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How Can You Make Weight Before Your Match?

The weigh-in may be for a wrestling match or it may be for a boxing match. Get some insight and ideas about what competitors have to consider when showing up for the weigh-in. This is make or break time people!

By: Athletes Topic Of The Week


TOPIC: How Can You Make Weight Before Your Match?

The Question:

It may be a wrestling match, or it may be a boxing match, either way you must make weight. It's possible that you've been training hard for the last 3 months for this match, but in the end the scale decides whether your match goes through or not. Those 24 hours before the match are crucial!

How can you make weight before your match?

What are some tips to help make weight on the scale?

How unhealthy is it when struggling to make weight?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


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Introduction

Athletes try to increase their advantage in a competition by many ways. Maintaining an intense workout routine, having a strict diet, taking various supplements, and watching past competition videos are some of the factors that give an edge to athletes.

However there is one other method that athletes use to gain an advantage over their opponent, a method that uses the age old saying of "more is better". It is called making weight. This means bulking up before the match, sometimes even 20+ lbs. over your required weight, and using different techniques to rid your body of water before the weigh-in.

Since weigh-ins are normally 24 hours before the event the athlete tries to replenish themselves with water in that 24 hour span before the match.

Making Weight
Click Image To Enlarge.
After The Weigh-In Athletes
Will Try To Replenish Themselves.

The whole reasoning of bulking up past your required weight and losing a great deal of water before the weigh-in is in theory you would be able to gain that weight back by rehydrating yourself after the weigh-in. Thus this would put you going into the match 10-15 pounds more than your required weight, hopefully giving you an advantage over your opponent.

Is this practice healthy, efficient and optimal to do? In this article we'll discuss the practice of making weight, its advantages, disadvantages and some tips to making your weight loss go easier.

    Note: You should always consult your doctor before attempting to lose or gain excessive amounts of weight in a short period of time as the practice of doing so can be unhealthy.


Part 1:
How Can You Make Weight Before Your Match?

To illustrate making our weight, we will go through a timeline that describes each step.

Making Weight Timeline:

  • 3 Months Before Event: Full bulking phase.
  • 4 Weeks Before Event: Wind down bulking phase.
  • 2 Weeks Before Event: Make necessary adjustments.
  • 1 Week Before Event: Evaluate current & projected weight.
  • 48 Hours Before Weigh-In: Slow down on food and liquid intake.
  • 24 Hours Before Weigh-In: Stop drinking, sauna, diuretic supplements.
  • 24 Hours Before Event: High portions of food, re-hydrate body.

Full Bulking Phase:

    This phase consists of actually going "all-out" in terms of weight gain. Your goal during this time is to actually gain weight. Granted you aren't aiming to gain fat, fat will be gained during this period because fat gain is almost inevitable when bulking. You are eating 800-1000 surplus calories during this phase.

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Wind Down Bulking Phase:

    At this point you are decreasing your calorie intake in preparation to your upcoming competition. While still at a slight bulking phase, you are eating a surplus of 300-500 instead of 800-1000 calories as in the full bulking phase.

Make Necessary Adjustments:

    The competition is coming close, at 2 weeks out you must look at your current weight and decide if you should stress out 1 more week of bulking, maintain your current weight, or start cutting. If you think you are too far overweight to safely reach your target weight then you should start cutting. This is eating a deficit of 500-1000 calories, depending on how much weight you need to lose.

Evaluate Current & Projected Weight:

    It's a week before the event; at this point you should evaluate your current weight situation. Are you overweight? Are you at the right weight? Are you possibly even underweight? Whatever the situation you are in, this is the time to make any last minute changes to your diet and cardio routine.

Slow Down On Food & Liquid Intake:

    The weigh-in is 48 hours away. While it is unsafe to starve yourself of water for 2 days straight, you should cut down on liquid and food intake slightly in preparation of the fasting that you will undergo 24 hours before the competition.

Stop Drinking, Sauna, & Diuretic Supplements:

    This is what it all comes down to, regarding to making your weight. It's 24 hours before the weigh-in, and sometimes you must take drastic measures to be able to make your required weight. First weigh yourself:

    • If You Are Underweight: then you must drastically increase your water and food intake. Eat foods high in carbohydrates. Take water-retaining supplements such as creatine to prevent excretion.

    • If You Are 1-5 lbs. Overweight: then you are doing well. Decrease carbohydrate intake, slow down on drinking, and go to the sauna the day before to rid yourself of just a few pounds of excess water.

    • Sauna
      Sauna.

    • If You Are 6-10 lbs. Overweight: then you must focus on your weight loss to a greater extent. Cut out carbohydrates and stop drinking the day before the weigh-in. Spend some time in the sauna to drain your body of water. Go to bed and wakeup a few hours before the weigh-in. Weigh yourself and take some caffeine if you are still overweight. Caffeine is a great diuretic and will help shed away a few pounds of water weight.

    • If You Are 11-15 lbs. Overweight: then you must resort to even greater means to make weight. Cut out all food and drink the day before the weigh-in. Use caffeine pills the day before and go to the sauna for a great deal of time. Go to bed and in the morning take more caffeine or other diuretics. Go to the sauna again before the weigh-in if you are still overweight.

      • Diuretics Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    • If You Are 16-20 pounds overweight: then you are at high weight to cut, and is not healthy to have to shed this many pounds in such a short period of time. Nevertheless some people find themselves in this situation. Drastically lower food and water consumption 48 hours before the weigh-in, and cut out all food and drink intake 24 hours before the weigh-in.

      Take caffeine for 3 days before the competition; visit the sauna 3 days before the competition, each day increasing the time spent in the sauna. On the day of the weigh-in take more caffeine, even look into laxatives to rid your body of wastes. Visit the sauna one last time if more weight loss is needed

    • If You Are 21+ lbs. Overweight: then you will have to resort to extreme, unhealthy methods to lose the weight. Start taking laxatives 3 days before the competition. Also take stimulants and diuretics 3 days before the competition, such as caffeine to aid in water excretion.

      Visit the sauna 3 days before the competition to further aid in water excretion. Reduce food and liquid consumption days before the contest, and completely cut out food and liquid 2 days before the contest. In the morning of the weigh-in, evaluate your weight and take more stimulants, laxatives and visit the sauna as needed.

RELATED POLL
How Much Weight Have You Ever Tried To Lose Before A Weigh In?

1-5 lbs.
6-10 lbs.
11-15 lbs.
16-20 lbs.
21+ lbs.

High Portions Of Food, Re-Hydrate Body:

    After you've made your weight, you have about 24 hours before the matchup to re-hydrate your body. While you will not be able to fully re-hydrate your body, depending on how dehydrated you are, this is still an important time. Slowly drink water and sports drinks (electrolytes) over the course of the day and pile on the food.

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    As the time comes closer to the competition, eat foods high in carbohydrates like rice, pasta and oatmeal to replenish energy to your body. When the actual matchup arrives, you should be close to the weight you started at before dehydrating yourself.


Part 2:
What Are Some Tips To Help Make Weight On The Scale?

Whether you are looking to gain weight or lose weight on the scale, there are tips to aid your goals.

Gaining Weight Before The Weigh-In:

  1. Take high, but safe doses of water-retaining supplements. A great example of this would be creatine (10-15 grams divided throughout the day). Creatine stores water in your muscles, allowing your body to hold a greater portion of liquid than it normally does.

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  1. Eat heavy, slow digesting foods. While this may seem as an obvious statement, not all heavy foods are optimal for gaining short-term weight. Foods that are ideal for gaining weight are high in carbohydrates, such as pasta and rice. Pasta and rice are mainly just carbohydrates which fill you up a lot less than high protein/fat foods, allowing you to eat more.

  2. Avoid anything that will make you excrete water, whether it be sweating or urinating. Substances like this include caffeine and other diuretics.

  3. If your weigh-in is in the morning, try to go to bed early and wakeup 6 hours or so before the weigh-in. This gives you time to replenish your water supply and get as much food in your system as possible. After sleep, your body will be naturally 5 lbs. or so lighter until it's replenished to its normal state.

Making Weight
Click Image To Enlarge.
Try To Be Up & Moving 6 Hours Before The Weigh-In.

Losing Weight Before The Weigh-In:

  1. Take supplements that sweat or use the water out of your body. Supplements such as caffeine and Thermogenics such as Lipo-6 are great for this.

  2. Lipo-6
    Nutrex Presents: Lipo 6

  3. Visit a sauna once a day for the final few days before the weigh-in. While a sauna only makes you lose water weight, it is important to note that the skin is the largest organ in the body, and the body rids 30% of wastes through the skin. A sauna is possibly the fastest way to rid yourself of water weight.

  4. While a sauna takes care of ridding your body of liquids, laxatives do the job with ridding your body of solids. While it is unhealthy to abuse laxatives, they can be a great tool for someone looking to lose a few crucial pounds. Since laxatives take 12-72 hours to take effect, they are best used a few days before the weigh-in.

RELATED POLL
How Often Do You Visit A Sauna?

Every Day.
About Once A Week.
About Once A Month.
About Once A Year.
Never.

  1. Cut down or out, food and drink before the weigh-in. As mentioned above, starving or dehydrating yourself to a great extent is unhealthy and should be avoided. However when trying to make weight, limiting food and water is a necessity.

    The day of the weigh-in you should not consume much, if any, food and drink. The day before the weigh-in you should consume little carbohydrates. It all depends on the amount of weight you need to shed before the competition; I personally would not recommend cutting out liquids more than a day before the weigh-in, however extreme methods may be required to make your weight.

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Making Weight. Making Weight.
"I'm about 6lbs over my weightclass, anyone have tips for making weight?" - Nights
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Part 3:
How Unhealthy Is It When Struggling To Make Weight?

Depending on the amount of weight being lost at once, the health effects vary. It is not recommended to lose more than 5% of your body's water weight.

Other side effects of dehydration are reduced blood-flow to the kidneys and muscles. The heart has to work harder to pump blood because of decreased plasma volume in the body, which causes fatigue to set in earlier. This can greatly affect a contest which lasts longer than 25-30 minutes.

Extreme, rapid dehydration can be fatal. An excessive water deficit can lead to kidney failure, heat stroke or heart attack. There have been instances of death involved from athletes resorting to extreme measures to make their weight.

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While some people may think that if they drink enough fluids and eat enough food between the weigh-in and the contest, then their body will be completed re-hydrated. This is false. Studies show that the body requires 48 hours to fully re-hydrate, and that is considering the athlete is using perfect methods required to re-hydrate themselves.

An athlete competing in a sport that requires being at a certain weight must consider the tradeoffs. Having to lose 15 or more pounds the night before a weigh-in can be detrimental to your health and actually do more bad than good during the competition. However, having to lose only a few pounds the night before the competition is not harmful. The body naturally loses 5 or so pounds anyway during sleep.

If a month before the contest, you are 25-plus pounds over the required weight, that is the time to seriously start cutting. That way once the weigh-in comes around, you won't be sacrificing your health and your performance to lose weight.

Remember, it is better to be 100% healthy and energized for a contest than coming in 10 pounds heavier and only performing at 50%. Don't let your hard earned training go to waste by trying to gain a small advantage over your opponent by weighing a bit more. Good luck at your weigh-in!

Making Weight
Click Image To Enlarge.
Don't Let Hard Earned Training Go To Waste.

References:

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laxatives
  2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauna
  3. judoinfo.com
  4. www.cruciblefitness.com
  5. www.webmd.com


2nd Place - dedicatedforlif
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

It may be a wrestling match, or it may be a boxing match, either way you must make weight. It's possible that you've been training hard for the last 3 months for this match, but in the end the scale decides whether your match goes through or not. Those 24 hours before the match are crucial!


Making Weight:
How Can You Make Weight Before Your Match? What Are Some Tips To Help Make Weight On The Scale?

The hardest part for fighters is to make their desired weight class without losing strength and muscle mass. There are many critical things to do in preparation for a fight.

Weight manipulation or 'cutting weight' before a fight can be the hardest thing a fighter can do. There is a so called art to doing it, and nutrition is the number one factor.

A fighter can cut all the weight he wants before a fight, however this is not the smartest thing to do, because he will get weaker and lose the strength he trained hard to develop. A proper cutting diet about 8 weeks prior to a tournament can be done, however it is not smart to lose more than a maximum of 2 pounds a week. A diet rich in protein and healthy fats will reduce body fat and help you retain that muscle mass that you need.

An Example (Low Carb):

    Meal 1:

    • Oats
    • Egg Whites

    Meal 2:

    Meal 3:

    • Tuna
    • Ezekiel Bread

    Meal 4:

    • Shake - 2 Scoops of whey, Peanut Butter

    Meal 5:

    • Chicken Breast or Lean Beef
    • Veggies

    Meal 6:

    • Cottage Cheese
    • Peanut Butter

    The amount will differ depending on the weight, but that's a good example of what food you need to cut that weight.

    This is of course if you plan ahead, however this is not always the case, and training hard prior to a tournament to gain that valuable strength is usually a bigger priority. So what can be done the few days prior to a tournament?

Making Weight
Click Image To Enlarge.
Training Hard Is Usually The Priority.

Fluid Restriction:

    The most effective way and possibly the easiest way to cut weight prior to the tournament is to simply restrict your water intake. Decreasing or simply stopping fluid intake will help you drop about 5 pounds!

    The body is in constant need of fluid for daily bodily functions, including sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom. It is a smart idea to not restrict yourself of water for more than a 24-hour period of time, as your body may become way to dehydrated to bring it back to normal state. So it is a good idea to make sure you know exactly when the weigh in is and start the dehydration process exactly 24 hours before.

    It's a good idea to increase your water intake in the beginning of the week and decrease it slowly before cutting it completely 24 hours prior.

    Flex Wheeler - Richard Everage Fight:
    At The 2005 Arnold Classic.


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Sweating:

    Another easy way to lose the weight is through simply sweating the fluids out of your body. This can be done is many ways and up to 10 pounds can be lost! Now the fighter would not want to deplete too much energy because he/she wants to save their energy for the fight and therefore effortless sweating needs to be done. Running or punching a punching bag can be the simplest and most effective ways of sweating (also the most relaxing for some).


Click Image To Enlarge.
Punching.
Video: Windows Media (124 KB) - MPEG (296 KB)

    Depending on where you live, you can go outside and perform these exercises; however it is important not to overheat. If desperate, plastic or heavy clothes should be worn to increase the sweating.

    Also saunas and hot showers can be used to bring out the sweat, however these should be limited to 30 minutes maximum.

Food, Diuretics etc.:

    Food is important and you want to keep your blood sugar levels normal. This will keep the fighters energy levels high and keep you focused. So sticking to low GI carbohydrates (oats, yams etc) and lean proteins will keep the fighter on track.

    Diuretics are a LAST resort. I would not recommend this at all because every body reacts differently, and this being so, this may hurt the fighter in the long run.

    Suggestions for diuretics would be Cytodyne Taraxatone or simply MHP Xpel. Both will drain water from the system, but like I said earlier, every body will react differently.

Taraxatone Xpel
Cytodyne Taraxatone & MHP Xpel.


Regaining Energy & Weight

Okay, so you weigh in, and you reach the weight you need to be, now what? What can you do to regain the energy and weight you need? Because ultimately we want to be bigger than the guy we are fighting.

Usually weigh-ins are the day before the fight or sometimes a few hours prior. If the weigh-in is a day before, then this gives the fighters 20-25 hours to prepare for the fight with whatever nutrition that they think they might need.

Making Weight
Click Image To Enlarge.
We Want To Be Bigger.

A fighter will need fluids and food, and they will need it fast! A good example of a diet on the day of the tourney would be:

  • Wake Up 9am - Oats, protein powder, 6 oz water
  • 11am - Chicken, 6oz Yam, 100mL water
  • 1pm - Whey, Oats, 100mL water
  • 3pm - Chicken, Yam, NO WATER
  • 6pm - WEIGH IN
  • Now The Critical Part
    (Especially If The Tourney Is In 2-3 Hours)

  • 6:15pm - Snickers Bar (HIGH GI BAR)
    Bottle of Gatorade (replenish the body)
    *Now carry about 2 liters of water with you and sip it for the 3 hours prior. But remember, don't drink too much so that you do not bloat.
  • 6:45pm - Large bowl of oats, scoop of whey in skim milk
  • 7:15pm - Chicken, large yam, peanut butter
  • 7:45pm - Large bowl of oats, scoop of whey in skim milk
    *Now relax and drink water for the time prior.

After the tourney or fight, remember to have a large satisfying meal to refill all the glycogen and everything else depleted from your body.

So this diet was to show that after weigh-in you should eat as often as possibly keeping with the LOW GI foods to keep constant energy levels without having the fighter crash. Remember it is important to load up and have all the energy you can get so that you out size and out power your opponent.

RELATED SECTION
GI Database GI Database.
Use this page to find the GI of certain foods or to find foods with certain GIs. You can use the criteria alone or in combination.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


Unhealthy?
How Unhealthy Is It When Struggling To Make Weight?

It can be dangerous sometimes, especially when the athlete uses a lot of diuretics and they react badly in the body. However if the proper procedures are taken then making the weight doesn't have to be unhealthy. If your safe and educated, then there is no reason to which this process should be dangerous.

Making Weight
Click Image To Enlarge.
This Process Should Never Be Dangerous.

References:

  1. www.muscletalk.co.uk
  2. www.grapplearts.com
  3. www.bodybuilding.com/store/index.html
  4. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ishesmith.htm
  5. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis14.htm
  6. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ss11.htm


How Can You Make Weight Before Your Match?
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ClutchCaleb

Super helpful article. I got some really good ideas off this after I took my first pro boxing match on 5 days notice in June. The caffeine part was especially helpful, since I had 14 lbs to lose over 4 days, and had to greatly limit food intake. It helped me stay energized as well as rushing fluids out of my system.
I think the only changes I'd make to this article is updating it. A lot of diuretics and quick weight loss supplements run the risk of popping positive on a drug test. Even if you're not making any money to compete, you still run the risk of getting suspended by the sanctioning body of the event. Also, eating a lot of greens is in my opinion a great way to get the nutrients you need and feel less hungry while not eating many calories, which I found very encouraging in the process. Great article all in all though.

Aug 31, 2014 12:02pm | report
 
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