In some sports disciplines, it is necessary to cut weight . The athlete requires a certain weight for the day of the competition. Perhaps the athlete has trained all year and has achieved a good level. However, as the event approaches, the dreaded weight-cut moment arrives. This is a stage where athletes risk their health year after year. How to cut weight for a competition ? Learn how to do it correctly. Discover all the keys and strategies.
Why do we have to cut weight in some sports?
In certain sports, athletes compete by weight classes. The categories welcome a group of athletes who move in the same weight range. Competitions in certain sports are organized this way because weight can be a great advantage.
Weight cutting is especially required in boxing and other combat sports, strength disciplines and bodybuilding. A heavier boxer deals greater damage and has an advantage over a lighter boxer. A heavy lifter usually has more strength. In bodybuilding, both height and weight are important. A bodybuilder weighing 80 kg at 1.65 m will look much more muscular than a bodybuilder measuring 1.82 m and 80 kg. Therefore, in bodybuilding the categories are organized according to heights and weights.
Sports in which it is necessary to have a certain weight for competition:
- Mixed martial arts.
The weight cutting protocol is different from normal weight loss. There are some key differences from conventional weight loss:
• The person usually has a healthy weight as a starting point. The cut involves losing several kilos for a sports competition, not for health reasons.
• It is a rapid weight loss that must be achieved in a short period of time.
• Extreme tactics are used, such as steam baths, dehydration...
Is cutting weight dangerous? It must be made clear that these systems are not beneficial for health and that they are only carried out for competitive reasons. How to cut weight healthily? To do things right, it is best to be advised by a good sports trainer who has experience in it. The athlete's health is always at stake.
How should boxers and other athletes cut weight?
Maybe you have to make a weight cut for powerlifting or you're wondering how to cut weight in boxing . Do not suffer! The first tip is to take things slowly and start preparation with enough time. The rush is not good! And even less so in this case, where minimizing damage to health is essential. Also, always look for a good physical trainer to advise you before taking the next steps.
How drastic the weight cut is will depend on how many extra kilos you have above the range of the category you want to enter. Furthermore, weight cuts tend to be more demanding in sports such as bodybuilding or boxing than, for example, in powerlifting (where a simple pre-competition diet may suffice).
The goal of the cut is to be as close to the upper weight limit as possible. For example, imagine that you must compete between 78 and 80 kg in weight. Your usual or current weight is 84 kg. It would be a good idea for you to make a cut to lose weight, for example, up to 79.8 kg to give a correct weighing. Once you have finished the weigh-in, you would try to regain your weight to 83 or 84 kg to be as competitive as possible in the ring or stage.
|Fighter before a weigh-in.|
Remember that rapid weight loss is only preparation for weigh-in. Afterwards, we must rehydrate and eat again to gain our usual weight and have the greatest advantage in the sporting event. There are some general recommendations for the "weight cut" :
• The athlete must not lose more than 10% of his body weight in a cut for a sporting event. Doing so would be dangerous.
• Every athlete should seek advice from a sports doctor or nutritionist.
• The athlete must always be accompanied. Any weight cutting process must be stopped immediately if the person's health is in danger. For example, if you experience nausea, dizziness or fainting. Medical services must be called immediately in these cases.
Start with the weight cutting diet
A few weeks before the competition , you must begin the weight-cutting diet for boxing or the sports discipline in question. The coach must assess the athlete's weight and the kilos to lose. The diet will start earlier or later depending on how many kilos the athlete has over the category limit.
This will be a conventional diet to lose weight, without too many complications. We will have to reduce the total calories of the food. Typically, this will be achieved by progressively reducing carbohydrates. In addition, 1 gram of fat per day per kilo of body weight will be maintained and protein consumption will be increased to preserve muscle mass. There is no need to manipulate your water intake or become dehydrated at this point.
The diet when the competition approaches
In the days before the competition, the weight-cutting diet will become more restrictive. A few days before weighing , it is recommended to consume less than 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of carbohydrates per day . This is because each gram of carbohydrate we eat absorbs and retains more than twice its weight in water, making it difficult to lose all that water weight. Remember that we want to get rid of the liquid to give the correct weight. It would be fine to reduce carbohydrate consumption to only about 50 grams (1.8 ounces) per day in the week before weigh-in.
Progressively reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet as you approach weigh-in day. Pay attention to food labeling or find a diet app online to monitor how many carbohydrates you are eating.
To lose weight fast , you should especially avoid fruits, sugars and starches because they contain a lot of carbohydrates or water and make weight loss difficult.
It is also very important to keep track of how many total calories you consume during the day. Do you want to know how to cut body fat ? Reducing calories is the key.
Load your body with proteins and fats . Instead of eating carbohydrates, nutritionists often recommend a diet rich in protein and fat. These satisfy you and give you energy without making you fat in the short term. A week before the sporting event, eat mainly eggs, meat, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables . On weigh-in day, any food you eat that you can't skip will affect your total weight. Eat 1 or 2 smaller meals early in the day to keep your weight as low as possible. Try a simple chicken breast and broccoli as soon as you wake up. Then, have a small meal of cooked vegetables right before lunch on weigh-in day.
Supplements to help lose weight quickly
Remember that the essential thing for weight reduction is your diet. However, athletes usually accompany their diets with some supplements that can contribute to weight loss. For example, l-carnitine is used for cutting weight in bodybuilding . Let's look at some of the most popular dietary supplements:
• L-carnitine : In some foods, carnitine is present , a nutrient that helps transport fatty acids to the cells responsible for burning fat (mitochondria) to obtain energy. There is some controversy about the positive effects of supplementing with l-carnitine for weight loss (there are studies for and against). Regarding some studies, they have indicated that l-carnitine could promote post-exercise muscle recovery, slightly increase strength and promote the mobilization of fat as a complement to a diet to lose weight (a function for which it is most frequently used). .
• Turmeric supplements : With this supplement, it happens a bit like with carnitine. There are already some animal studies that seem to indicate that turmeric promotes weight loss. Turmeric is a special plant that people use in the form of tea or supplement to lose weight. Of course, it is not miraculous on its own, but must accompany an adequate diet. Turmeric can help activate the metabolism and help food be digested better. It is a supplement to help reduce body fat when on a weight loss diet. Other studies seem to have found that turmeric would also be beneficial in mitigating symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis, improving mood and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, this spice contains antioxidants. In any case, it is not advisable to ingest turmeric in excess, as it could cause problems.
• Piperinox : This is another of the most used supplements for weight loss. The base of the supplement is piperine, a substance found naturally in black pepper. Piperinox is served in vegetable capsules (you have to take one a day) that are made of totally natural compounds. The supplement includes extracts of black pepper, cinnamon bark, medicinal ginger rhizome, chromium, guarana seed, chili pepper, and bitter orange. This combination of ingredients promotes the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and the correct absorption of nutrients. Therefore, it is good in a diet to reduce body weight.
Control the salt
In the last few days before weighing, you should eliminate as much salt as possible from your diet . Salt causes your body to retain water, which is the last thing we want to lose weight quickly. However, you still need a small amount of salt to survive , so don't eliminate all the salt! (this is necessary for body functions). Get rid of foods high in salt and don't add salt to everything you eat. Meat and vegetables that are not seasoned with salt contain very little sodium. While this makes the food very bland, it also makes it very effective for weight loss. Experiment with seasoning your food with other spices or herbs to make it more delicious.
Your body only needs 186 mg (0.18 g) of salt to function properly, but ingesting this small amount of sodium is very difficult. Simply focus on reducing sodium in your diet, as it is almost impossible to eliminate it completely.
Reducing water to cut weight
The next step is to learn how to cut weight with water , one of the most controversial stages of weight reduction for a sports competition. This stage has two phases: first, a lot of water is consumed daily and then the water is progressively reduced. You have to take special care. This stage begins about 5 or 6 days before weighing . The athlete starts the week by drinking 8 liters of water every day . To lose weight for a fight or performance, we will trick the body into eliminating more water than it ingests. Start by drinking 8 liters (2.1 US gallons) 5 days before weigh-in to begin downregulating aldosterone production, which will cause the body to eliminate water.
The hormone aldosterone promotes water absorption in the body. When you drink more water than you need, your body stops producing as much aldosterone and increases the amount of water it eliminates each day. Prepare to urinate more than 10 times a day while lowering your aldosterone levels. Most of the water in your body will be excreted as urine.
Five or six days before weighing, we consume 8 liters of water per day. The next step is to reduce this water consumption. We will do this during the 4 days prior to weighing . The athlete begins by drinking only 4 liters (1.1 gallons) per day for 2 days. Then, water consumption is reduced by half each day (until you reach just the right amount to keep your mouth moist on weigh-in day).
How to lose weight in a week using water ? Let's look at an example.
Let's say your weigh-in day is Friday. You should drink as follows:
• Sunday : 8 liters (2.1 US gallons).
• Monday and Tuesday : 4 liters (1.1 US gallons).
• Wednesday : 2 liters (0.53 US gallons).
• Thursday : 1 liter (0.26 US gallons).
• Friday (weigh-in day) : only small sips of water.
Is there any supplement that helps cut weight in hyperhydration ? Yes, you can take a diuretic supplement or green tea. The most advisable and natural thing is green tea.
Why do you need to receive support from a professional to lose weight with water?
Because expelling water from the body and not replacing it carries health risks. A state of severe dehydration occurs, which can damage the kidneys, increasing the chances of suffering a concussion or suffering from heat stroke. Athletes should always consult a doctor before undergoing weight cutting .
Strategies to provoke sweating
This is the final step of the preparation. We are supposed to have already carried out the water reduction strategy for several days. Now, we are going to enhance this loss of body water through some tactics that make us sweat more . We will carry out these last strategies on the day of the weigh-in and two days before it . The following methods are mainly used:
• Sauna suit . You wear a special suit while doing a low-impact cardiovascular activity such as going for a run. You can also wear a sauna suit while using a treadmill or stationary bike. Special clothing will make you sweat more and lose water. Be careful; Exercise should not be too intense, as you will be weak at this time due to dehydration.
• Hot baths or sauna . This is done in the two days before weighing. You should get into a very hot bathtub for 30 minutes a day. The temperature of the water should cause you "slight pain", but not to the point of burning! You may need to heat water with a stove or pot to add to heat the bath.
|Bodybuilder Ramón Dino in a hot water bath before a competition.|
If you are afraid of hot baths, you can use a portable sauna . This is one of the few products that we do recommend for cutting weight. Plus, it will allow you to do it at home comfortably. Investing in a sauna cabin can be too expensive, especially if we only want it to cut weight in competitions. Therefore, an economical alternative is the portable and individual sauna . You will put it to good use if you have several competitions a year (for example, if you need to lose weight through sweating for bodybuilding, boxing, MMA... ). Use the sauna for 30 minutes in the two days before weigh-in; Also use it on the day of weighing to eliminate the last kilos and reach the desired weight.
How to lose weight in one day? These are the two strategies you can use.
Important : Whenever you exercise in a sauna suit or use a sauna or hot bath , you must be accompanied and supervised by another trusted person. Don't do this alone because you could faint and no one would be there to help you. Also, consult a doctor before carrying out any protocol for weight loss through dehydration .
How to regain body weight for a boxing fight or bodybuilding show
You have already learned how to cut weight in MMA, boxing, bodybuilding, powerlifting or weightlifting . But remember that this whole process is just to pass a weigh-in. After the official body has taken our body weight, we will have to reverse the process and get our body back to normal. Now, we have to hydrate and eat to regain body weight and be as competitive as possible. For example, in bodybuilding, regaining weight will make us go out on stage with a greater muscle pump and a better set-up. In boxing or MMA, we will have more power. In powerlifting, we will have more strength to lift the weights.
Recover water from the body
Hydrate immediately after weighing. Start drinking 1 liter of water (0.26 gallons) every hour. If you are going to fight, continue drinking until the fight is 3 hours away. This is because you may not be able to easily access the bathroom a few hours before the event, so it is best to stop drinking water a few hours before.
One liter of water is the maximum that the human body can absorb in one hour. Drinking more than that is counterproductive. You will recover lost body water to have a competitive advantage in the fight.
Now, you will have to eat as much as you can, but don't get to the point of feeling bad for the fight or staging. Eat a meal with plenty of meat, vegetables, or rice soon after weighing in. Eat small meals the rest of the day before the sporting event.
If you go to a bodybuilding competition, do not eat too large meals, as this will expand your abdomen and harm your appearance.
- Avoid junk food if you are going to box. It will help you regain weight, but it won't give you the energy you need to fight. The exception is bodybuilding, where foods rich in sugars are sometimes used to make the famous "glycogen load".
- Try to eat a meal with plenty of beef and vegetables with rice a few hours after weighing. In the days before a fight, eat plenty of pasta and chicken in the morning. Eat as much as you can at each meal without feeling bloated or nauseous for the fight.
• Eat carbohydrates at every meal . Do you remember that you had to avoid carbohydrates to try to lose weight quickly? Now, you must do the opposite to gain weight. The first meal you have after weighing should be high in carbohydrates. Continue eating smaller amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods for the rest of the day.
- Carbohydrates will help your body absorb water and increase overall weight.
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice and pasta are good carbohydrate options. Add 1 or 2 servings of these foods with each meal the day before your sporting event.
Recover the salt
From now on, add salt to everything you eat. The more salt you consume, the more water your body will try to absorb. You can bring a salt shaker to sprinkle a good amount of salt on each meal you eat before the event.
Don't eat salt directly to increase your sodium intake! Add salt to foods. Also do not use excess salt on food. Use salt simply to give a light touch of flavor to the food.
The maximum recommended sodium intake is approximately 2,300 mg (2.3 g) daily. Exceeding the recommended dose can harm your health in the long term, but nothing should happen if you do it occasionally. Always talk to your doctor or nutritionist before suddenly and drastically increasing your sodium intake.
Are you interested? :
How do boxers and other athletes lose weight ? The amount of weight a boxer loses varies greatly from one fighter to another. For this reason, all guidelines are made based on a percentage of body weight.
The weight cut in the UFC is more extreme for MMA , where fighters usually reduce much more weight. In MMA, weighing a few extra kilos matters more than in boxing. In boxing there are more categories with a difference between them of 2.7 kg to 3.2 kg (6 to 7 pounds). Therefore, boxers have an easier time fitting into a category closer to their natural weight. On the other hand, fans find it overwhelming that there are so many categories and the large number of organizations that regulate them.
It is not uncommon for fighters to lose up to 15% of their body weight to cut weight in MMA . Then, they gain most of the weight back the next day. Suppose a wrestler makes the correct weight for the 77 kg (170 lb) class. He may enter the fight weighing around 88 kg (195 lb) when he regains the lost weight.
In boxing, the rules on dehydration to lose weight are much stricter. Certain regulatory bodies, such as the IBF, prohibit boxers from adding more weight than a previously agreed amount. This prevents extreme dehydration methods, which are harmful to the athlete's health in the long term. Weight loss for boxers is typically 5% or 8%, which should not have a significant long-term impact on the body.
• Weight cuts are carried out in bodybuilding, strength sports, boxing and MMA , among others.
• The weight cut begins one week before the weigh-in day. At first, you only do a normal weight reduction diet by lowering carbohydrates.
• You should drink 8 liters of water a day at the beginning of the week.
• When there are 4 days left until the weigh-in, we will drink 4 liters of water a day.
When there are two days left until the weigh-in , the following strategies are put into practice:
• Carbohydrates are reduced to 50 grams per day.
• Salt in foods is considerably reduced.
• When there are two days left until the weigh-in, we will drink 2 liters of water a day.
• We will continue the weight cut in a very hot tub or sauna , or we will exercise in a sauna suit. 30 minutes a day of any of these methods will be enough.
• When there is one day left until the weigh-in, we will drink only 1 liter of water per day.
On weighing day:
• We will drink just a little bit of water to keep our mouth moist.
• We will use a sauna suit or a sauna bath.
Supplements that can help us lose weight :
• Supplements such as l-carnitine or turmeric .
• Diuretic green tea .
• The sauna suit .
• The portable sauna .
We finish with this recommended video of Chema ( "Madelman" ), Spanish classic bodybuilding champion.
|Problems that an athlete faces when he cannot make weight.|
Have you already learned how to cut weight for a fight quickly ? Here we have explained how to make a weight cut in boxing , although the strategy is also valid for MMA, strength competitions or bodybuilding exhibitions. Simply apply the changes and nuances that each discipline requires. Remember that it is just as important to know how to recover your body weight after weighing to perform at your best. Better not lose more than 10% of your body weight. All of the strategies mentioned carry their risks and should be supervised by a doctor. You must be accompanied when trying dehydration methods.