This is an excerpt from The Fighter’s Diet

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Since my first amateur MMA fight is less than a month away, and I already know that my first ever weight cut is coming up I figure I should go ahead and talk about how exactly I plan to do it.

Weight cutting is just part of the sport…almost every fighter is trying to gain an advantage by being the bigger man in the cage. Some do it correctly, others don’t. The ones that don’t pay the price—whether it be a lackluster performance or worse, a loss.

My thing is I think I know how to do it from my research so far, but I’ve never actually done it. I’m about to be the proverbial guinea pig for you guys.

I’m going to lay out my plans in this post, and then I’ll follow it up with results after my fight.

First Things First

If you’ve been reading my MMA Diet Series then you know that before your final cut you should be within 10-12 lbs of your goal weight.

This means a disciplined regimen of exercise (which you’ve probably gotten from your fight training) and diet.

The synergy of those two will reduce your percentage of body fat down to the sinewy physique a fighter should have.

Then from there we start our cut.

The 4 Ways to Cut Weight

There is more than one way to do this, and more than likely you’re going to have to combine a few of them together to get your desired result.

The farther you are away from your goal weight the more drastic the measures you’ll have to take. Keep in mind that your cut doesn’t start a week out, it starts 8 to 12 weeks out with The MMA Diet.

Here we go…

1. Fluid Restriction

I got the following from Martin Rooney’s book Training for Warriors.

5 days out begin drinking 2 gallons of water daily—make sure you carry around a gallon jug so you know, continue to 48 hour mark. During this time increase the amount of sodium you consume or in my case I’ll just eat normally because mines already high. This will trigger your body to excrete more urine.

Then at the two days mark you reduce fluid consumption to one gallon and cut sodium completely from your diet.

24 hrs out you don’t drink any fluids, which I imagine will really suck, but I guess you just suffer through it. Perhaps a good solution is suck on a small piece of ice to combat the dry mouth…obviously you can’t go overboard with that, otherwise you’re defeating the purpose.

Martin says that you should expect to lose around 5 lbs in 24 hrs using this method.

2. Sweating

This is probably the method that most everyone is familiar with. It can take off 5-10 lbs of weight in a short period of time, but it can also cause a bit of fatigue.

You increase the body’s temp by putting on sweats or the plastic suits you see fighters wearing and then do some light exercise.

Or you can try the sauna at 15 minute intervals checking your weight at the conclusion of each interval so you don’t lose too much weight. If you don’t have access to a sauna, a hot shower is a viable substitute using the same principles.

3. Bowel Emptying

I suppose that’s the most polite way to say that. Your bowels contain around 5 lbs of waste at any given time. Flushing this out of your system the night before weigh ins is an easy way to cut a little bit of weight quickly without much effort.

I looked up a gentle all natural laxative to use called Senokot. I’ll let you know how it goes.

4. Diurectics

There are drug diurectics that are really effective but unsafe, and I’m sure you’ve heard of fighters getting popped by the athletic commissions for using them.

The concern is they will dehydrate you even more, cause you to lose valuable minerals, and possibly hinder performance.

So the solution is to use a natural diurectic. Another thing I got from Rooney’s book is the use of dandelion root. Which is available at your local supplement shop, or drug store. I doubt this mild diurectic will cause you to piss out more than a couple pounds, but all we’re looking for is just a little bit of help.

Once again I’ll let you know how it goes.

Eating During Your Cut

You should maintain The MMA Diet up until about 48 hours before weigh-ins. Two days before you want to continue eating, but no sodium and keeping the portions smaller with very few carbohydrates.

Depending on how far you are away from your goal weight you may want to consider dropping the sugar and complex carbs all together for the two weeks prior to your fight. That’ll lean you out in a hurry.

24 hours before your weigh in you’re not going to be consuming liquids, but you should be eating a small, well balanced protein bar every 3 or 4 hours to maintain proper blood sugar levels.

What to Do After You Make Weight

Here’s the problem for me. I’m fairly certain amateur MMA has same day weigh-ins. That’s something I have to confirm, but I won’t be surprised if that’s the case.

Typically you’ll have a day to rehydrate, and stabilize blood sugar levels—plenty of time to regain lost energy.

So if I do in fact have same day weigh-ins, then that makes post weigh-in protocol even more important.

Rehydration and food consumption starts immediately after you step off the scale. I’ve read that a lot of guys will go with pedialyte right after…not sure yet if I’m going to go that route.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll go with that or a 20 ounce gatorade with a small portioned meal of protein/carbs.

And then continue drinking and eating at 45 min intervals up until about 2 hours before fight time. Like I said before, the idea is to normalize blood sugar levels, and rehydrate fully which could take up to 3 gallons of water. We eating smaller portions at short intervals because our body can only absorb so much at one time…so stuffing your face and drinking til your bloated only satisfies your cravings—it’s not going to help performance.

We’ll revisit this with an update post fight to let you know what exactly I did and how it felt and perhaps what I might change.

I’m contemplating a test run before the fight, but we’ll see. I imagine it might take a couple of fights doing this to really get the hang of it.