Weight Loss, Diets and Nutrition


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Caution with Weight Cutting for a Fight

The major problem comes when the scale time and match time are only separated by single digit hours.

A fighter has many training objectives to achieve before competition, but probably the most controversial are the last minute weight cutting regimens. A fighter’s objective is to enter a fight with a superior weight to power ratio then their opponent. Now that’s logical thinking, but the extreme measures that wrestlers or jiu-jitsu fighters take to cut their water weight puts their health and performance at a major risk.

A common scenario for most weight class fighters is the issue of dropping 1-15 pounds of water weight before they hit the scale, and then being able to re-hydrate and refuel by the start of the match.

Some of the old school methods used for last minute water loss include working out in a sauna wearing non-breathing material (plastic, heavy layered sweats), taking diuretic pills, and avoiding all food and water.

The issue that’s being raised is the fighter’s ability to properly re-hydrate and refuel in the time between the weigh in and the match. For most professional fights, the weigh in is usually a day or so before the match, giving the fighters ample time to regain their lost water and glycogen stores. The major problem comes when the scale time and match time are only separated by single digit hours. This greatly increases the probability of the fighter entering the match dehydrated with empty energy stores.

To minimize your risk of poor performance due to dehydration and empty glycogen stores, maintain your bodyweight within ten percent of your fighting weight year round. Eight to ten weeks out from a fight, gradually reduce your body fat which in turn improves the weight to power ratio without dehydrating the body.

The bottom line on weight cutting before a fight is that it increases your risk of a deficient performance due to dehydration and empty glycogen stores. Most fighters simply cannot re-hydrate and refuel properly in that short amount of time.

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