#365 – The Ways & Wherefores of Weight Cuts

Gillian Ward joins Niki Sims to talk weight cuts and Niki’s recent experience cutting weight, which Gillian helped her with. Why cut weight, and how do you cut weight if you decide to cut weight?


Weight cuts aren’t for beginners, and people need to really think about why they want to cut weight. This isn’t about sustainable weight loss like we’ve discussed with Take Charge 10 and the Nutrition Series. It’s probably better–especially around weight cuts for weight class events–to compete in a heavier weight class. Cutting weight adds a large amount of stress and can limit performance.

Others may want to cut weight for their job (e.g. the military) or improve their appearance for specific event (wedding, reunion, beach).

Finally, some people compete in physique competitions. This is the most advanced type of weight cut, as not only do you want to look better but looking better in a specific way at a designated time is the whole point of the competition. This requires more precise work and dedication, both long term leading up to the competition and in the days and hours before the competition.

The amount of weight matters. Other factors to think about here, beyond the reason the weight cut, include: salt, carbohydrates, sweeteners–sugar & artificial, alcohol, fluid intake, and, for females, which part of the cycle the weigh in will occur during.

Niki cut weight for a BJJ event and had planned to cut months in advance, so performance mattered. She has also worked with Gillian before, so Gillian had lots of information about Niki with how she and her body react to certain interventions.

Niki also has high compliance, so not following Gillian’s prescriptions wasn’t a worry. Niki was able to be transparent with Gillian of all the relevant details leading up to the event. They knew the amount of time between the weight cut and the event, and Niki knew exactly why she wanted to cut weight.

Niki manipulated carbs and liquids, and the suffering window was relatively short. She upped her liquid intake leading up to the event, then cut it immediately before the weigh-in. She also reduced carbohydrates immediately before the weigh-in.

Niki & Gillian also had contingencies prepared if, on the morning of the weigh Niki’s weight was not where it needed to be. Contingencies can include sauna time or other ways to induce sweating and fluid loss. Because these contingencies were not ideal, it’s really important to follow the plan. The contingencies are contingencies for a reason. One hand trick Niki plans to keep is cucumber and lemon in water.

Cutting weight is ultimately about manipulating fluid. Outside of manipulating fluids, manipulating salt, processed food, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and carbohydrates can all be factors.
Gillian’s #1 rule is to keep the weight cut healthy: there is no reason to risk ending up in a hospital.
Finally, Niki & Gillian discuss what many people can relate to: wanting to improve appearance for a specific event or period of time. Ultimately, this is NOT about scale weight but rather appearance, so fluid can be manipulated to prevent belly bloat. If the event is far off, sustainable weight loss approaches should be planned, and then the icing on the cake can be some fluid manipulation.
A final note. Weight cuts can be exhausting, so, again, really think about why you want to do this. You’re adding stress to the event, and it might not be worth the effort.




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