by Ben Zhuang
Common Mistakes Made When Cutting Weight
Note: this isn’t a complete list, but these are just some of the things that I noticed throughout the years with fighters who are cutting weight or other combat sports athletes are cutting weights for competition.
Lack of Education and Preparation
This is by far the most common mistake is just fighters and athletes, not having the education to understand how to time things, how you know when to do what.
When it comes to preparation, a lot of fighters, come to me like a week, two weeks before the fight or the weigh in and say, well, I need to lose 25 pounds.
That’s just a lack of both education and preparation.
They lack the knowledge to understand that it’s not going to be a healthy way cut. We don’t really have optimal time to prepare, along those lines a lot of fighters don’t understand it’s beneficial to get as lean as possible before the actual weight cut. They’ll wait until the very end until they start following a regimented diet.
A lot of fighters don’t know that becoming heat a climatized is going to be beneficial.
There’s a lot of things that heat acclimation can help with.
They go to the sauna, but it’s only at the very end, I have my fighters use the sauna or the hot tub become, he acclimated to two to three weeks, sometimes even three to four weeks before the weight cut, just so they get their body used to sweating.
Difference between men and women.
I’ve had many coaches do weight cuts and not understand the difference.
There’s a big difference between men and women when it comes to kind of weight, especially with the menstrual cycle won’t get too deep into that, but it has to be timed properly. Another thing is that women generally sweat less than men. And this may have something to do with just differences and also with muscle content, so men generally carry more muscle than women. Of course, there are women who are very heavily muscle as well. There are also women who may sweat more than some men, but generally men will sweat more than women. So you have to take that into account when you’re cutting weight for a female combat sports athlete versus male.
The Difference Between Acute & Chronic Weight Loss
Acute weight loss is short term and then chronic is long-term. Weight loss is generally what people want to do when they’re trying to lose body fat. They’re trying to look better. They’re trying to get slimmer, they’re losing. In chronic weight loss, we’re generally talking about body fat and muscle. This is very different from acute weight loss, which is what we focus on when it comes to cutting weight for combat sports.
Acute weight loss is more about a body water content, gut contents the water load.
During the week of the weight cut, I have a lot of my fighters eat things that generally would be considered not clean foods like milk chocolate, like, candy things like that. Those are things that are high calorie but have low weight for chronic weight loss. I would not have my athletes do that. If they wanted to lose body fat then you want to eat more quote unquote clean foods like, chicken and broccoli more foods that are higher in micronutrients. So what the acute weight loss, we’re not really concerned about health.
Cutting weight it’s not a healthy thing, but just overthinking the health portion of a weight cut generally is a mistake.
We want to lose weight in the safest way possible.
Doing the Wrong Thing at the Wrong Time
Examples, fasting too early into the camp. As the fighters, 20 pounds overweight maybe because of lack of preparation education so that they start fasting two weeks before the weigh in date, that’s not necessary you’re going to be just messing up a lot of things that’s going to affect your performance. We’re not going to be able to train optimally. There’s so many things that these timing mistakes can do that will wreck your performance and you may make the weight, but you’re not going to show up to the fight or to the competition with optimal performance. Another one, fat adaptation. Being on a low carb diet, way too soon. It only takes a couple of days for your body to switch to become fat adapted. So when you become fat adapted, you’re not going to perform at again optimal levels. You’re not going to be able to shift into the higher gears.
I’ve seen many fighters go on like keto diet, four weeks out there on a keto diet.
Yes, it helps you lose weight.
But are you able to train at the intensity you’d like?
Do you have the energy level that you need to perform to improve?
And more importantly, are you going into the fight fat adapted?
Because if you are, again, not going to be able to shift into the higher gears and perform at a high level.
Combat sports primarily rely on the anaerobic energy system for explosion power scrambles fight ending combinations. There’s many things that you need your anaerobic energy system for and without carbohydrates, you just can’t go into those higher gears.
Learn More About Cutting Weight for Combat Sports