If you’ve never been to hell, I can tell you: Cutting weight can be like going through hell… if not done right.
The hardest bit of getting down to your weight class isn’t the diet leading up to your fight. It’s the week of a fight when your diet is so restricted. Of course, I’m always happy that the fight is coming closer, but I had terrible experiences with the last days leading up to the weigh-ins in the past.
What is “Weight Cut Week”?
It’s the last week leading up to weigh-ins one day before the fight. During that week, I’m trying to get rid of water weight by avoiding carbs and sodium, among doing other things. If you need to lose weight fast, e.g. for a competition, you can empty your glycogen storage and you’ll lose a few pounds. 1g of glycogen keeps 3g of water. Just don’t eat any kind of carbs and work out a little bit, you’ll notice very fast weight loss. By doing that I always lose at least 3kg within a couple of days. Keep in mind, it’s only water weight and you will get it back within a few hours.
Be careful with sodium manipulation. Electrolyte manipulation is never recommended as it can have dangerous side effects.
I remember feeling terrible during fight week. I was thinking slowly, my vision was blurred, I was low in energy and fatigued. My coaches had to carry my bags while travelling because I wasn’t able to.
My biggest mistake: I didn’t eat enough calories. Even though you’re cutting weight, you need energy, at least 1300kcal, mainly from fat. Once I raised my calorie intake I didn’t have this problem anymore.
Cutting weight is never easy, but if you know how to do it right, it can become comfortable. You want to know what to eat in fight week? Here are 5 foods that are essential for me in a weight cut week.
The Essential 5 for Cutting:
1. Almond Butter
This gets eaten quicker than you think. Every couple of hours I eat a big spoon. You can eat it on its own, but I also like it on my chicken. Because I don’t eat any salt or sauce the almond butter acts as a sauce replacement. It is high in fats and protein but low in weight, just what you need.
2. Chicken Breast
There is not much I eat for protein. Everybody is scared to lose muscle in the last week, but it doesn’t go within these few days. If you eat enough energy from fat, you won’t lose any muscle so fast.
I never eat much meat because it’s slowly digested, but a few bites of chicken breast always helps me with getting a bit of protein in.
3. Egg Yolks
It’s common to eat only egg whites. They are high in protein, very low in calories and easily digested. But, there is no point in eating low calories during fight week. What are you doing with the egg yolks? Throwing it away? Big mistake, the egg white has more sodium and allergens than the egg yolk and tend to retain more water than the egg yolk. Really nothing to worry about, but if you want to cut out a part of the egg, it should be the egg white. Or just eat the whole egg.
Besides leafy green vegetables like spinach, I like to eat broccoli. Why? Because it fills me quite well and is micronutrient dense. I avoid stuff with high volume but if I want to fill my stomach, it has to be something green full of vital nutrients.
Avocado gives some more variety into your fat intake. It is also high in fibre, minerals and vitamins. Maybe you’re lucky and feel the activating and refreshing effects that people associate with avocado. Nevertheless, I don’t eat more than one avocado a day.
I need only this and not more a few days before weigh-ins… and coffee ;). Add some coconut oil or MCT-oil to it.
Again, it’s important to eat enough calories and plenty of healthy fats. It’s just for 4 days, you won’t gain any fat or lose muscle then. If you really want to maintain high energy levels during weight cut week leading up to competition day, eat the listed foods and stay away from carbs of any kind.
Take it easy
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