How To Cut Weight For A Muay Thai, MMA, Boxing Fight

This article is going to cover weight cutting for same day weigh-ins. If you have a weigh-in the day before your fight, then you can use other methods to cut weight that are not mentioned in this article.

This guide will tell you how to easily and safely manipulate your water weight without too much effort before a fight and in a way that won’t kill your fight performance. Since the human body is made up of 50%-70% water weight, you can easily cut a number of kilos/lbs in both water and fat weight safely before a fight. In women, however, less weight can be cut due to the fact that they have more natural bodyfat than men; this means their bodies do NOT contain as much water as a man’s to drop.

How To Cut Weight For A Muay Thai, MMA, Boxing Fight

Why Do You Want To Cut Weight?

It’s pretty simple really: so you can have a strength advantage when you fight. If you walk around at say 185lbs but make a fight weight at 165lbs, you will strength advantage at 165lbs (since you will, in fact, be an 185-er fighting at 165). Now, say you fight at your walk around weight of 185lbs. Well, if your opponent happens to walk around at 205lbs and cuts to 185lb, it’s likely he could have a huge strength advantage over you.

In reality, no sane fighter opts to fight at walk-around weight because the fighter’s opponent will be cutting anywhere from 5lbs to 50 lbs for the fight.

Do you feel like being a lightweight and fighting a cruiserweight or middleweight? Then you better learn how to cut weight.

CUT WEIGHT ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR FIGHT

Assuming you start cutting 7 days before your fight, here is my method for cutting a lot of weight while still being able to train hard the WEEK of the fight. Keep in mind HOW much you can cut depends on a number of factors:

  • gender (men can cut more than women)
  • current weight (the heavier you are, the more you can cut)
  • your current bodyfat (the lower bodyfat you walk around at, the MORE weight you can likely cut; sounds backward, but it’s true since muscle contains water while fat contains very little water. If you two guys are the same weight, one at 10 percent and one at 20 percent bodyfat, the guy with 10 percent has more muscle on his frame to suck water from)
  • your genetics (some people can cut a lot of weight easy. Others not so much.)

It’s a good idea for you to do a TEST weight cut at some point before you do the real thing for a fight. This will give you an idea how much weight you can actually lose and may allow you to tinker with the methods slightly for additional weight loss when you actually need to cut for a fight.

Day 1-6: Lower Carbohydrate Intake by Half

  • Avoid starchy foods like pasta, rice, bread, etc
  • Avoid fruits and sugar

One week prior to your weigh-in,  lower your carbs to half your normal intake.

You should not go on a zero carb diet because you won’t have sufficient time to fill up your glycogen stores by the time you fight. However, lowering carb intake will allow you to shed water weight fast. Why? Because for every gram of carbohydrate you intake, your body will hold three grams of water weight to go with it. As an added “bonus” to dropping your carb intake, you may also lose some body fat by reducing your carb intake as IF you end up on a caloric deficit (this often happens when you lower carbs dramatically, as our modern meals are often built around carbs).

Another reason we don’t drop carbs out completely during this weight cut week: keeping some carbohydrates in your diet will allow you to continue training hard. Besides allowing you more time to work on your technique and cardio, being able to train hard will help maintain your confidence level, ensuring that you aren’t gassing out in training the week before your fight… There is nothing more disheartening than training that last week and finding you feel like you have WORSE cardio than you did before you started training for your fight.  Fighters who go on a ZERO carb diet before a fight might lose the weight they need to lose for the fight, but they will often suffer in their training leading up to the fight.

DAY 2:  Strategically Cut Out Salt

 

After two days of cutting your carb intake to half, you should then start to reduce your salt intake as well.

If the body gets too much sodium, it will retain water. However, if you cut out salt entirely the body might freak out and retain water. There is a bit of a balance when it comes to salt intake, and you need to see how your body responds. But generally, you keep sodium low and gradually keep reducing it the closer you get to your fight.

DAY 2:  Increase Water Intake

About 5 days before the fight, start to drink lots of water.

By increasing water intake, you will flush out the salt – helping your water weight to drop naturally.

Note that some other cutting methods have fighters starving themselves of water the whole week before the fight; these methods are usually used if the weigh in the DAY before the fight. But here we are talking about weigh-in’s the day of the fight.

DAY 6-7:  STOP Water Intake 24 HOURS BEFORE FIGHT/WEIGH-IN’S

Leading up to the day before your fight you stop drinking any liquids.

Since you have been drinking a lot of water leading up to this point, your body will be tricked into thinking that more water is going to be coming into your body. This process will cause you to use the bathroom (urinate) quite a bit, even though you aren’t drinking liquids the day before your fight – helping you lose even more water weight.

DAY 6: Eat Only Fat and a few Carbs the Day Before Weigh In’s

The day before the weigh-in your calories should ONLY be coming from fats (high-fat peanut butter) and a few carbs.

The reason why you should be eating fats is because fat is full of dense calories and has little weight. This will ensure that you are filled up with enough energy before the fight while reducing the amount of waste matter in your bowels. Naturally, this ensures you STAY as light as possible while still having energy. You should eat a little bit of carbs the day before your fight to ensure your glycogen stores are not fully depleted, helping you sleep at night. If you have ZERO carb intake the day before your fight, you won’t have enough time to refill your glycogen levels and will feel gassed in the fight.

DAY 7 (Fight Day or Weight-in Day): The Day of Your Fight, Eat Some Carbs

Day of your fight, eat some carbs.

It is important to eat some carbs the day before your fight, so your glycogen stores won’t be completely depleted before the fight. After you have eaten the carbs, remember not to drink any water as it will bind with the carbs. This will dramatically increase your weight.

DAY 7 (Fight Day or Weight-in Day): Sweat The Last Weight Out

If you haven’t made weight before your weigh-in, sweat the remaining water weight out.

This weight-loss method is a last ditched effort on your part. Yes, you can severally dehydrate yourself by running for hours in a sweatsuit or by doing a marathon session in the sauna; depending on how much water weight you do have in your body, you can shed a lot in just a few hours (kilos even). But the price to pay may be your performance during the fight as you place a huge strain on your body by dehydrating it. Keep in mind you don’t have a lot of time to recover since you fight the same day.

So generally, if you can avoid the sauna and sweatsuits, avoid it.

Note: Keep checking your weight all the time. The whole time you should make sure that you are constantly checking your weight to make sure that you are getting closer and closer to your target weight.

HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE CUT

Immediatly following the weigh-ins, you have to drink a lot of liquids that contain electrolytes (sports drinks) before you start eating. The ideal intake is about 1 liter of fluid per hour. When your urine is a light color, you can start eating carbs to refuel your system. Don’t overdo it. It will ruin your performance. Try to stop eating 3 hours before the competition. Ideally, your stomach should be empty when you enter the ring. This will ensure that you are ready for a peak performance in the ring.

CONCLUSION

Always remember, that time is your friend when cutting weight. The more time you have to cut your weight the more weight you can cut. It is important to ask yourself if you can cut to your target weight without suffering from performance issues in the ring.

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