A proper diet and intelligent meal planing is an essential component to any weight cut. Cutting water weight should always be a last resort for any athlete.
Learn how to cut Around 11.5 kilograms (25 pounds) for Wrestling, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Kickboxing, and MMA competition!
In combat sports it is well known that body weight is a massive competitive advantage. During the weeks leading up to a bout athletes looking for an advantage often diet. Striving to loose as much weight in the form of fat as possible, whilst trying maintain as much muscle mass as their metabolism allows. A proper diet and intelligent meal planing is an essential component to any weight cut, cutting water weight should always be a last resort for any athlete.
What to expect
Six weeks out from competition, I usually weigh around 11.5 kilograms (25 pounds) over my ideal competition weight. I drop around 7 kilograms (15 pounds) through dieting, and drop the last 5 kilograms (11 pounds) via water loss. I would not recommend planning to drop more than five kilograms (11 pounds) though water cutting because it will greatly affect your performance.
I usually begin following a paleolithic diet about five weeks out from my fight. Following a paleolithic diet decreases inflammation in joints and digestive tract often leading to decreased discomfort and an extra pound or two of weight loss.
The Paleolithic diet might sound complicated, but is really a very simple.
My diet is a guideline – you can substitute freely – for example, adding non paleo grains instead of low GI fruit – but the important thing is to get the right ratios of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.
Each day, I always drink 24ounces of water right after waking up, and ideally eat breakfast within the first 30 minutes. Drinking water first thing in the morning wakes up your internal organs and starts your metabolism going. Just as with exercise you must first warm up your muscles before a work out so to must you warm up your digestive tract before eating. This helps your body to flush out toxins and be ready to start processing the first meal of the day.
My first meal usually consists of is 5 scrambled eggs cooked in 3 table spoons of coconut oil, 1 cup of assorted fruits, and half of a small avocado.
Three hours later, I drink a protein shake or have half a cup of trail mix
Two hours after that, I eat 6 ounces of lean meat such as steak or chicken, 1 cup of assorted fruits, 1.5 cups of vegetables drizzled with Olive Oil.
Three hours after that, I have half a cup of fruit and half a cup of trail mix .
Three hours after that, I eat another 6 ounces of lean meat cooked in 1-2 table spoons of coconut oil, 1.5 cups of raw vegetables, and 1.5 cups of vegetables drizzled in Olive Oil.
For the last meal of day, I have a protein shake.
If you feel you aren’t losing enough weight, then cut down the fruit intake. During the final week before the fight, I drop my trail mix intake as it is deceptively high in calories. As I get closer to the fight, I will adjust and often take out the fruit intake completely. If I’m having a really tough time, I might substitute a protein shake for a meal.
- High healthy fat intake is important for satisfying cravings. If you feel inclined to break your diet eat an avocado, half a hand full of almonds or or drizzle some olive oil on some veggies. Staying true to the diet is difficult but even one cheat day this close to competition can spell disaster for an aspiring athlete.
- Beef takes up to 72 hours to digest so refrain from eating any red meat as you get close to weigh in day. If you eat a 6oz steak three times in 24 hrs you will be nearly 1 pound over your true walk around weight. As you get closer to competition drift closer to chicken or fish to have a realistic picture of the amount of water weight you will need to cut.
- Coconut Oil contains a form of saturated fat known as Medium Chain Triglycerides. MCTs are an anti-inflammatory healthy oil that is converted to energy by the body. MCTs are an essential part of weight cutting and substitutes the need for inflammation causing carbohydrates. MCTs also boost the thermogenesis meaning that they are burning excess body fat whilst providing energy for your workouts.
Water cutting phase
Drink around 5 gallons of water a day starting 3-4 days before weight ins. Often times I won’t eat very much since I’m so full of water. This sharp increase of fluid intake flushes excess waste out of your system, and you will usually lose 2 kilograms (4 pounds) within the first 36 hours. The first time I did this, I was scared because when I weighed myself I was way overweight, but by 2 PM the next day I was down to my true weight.
Sauna Sweat Suit
The last night before weigh-ins will is the first time you should do any water-weight cutting. Step into the sauna wearing a sauna-suit and a full track suit. Stretch in the sauna (10 to 15 minutes) until you break a solid sweat. Leave the sauna and find an open area to lightly work out, remember to keep wearing the sauna-suit for the duration of this workout. Focus on technique and practicing your game plan after around 30 minutes you should have a good sweat going if you do, finish with a 20 minute stint in the sauna. By this time I am usually very close to the target weight and that night, I drink just enough water to sleep comfortably without being extremely uncomfortable. Be sure to not over indulge on water, and suck on a piece of ice to quell your thirst. The next morning, I will have a very light breakfast of eggs with vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil.
The final weight cut starts around two hours before weigh-ins so that you will be fully dehydrated for as little time as possible. Do the last cut in a warm (not too hot) bath containing 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of Epsom salt and three liters (100 fluid ounces) of rubbing alcohol. You want a rubbing alcohol with a high alcohol content around 90%. The Epsom salt draws out the water in the skin, as opposed to dehydrating your internal organs like a sauna would do. When your internal organs are dehydrated you might not be able to rehydrate them in time to preform and worse yet could even suffer the serious health risks associated with dehydration. By sitting in the tub, you can lose 3.5 kilograms (eight pounds) in around 45 minutes. When you get out put the sauna suit back on, wrap yourself in blankets and lie down to sweat for another 15 minutes.
Check your weight once your body starts to cool, strip off the sauna suit and dry the excess moisture from your skin. By this time you should be on weight and ready to start the rehydration cycle.