by Coach Ben Zhuang
Weight cutting is dangerous and and can even lead to death. Cutting drastic amounts of weight can result in permanent damage or even death. Children under the age of 18 should not cut weight. Always use safe weight management practices and do so under the supervision of a professional after consulting your physician.
Please keep in mind that I wrote this book primarily for combat sports athletes. Often times I’m asked by physique competitors and people who want to look better about weight cutting. The weight cutting protocols for physique competitions where the goal is to look good has vast differences. The goal of this book is not to look better, it is to make the contracted weight by using safe weight management practices.
This book covers weight cutting for competition. Weight cutting is about doing what we can to lose weight in the short term (also known as acute weight loss). This is different from losing weight in the long term (chronic weight loss) where we focus on losing fat, muscle or both. The process of losing fat and/or muscle is a much slower process when compared to losing fluids, removing gut contents, and glycogen depletion. We will be focusing on the latter.
Weight cutting has become a necessary factor in the world of combat sports. Athletes are always looking for a competitive advantage and cutting weight is one of the ways to achieve one when done correctly.
The competitive advantage of cutting weight becomes more of a factor in combat sports whenever you can make someone carry your weight. This advantage is greater in a sport s such as wrestling where weight has a large impact and the goal is to impose your body weight on your opponent. This advantage is lessened in a sport such as boxing where weight has a smaller impact and there is more space to move. You will see often that wrestlers cut a larger amount of weight when compared to boxers. Mixed martial arts is a sport where the heavier fighter is usually favored due to the clinch, fence work, grappling, and power, etc. but unlike pure wrestling, there can be benefits to being the lighter fighter as well such as speed and conditioning.
Remember that cutting weight is not a fun experience and you need to mentally prepare yourself for discomfort. As a coach, I feel that acknowledging this fact and being transparent about it has always conferred better results for everyone involved.