A Guide to Cutting Weight for Female Fighters
I firmly believe that all fighters should walk within five to ten pounds of their fight weight and that women should opt for the former. Women have a much more difficult time cutting weight for men which is why so many females fighters are notorious (ahem - Chris Cyborg) for not making weight. Blame it on your hormones, carbohydrates or Xenu all you want, the reality is that women should not be cutting a large amount of weight for a fight.
The key to cutting that last five pounds is to manipulate water. We all know the cliche approaches, ranging from running in sauna suits to sitting in an actual sauna for hours at a time. When I was in high school, I was a lightweight rower on the crew team and had to make weight the morning of each race. Being a fifteen-year-old and not knowing my head from my ass, I would very silly things to make weight, including taking laxitives and starving myself for several days. Once I did make weight, I would eat a bagel, roll up in a ball and rub my belly for the hour prior to my race. At the end of the season, I was anemic and unhappy, and quickly the team.
As a fighter, I rarely had to make weight because most of the grappling and kickboxing tournaments simply had a 135lb and under category, which I am well under. I only tried to cut once and like a dumbass, I attempted to cut ten pounds using every trick in the book. I still came in three pounds over and felt terrible when I tried to roll the next day. As a coach, I often have to prep my fighters to drop for their events, although my husband and I never allow our guys (and girls) to drop more than five pounds. I want my guys fresh, hydrated and responsive in the ring; no hollow-eyed zombies from our gym.
I am a little nervous about writing this post, but considering some of the dumb-ass guides currently available on the interwebs, I hope I can at least throw out my stupid advice. The reality is that people are going to cut weight...that is given. This guide is simply one methodology that doesn't employ other seriously dangerous methods, like sitting in a sauna wearing a sauna suite (seen that), taking laxatives or diuretics or, my favorite, spitting into a cup for ten hours. Also, please remember that you should be within five pounds of your fight weight before delving into water manipulation.
How to Manipulate Water Intake for Weigh-ins:
Caveats, otherwise known as seriously obvious considerations I am going to note
- Don't train in a depleted water state by yourself...always have a buddy
- Don't do this for an extended period of time
- This is a guide for rapid weight loss appropriate for making weight. This methodology is not going to make you look hot for your high-school reunion, so do not go there.
- Duh...I am not a doctor (at least, not a medical doctor) and I am not handing out medical advice. This is simply my experience...as in, if I were to 'cut weight,' this is how I would do it.
3-4 Days Prior to Weigh-in:
- If you are still training, drink 3 gallons of water per day and consume around 50g of carbs (to deplete muscle glycogen).
- If you are not training, drink 2 gallons of water per day and consume around 50g of carbs (to deplete muscle glycogen).
24 Hours Prior to Weight-in:
- Cut out water, sodium and food completely.
- If you wake-up the morning of weigh-ins (for an evening weigh-in) and are within a couple of pounds, throw on a sweat suit (I think sauna suits can be dangerous), grab a buddy and go for a walk.
- Immediately try to take in water, but be careful you don't chug a gallon within five minutes. Take it easy, sip on water over the next hour or so until you are ready to start really pounding down the liquids.
- Replete your glycogen storage by eating carbohydrates like bananas, sweet potatoes, rice or oatmeal.
- Make sure you get protein in as well but be stick to leaner sources like chicken breast.
Remember, this is just my methodology based on anecdotal evidence. For those of you ladies who have cut weight...what has been your experience? (Guys...shut your face. None of us bitches want to hear about you taking a shit and losing seven pounds).