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How to Cut Weight For a Fight in 5 Easy Steps

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Cutting weight for a fight

Picture of myself cutting weight for a fight: Before and After

Yea, Yea, I know, there is a heavy use of the Instagram filter there to show off the definition due to some bad lighting (my apologies for that). But regardless of the shitty picture, there was a 8KG weight cut using the method I outline below between when I started the cut and when I finished the cut in 7 days.

This article is going to cover weight cutting for same day weigh-ins. If you have a weigh-in the day before your fight, then you can use other methods to cut weight that are not mentioned in this article.

 

This guide will tell you how to easily and safely manipulate your water weight without too much effort before a fight and in a way that won’t kill your fight performance. Since the human body is made up of 50%-70% water weight, you can easily cut a number of kilos/lbs in both water and fat weight safely before a fight. In women, however, less weight can be cut due to the fact that they have more natural bodyfat than men; this means their bodies do NOT contain as much water as a man’s to drop.

Why Do You Want To Cut Weight?

It’s pretty simple really: so you can have a strength advantage when you fight. If you walk around at say 185lbs but make a fight weight at 165lbs, you will strength advantage at 165lbs (since you will in fact be a 185-er fighting at 165). Now, say you fight at your walk around weight of 185lbs. Well, if your opponent happens to walk around at 205lbs and cuts to 185lb, it’s likely he could have a huge strength advantage over you.

In reality, no sane fighter opts to fight at walk-around weight because the fighter’s opponent will be cutting anywhere from 5lbs to 50 lbs for the fight.

Do you feel like being a lightweight and fighting a cruiserweight or middleweight? Then you better learn how to cut weight.

The more you can cut weight without impacting your fight performance, the more of an advantage you have when you fight. If you are 160lbs and can cut to 136lbs, your weight cutting skills might mean you end up fighting guys who normally cut from 150 to 136. So the better at weight cutting you are, the more of an advantage you can achieve. That’s why weight cutting is a critical skill to master as a fighter.

The risk with cutting weight, of course, is you cut so much weight that your fight performance is impacted negatively.

Day of Fight Weigh-Ins vs Day Before Fight Weigh-In’s

There is literally an entire science behind cutting weight for fights. Cutting weight is arguably just as important as your actual skill for winning a fight. If you can cut a lot of weight and still maintain your strength and endurance, you might just end up MUCH stronger than your opponent which could translate into a big real-world advantage in the fight. But if you fail to cut weight properly, your fight could be a disaster with you having no cardio and little strength.

If your weigh-in is a day before your fight, you can undertake more extreme weight-cutting methods. Basically, you can shed a shit-load more weight than if you have to weigh in the DAY of your fight. This is why you see some MMA fighters, Boxers, and Wrestlers who weigh in 24 hours before the fight cut a monstrous amount of weight, with some guys losing upwards of 30-50 lbs in the 24 hours before a fight. Naturally these guys end up on an IV drip afterwards to recover, but such dramatic weight loss is possible if you have 24 hours before the fight, the discipline to torture yourself, and the Know-how.  However, this sort of huge weight-loss chicanery can not be as drastic if you don’t have that 24 hours.

Weighing in the day before a fight is a separate topic that has a number of effective methods that can be used. The goal with this article is to give a weight cutting method that is easy, simple, and not too taxing on your body. Other weight cutting methods such as extreme calorie deficits, marathon saunas and sweatsuit sessons are not going to be covered in this article.

My Experience Cutting Weight

Throughout my Muay Thai career I’ve had to cut weight for almost every fight. The largest weight cut I’ve had to do before a fight was going from 82kg all the way down to 74.5 kg in a single week. In order to lose almost 8 kg of weight, I used the following water weight-cutting methods coupled with an extreme caloric deficit and zero carb intake throughout that period.

Even I was able to make weight for the fight, this loss of weight and calorific deficit had disastrous results on my actual fight performance. Because it was an amateur fight, I had to fight the same day of the weigh-ins. This is one of the reasons I don’t recommend cutting too much weight if you have the weigh in on the day of the fight. If you have a weigh-in the day before a fight you can cut a lot more weight before your fight than if you weigh-in the same day.

The 5 Steps to Cut Weight – An Overview

  1. Lower your carb intake (one week prior to fight)
  2. Zero your salt intake and start drinking lots of water (5 days prior to fight)
  3. Don´t drink anything ONE DAY before the fight as you will urinate everything out
  4. Sweat the remaining water weight out if needed by sauna or by running with a sweat suit on
  5. Optional: Caloric deficit (not necessary but helps you to lose even more weight).

How to Cut Weight One Week Before Your Fight

Assuming you start cutting 7 days before your fight, here is my method for cutting a lot of weight while still being able to train hard the WEEK of the fight. Keep in mind HOW much you can cut depends on a number of factors:

  • your gender (men can cut more than women)
  • your current weight (the heavier you are, the more you can cut)
  • your current bodyfat (the lower bodyfat you walk around at, the MORE weight you can likely cut; sounds backwards, but it’s true since muscle contains water while fat contains very little water. If you two guys are the same weight, one at 10 percent and one at 20 percent bodyfat, the guy with 10 percent has more muscle on his frame to suck water from)
  • your genetics (some people can cut a lot of weight easy. Others not so much.)

It’s a good idea for you to do a TEST weight cut at some point before you do the real thing for a fight. This will give you an idea how much weight you can actually lose and may allow you to tinker with the methods slightly for additional weight loss when you actually need to cut for a fight.

Day 1-6: Lower Carbohydrate Intake by Half

  • Avoid starchy foods like pasta, rice, bread, etc
  • Avoid fruits and sugar

One week prior to your weigh-in,  lower your carbs to half your normal intake.

You should not go on a zero carb diet because you won’t have sufficient time to fill up your glycogen stores by the time you fight. However, lowering carb intake will allow you to shed water weight fast. Why? Because for every gram of carbohydrate you intake, your body will hold three grams of water weight to go with it. As an added “bonus” to dropping your carb intake, you may also lose some body fat by reducing your carb intake as IF you end up on a caloric deficit (this often happens when you lower carbs dramatically, as our modern meals are often built around carbs).

Another reason we don’t drop carbs out completely during this weight cut week: keeping some carbohydrates in your diet will allow you to continue training hard. Besides allowing you more time to work on your technique and cardio, being able to train hard will help maintain your confidence level, ensuring that you aren’t gassing out in training the week before your fight.. There is nothing more disheartening than training that last week and finding you feel like you have WORSE cardio than you did before you started training for your fight.  Fighters who go on a ZERO carb diet before a fight might lose the weight they need to lose for the fight, but they will often suffer in their training leading up to the fight.

DAY 2:  Strategically Cut Out Salt

Fighters always look shredded because they have lost most of their water.

Fighters always look shredded because they have lost most of their water.

After two days of cutting your carb intake to half, you should then start to reduce your salt intake as well.

If the body gets too much sodium, it will retain water. However, if you cut out salt entirely the body might freak out and retain water. There is a bit of a balance when it comes to salt intake and you need to see how your body responds. But generally, you keep sodium low and gradually keep reducing it the closer you get to your fight.

DAY 2:  Increase Water Intake

About 5 days before the fight, start to drink lots of water.

By increasing water intake, you will flush out the salt – helping your water weight to drop naturally.

Note that some other cutting methods have fighters starving themselves of water the whole week before the fight; these methods are usually used if the weigh in the DAY before the fight. But here we are talking about weigh-in’s the day of the fight. While it might seem a bit counter intuitive to increase water intake, since you are trying to CUT water weight, it works out fine because what we are doing is trying to flush out the salt from your body; this means the water you take in will flush right on out, and not be retained by the body as it NORMALLY would.

DAY 6-7:  STOP Water Intake 24 HOURS BEFORE FIGHT/WEIGH-IN’S

Leading up to the day before your fight you stop drinking any liquids.

Since you have been drinking a lot of water leading up to this point, your body will be tricked into thinking that more water is going to be coming into your body. This process will cause you to use the bathroom (urinate) quite a bit, even though you aren’t drinking liquids the day before your fight – helping you lose even more water weight.

Note there are different methods regarding reducing water weight. Some people opt for cutting water weight from 2 gallons 5 days before a fight all the way down to one quarter of a gallon the day before the weigh-in, then no water the day of the weigh in. HOWEVER, reducing the water intake will affect your training performance IF you are training the week of your fight, especially if you are somewhere humid and hot like Thailand. And IF you fight the day of your weigh-in’s rather than the day AFTER your weigh-in’s, you don’t have the time to recover as quickly. Drastically reducing water weight is a strategy that MMA fighters might employ to drop 20-30lbs before a fight, but they have 24 hours to recover before their fight. This is not the case for traditional muay thai fights where you fight the day of the weigh-in.

DAY 6: Eat Only Fat and a little bit of Carbs the Day Before Weigh In’s

The day before the weigh-in your calories should ONLY be coming from fats (high fat peanut butter) and a small amount of carbs.

The reason why you should be eating fats is because fat is full of dense calories and has little weight. This will ensure that you are filled up with enough energy before the fight, while reducing the amount of waste matter in your bowels. Naturally, this ensure you STAY as light as possible while still having energy. You should eat a little bit of carbs the day before your fight to ensure your glycogen stores are not fully depleted, helping you sleep at night. If you have ZERO carb intake the day before your fight you won’t have enough time to refill your glycogen levels and will feel gassed in the fight.

DAY 7 (Fight Day or Weight-in Day): The Day of Your Fight, Eat Some Carbs

Day of your fight, eat some carbs.

It is important to eat some carbs the day before your fight so your glycogen stores won’t be completely depleted before the fight. After you have eaten the carbs remember not to drink any water as it will bind with the carbs. This will dramatically increase your weight.

DAY 7 (Fight Day or Weight-in Day): Sweat The Last Weight Out

If you haven’t made weight before your weigh-in, sweat the remaining water weight out.

This weight-loss method is a last ditched effort on your part. Yes, you can severally dehydrate yourself by running for hours in a sweatsuit or by doing a marathon session in the sauna; depending on how much water weight you do have in your body, you can shed a lot in just a few hours (kilos even). But the price to pay may be your performance during the fight as you place a huge strain on your body by dehydrating it. Keep in mind you don’t have a lot of time to recover since you fight the same day.

So generally, if you can avoid the sauna and sweatsuits, avoid it.

Note: Keep checking your weight all the time. The whole time you should make sure that you are constantly checking your weight to make sure that you are getting closer and closer to your target weight.

By following the above method you will have energy for your fight and should feel ready to face anyone in the ring.

Weighing in the day of my fight

Weighing in the day of my fight

How to recover from the cut

Recovering from a weight cut is probably one of the most important aspects of weighing in. If you are unable to properly recover your energy and water weight, you will feel lethargic and will lack energy in the fight. This can be the difference between have an outstanding performance and performing at your worst.

Immediately following the weigh ins you have to drink a lot of liquids that contain electrolytes (sports drinks) before you start eating. The ideal intake is about 1 liter of fluid per hour. When your urine is light color you can start eating carbs to refuel you system. Don’t overdo it. It will ruin your performance. Try to stop eating 3 hours before the competition. Ideally your stomach should be empty when you enter the ring. This will ensure that you are ready for a peak performance in the ring.

Conclusion

Always remember, that time is your friend when cutting weight. The more time you have to cut your weight the more weight you can cut. It is important to ask yourself if you can cut to your target weight without suffering from performance issues in the ring. Besides the lack of energy and fatigue you might face during and after a weight cut, there are also health risks. Your kidneys are always at risk when you are dehydrating yourself to an extreme, so it is important to have a good game plan before you start your cut process.

If you have any questions or comments related to weight cutting please post them in the comment section below. Good luck with your cut.

About Author

Samuli is an admitted Muay Thai enthusiasts why has been training martial arts since the age of 10. He made his first trip to Thailand in his early teens and completely fell in love with the sport. Samuli is a Finnish Muay Thai championship tournament runner up and has fought some top talent in the sport. At 20 years of age Samuli has a bright future in the sport of Muay Thai.

33 Comments

  1. Alexis_ride@hotmail.com'
    Alexis Doré-Scott on

    Hi, I want to know by cutting by half your carbs intake , what do you take in one day? 1 piece of bread of like 2or 3 fruits?

    • If you cut starchy carbs (rice,pasta, bread) you can replace them with fruit and veggies. You’ll need to basically figure out how many carbs you are trying to eat per day for your goals then tally up whatever you are eating. Just use one of those online food calorie counters that give you the carbs per gram or ounce of weight per food type.

      Personally, I find I need SOME starchy carbs to fuel training — ONLY veggies and fruits don’t do me so well. This depends on your body though; some people replace starchy carbs with carb + veggie intake to get the carbs (in whatever amount they are aiming for), others just cut back portions of rice, pasta, or whatever

  2. alex.wall@gmail.com'

    Great write-up on cutting weight; I really appreciate the detail and the distinction between weigh-ins day of and day prior.

    I’m only cutting 5-7 lbs for my first fight because it is not yet a familiar process to me and I want to get the first fight jitters out of my system without the added wildcard of too much recovery or strain from cutting. I will test these methods out in the future and write back with my results!

  3. kathleenfmcleod@gmail.com'
    Kathleen McLeod on

    Thanks for sharing this and also shedding light on the dangers of cutting and the difference between 24-hour and day-of weigh ins. I am a powerlifter hoping to cut a few pounds to make a lower weight class and all this applies. We have 2-hour weigh ins and I need to be in top form to lift right away. I’ve tried water loading with sodium manipulation with no luck and I’ve tried epsom baths followed by a sweat suit, only shedding 1 pound. My coach has used these methods to shed over 10 lbs of water and he’s been successful. I could survive in the dessert for months I think 🙁 Thanks to your article, I’m going to try factoring in carbs and reducing my intake the days before weigh in. Experimenting with it this week and I’ll weigh in on Sunday. Fingers crossed for 4-5 lbs! If this doesn’t work, I have no idea what to do!

    • Hi, Kathleen. Excellent. I’d love to hear your results at the end of the cut, how you felt and how much (if any) weight you ended up losing. Please let us know!

  4. anderspoulsen86@gmail.com'

    Hi,
    I’ve been following this guide for my last fight. And it worked well.

    Incl. drinking lots of water I’ve also been on a calorie deficit the week leading up to the fight.
    However I’ve had plenty of energy both for training and running. (5kms max)

    I am 170cm high and fought in 63,5kgs. When I got the fight my weight was 67,5kgs. I weighed in at 62,6kgs without sauna – on the day.

    Start weight on Sunday: 67, 5 kg.
    Weigh in at 10 AM Saturday: 62, 6 kg. – fight same day around 1230AM

    Height 170cms
    Body fat: Unknown.

    I was told that I had to fight Saturday, on Sunday noon. Ergo I had 7 days to make weight. I’ve been able to work full time (40hours) and train hard, daily at the gym without feeling too exhausted. I bike a total of 16 km to and from work every day as well.

    Up until I got the fight, I haven’t been drinking alcohol for 2 months and trained 5-6 days every week. I’ve been eating somewhat healthy but eaten a pizza or burger when I felt for it, and been drinking fizzy drinks and both sugary and salty snacks.

    Sunday:
    • Morning weight: 67,5kgs
    • Ran 5 km
    • Breakfast: 2 free range organic eggs w/chili sauce
    • Skipped lunch
    • Dinner: Soup made of carrots and onions and loads of chilies and ginger
    • Nighttime snack: Skyr (Low fat form of yoghurt) approx. 100 grams plus a handful of blueberries.
    • Evening weight: 66,4kgs

    Monday:
    • Morning weight: 66,4kgs
    • Breakfast: 2 free range organic eggs
    • Lunch: 1 filet of organic chicken (approx 200grams) + loads of steamed broccoli, raw carrots and half a red bell pepper.
    • Ran 5 km after work
    • 1 banana before training.
    • Trained approx 1, 5 hours – no sparring. Heavy work on bags and pads and clinch.
    • Dinner: Dinner – organic chicken with lime – Thai inspired salad with: raw spinach, red bell pepper, carrots, cucumber etc in thin slices and loads of chilies
    • Nighttime snack: Skyr with blueberries again.
    • Evening Weight: 65,2 kgs

    Tuesday:
    • Morning weight: 65,4 kgs
    • Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins + one organic egg.
    • Lunch: 1 filet of organic chicken + broccoli, red bell pepper and carrots
    • 1 banana before training
    • Trained 2 hours approx – heavy pad work + technique + warm up. No sparring
    • Dinner – organic chicken with spinach and garlic
    • No night time snack.
    • Evening Weight: 64,2kgs

    Wednesday
    • Morning Weight: 64,4kgs
    • Breakfast: 2 free organic eggs w/ Tabasco sauce
    • Lunch: 1 filet of organic chicken + raw cucumber, carrots and bell pepper.
    • 1 banana before training
    • 1, 5 hours of hard training. Cardio + plus heavy bag and heavy pad training. No sparring.
    • Dinner: Skipped as I had to be somewhere right after training – however I had an Energy drink with carbs and sugar ( Not a good choice as it seems my weight went up, should have sticken to water.)
    • No night time snack
    • Evening Weight: 65kgs.

    Thursday:
    • Morning weight: 64,1kgs
    • Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and a cup of black coffee. Approx 100 grams.
    • Lunch: 1 filet of organic chicken – raw cucumber, broccoli, red bell pepper.
    • Small run of 3 km
    • Shadowboxing, light bag work and stretching
    • Dinner: Chicken with spinach, garlic and ginger.
    • No night time snack
    • Evening weight: 63,8kgs

    Friday:
    • Morning Weight: 64kgs
    • No water – went to the toilet 8 or 9 times, and urinated quite a bit all the time.
    • Breakfast: two free range organic eggs.
    • Lunch: Approx 40 grams of organic chicken, raw broccoli and cucumber.
    • No workout – went to the gym and shadowboxed a bit plus talked to the other fighters.
    • Dinner: None – however my weight was 63kgs. I ate 3 spoons of Organic Peanut Butter and drank some water, but checked my weight constantly, so that I had a little bit of energy.

    Saturday:
    • Morning weight: 62, 6kgs at 8 AM. Ate some more Peanut Butter and drank small glasses of water, and checked the weight all the time.
    • Weigh in weight: 62, 6kgs
    • Food and Drinks after weigh in: 1 liter of organic coconut water and regular water – organic peanut butter sandwich, salty crackers and quinoa salad with chicken. Banana – half an hour before fight.
    • Fight at 12:30AM – WON

    Afterthoughts:

    All in all this went pretty smooth. However I should have stayed away from the energy drink on Wednesday and have eaten dinner instead – I got stressed that my weight went up.

    I kept eating a bit on Friday – but not much, otherwise I think my weight might have gotten down too much.

    I’ve been trying to eat as much organic as possible – I don’t know if this has had an effect on my weight or performance, but it feels healthier and I felt better. And I think that is important when you cut weight.

    My fight was only 2, 5 hours after weigh-in, so I am glad that I wasn’t completely dehydrated and had no energy – I could keep my levels going Friday evening night and Saturday morning before weigh-in.

    After weigh-in, I drank 1 liter of coconut water, ate a PB sandwich and pasta slowly to keep track of my stomach, and not feeling to bloated.

    • Fantastic response Andy, we are delighted you shared your exact details on doing this weight cut program — it really helps other people who read it, then see yes, it does work. You even provided the exact details on how you went about it.

      It’s good you didn’t use the sweat suit. A lot of the day of weight cutting Thai boxers use in Thailand involves the sweat suit and dehydrating yourself, but this should only be the last resort. If you plan it out over 7-10 days, you are much better off and can cut weight so it doesn’t suck your power and performance away, like you’ve done.

      I’ll add some parts in the article talking about your experience so other readers can get a better sense about what it’s like and how to go about it.

      Cheers

      Ben

  5. sammydavis@yahoo.com'

    Hey awesome page. I followed this and had about a month to lose 40 pounds to get into a particular course I’m going to. I’m really tall at 6’7″ but was 273 lbs, some fat for sure but pretty muscular as well. I ate very few carbs for the whole month and got down to about 15 pounds to go for the last week. Drank two gallons of water a day for the week, and cut down to 1 gallon two days out, then just a few sips the day prior and no food that day. Morning of the weigh in was this morning and I weighed in at 232 lbs. so 41 pounds in a month, and about 10 pounds or so the last 24 hours. I sweated about a pound out on a stair stepper the morning of, and then got in a hot shower once in the morning as well. Lost about 3 pounds in the shower.

    So just wanted to share how successful this was, and really not hard to do until the last 24 hours. The rest was just some food style changes until the starvation and dehydration the last day. Yeah cotton mouth and you feel drains and it sucks, but it works. I didn’t have to fight or anything this morning so that made it easier to starve myself, because the limit is more for max capacity of gear. And now 8 hours later and I’m back up to 242 with pedialite, water, and some fruit, protein…and bread…and cheese. Thanks again for the tips.

    • Glad you found it useful if you have any before and after pictures, do share them (we can erase your face if you like or blur it out). It’s useful for people to see what results look like.

      Congratulations on making your weight! And thanks for sharing the specific details — it makes it very useful for the other readers who see that people are getting very good results with this specific ‘cutting weight in a week’ protocol.’

  6. Bright.najee@gmail.com'
    Najee Bright on

    Thank you for all the awesome info! My problem is actually muscle. I’m trying to cut muscle because of my density, with very little body fat. Do you have any tips on cutting muscle? I take it just bring down my protein and juice is my best option. I think you ahead of time for any help! 🙂

    • First, why do you want to cut off muscle? This is absolutely exactly what pretty much every ‘how to cut weight for a fight’ guide out there specifically tries to avoid. You don’t want to lose muscle when you cut — only fat and water.

      Second, if you are trying to shed lots of weight for a PERMANENT change, you want to look at some of the other guides on our Main Menu for losing weight, getting ripped, and body transformation. This guide is for one specific thing — cutting as much weight for a fight as possible for a weigh in with the intention of gaining as much of it back as possible ASAP. This is done by depriving yourself of water (less water intake, dehydrating yourself right before weigh in, lowing carb intake), waste, and if you have your calories at a deficit, fat.

      If you want to make a transformative change to your body that lasts (not a temp drop for a week), you need to look at one of the other weight lose guides we have ( I recommend this one).

  7. patakieva87@gmail.com'

    Hi! Thanks for this article 🙂
    My problem is: sometimes there is only 1 hour (or even less) between the weigh in and the fight.
    Can I use this method, or too risky?

    • Yes, everything applies from Day 1 to 6.

      However on Day 7, you need to modify some stuff if the weigh in is so soon to your fight. If you weigh in an hour before the fight, there is no way in hell you should cut the rest of the weight by using a sauna to sweat that weight out. You have to weigh yourself by the end of Day 6 to make sure you are nearly on point for the weight.

      You may also want to look at some additional weight cutting techniques by day 6, such as taking laxatives to clear your bowels of any extra weight, though keep in mind, you don’t want to overdo it. I also don’t suggest messing around with clearing your bowels as a means to cut weight on the day of the fight. You don’t know what sort of impact that could have on your performance or if you suffer from stomach cramps or pain the day of or close to your fight. Not worth the risk.

      Having to cut your weight an hour before the fight by sweating it out (via exercise or the sauna) with such a small amount of time for recovery will likely leave you fatigued and absolutely drained before the fight.

  8. tarn_naki@hotmail.com'

    hi there, what a great article and I am really thankful that you have done this. I have had a number of fights but for some reason this year I have really struggled to cut and maintain weight. I have three weeks and will be fighting at 57kg. I currently weigh 65.1kg and train three times a day. I plan to get my weight down to under 60kg by the week of my fight by training and eating less, leaving only 3 kg to get rid of in that last week. I find as a woman with a body fat percentage of 15% that for some reason I struggle cutting lots of weight. Currently my normal day looks like this :
    7-8 train (cardio/conditioning work)
    8am- breakfast is 3 eggs and a banana
    12pm – run (mon wed fri sat) weights (strength work tues/thurs) (carrot and peanut butter prior to workout)
    1pm- protein shake
    4pm – carrot and peanut butter or boiled egg, or small tin of tuna
    6.30- boxing training till 8pm
    8pm – protein shake

    over the day i drink 4 litres of water and 1-2 cups of coffee or tea a day. no sugar.

    do you think this is satisfactory to get that weight down and is my plan a good one? I live in a coldish country not a hot one like Thailand. Temp can range from 7 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius
    Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂
    thanks.

      • Three times a day training is pretty excessive. You won’t find many professionals training 3x — it’s simply too much to recover from without taking drugs to aid in recovery. However if you are doing different types of training — such as weights, cardio, an actual technique training and you rotate between high and low days, it’s possible. But, pushing the limits of your cardio while trying to cut weight via calories (and carbs) is asking for trouble.

        The diet plan you gave looks like a pretty lean diet. However, you have almost no carbs in that diet. The diet plan given for the 7 day cut states a reduction of carbs, not the complete elimination of it.

        The bottom line is that if you train hard, you need some carbs to power your cardio. Carbs (which are broken down into glucose sugar molecules by your body) are the easiest source for quick energy. Eliminating all carbs are going low carb forces your body into ketosis which requires your liver to produce ketones which are used for energy, but this process is not as efficient or quick as glycolysis (carbs to sugar from blood glucose). Science aside, this means you won’t have sustained energy levels for hard training, especially if you start doing low to no carbs 3 weeks before your weigh in.

        note that the diet given is for a 7 day weight cut. Cutting weight 3 weeks before is an entirely different process.

        Lower your carbs but don’t eliminate them
        Lower your salt intake
        Reduce your calories by 300 – 500 a day (energy levels depending, if you are weak and tired, increase calories slightly)

        You should be able to slice a few kilos of your weight in a few weeks like this.

        3 weeks is plenty of time to cut 8 kilos with a good with diet taking care of 3 kilos in 2 weeks perhaps, and the last coming from water weight at the last week. You may end up having to dehydrate yourself though by the weigh in, (sauna) but if you have the day to recover, then you should ok by night.

        Once you hit the 7 day mark, then follow the protocols of this weight guide specifically .

        I highly recommend though if you make a regular go at fighting rather than a one off, you need to be much closer to your fight weight so you don’t put your body through this. if you fight at 57 kilos as a girl, you should be walking around at 60 kilos, lean. This means you can focus on your CARDIO and your power during the weeks up to the fight, and not just worrying about weight cutting, which kills energy and performance.

        make sense?

        • tarn_naki@hotmail.com'

          Thanks so much. That makes a lot of sense. The 3x daily sessions have been a mix of technique, weights, conditioning or runs and I’m not doing 3x on a sparring night so I can put all my energy into that. I have also upped my carb intake by adding some Multigrain corn thins at lunch, and veges with protein in stadium of just a shake, also a couple of carrots and an apple in the afternoon. My weight is now currently 63.5 so over a couple days have brought it down a bit more. Usually I have been walking around at 61kg but maybe my reduction in carbs throughout the year has caused my metabolism to slow down? I was thinking of putting in some quinoa or sweet potato as well. Also I am fighting two and a half weeks later at the same weight so I def need energy levels to be up. Thanks so much for your help 🙂

          • ‘metabolism to slow down?’

            The only time (from the studies I’ve read and the sport science literature I’ve looked into) your metabolism really slows down (besides you know, getting old) is when you are on a very high calorie deficit for a long period of time. Your body tends to freak out and your metabolic rate can drop 20-40 percent to conserve calories (your body thinks you are starving). But to get to this point, you need to be eating like 700 calories when you need 1400 to maintain your weight and for a long period of time. It can happen if you are used to eating a calorie surplus then suddenly drop to a harsh deficient in calories without adjusting.

            Anyways, lowing your carbs should not really effect your metabolism, but too much of a reduction and it can definitely impact how much stamina you have. You’ll note that most of the low carb dieters don’t always stay super low carb (it’s usually for cycles). And the ones who do are usually not doing intensive cardio activities — only lifting weights or some such. So as a fighter who lives and breathes by cardio, carbs — in moderation — are not your enemy but your best friend :).

            Good luck with your weight cut and your fight and do post back here with your results on both fronts. We’d like to hear!

  9. Tim@tim.com'

    hey I have to lose about 8 pounds in a week for a body fat test before the wrestling season where basically if I’m not at a certain weight I won’t be able to lose enough weight to make the weight class that I want to wrestle at but they have a hydration test so should I just do the calorie deficit and lower my carbs.

    • Wrestlers are usually some of the best weight cutters around.

      Since you are not weighing in for a fight and no performance test is given (I assume) after your cut, you can go all out to cut weight. However, if they test your hydration to make sure you are not dehydrating yourself to cut weight — a big part of the actual weight cut process most people use to shed weight fast the day before a fight, it’s going to be tougher.

      Still 4 kilos is possible, cut out all carbs and drop your salt levels, reduce water intake slowly as per guide (but don’t do any sauna cuts or go running on the treadmill in a sweat suit before the weigh in). Additionally, you might want to look at taking some sort of laxitive the day before to clear your gut weight out. There may be a half a kilo or kilo of ‘crap’ in there that can come out. I normally don’t recommend this as it can impact fight performance, but since you don’t have a match right after your cut, you don’t have to worry about that.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  10. tylerschoolwork@hotmail.com'

    Hey great article. I am fighting an amateur muay thai fight on saturday november 28th. So the weigh in is at 4pm and I fight around 7-7:30. I currently weigh 170 pounds full hydrated. I’ve been drinking a lot of water and training hard this last week and even this morning once I woke up my weight was at 163 pounds and I didn’t feel completely too dehydrated. I looked very lean though. After eating today and drinking lots of water I now weigh 170 pounds and I wanted to know if I should follow your same steps minus the sauna suit or sauna. I plan on training the next three days Mon-wednesday 2 times per day and once on thursday. Friday I will just shadow box and saturday is fight day. I just want to know how much water I should drink and when to stop or start to decrease my intake. Thanks

    • Don’t drink any water for 24 hours the day before the day you fight /weigh in. So if you fight on a Saturday and weigh in on the same day, you would drink NO water on Friday before 4pm. You can have a little water after that, depending on your weight. On the day of your fight / weigh in, you can drink a little bit of water and a have a little bit of carbs. However, don’t gorge yourself. Unfortunately for you, it seems your fight is only a couple hours after weigh in. You’d have more flexibility if you weigh in on the morning and fight at night.

      For water, you will be Thirsty on Saturday, so you will want to have a LITTLE water on saturday. After your weigh in, start drinking moderate amounts of water to rehydrate for the 3 hours, but don’t down liters and liters of water. You will want to keep weighing yourself carefully on the day of the weigh in. If you are exactly .5 kilos under weight, well, you don’t want to drink .5 kilos of water before the weigh in or eat .5 kilos of food etc.

      Keep in mind you have to play this all by ear. What you absolutely don’t want to be is 1 kilo off weight the night before your fight. This means you are going to have to figure out an emergency measure to cut the rest of the weight the next day, which can involve deyhydration, sweat suits, and nasty weight cutting strategies. Considering you are fighting only a couple hours after your weigh in, these measures are NOT recommended if you want any sort of power in your fight.

      • tylerschoolwork@hotmail.com'

        Thanks a lot, so you said friday dont drink any water before 4pm, did you mean dont drink any water after 4pm on friday since I am fighting on saturday and weighing in at 4pm. Or do I not drink any water on friday then just a bit after 4pm? And from Today up until thursday, should I just drink 2 gallons each day? And what should I be eating the day before and of the fight?

        • The day before the fight, you can eat a little bit of carbs, but not too much. Something like pasta. And you don’t want to drink a lot of water the day before the fight. you can drink some, but not 2 gallons — you save the extra water for the first 4-5 days and wind it down the day before the fight and the day of the fight.

          Again, you have to play it by ear. If you are way off on your weight, you can’t drink a lot of water the day before the fight. IF you are very close, you can have some water. The day of the fight, you also need to be pretty close to your weight or at the weight. If you are close to your weight, you have too much water, well you are just going to have to lose that weight.

          The truth about weight cutting is, you don’t know how specifically your body is going to react to your cutting strategies. This is why everyone who plans to cut weight needs to test it out for a week to see how their body reacts and how much weight they can push. They can then optimize this the next time around when actually cutting for a fight.

          Anyways, don’t drink a lot of water the day before the fight. Don’t drink a lot of water the day of the fight, especially if you are off weight. After your weigh in, start drinking water, but again, not too much or you may have issue when you fight.

  11. yusuf_abdallah95@hotmail.com'

    Hey dude, I’ve got a fight on the 13th of Feb. I’m weighing at around 71.5 (178cm tall) in the mornings and I’m supposed to be around 70.5 or under 71kg on fight night. The weigh in is at 8PM and I will be fighting an hour after.

    Can you suggest modifications to my existing diet?

    BREAKFAST at 7: Bowl of cereal (special K) and skimmed milk + slice of toast with peanut butter.
    Mid morning snack: Pitta bread pocket with tuna and various green bits.
    LUNCH at 12: 200 grams of Rice, 1-2 salmon filets and a banana.
    Mid day snack: Banana or some sort of fruit.
    Dinner/Pre Training meal at 5PM: Similar to lunch or sometimes change to 2 poached eggs, 2 slices of toast and 2 vegetarian sausages.
    TRAIN 8.00-9.30
    Post training meal at 10: A pitta bread pocket with tuna and green bits.

    Meanwhile, drinking about 3 litres of water a day. I have a week or so for this fight, how do I adjust this to make weight without feeling like shit? I’ve had 2 fights before and I actually weighed in at 69.4 for my first fight (while trying to make 70, guess the nervous weight just dropped off) and in my second fight I went up to 71kg to meet a dude who was heavier. Won both but this time I’m fighting some dude who’s 69 or so meaning I can’t be any more than 71kg AT 8PM ON THE DAY of the fight. Any advice?

    • The good news here is you’ve got over a week left and you are only have 1 kilo to lose — that’s very easy to do. Cut out most carbs 4 or 5 days before the fight significantly (no bread, no rice, though you can have salads). You can also reduce your water intake and food intake 24 before the fight and you’d probably be that weight without a sweat.

      1 kilo, especially if you are NOT actually doing a real fight weight cut (i.e. cutting out salt, cutting back water, cutting out carbs, sitting in sauna) should be a breeeze — and achievable only with diet without even the need of a water cut.

      Hell, you probably could take a laxative the day before the fight and cut 2 kilos by sitting on the toilet — not recommending that, but the point is that 1 kilo is nothing to stress about!

      Good luck!

  12. damonsoo88@gmail.com'

    Hey Ben,

    Its a great article you have there on weight cut for weigh ins on the same day of fight. I have one question on the water intake, how much water should I be drinking from day 1-5 in gallons or litre?

    • Hey, your normal amount + a liter or two extra. You want to get your body used to an increased amount before you reduce it around day 5 (2 days).

  13. yagamimix@gmail.com'

    Hi Ben!
    Great article and some really great feedbacks as well!
    I have a fight in 10 weeks time and I need to cut 3kgs (6.6 pounds).
    I was wondering when I should start cutting weight? I’m concerned if I cut it too soon, it will bounce back just before the weigh-in.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi mate. The good news is that 3kg is a pretty minor cut as they go and you have a LOT of time.

      The best way is to start cutting down now. 10 weeks is about 2 and a half months. This is plenty of time to shed 3 kilos of fat through a moderate diet (slight calorie deficit). The benefit of this sort of cut is that you won’t impact your fight performance since, as long as you shed the weight as fat, you don’t need to cut anything by the time of the fight.

      The disadvantage is that you may find a slight deficit during fight training is a bit rough. Though you can focus on a weight cut for 1 month, then fight training for the second month.

      If you don’t want to do that, you should be able to cut that weight as per the guide by tinkering with your water weight.

      Cheers

      Ben

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