Sunday, September 18, 2011

How To Cut Weight

This post is for weight class athletes who waited until close to the event to make weight.

Cutting weight is my least favorite method of weight loss, but it happens all the time.  Slow and steady weight loss is much healthier and allows the athlete to be as comfortable and energetic as possible at competition weight.  Weight-cuts will continue to occur, and if it must be done, here are some pointers:

1. Cut out all starch from noon until the next morning.  Have a little for breakfast and lunch (or possibly around your workout) but generally not from noon on. The portion quantity is adjustable depending on how much weight you need to cut.

At two weeks out it looks like this:
Breakfast - 1 very small (.5 - 1 cup) bowl oatmeal, 1 egg, 2 eg whites, .5 cup blueberries
Lunch - half-to-1 small sweet potato,  4 oz chicken, 1 cup broccoli
or one Pre or Post Workout - Perfect Foods Raw Protein Bar or similar
Snack - salad / small bowl of fruit & small serving of nuts (6-12)
Dinner - 4 oz lean organic meat with sauteed non-starch vegetables, seasoning

If you are one week away it looks like this:
Breakfast - Protein shake (1 scoop whey protein, 1 tbsp almond butter, 8 oz coconut milk, 1 banana)
Early Snack - Perfect Foods Raw Protein Bar or repeat protein shake from breakfast
Late Lunch - Chicken salad, unlimited fresh and steamed vegetables, small bowl of fruit
Dinner - Vegetable soup (broccoli, tomato etc) green salad, 4 oz organic lean protein, 1 tbsp olive oil based dressing is ok.

2.  Stay hydrated as you cut - dehydration should be a last-ditch (hopefully unnecessary) circumstance.  Drink coconut water with 1-2 tbsp chia seeds blended in to maintain electrolyte levels and extra energy.  This insight came from Born To Run with reference to the Tarahumara.

3.  Supplement with 1-2 servings of Amazing Grass Green SuperFood per day. This can be between meals, before workouts etc.

4.  Take Glutamine post workout and before bed.  This speeds muscle recovery and assists your immune system.

5. Bananas, Shot Blocks etc - keep these close for workout support - they will help you maintain your energy level if you are still training significantly (pre-taper).

6. Saunas, sweat suits, diuretics, laxatives - these are last ditch solutions,  ie, sit in a sauna, go for an easy jog in a sweat suit, take a very very low dose of a diuretic or laxative (check with your doctor first).  Be very careful with these,  safety first.  No competition is worth risking your long-term health.

7. Once you have reached competition weight, with any luck, you still have a day or two before weighing in.  Use this time to stabilize.  Monitor your weight through the day.  Reintroduce very small amounts of complex carbohydrate early in the day.  Keep your body relaxed, mobile and hydrated.  Rest.

This strategy is simply a general overview.  It can be modified, enhanced and specifically dialed in depending on individual needs.  Vegetarian versions are available. 

Please note - I am a trainer and a competitive athlete.  I can serve as a nutrition consultant only.  I am not a registered dietitian.  You assume full responsibility for yourself and your choices.  Please consult your physician prior to cutting weight.

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