The Scale Paradox: A Comprehensive Guide on Using Bodyweight Data

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This is a guest post by Kevin Garde. For more info about Kevin, see the section below this article. Intro When it comes to the world of health and fitness, it is hard for many people to escape the notion that the number we see on a body weight scale provides the most important data point to being healthier and happier. And there is no shortage of conflicting views and controversy when it comes to opinions on the usefulness of scale weight. On an individual level, it often evokes a sense of negativity; as the displayed number leaves many both disheartened and demotivated. … Read More

Protein: Common Questions Answered

Arthur LynchAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

Share this article on Facebook Arthur Lynch is a PhD candidate in muscle physiology at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Arthur coaches here at Sigma Nutrition, heading up our powerlifting coaching program. He is an international-level powerlifter, representing Ireland at the past 2 IPF world championships. Introduction It’s just over a year since this creatine FAQ article was published here on the sigma nutrition website. The aim of that particular article was to clarify confusion surrounding supplementation with creatine and it was very well received. As a result I decided to do a follow-up article addressed common questions and concerns around protein … Read More

Carbohydrate Periodization: Fuel For The Work Required

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This is a guest post by Mark Germaine. Mark is currently completing his MSc in Sport Nutrition at Liverpool John Moores University, where he is also working as a Performance Nutritionist with various weight-making athletes. He has an undergraduate degree in Sport Science and Health, and has presented his thesis at the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine Conference. Note from Mark: Before we get into this article, I’d just like to say that when myself and Danny agreed upon a topic, Impey et al. (2018) had not yet been published. This paper essentially encapsulates the body of research with regard to … Read More

Should You Restrict Caffeine Before Competition To Resensitize To It?

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles, Nutrition Articles Comments

I recently received an email from someone who had purchased the Sigma Weight Cutting System for MMA & Boxing, asking why I had advised athletes stop caffeine consumption in the final 7-10 days before competition. This is an interesting one because my stance has slightly changed on this matter in recent times. So I’d like to outline both my original thinking, and some opposing thoughts, in this piece. As you already likely know, caffeine is quite the stimulant. And its effects are very quickly noticeable. And the literature supporting it’s beneficial impacts on strength [1] [2], endurance [3] and sports performance [4] … Read More

A Better Paradigm for Health Professionals: The Biopsychosocial Renaissance

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This is a guest post by Aidan Mackey. Aidan is a coach, nutritionist and Strength & Conditioning student. You can find him at We have never had the level of access to information as we currently do in the modern world. And thankfully the importance of looking to evidence-based practice is an idea that is growing within the health & fitness industry. However, as positive as that may be, are we missing a piece of the puzzle? A piece that is related to some ideas put forth by psychiatrist George Engel about 40 years ago. The Biopsychosocial Model was originally formulated by … Read More

Examining 8 Claims Made About Foam Rolling, Myofascial Release & the “Back Baller”

Arthur LynchAll Articles, Blog Posts, Training Articles Comments

Introduction: As scientists, it is in our nature to question claims made by others and demand evidence to support such statements. It is only by questioning and engaging in meaningful conversation that we progress our understanding of the world around us and as humans. If people did not question we would still all live in fear of travelling too close to the edge of our flat earth, or would continue to poison ourselves with mercury trying to cure syphilis and typhoid. Nothing should be beyond being critiqued. And anyone who makes claims publicly, opens themselves up to questioning, with the … Read More

How to Build a Career in Nutrition Coaching

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

For some reason enough people have seemingly deemed me to be “successful” enough to ask me for advice about starting a career in nutrition, usually via some version of one of the following questions: What nutrition course do you suggest I do? What qualifications do I need to work as a nutritionist? I’m a personal trainer/coach, what is the best way to improve my nutrition knowledge and/or my reputation as a nutrition coach? I currently work in a different field but want to transition to a career in nutrition. How should I go about this? Is it possible? I’d like to … Read More

Could Creatine Be an Effective Treatment for Age-Related Loss of Muscle?

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

This is a guest post by Lee Bell. Lee has a MSc in exercise physiology and is a consultant lecturer, speaker and content writer. He is a published academic and professional writer and has delivered talks at a number of conferences including the COPA Growth medical conference in London. He is also involved in primary sport science research with other sport scientists across a number of institutions and is currently looking into neck health strategies in Rugby. He has lectured in sport science for a number of years and has also delivered training to hundreds of personal trainers and coaches as master … Read More

Is Manual Therapy Just a Waste of Time?

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This is a guest post by Dr. Paul McCarroll, clinical lead at PMC Performance. Paul has graduated with degrees in both medicine and physiotherapy, is currently working as a Junior Doctor and is a fully qualified physiotherapist. Paul takes an evidence-based approach to injury and pain management. He works with a wide range of high-level athletes in international athletics, rugby, cricket and powerlifting. Paul himself is an AIL rugby player with the famous Garryowen RFC in Limerick, Ireland.  “What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” – Monty Python Whilst I’m sure that some will disagree with this post, I … Read More

The 3 Principles of Strength & Conditioning for Combat Sports

Ciaran O' ReganAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

Share this post on Facebook Let’s face it, combat sports are nuts. In choosing to partake in combat sports, we are willingly putting ourselves into positions in which our bodies are at great risk. We essentially prepare ourselves day in and day out to come out on top when we finally test our damage-inducing and avoidance capabilities against those of our opponents. This element of health risk is not a bad thing. Rather, in my eyes, it is what makes combat sports such a powerful “vehicle for the development of your human potential”, to quote Joe Rogan. The sheer intensity … Read More

Sparring Methodologies: To Spar, or Not To Spar, That is the Question (Part 2)

Ciaran O' ReganAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

[IMPORTANT NOTE: As the title implies, this is Part 2 of a series. This piece can be read in isolation but a much better overall picture could be gotten by first reading Part 1 which can be found here. ] The Dark Side of Hard Sparring I wasn’t fucking around when I chose the title of this series; “to spar or not to spar, that is the question”. I did so for a very specific reason. The original line that I was playing off is of course perhaps the most famous line of all of the Shakespearean literature: “To be, or not … Read More

To Spar, or Not To Spar, That is the Question – Part 1: Intro to Sparring & Brain Trauma

Ciaran O' ReganAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

Destroying Your Meat Vehicle Vs. Developing Your Human Potential I think I have a not-so-common lens through which to view martial arts training practices. Academically, I have a degree in sport and exercise sciences. Athletically, I started boxing just over 6 years ago, quite late in boxing terms, as a 21 year old. I have been lucky enough to have spent time training in gyms from Holland to San Francisco, Ireland to Boston and so on. This has primarily been practising boxing but more recently it has involved dipping my toes into the MMA world. And so this is where the … Read More

Never Waste An Injury: The Psychology of Setbacks in Combat Sports

Ciaran O' ReganAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

LET US IMAGINE A SCENARIO… You are progressing on your martial arts journey and greatly enjoying the process. All the pieces are falling into place. Your growth curve is beautiful. Every day at training you are picking up new skills and identifying new areas to work on. You have the momentum of a boulder rolling down a hill and you are excited about your progression. With the rate at which you are improving, you see the sky as the limit for your skills. Life is good. Then… BOOM! Some body part, that just seconds before in your mind was as indestructible as steel … Read More

Is Slow & Steady Actually the Best Way to Diet? (Calorie Deficits #2)

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

“Many people advise to lose weight at a steady and moderate rate, and recommend not cutting calories too low, in order to preserve muscle mass”. That’s a line taken from an email I was sent a few weeks back. And it perfectly exemplifies a piece of supposed common sense. And at first glance this makes some degree of logical sense, right? With a slower the rate of weight loss, theoretically, you might expect to have more of that weight loss coming from loss of body fat as opposed to lean tissue. And the more aggressive you diet the greater the degree of muscle … Read More

Calorie Deficits #1: Understanding the Nuances of Energy Balance

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts Comments

Recently I received the following question from podcast listener Noah: “what is the best way to lose massive amounts of fat as fast as possible, without compromising gainz?” It should be inherently obvious to anyone familiar with the relationship between energy balance and body weight that to lose the absolute most amount of fat mass over a given time frame would mean creating the absolute largest energy deficit possible. But equally as obvious, is that creating the largest energy deficit possible (i.e. starvation + high activity) is neither practical nor is it desirable if we plan on holding onto muscle … Read More

Drawing A Line In The Evidence-Based Sand

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

There is a definite growth in the number of people in the health & fitness space talking about taking an ‘evidence-based’ approach to nutrition, training and health. Which can only be a good thing for the fitness industry. In fact, if more people were of the same mindset the incidence of dumb shit would decline significantly. But when we’re talking about approaches to nutrition and fitness, to what extent should we constrain possible strategies to employ? I mean, if we want to be evidence-based, how should we approach practices that could work but lack a meta-analysis of several randomized controlled trials? … Read More

Food Quality, IIFYM and Strawmen: Do Food Choices Even Matter?

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

It’s Friday night and you’re just settling into relaxation mode for the weekend after a tough week at work. You rock into the kitchen to rustle up something to eat. You’ve narrowed it down to two meals you enjoy. Now it’s decision time… Sweet potato and coconut oil or ice cream? What’s the best choice? (The fact you’re reading this blog I’m going to assume you care about health and body composition) Does this seem like a ridiculous question? Do you think there’s one obvious choice? Or do you feel it doesn’t matter? I don’t think we can answer the … Read More

Gluten Revisited: Can I Eat That Sandwich?

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

If you like this, please share! Click here to share this article on Facebook I’ve been pretty harsh on gluten in the past. Overly harsh in fact. Perhaps owing to the high percentage of anecdotal reports of people feeling better when wheat was removed as the main staple of their diet, I’ll confess that I may have been too quick to think it was surely the gluten. For someone with a background in science, this was a mistake that should not have been made. But hey, at least it proves that I’m human and not merely the research-reading robot that it may … Read More

What’s the ROI of Your Nutrition Choices?

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

It was about half past 9 on a dark, cold week-night back in January 2009. I remember walking out of the small sports hall in the sports science building at the University of Limerick. My body was tired and slowly drudging along. But my mind was racing. I had just finished my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class with Fergal Quinlan (black belt under Rodrigo Medeiros). I knew immediately that there was something special about the sport right then. I then became obsessed. Not just with thinking about BJJ but with the pursuit of improving. The milestone I set was my blue belt. In order … Read More

The Ridiculously Simple Guide to Sustainable Fat Loss

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

Throw your eyes back to that title. It’s important and I want to clarify why. First, you’ll notice the word “simple”. Dieting should  NOT be complex, complicated or need insane amounts of willpower. In fact, one way to guarantee you fail is to base your plan solely on willpower. Second, notice the word “sustainable”. In a world where rapid, extreme, insane, or super-speed-mega-hyper results are revered, sustainable approaches are often rejected by dieters. They aren’t sexy enough. They don’t get amazing results in even more amazing time frames. This is a critical distinction between what I advise people on as opposed to … Read More

Eat More Fat, Burn More Fat: Myth, Magic or Metabolic Advantage?

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Nutrition Articles Comments

Enjoy this article? Click here to share on Facebook I’m sure you’ve probably came across that slogan before. If you eat more fat, you’ll burn more fat. Now, I’m all for people including plenty of fat in their diets. In fact, I’ve spoken many times about the problems that arise from “fat-deficient” diets. So please don’t go avoiding dietary fat.. However, telling people that they should “eat more fat to burn more fat” may be misleading. Not because you won’t “burn more fat” on a high-fat diet but because the practical implications of this are different to what most people will think of … Read More

5 Conor McGregor Traits You Can Apply To Your Nutrition

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

  Coming off the back of Conor McGregor’s phenomenal 1st round finish of Dustin Poirier in Vegas on Saturday at UFC 178, it’s impossible for anything else to be in my head at the moment. He went out and delivered everything he said he was going to do. There can be no more doubt, he’s the real deal. But he’s so much more than a skilled fighter. He has a different aura to him than anyone else. He goes about his business differently. And the rate at which he’s reached the unprecedented level of success that he has, makes him … Read More

The Triangle of Focus

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts Comments

What’s the perfect diet? I’ve said many times before that there is no single diet that is perfect for everyone. I hope that is clear by  now. But even beyond that, there is no single diet that is perfect for one specific person, all of the time. Goals, circumstances and requirements change. One of the biggest determinants of what diet is right for you is your focus. There are three primary areas of focus for nutrition: Health Body composition Athletic performance The Triangle of Focus Obviously it would be great if we could eat and live in a way that … Read More

Making the Cut, Part IV: How to Cut Weight for a Fight (Properly!)

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

[This is the 4th post in a 4-part series. You can find the others here: Part I, Part II, Part III] In part II we discussed how “Cutting weight” refers to the process of weight manipulation in the few days leading up to, and following, the weigh-in for a fight. It does not refer to losing body fat, per se. Weight cutting is a process we use to allow a fighter to compete heavier than the limit set by his/her weight class. So for example, a fighter that is competing in the 77kg division may begin fight week at 83kg, … Read More

Making the Cut, Part III: Supplements for Combat Sport Fighters

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

Supplementation. This could be a 4-part series in itself. However, I’ll skip on some details to get to: which supplements actually work which don’t and which are actually worth investing in. A brief point to consider before I go into this: If you don’t have the foundations discussed in part I in place, don’t worry about supplements. Sort those foundations out first. Ok, let’s start with what supplements can enhance training performance. Here’s the ones that are actually going to work: Supplementation for Performance Creatine Most effective supplement out there. Most researched supplement out there. It works. It’s safe. Take it. Don’t believe … Read More

Making the Cut, Part II: How fighters should eat for fat loss (without destroying training performance and health)

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

This is part II of a 4-part series. You can catch part I here. Can a fighter get lean without absolutely tanking performance in the gym or making themselves feel dreadful throughout the leaning out process. Without doubt, YES! But to do so there are things that need to be considered. Cutting Weight vs. Losing Weight One thing to clear up for those of you who aren’t involved in combat sports and perhaps not familiar with cutting weight is the difference between cutting weight and losing body fat. It should seem logical that having a fighter as strong as possible … Read More

Making the Cut, Part I: The Fundamentals of Combat Sport Nutrition

Danny LennonAll Articles, Blog Posts, Combat Sport Articles Comments

Below is Cian Cowley. Cian’s a pro Muay Thai fighter and came to me about his nutrition early in 2014, through his strength and conditioning coach Jason Kane. Now, a  few things to bear in mind: The guy is insanely talented. He was (and still is) on a winning streak and was already pretty damn lean. However, after digging into what Cian had been doing nutritionally up to this point, we needed to implement some extremely important changes into his diet. He had been falling into some of the same traps a lot of fighters out there are falling into. Over … Read More