOR THE RECORD: I’ve never even had my testosterone levels checked in my life. EVER. In 45 years. Why? Because I don’t need to. I know the passion and fire that still stirs in me. I get all the feedback I need training and competing against young lions in the combat sports world. They are my measure, that and my virility and zest for life and energy levels and recovery … tell me everything I need to know about testosterone levels.
And another thing: I think a good deal of testosterone starts in the mind. It’s a mindset. It’s an attitude. I believe that the body often follows the mind on that one. Think you’re old and the body tends to follow suit. Diet and genetics do matter, of course … BUT MINDSET SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED. It’s a significant variable.
I’M BATTLING A SIGNIFICANT INJURY LATE IN MY TRAINING CAMP
It goes with the territory. Awakened today to some serious swelling. Had to miss training and opt for swimming and a weight circuit and stretching.
The Show Goes On.
17 days out of Masters Worlds. I’ll be ready to perform at a high level no matter what. I’ve always fought well and worked around injuries. In fact, I pride myself on it. I love the challenge of turning tragedy into victory, adversity into opportunity. I live for that.
If anything, if my history is any indication, an injured Frank (as long as I’m in great shape, which in this case I will be) is a more dangerous Frank. I don’t have any excuses. “Find A Way.” That’s always been the mentality. There will be time to rest any injuries after the competition.
Tonight’s Dinner at 8:15 p.m. (following two workouts):
1/3 cup of “Dahl” Indian lentils (super spicy and delicious, btw)
Water with lime
Rooibos Tea with manuka honey (best honey on the planet)
3 ounces of wild caught salmon
Steamed broccoli (raw is better but I don’t like broccoli raw and broccolis is supposed to provide lots of nutrients to accelerate healing my injury)
Spinach/Avocado salad (with cayenne pepper for enhanced circulation, Himalayan Sea Salt, extra virgin, cold-pressed organic olive oil, organic balsamic vinagrette, sauteed mushrooms with turmeric to reduce injury swelling and inflammation, three ounces of 100 percent aloe vera juice
Heaping tablespoon of organic almond butter
1/3 tsp raw organic honey
organic corn tortilla covered in 1 tsp olive oil
small cup of black and pinto beans in sea salt
water with lime
small bowl of organic watermelon