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Should You Eat Like Mikey Musumeci?

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

Mikey Musumeci, if you read this i'm using all of the information from the podcast to draw inferences around your training, nutrition and psychology in conjunction with nutrition science to explain why the way you eat can work. Let's get stuck into it.


Instagram and Wiki: www.instagram.com/mikeymusumeci/ & en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikey_Musumeci


Mikey's Training


Mikey trains up to 6-12 hours a day at a moderate and controlled pace. He supplements his training with low intensity steady state cardio and doesn't do any strength training. His BJJ style relies heavily on body position/leverage, reaction, flexibility and superior technique. He doesn't train with heavier opponents and is selective of his training partners. He believes this helps speed recovery and mitigate injury and as a result, allows him to train more. From a sports science perspective this is known as the manipulation of volume (eg. time spent training) and intensity (eg. pace and partners) which i talk more about here.


Mikey's Nutrition


Mikey has been on a bit of a journey with regards to his nutrition. From the age of 10-11 years old his coach wouldn't allow him to eat sweets and made him believe he wouldn't become a world champion or be able to date girls if he ate a certain way. Mikey has been cutting weight from a very young age and would cycle through periods of binging and starvation. He's never felt satisfied or full and has tried many different diets including low carb, high protein and keto. His biggest weight cut was 35 pounds in 2 weeks.


He now eats once a day, for one hour and eats the foods he loves during this period. A typical meal consists of 1 large pizza, 1/2 - 1 pound of pasta and 1 pint of acai and lots of cheese including pecorino romano, parmagian and mozzarella totalling around 7000 calories a day. During the day, he fasts and consumes caffeine.


How is this all Possible?


Most good nutritionists and dietitians will determine what a person's training and body composition goals are, their routine, experience and a bit of psychology around their eating habits.


Mikey mentions that most of the performance nutrition coaches he consulted with recommended a high protein, high carbohydrate approach and said that it isn't right to eat the way he eats. Admittedly, i thought so to but after listening to the podcast and everything Mikey had to say, it actually checks out from a sports nutrition science perspective. Let's break down the hows and whys:


Weight Loss & Maintenance:


Mikey trains a lot which allows him the flexibility to eat as much food as he does. As far as weight loss goes, you can lose weight eating anything and in any way, so long as you're eating less than what you're burning each day. Mikey did mention some things about being happy with his current diet and that he experienced lower levels of stress, thus better results. It is true that if you're happier and experience lower levels of stress, your training and body composition results will be better. But this is more a product of psychology than an inherent benefit of a specific diet. More on that here.


Protein:


How much and how often you should consume protein is determined by several factors. Requirements change even more once you factor in all the other variables (check out figure 1). It takes a good nutritionist/dietitian and some thorough consultation to determine where an individual sits on this protein continuum.


Mikey's style of training is more on the endurance based side, he doesn't do any strength training, he's a very experienced athlete, has no desire to get jacked or strong and eats lot's of food. He's pretty much in a state of maintenance and so would probably only need around 1.2-1.8g/kgBM. For him this works out to be around 75-110 grams of protein/day. He's very light, eats lots of high protein cheese and some seafood and ups his protein intake when he's training hard, so no doubt he's nailing it. As for his protein frequency, most studies show that if you're trying to get jacked and strong (ie. high protein turnover in the body) then eating more protein spread evenly throughout the day is important, but Mikey doesn't fit into that category and so 1-2 meals a day is most likely sufficient to maintain at this stage of his life. As a sports nutritionist, I would personally monitor changes with a body composition scan and some other tools just to keep an eye on things.

Figure 1. Protein Amount Continuum, www.instagram.com/continuum_sp/


Carbohydrates


Mikey eats plenty of carbohydrates which he gets from monstrous servings of pizza and pasta. In the body, carbohydrate and fat can be stored for later use. So at night, Mikey is essentially loading up on enough fuel to sustain him the following day. But what about eating in the morning? Isn't that important? Not really, studies have shown that as long as you're eating enough to fuel your daily energy needs then breakfast is a personal preference thing and doesn't influence performance. I talk more about carbohydrates and the best time to have them in this blog.


Psychology


Psychology is THE driving factor behind Mikey's chosen diet. The diagram below is simply saying that what and how we choose to eat is determined by many factors. The Cortico-limbic system in particular is tied deeply to our life experiences and emotions and is a key driving force in the formation of our eating habits. If you listened to the podcast, Mikey had a lot to say about his experiences with food and that they played a key role in shaping his perceptions and choices around his eating habits. One example is how much Mikey loves pizza and pasta and how much it impacts him emotionally. Any diet that deviated from what he loved was generally met with a lot of emotional resistance and just didn't work for him.

Schematic diagram shows the 3 heavily interconnected major brain areas constituting the core processor for the control of ingestive behavior. The hindbrain is mainly concerned with meal size control, because it possesses all the elements to detect sensory information mediated by vagal afferents and circulating factors, and generate motor output associated with the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of food. The corticolimbic system is intimately connected to the hypothalamus and brainstem, and provides the emotional, cognitive, and executive support for ingestive behavior. The hypothalamus is central for the drive to eat and can potently modulate peripheral organs by autonomic and endocrine outflow. Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2017.11.011


Should You Eat Like Mike Just Because?


If you haven't noticed, there are many factors that determine how you should eat, with psychology (our emotions and experiences) being the biggest influence. If you're unsure about what you should be doing with your nutrition, see an accredited, practising sports nutritionist or dietitian for the best guidance and advice.

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