As most T-Mag readers know, John Berardi's been around the block so many times, he makes the mailman look like a slacker. A nutrition consultant to everyone from hockey players to soccer moms, when this guy talks sports nutrition - you'd better listen. Need more convincing? Well, how's this work for ya?

Dr. Berardi is currently the director of performance nutrition for the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team and the Canadian National Alpine Ski Teams. He also consults with a number of elite level individual athletes, sports teams,and Olympic training centers including:

The Toronto Maple Leafs

The US Bobsled Team

The Canadian National Speed Skating Team

The Canadian National Canoe/Kayak Team

The Calgary Sports Centre/Olympic Oval (Calgary, Alberta)

The Manitoba Sports Centre (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

The University of Texas Women's Track and Field Team

In fact, individual athletes in nearly every sport including professional football (NFL and CFL), professional hockey (NHL and AHL), professional baseball (MLB), and professional basketball (NBA) hire Dr. Berardi to get the absolute best results. To say this guy is busy is an understatement.

Since some have called him "the greatest sports nutrition mind in the world today," I just had to find out if this guy was the real deal. So I bugged... and bugged... and bugged the heck outta Dr. Berardi for months before he finally agreed to work with me on a project near and dear to my heart - nutrition for wrestlers and grapplers. HOWEVER, let me quickly state the majority of the info in it applies to almost any athlete!

Out of that project came the following phone interview. It was so damn good that I transcribed it, cleaned up the ums and aahs, and made it available for you today.

(To listen to the interview in its entirety, come download it for free at www.grapplersnutrition.com).


MF:
First, what's the value of a good nutritional program for today's athlete? I mean, so many athletes skip meals and, you know, they're constantly eating sugar, they're constantly eating fast food. You've seen the movie Super Size Me, right?

JB:

MF: Well, for those of you who haven't seen it, the star of the movie was sedentary and ate all this fast food for a few months, ending up extremely out of shape with his blood profile in the toilet. Well, aside from the sedentary thing, many grapplers I meet - young and old -follow something close to the Super Size Me diet. So how does skipping meals, eating fast food, and eating lots of sugar impact athletes? Or even better, how can improving their nutrition improve their performance?

JB:

MF: Common sense stuff - so why are most athletes missing the boat?

JB:

MF: Great answer. What else?

JB:

MF: Okay, now you kind of touched on something that's kind of dear to my heart. I have a 13-year-old who looks like he's straight out of a Men's Fitness Magazine. He's got a great little physique, and I'm not saying it because he's my son. Everybody that sees him says it, but his nutrition is just terrible. I mean, he's a typical 13-year-old.

So with all this talk of having a good looking physique but yet having poor nutrition, what can I do to make sure that he's not really setting himself up for trouble in the future. Can anything be done to prove the true value of someone's nutrition?

JB:

MF: That's awesome. Now, you've written many articles about nutritional timing and it's great to see that people are discussing this more and more, especially with respect to workout nutrition. Can you summarize what nutritional timing is all about?

JB:

MF: Well, every athlete I know would benefit from that!

JB:

MF: That's great. Let's talk a little more about recovery drinks. A lot of my athletes (young athletes) don't have much money to spend on nutritional supplementation. How can they get the most bang for their buck when it comes to recovery drinks?

JB:

MF: Let's talk supplements. What do you see as the value of supplementation? My aunt has a PhD in Kinesiology and she always says supplementation is just that. It's a supplement - above and beyond your normal diet. What do you think?

JB:

MF: Ah, yeah, I think I could.

MF: Yeah.

MF: Oh, no, no, sorry. Without training, no, no, I couldn't.

JB:

MF: I'm with ya.

JB:

MF: That's definitely a distinction I wasn't making. I see a lot of people with what looks like a pharmacy in their gym bag, thinking they're going to be a great athlete because of the supplements. So I'm glad you brought up the distinction.

JB:

MF: Nope. No, I'm not familiar with it.

MF: Cool. Let's get back to grapplers and wrestlers. The biggest problem these guys have is cutting weight. Most of them simply cut calories and fluids while working out like crazy for a week prior to competition. Then they step on the scale dehydrated and have a few hours to replace fluids. What's the best way to do that?

JB:

MF: Yep, after you taught me the weight reduction and safe cutting tips that you included in the Grappler's Guidebook, my athletes and I have been doing quite a few things differently and trying to avoid, or at least manage, dehydration.

And I've heard testimonial after testimonial with athletes losing weight quickly and easily leading up to tournaments - without having to exercise a lot or having to skip meals.

But back to dehydration – for those who insist on still dehydrating for competition - what about food during your replenishment period?

MF: Okay, good. What about athletes competing three or four times a day during a tournament? What should they be eating? I know for myself I had an incident this past summer where I was wrestling in a tournament and my family had to leave, but they took my cooler and food with them. I was going into the later rounds of the tournament with absolutely no energy. I don't ever want to feel that way again.

JB:

MF: Great suggestion. Okay, let's wrap this interview up. Any last words for today's athletes?

JB:

MF: Thanks, John.

JB: