If you have ever competed in a combat sport such as boxing, kickboxing or wrestling, then you have either been in a situation where you have had to cut weight or you know several people who have. Cutting weight is a term used to describe the process of dropping a certain amount of weight before a competition so that you are able to compete. The problem with cutting weight is that is generally done at the last minute, so the competitor is losing a lot of weight very rapidly. This can be dangerous for a number of reasons, obviously. Ideally, you should be staying in shape and keeping weight in check so that last minute cutting is not necessary, but for those who still feel the need to cut weight, here are some guidelines on how to do it as healthily as possible.
Plan ahead. The more time you have to make your goal weight, the better. If you know you want to compete at a certain weight and you bulked up during the off-season, started cutting shortly before the season starts instead of waiting until after it has begun. The more time you have, the safer you can cut the weight.
Keep weight training. Wrestling workouts are intense. With all of the training, competing and dieting you will be doing, you will lose strength and possibly muscle mass as your body will use protein for energy once glycogen and fat stores are depleted. Weight training will allow you to keep your strength up and when done in conjunction with proper diet, preserve muscle mass.
Keep eating. If necessary, your body will use protein as an energy source, causing you to lose strength and muscle mass. In addition, when your body is malnourished, it goes into a starvation mode. Your brain basically says, “Holy cow, I’m starving!” and in an attempt at preservation, will shed muscle, as muscle takes more energy to sustain than fat, and your fat cells split. This is the reason some people diet and actually gain weight.
Drink water. You have to stay hydrated. You lose a lot of water through sweat and dehydration and this can cause decreased performance and even death.
Intervals, not long jogs. Many wrestlers jog to cut weight. Jogging, while healthy, can be counterproductive to a wrestler. Jogging is a slow, steady exercise done over some distance. This is the polar opposite of how a wrestler performs--short, explosive, high output maneuvers. Also, jogging is counter productive to muscle building. A wrestler would be much better off doing sprint intervals or some other form of interval training.
Cutting weight is not recommended. For optimal performance, maintain a proper diet and an exercise regimen
Donnell Peavy Is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness writing. He currently writes for several health and fitness websites and wellness themed magazines. He is a fitness enthusiast who has engaged in everything from playing organized sports to full contact fighting.