I honestly had no idea that the weight cut article 3 days ago would turn into this and had no planned on spending any time on it. However, one of my other training partners who is mid-cut to 62kg right now produced a pretty hysterical and somewhat insightful response to what Dutch and I posted. He makes some good points and furthers some of the points we have already made. This is the last article on the weight cut. I promise. But this one had to be shared.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Bobby Sirkis:
Before I dive in deep into the weight cutting discussion, let me offer you this first bit of advice, which should be a prerequisite….GET STRONG! Try to qualify for a weight class higher than what you plan to compete at for what ever meet, if you have the total go for an A session total. There are probably a million different methods to cut weight, but everyone you talk to will tell you the same thing….”it sucks!!” So the least amount of times you have to do it, the better you life will be.
Most of you may know me from what I do in my ‘free’ time when I host weightlifting meets such as Copperhead, Lock and Load, and this small meet the American Open. Here is some quick background info on me, since I have heard that some people can’t believe that I have a “real job”. I am 32 years old and I am a software consultant. My weekdays generally consist of a ‘quick’ 45-minute squat program in the morning, sit in front of a computer for a bunch of hours, and then work the movements in the evening. I also double up as a ‘part time’ coach. Part time meaning 1 athlete 1 time a week. I am usually at home after 7pm and try to be in bed between 9:30 and 10:00.
Although Spencer, Dutch, and myself all have slightly different methods to cut weight but we each have one thing in common, it is a multi-week process. Cutting weight is a process and not something that can be done overnight. You shouldn’t be cutting more than 2% of your body weight 24 hours before you weigh in. Anything over that starts to affect your performance and can just be downright dangerous (Side note – there are extreme methods of world class lifters cutting lots water weight successfully before weigh in. If you were world class you wouldn’t be reading our advice).
When I cut weight, I am cutting weight to compete in the 62kg weight class. Keeping the 2% rule in mind, my goal weight is 63.24kg (62 *1.02). I document this in my workout schedule to make sure that I know I need to be at this weight by the beginning of the final week of training, which is the week of the competition. (Side note – I track my work out schedule in Excel. I add a tab for each week in the training cycle.)
My weight cutting process starts 7 weeks before the event. You might be saying, “WHAT?!?!?! 7 weeks is almost 2 months!” I, like Spencer, like to eat whatever I want pretty much whenever I want. Sometimes just to spite Dutch I will order food with extra gluten. Especially right after a competition. I honestly hate being under 10% body fat and by the time I actually weigh in I am closer to 8%. I also think that if you are not a model, 6-pack abs outside of competition isn’t something to that is needed. Do they look cool and help you pick up chicks? Yes, but let’s be honest, you are a weightlifter and you are trying to qualify for a national meet. The only think you are going to want to talk about is your snatch, or worse yet, some other dude’s snatch. Pretty sure no girl out there want to talk to you about that sort of thing. So unless you are some type of genetic freak like Dutch or Spencer and were born with abs, the only thing you are going to get with abs is hungry and sad when you can’t eat ice cream.
So back to why I start 7 weeks out. Believe it or not, multiple weeks of eating cookies/ice cream/cake/miracle tarts/chocolate/etc… can increase body fat. And generally about this time I am about 66kg. So 7 weeks before the event I limit myself to 1 cheat meal during the week with weekends being free range to what ever I want (Note that a non-cheat meal is 95% paleo). I do this just to wean myself off of the good stuff and try to control my appetite. I do this for 2 weeks.
Some of my training buddies may have heard me refer to this and my ‘green’ weeks. I call them that because in my workout plan I call each tab ‘week X’ with X being the number of weeks remaining before the competition. I change the tab color for weeks 6 and 7 to the color green just so I have something visual. At this time I also start documenting my body weight each morning when I wake up. It is pretty eye opening when you put down a double 6 when you need to be 62 in less than 2 months.
Weeks 4 and 5, called my yellow weeks, I reduce my cheats to only during the weekend and none during the week. I don’t have the luxury to eat many small meals through out the day so I eat the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I generally start eating the same breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. For breakfast it is about .25lb of roast beef, .25lb of fruit, few handfuls of cashews (Nasty side note – if you need to kick start your digestive process eat lots of tree nuts), and lots of water. For lunch it has been about .25lb chicken, 3 cups of spaghetti squash, and a few handfuls of cashews. Dinner is .5lb chicken, lots of asparagus, put some cayenne pepper and some butter on it, a few strips of bacon, and a kombucha.
Weeks 2 and 3, red weeks, I take away all of my cheats. I ensure that I wake up early to cook breakfast and to have food to eat right after I train on the weekend that mimics what I eat during the week. This is extremely important because if you accidentally miss a meal it is hard to go to that grocery store to get your normal food when hungry and cutting weight. I like to also take this time as I start tapering my workouts starting in week 2 to start spending some time in the sauna or taking a hot bath for 15 minutes. I’ll do this once every few days mainly to relax, but it does help keep some of the water weight down. I always feel refreshed when I do this because I don’t stay too long. When I do this I make sure I weigh in and weigh out so I can get an idea of how much water I can cut in 15 minutes.
The week of the competition, black week, there are no cheats and I start cutting back some of my dinner intake. I am usually under my goal weight at the beginning of this week. Since I sit in the sauna or take a hot bath, I keep pedialyte at my desk and drink half a bottle every morning. As I am typing this, I am 4 days out and I weigh 63.5kg after dinner. That means I should expect to be close to 62.5kg tomorrow morning, 3 days out. My goal is to be as close to 62 as possible for this meet since I am going to be extremely busy at the American Open and probably will not have the time to cut as much as I would like to cut. Plus, sitting in a nasty hotel bathtub for extended amounts of time is not fun…especially when you are already anxious for the competition.
In closing, you have seen 3 different approaches to cutting weight for a competition. Although each person is slightly different, there are similarities. Those similarities are we follow a process and eat clean for a while.
Just a few more days for freedom!
3 days out…