Cutting weight, is it right for you? I’m asking myself that same question as I’m currently on my 5th day of a weight cut for a BJJ tournament tomorrow. I started the week at 178 and woke up this morning at 171.2. I still have a couple pounds to drop to make sure I make 169.9 tonight at weigh-ins.
This week has been a good refresher on cutting weight an why I don’t do it or suggest it.
With the popularity of MMA on the rise, the typical fans are being more introduced to what a fighter has to go through in prep for a fight through video blogs, youtube videos, and social media. Unfortunately, it romanticizes both the physical and mental prep leading up to their fight and has up and coming fighters, BJJ, and wrestlers following in their footsteps. Hearing about fighters who walk around at 200lbs and cut to 170 for their fight and they win is essentially making it okay for you to think it is healthy to compete at a weight class weigh below where you probably should compete.
First of all, weight cutting just plain sucks. Currently, I’m sitting in 3 layers of clothes, have had 1 cliff bar (which will probably be my only meal until I weigh-in) and trying to stay busy just to cut a couple pounds. Now imagine this, eating minimal bland food and trying to sweat and drink water constantly. Now stretch that over 3 months with grueling workouts on top of it where your teammates are physically and mentally trying to break you. This was most of my wrestling teammates life for 4 years. Some of them were the most miserable SOB’s I knew during the season, to the point where I didn’t even talk to them until the season was done. What was this for? To be more competitive and because the coaches requested you do it? Sometimes I wonder if they just worked on their strength and technique more if it would level the playing field rather than going against kids potentially lighter and just as weak as themselves.
So where do you lose all this weight? Well, most of it is water weight. Most weight class dependent competitors do not have a great diet outside of competition. This leads to some easy weight to cut quick and some excess water weight to lose I use to sometimes lose 10lbs in one 3 hour practice because I would sweat that much. This isn’t healthy though. Mas dehydration can and will lead to your body shutting down. This has actually been the cause of multiple cancellations in big name fights in 2017 because fighters were going to the hospital due to organs shutting down, passing out, and seizures all due to cutting those last 5-10lbs of water weight because they have nothing else to lose weight.
So that begs the question; If weight cutting is so bad and you are against it, why are you doing it?
Well for one, I’m an idiot and like putting myself through hell every now then. More realistically its because there is a right way to go about it. For me, I was initially within 5lbs, I’ve cut weight before and know that if I tighten up my diet I can get within a couple pounds of my weight class within a week, and I’ve also played around with nutrition for the last 6 years and understand my body well.
Realistically if you are going to cut weight you should check off the following list:
- You at least 8 weeks out from competition
- You walk around naturally with 10lbs of the desired weight class
- You know what your body digests quick
- You know if you are a sweater or a burner(someone who can drop weight quick or has to work at it)
- You have someone helping monitor your weight, workouts, and nutrition to make sure you aren’t over or under doing it.
So should you weight cut, this depends really on you. Personally, I hate it and have only cut weight for a competition 4 times in the last 14 years. Find what works best for you, understand how you react to weight cuts, and if you have an iron trap mental fortitude then go for it.
Now if you excuse me, I need to keep sweating my ass off in spandex and cotton and possibly go for a run in the snow.
Hope you enjoyed my post. Leave a comment below if you agree or disagree with the post or have advice for weight cutting.