John Danaher: ‘Diets Are Meaningless for Performance in Combat Sports’

John Danaher: ‘Diets Are Meaningless for Performance in Combat Sports’

In a recent conversation on the Lex Fridman Show, famous Jiu-Jitsu coach John Danaher discussed the contentious topic of diet and its impact on athletic performance. Danaher displays brutal honesty about the role genetics play in the success of elite athletes.

“I’ve seen athletes have the worst diets. God bless Travis Stevens, but that guy won an Olympic silver medal basically on McDonald’s and candy.”

Danaher emphasizes that the relationship between diet and performance is not as straightforward as commonly believed. He shares several anecdotes to illustrate his point:

“George St Pierre, for 80% of your career you were powered by McDonald’s and Coca-Cola Alfredo. That was my meal of choice before a championship fight.”

“Gordon, for him, his youth was just Five Guys hamburgers. Gary told the same thing.”

“I’ve worked with Japanese judo players who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and won Olympic gold medals.”

“I’ve worked with Russian wrestlers who just ate whatever was put in front of them and their athletic performance was outstanding.”

Danaher’s experience with athletes from diverse backgrounds and dietary habits led him to a compelling conclusion:

“I’ve worked with other guys who did have what would be considered a very clean diet, and their performance was no better than anyone else on the mat. So, I’ve never seen someone say, ‘Okay, I changed my diet and because of that there was a measurable improvement in sports.’”

Danaher’s believes that while nutrition might play a role in general health, it is not the deciding factor in athletic success. Instead, he suggests that genetics play a much more significant role.

The discussion challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding diet and performance, offering a sobering perspective for athletes and enthusiasts who believe in the transformative power of dietary changes. Danaher’s insights, backed by his extensive coaching experience, present a brutal blackpill: it’s all genetics.

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