Cutting water weight tips for muay thai, MMA, wrestling and other combat sports
Why Cut Weight?
More likely than not, if you plan on going far in your respective sport, you are going to have to cut weight at some point. Yes it sucks, and yes it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but if you want to keep the odds in your favor, cutting weight is a must.
Benefits Of Weight Cutting
If you are able to cut weight safely and effectively and refuel properly after weigh ins, you will most likely hold a huge strength and power advantage on your opponent.
For instance, I walk around at about 160lbs but weigh in the day before the Muay Thai fight at 147lbs. But just because I weigh in at 145lbs doesn’t mean I fight at that weight.
After rapid rehydration and refueling my body with the liquids and foods it needs, I weigh about 157-158lbs when I step into the ring. That’s almost 15 extra pounds I can use to my advantage!
Dangers Of Weight Cutting
Unfortunately some athletes and fighters go about weight cutting the wrong way by either starving themselves or completely draining their energy just to make weight.
Cutting weight recklessly can cause some serious damage to your body, hinder your fight performance and possibly even send you to the emergency room… don’t let that happen you! Follow the weight cutting diet tips and advice below for the best results!
Tips and Advice Before Cutting Water Weight
Before you begin the whole weight cutting process there are few questions you should ask yourself;
How much weight should I cut?
If you are looking to cut any more than 20lbs do yourself a favor and fight at a heavier weight class. You should not be trying to cut more than 20lbs unless you are in the heavier weight classes where it’s a little more reasonable to cut 20lbs.
What is my weight with a good diet and training routine?
If you are like most professionals and take your training seriously then your this question should be easy to answer. If you slack off and alter your eating habits between fights and weigh a little heavier than your training weight is, find out what your most lean, in-shape body weight would be.
You want to know what your weight is when you are in the best shape possible so you can decide what weight class would be best for you to fight at!
Am I going to be disciplined enough to make the weight?
Be honest with yourself. There is nothing worse than going to weigh-ins and not making the cut… it’s embarrassing for you and your gym and chances are you will be disqualified for the fight.
If you find yourself cheating on meals and not being consistent in your weight cutting methods then do yourself a favor and fight at your normal weight.
How To Cut Weight Safely And Effectively
Now that you’ve gone through the pre-assessment of yourself it’s time to learn the best tips on how to cut weight safely and effectively.
Restrict Fluid Intake
The number one way to lose weight before a fight is by cutting water weight. The next to weight cutting techniques are two of the best for cutting water weight.
The human body is constantly losing fluid every minute from bodily functions like breathing, urinating, and sweating. You will lose weight every hour that goes by without replenishing the fluid you’ve lost. If you have good self discipline, this weight cutting technique is easy and takes no extra energy to perform.
Most fighters can lose anywhere from 4-7lbs from cutting water weight. Here’s the best way to go about cutting water weight;
Let’s say weigh ins are on Thursday and you fight Friday. This is how to cut weight by fluid restriction;
Drink 2 gallons of water on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Carry around a gallon of water to see how much water you are taking in. You will be pissing up a storm so be ready to hit the bathroom often.
Drink 1 gallon of water on Tuesday. Make sure to have no sodium in your diet because sodium is water soluble and will decrease your weight cut.
Drink 0 gallons of water on Wednesday starting around 24 hours from when you will have to weigh in. Continue a no sodium diet.
Check your weight and see how much you’ve lost by cutting water weight!
Sweat Off Pounds
Sweating is one of the most popular and effective ways to lose anywhere from 5-10lbs in a short period of time if done properly. The only disadvantage from cutting water weight by sweating is that you will might have to expend extra energy that might take away your strength for the fight.
The main goal for cutting water weight by sweating is to use as little energy as possible and make yourself sweat as much as possible!
How to cut weight by sweating tips;
- Exercise – Jump rope, run, calisthenics or fight movements (pad work, heavy bag work)
- Plastic Suits – Throw a plastic suit or layers of heavy clothing to help with the sweating process. But keep in mind… athletes have DIED from overheating! Have a coach observe you and don’t be an idiot by pushing too hard!
- Sauna/Hot Shower – Sit in the sauna/hot shower (or bath) for intervals of 15-30 minutes and constantly be checking your weight. Bring your own scale and make sure you aren’t cutting too much weight!
Empty Your Bowels
All natural laxatives are a great way to clear out your intestines of the excess material that is has no use of. DO NOT use anything but a NATURAL, gentle laxative otherwise you compromise the health of your body.
Even though you can lose around 5lbs with this method, it should be a last ditch effort to make weight if you feel in danger of not making weight. Use the cutting water weight methods before trying this!
Yes, still eat even when you are cutting weight. Restricting yourself of all foods will only hinder your ability to exercise and sweat off additional weight. Stay away from high sugar drinks, salty foods and heavy foods.
Get some ideas for the best foods while cutting weight!
After Making The Weight Cut
Learning how to cut weight is important but refueling your body after you make weight is just as an important process as making the weight!
- DO drink lots of fluids right after you jump off the scale. Coconut water is my personal favorite but chances are you will need 3-5 gallons to replace all the lost fluid.
- DO NOT jam pack food down your throat until you feel satisfied and full. You will become bloated and sick and your body won’t be able to use most of the food you scarfed down anyways.
- DO eat smaller meals every 2-3 hours until before the fight. This will clear the stomach and keep you from feeling completely full or sick.
Additional Tips On How To Cut Weight Properly
Practice makes perfect! Cutting weight for a fight should be practiced and perfected just like technique training, weight lifting and conditioning. Attempting this the week of your fight is foolish and could easily backfire by either not making weight or being completely exhausted trying to make the weight. PRACTICE WEIGHT CUTTING!
- Use the correct scale! If you are able to use the official scale to check your weight, do it! If not then make sure you check yourself on a doctors scale. If you don’t have access to either then weigh yourself on as many scales as possible to get a general idea of your weight.
- Eat healthy before, during and after the weight cut. This is pretty obvious but needs to be said. A healthy lifestyle is imperative for muay thai fighters, mma fighters and other athletes to reach their full potential. Don’t slack off and make excuses!
- Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan owns & operates the largest online Muay Thai community and the #1 training resource for nak muay of all levels.