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Making Weight (Quickly) with Bobby Voelker

A chance to fight on the UFC on FOX main card meant welterweight Bobby Voelker had to speed up his weight cut without slowing down in the gym.
Two weeks ago, "Vicious" Bobby Voelker (24-9) was preparing for an August 28 matchup when he was asked if he'd step in for an injured fighter and take on “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (20-9, 1NC) a full month sooner. Voelker leapt at the opportunity, but the sudden change meant he had to switch gears and tactics quickly.

“Normally when I have eight weeks to prepare I train twice a day,” Kansas City's Voelker told UFC.com. “This time, I was training three, sometimes four times per day. Robbie is known for his heavy hands, slick footwork, and coming out quick and powerful. He’s also a great wrestler.”

Along with training changes came an escalated weight cut. While welterweight Voelker hits the scales at 170 lbs., his off-season weight hovers around what he calls an “in-shape” 205 lbs.

“I like to have eight weeks to get ready, where I’m losing five lbs. per week,” Voelker said. “I’d like to have my weight down another six to seven pounds, but this is what I love to do and what I chose to do. It just comes along with it. You have to have a proper diet not just for your body, but for your muscles to perform correctly.”

We asked the 34-year-old Voelker to outline a few of his fight-prep diet dos and don’ts:

DON’T: RUSH THE WEIGHT CUT
“When I first started to fight at as an amateur when I was 20 or 21 years old, my cuts were terrible. I’d lose like 20 pounds in four or five days, and that wasn’t how I want to feel for a fight. At that age, I didn’t exactly discipline myself, so it came down to me realizing that six weeks minimum, eight weeks maximum worked for me.”

DO: MAKE SUBTLE MEAL ADJUSTMENTS
“Normally I slowly ease into the eight-week diet. Starting out I’ll eat big portions five to six times per day. Then I’ll switch to eight or nine times per day with smaller portions. Now, I’m eating every hour or so, but it’s only a couple pieces of chicken and like five or six pieces of broccoli. That really makes my metabolism work and turns my body into a machine.”

DON’T: BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT
“There have been times when my muscles were fatigued and I felt flat, and I had to look up why that was happening. I’d make the proper adjustments with what I'd eat and the next day I’d come back on fire. Over the last 15 years, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. It was trial and error.”

DO: TAKE YOUR FOOD PREP SERIOUSLY
“I cook my own meals. Sundays are my day off and I spend a good five to six hours in the kitchen cooking everything I need for the week. If anything, I’ll go for a light jog, but I won’t train. And that’s still relaxing for me since I’m not lifting weights, punching, or kicking.”

DON’T: GO OVERBOARD ON THE CHEATS
“I won’t divert from the diet until the fight is over. I’ll throw in some treats from time to time — a granola bar or a chocolate protein bar — for a different taste from the same foods I’ve been eating for four or five weeks, but it’s not candy or anything terrible.”

DO: ELIMINATE EXCUSES
“I’m a blue-collar construction worker, and I go to school. I sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but I take it one day at time and do what I have to because I love what I do. These fights are extremely important to me, so it becomes about me wanting to better myself.”

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