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Cut Weight Fast: What is Weight Cutting? (Combat Sports Athletes)

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Cutting weight is the act of lowering one’s mass in order to compete in a certain weight class at a tournament, dual, or match. Many fighters argue the viability and fairness of extreme weight cutting. No matter what your opinion is on the subject, sweat suits, severe dehydration, and reduced calorie intake have become trademarks of wrestlers and martial artists alike.

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Why Cutting Weight is Important, and Why You Can Do It!

There is a reason so many mma fighters cut weight in order to make lower-weight divisions. The human body composition is made up of many different substances including fat, muscle tissue, water, and much more. Like everything else in the world, there is a balance between these necessities. The main goals of weight cutting are to lose fat and maximize lean muscle tissue compared to overall weight in order to be the strongest you can be on fight night.

Every year, experienced wrestlers, grapplers, and mixed martial artists develop easier and safer ways to lose weight quickly. With the addition of strategies such as water loading, losing an extra pound or two has never been easier. It is important to be strong in the weight class you are in. In many cases, it is worth the temporary hunger and thirst.

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The Smart Way To Cut Weight Fast

Many people use different strategies when attempting a weight cut. Some resort to a sauna suit and extreme dehydration to get the job done. But, science and experience have proven that other methods such as water loading and low sodium diets are much healthier and safer options when it comes to shedding that weight off. Water loading is the act of drinking a large amount of water 3-4 days before the date of the weigh-in, then restricting your water intake around 16 hours before you step on the scale.

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The Weight Cut Schedule

There is no specific schedule for cutting weight before a fight but there are guidelines that may help you out.

  1. Focus on eating healthy 1-2 months before a competition:

    Proper nutrition is necessary when training for a tournament. One of the greatest things you can do in preparation for a competition is to eat healthily and hydrate often.

  2. Begin weight cutting 1-3 weeks before a competition:

    This step differs from person to person. Depending on your metabolism and how much weight you have to lose you may need to start cutting even earlier than 3 weeks. Ideally, you should spread out your cut so that you are getting enough calories daily to fuel your training while still being in a deficit.

  3. Cut out sodium and begin water loading 3-4 days before a competition:

    Sodium levels should be as close to zero as possible a couple of days before weigh-ins. There are a few reasons for this. The main one is that sodium holds water, keeping your body weight higher than it could be. Water loading gets your body used to expelling large amounts of H20 so that when weigh-in day does come and you stop drinking water, you continues to expel it from your body causing your weight to drop. Cutting sodium out of your diet makes it easier to cut water weight.

  4. Stop drinking water roughly 16 hours before the weigh in:

    While it may be difficult to restrict your water almost a day before you step on the scale, it takes around 16 hours for the average human’s urinary cycle to expel all of the excess water in the body.

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What It Feels Like To Cut Weight

Whether you’re losing 5 pounds or 20, it is important to note that the weight-cutting process is going to be a tough task physically and mentally. Depriving your body of its natural caloric intake can take a big toll on your mind and motivation. Lack of glucose in the blood will cause blood sugar to drop making it more difficult for the body to produce energy.

Typically when athletes such as Muay Thai fighters, grapplers, or wrestlers begin cutting weight, they increase the vigor of their practices. This allows for the burning of more calories along with the loss of water weight. Going to practice is one of the easiest ways to cut weight, but not allowing your body to fully recover can be detrimental to your performance on the mats.

What Cutting Weight Does To Performance

It is important to understand the consequences of cutting weight. Macronutrients along with proper hydration are necessary to excel in combat sports. Without proper carbohydrate intake, your body resorts to breaking down proteins and fats for energy. These macronutrients are far more complex than carbs. This means that they will take longer to break down leading to less quick energy that is necessary when participating in combat sports.

Why Cutting Is Effective for Short-Term Weight Loss

There is a difference between cutting and losing weight. Much of the cutting progress consists of expelling water from your body. This is because water is very heavy but easy to get rid of through processes like sweating and of course, using the bathroom. While it is ideal to manipulate the amount of water in your body for a short-term weight cut, it is not a good idea to stay dehydrated for long.

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Why Do MMA Fighters Use Vaseline To Cut Weight?

At times, mixed martial artists will use Vaseline to get rid of excess water weight. Due to the Vaseline’s high melting temperature, MMA fighters can trap their body heat beneath the petroleum jelly giving a similar benefit to a sauna suit.

How Much Weight Do MMA Fighters Cut?

As stated previously, many fighters have mixed opinions on weight-cutting. For instance, many fighters who practice mixed martial arts such as Demetrius Johnson and Colby Covington step into the octagon at their natural weight. On the contrary, Alex Pereira and Paddy Pimblett take cutting weight to the extreme losing up to 50 pounds in 7 weeks! Although not all professional fighters go on a cut before their fight, the majority do their best to lose about 15-20 pounds before weigh-ins.

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The Dangers of Cutting Weight

Having more muscle mass and a size advantage against your opponent can be very beneficial in a competition. That being said, taking extreme measures while weight cutting is less than ideal. Limiting food intake while being far below your healthy weight can make cutting weight dangerous. Water manipulation, when done incorrectly, can result in many problems. Drink too much in a short amount of time and you might poison yourself. Drink too little and you may suffer symptoms of dehydration

Cutting calories typically means your body is not getting enough energy to perform well during practice. It is important to understand the consequences of extreme weight cutting in order to limit injuries before a competition.

Cutting down to lower weight classes for a competition can be extremely beneficial for a fighter. While there are some downsides to this difficult task, when done right, weight-cutting is a viable tool that can benefit your performance in a fight.

Best Sauna Suits to Cut Weight

Hayabusa Pro Hooded Sauna Suit

Go to sauna suit for combat sports athletes and people trying to lose weight. Engineered for maximum heat retention, this boxing sauna suit features a hooded design to amplify perspiration and increase calorie burning.

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Ultimate Sauna Suit | Shredskinz

Ultimate Sauna Suit: The Eco-conscious, single-use sauna suit for maximizing your workout and beyond.

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FIGHTHAUS Contender Sauna Suit Bundles | Best Sauna Suits for Weight Loss

Take your training, recovery and performance to the next level with the Contender Sauna Suit in Blackout. Engineered with innovative technologies and fabrics, the Contender Sauna Suit's lightweight design, durable anti-rip exterior and heat-retaining components will help you pump out a sweat, boost blood circulation to your muscles and joints for enhanced recovery and boost caloric burn to accelerate weight loss. 

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