How fighters cut weight so It doesn’t affect their performance

Cutting weight in MMA is one of the most discussed things people talk about
lately, especially because some of the major fights in big organizations such as
UFC and Bellator have been cancelled due to fighters missing weight. What
people need to understand is that cutting weight became a part of the MMA
culture.As a fighter, if you are not doing it, it will mean you will be the smaller
fighter in the cage and you are at disadvantage from the beginning. I heard a lot
of comments from some people saying „why does he cut weight, just fight in
your original weight class“, and if you are not knowledgeable about the sport,
then this argument could make sense.

If you are not cutting weight, your
opponent will probably cut weight and as such have a size advantage over you.

However we have seen that some organisations such as One FC started doing
hydration testing which aims to prevent fighters from losing excesive amount of
weight. I truly hope that all organisations are going to use this module for their
fighters in near future, but until that happens , topic of weight cutting in MMA
will remain one of the main topics when it comes to this sport. When I became
FFC champion in lightweght divison my coaches and manager were advising me
to start cutting weight so I can drop down to featherweight divison. Their
argument was that lightweight fighters are too big for me if I wanted to compete
on a high level, and they believed I would do much better in a lower weight
class against skilled opponents. What they weren’t able to tell me is how to cut
that weight efficiently so I don’t feel the consequences of weight cutting in the
ring. For my first fight in featherweight division, I was following some
guidelines that I read from the internet as well as advice from my good friend
,Edgars Skrivers, who is also a successful fighter. Advice I received was helpful
however I didn’t have enough knowledge nor experience and did things that
made me feel the consequences of weight cut in the fight. It is important to do
this under guidance of an experienced nutritionist, not only with tips you found
on internet. In my second fight I got more guidelines and I was more aware what
needs to be done before and after the weight cut. So far, I had five fights in
featherweight divion and I learned how to manage my weight during fightcamp
and how to cut it properly so I will share few advices with our readers. Before
you read this advice please understand that I am not a nutritionist and that
weight cut is a process that should be closely monitored and supervised by a
professional You should probably consider to get an advice from a nutritionist
or a doctor if you are planning to cut weight so you know you are doing

everything right and that your health is not endangered in any moment! Afterall,
health comes first!

Regulary monitor your calorie intake during fight camp
If you are a disciplined athlete you should probably be at the same weight
throughout the whole year, but of course there are fighters that have some
periods where they put a lot of weight and they just cut them during fight camp
(myself included). I strongly believe that your weight in training should be same
as your weight in a fight. Sometimes it is hard for athletes to stay disciplined and
motivated throughout the whole year, especially if you are stressing about your
job, relationship, finances etc…Time restrictive eating (intermittent fasting) is
really effective way to keep your weight as low as possible. When I went to train
in Mjolnir in Iceland, my good friend Luka Jelčić (ex Bellator fighter,
headcoach of Mjolnir) told me to start monitoring my daily calorie intake. I am
very thankful to have received this advice, because it helped me a lot. I bought a
kitchen scale which I use for weighing all the food that I eat and I installed
application which helped me keep track of my calorie intake. There are a lot of
applications which can be used for tracking your calorie intake and it takes only
few minutes to do install them. These apps can show you the exact amount of
calories you consumed that day so you know when you need to stop eating and
how to divide meals to satisfy your hunger but still keep you within your daily
calorie intake goal. What is more important, you can also keep track how much
carbohydrates, protein and fats did you take during the day. For athletes it is
important to take 2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. If you are training
two or three times per day you can probably lose around 1000 calories during
these workouts (of course this largely depends on type and intensity of the
workout) and if you don’t eat enough calories and macronutrients, your body
may feel sore and possibility of getting injured increases as well. Be sure to eat
enough macronutrients but don’t forget your vitamins and minerals
aswell.Eating whole foods instead of processed food is also going to increase
your performance and your overall health so make sure to choose unprocessed
foods as much as you can.

Try to maintain the same weight that you expect to
have in a fight.
Sometimes fighters don’t feel good if after the weigh ins they
put too much weight on, and they feel like their reaction is not as fast as it was
in training. On sparring days try to eat same food you would eat on a fight day,

that will help you to find out what food makes you perform better and which one
doesn’t.

WATERLOADING
If you have been cutting weight before you will know that waterloading is one
of the most important parts of weight cut. When you reduce carb intake and start
drinking 2 gallons of water per day, your body is actually adapting by letting
this water go, and you will go to toilet a lot. Try to keep up with the same (high)
calorie intake despite cutting down on carbs. You can get everything your body
needs at this stage from other nutrients. Some nutritionist recommend cutting
salt too early before weight in, but in my opinion that is very dangerous and it
can drain your body more that it has to. While I was researching more about the
weight cut, I came across nutritionist, Danny Lennon, who said that you can
remove salt from your diet last two days of your weight cut . I tried it, and it
works very well for me.
PUTTING WEIGHT BACK ON PROPERLY
After going through the whole dieting and weight cutting process, putting
weight back on seems like an easy and fun part. However, for me that’s often not
the case. After you finished with the weight ins, you usually feel exhausted, and
sometimes you don’t feel like eating. In moments like this, it is important to
have a person you can trust to be by your side and help you put the weight back
on. Waterloading before the weight cut is important but rehydration before the
fight is crucial because you don’t want to be dehydrated walking into the fight.
Drinking a lot of water, taking plenty of salts and potassium, and eating a lot of
carbs is what you need to do right after the weight cut. Try to maintain
approximately 4 to 1 carbs to protein ratio. Eating simple carbs, and things that
are easy to digest is the best choice because your body will not waste too much
energy on digestion.

In the end I want to make people reading this article remember that I am a
professional MMA fighter and not a nutritionist
, and if you are going to cut
weight you should probably consider talking to a nutritionist, if possible one
that is familiar with combat sports. However, I hope you could find some
usefull tips for your weight cut.

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