(Vitor’s shorts say “Jesus,” but his abs say “Nutella and banana on rye.”)
By Jonathan Shrager
Though he first landed on our radars as a competitor on TUF 7, fighter/trainer Mike Dolce has become much more famous for The Dolce Diet — the health and nutrition system he employs to help MMA stars hit their weight limits while retaining peak performance on fight-day. Fresh off his wizard-like guidance of Thiago Alves earlier this month, we decided to get the Living Lean author on the phone to find out exactly how he does it. Enjoy…
JONATHAN SHRAGER: Hi Mike, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. You are arguably the most renowned nutritionist in MMA nowadays.
MIKE DOLCE: Well, thank you. I prefer “performance coach” actually, but people often refer to me as a nutritionist because I’ve become synonymous with The Dolce Diet, so I understand why. I do quite a bit, including nutrition and Strength & Conditioning.
So who is the current crop of fighters that you’re working with?
Thiago Alves, of course, with whom I travelled to England. Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Jake Ellenberger, Jay Hieron, Mike Pyle, and I started working with Jorge Masvidal in advance of his Strikeforce lightweight title fight with Gilbert Melendez. Jorge is a great guy and a super-talented athlete.
I recently interviewed Jorge, and he confessed his love of junk food including McDonald’s. Have you ever caught him attempting to eat any junk food behind your back? Is his love for McDonald’s difficult to contain?
Haha! No, Jorge is very committed to performing at the top of his potential. He is so dedicated to his craft, there is nothing to pull him off course. But he did admit his love of McDonald’s to me and we agreed that would be his victory celebration.
Post-fight, do you allow your fighters a little leeway to have a week off and eat what they want? Do you yourself ever celebrate with the fighters by eating some greasy or sugary foods?
Yes, I employ a principle of earned meals, a concept established to allow athletes or individuals to enjoy a meal that may not be consistent with their goals. For my athletes, I usually give them until Wednesday after the fight to ignore my phone calls before we start dialing their lifestyle back in. The great thing about guys or girls who follow The Dolce Diet, is that they lose the old cravings for junk and instead just look for larger portions of what we’ve been eating all camp. After a fight, I’ll usually indulge in a burger or slice of pizza with the team, but that’s usually because we don’t leave the venue until after midnight and our options are limited.
Following his fight with Frank Mir, Dana White suggested that Roy Nelson should try to make 205 lbs in an attempt to rejuvenate himself and his career. Roy subsequently claimed that this would require him to lose a limb, but now he says he’ll try to do it if he gets enough Facebook fans. Would you be the man to help Roy shed the belly?