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How to diet and eat like UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski ahead of UFC 266

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Alexander Volkanovski may reign as the 145-pound king, but the UFC 266 headliner eats like a big boy.

Alexander Volkanovski is the king of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) 145-pound division, but the featherweight champ is eating like a heavyweight ahead of his title defense against Brian Ortega at UFC 266.

Volkanovski vs. Ortega headlines UFC 266, taking place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sat., Sept. 25 via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). Jordan Sullivan, the dietitian for Volkanovski and UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, breaks down the science of Volk’s training camp diet in a new video from SB Nation’s Combat Culture.

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BLOCKBUSTER CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) International Fight Week returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., July 2, 2022, capped by a stacked card headlined by a blockbuster championship double header. In UFC 276’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, reigning Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, defends his crown against No. 2-ranked contender, Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has his sights set on successfully defending his title once again against No. 1-seeded contender, Max Holloway, for the third (and likely final) time.

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“First off we do an assessment where we assess both Alex’s body composition and metabolic rate,” Sullivan explains. “We do this by completing a DEXA scan, which is short for Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. It tells us how much lean mass, muscle, and fat mass, body fat, Alex has. The Resting Metabolic Rate test tells us how many calories Alex is burning at rest as well as the ratio of carbohydrates to fat that he is burning. From this information, we can begin his plan.

“The goal of the fight camp is to lose body fat and to do that we need to be in a calorie deficit. Since we know his Resting Metabolic Rate and his training schedule, we can make a very good estimation of how many calories he is burning each day using an activity multiplier. If we don’t have access to an RMR machine, we work out Alex’s calories by using the Cunningham equation: (Fat-Free Mass x 22) + 500.”

Sullivan next breaks down how much bodyweight Volkanovski needs to lose each week.

“In order to make weight, Alex has to collectively lose 14 percent of his total body weight,” the dietitian shares. “During fight camp, we put Alex in a 15 percent calorie deficit so he can lose between half to one percent of his body weight each week to lose a total of four to six percent of his body weight. This is what we deem as a safe rate of weight loss and allows us to meet our weekly weight loss goals, but it still ensures he is fuelling his workouts appropriately.

“Alex will train two to three times per day with two half days off per week for recovery. He will spread this training across strength, conditioning, skills, sparring and recovery.”

Volkanovski will typically eat between 2500 to 3500 calories each day across seven meals and a snack. Take a look below at a sample meal plan and watch the video above for a more detailed breakdown based on an estimated starting weight of 167.5 pounds.

Meal 1: (Cals 500 / Carbs 60g / Protein 40g / Fat 10g)

Meal 2: (Cals 320 / Carbs 40g / Protein 10g / Fat 11-12g)

Meal 3: (Cals 500 / Carbs 60g / Protein 40g / Fat 10g)

Meal 4: (Cals 320 / Carbs 40g / Protein 10g / Fat 11-12g)

Meal 5: (Cals 500 / Carbs 60g / Protein 40g / Fat 10g)

Meal 6: (Cals 500 / Carbs 60g / Protein 40g / Fat 10g)

Meal 7: (Cals 320 / Carbs 40g / Protein 10g / Fat 11-12g)

(Intra workout carb drink / Cals 240 / Carbs 60g)

Total: Cals 3200 / Carbs 440g / Protein 190g / Fat 75g)

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