With World Championships just a few weeks away many around the gym have already started asking about my weight. As of writing this I weigh 126.5 with almost exactly a month till I compete in Russia at 116.6 (53kg). The questions vary, but usually come back to the same points, “How the hell do you lose 10lbs in a month and why are you not freaking out?” or my favorite “I’m gonna lose 10lbs with you, just tell me what I need to do.”
First and most important, most of this weight will be cut not lost. This is a huge difference and worth explaining. Weight cutting is not long term and if done incorrectly can kill you! (I have almost died making bad weight cut choices…a few times. You can lose 14lbs in 3 days only eating gummy bears and drinking coffee but you end up on bed rest for a week with broken kidneys).
When fighters and other weight class driven athletes talk about weight cutting, we are referring to the short term weight that we plan to drop in the week or so before the competition. We put most of this weight back on again in the 24 hours between the weigh in and the fight itself. This weight comes from water and is torture to lose.
Weight loss, on the other hand, refers to weight that’s dropped more gradually over the months prior to the competition. This weight comes mainly from body fat.
Here is a breakdown of my next month:
Weeks 1&2: HFLC=70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carb
A low carb diet encourages your body to burn fat for daily energy instead of carbs. Meaning, when the body runs out of the daily calories it will go straight to stored fats for energy. This part of the process can be maintained long term with a few tweaks and works for losing weight in the long term. All carbs I eat will come right before workouts to fuel a training high. Calories are pretty high and life is good.
Week 3: HFLC & insane amounts of water! 70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carb
Carbs store more water than fats and proteins do in the body. Now that I’m running around carb deficient I need to be super hydrated to keep from having my training suffer. Every day I will drink at least a gallon with a potassium and sodium supplement. No extra carbs before workouts so life starts to suck.
Week 4: 2, 2, 1, 1/2, weigh in
The last 5 days are all weight cutting. I will not lose any “real” weight this week and this is also when weight cutting makes grown men cry like babies. The macro break down stays the same but with no salt and all carbs coming from green veggies. The calorie count also drops by almost ½. The first 2 days are all about getting the body into flush mode by drinking 2 gallons each day. Day 3 bring the first sauna session and cuts the water down to 1 gallon. Day 4 is hell on earth with only 64 ounces of water all day and 3 cutting sessions either in the sauna, hot bath or if worse comes to worse, running. On weigh in day no food or water until I make weight. Lastly, recovery is the most important part of a weight cut. The goal is to weigh the same as I did a week before which usually means gaining 5-8lbs in 24 hours.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea about how I and other weight class athletes manipulate our weight. Weight cutting isn’t for long term weight loss. If you are interested in losing weight long term let me know and we can find a healthy (not gummy bears and coffee) long term solution that works for you.