Day 49: My Bad Experiences with Weight Cutting
Today, I woke up and weighed myself. Weight is: 82.2Kg. Yesterday I consumed 271 calories below my BMR and did 788 calories of exercise above my BMR. Total deficit is 1059 calories.
Some people may get discouraged if this was happening to them. I have a 1059 calorie deficit and gain .4Kg. As I’ve said before, it is water retention. I drink around 4 litres of fluids each day. I’m not worried. I know it’s water, and water is heavy.
Some of my knowledge has come from personal experience. For example, I learned how not to cut weight by doing exactly what I warn against not doing in these posts, in my book, and in my course. I cut back on my fluids for weeks before the weigh in and I lost too much, too quickly so I lost a lot of muscle mass. Then, after the weigh in, I ate and drank too much too quickly. I spent the night with stomach cramps, gas, and heartburn. On competition day I had no energy and a bad case of heartburn. In the end, I did not compete very well.
I lost too much weight too quickly
There is a formula I’ll talk about in a later post that calculates how much weight you can lose on a daily basis without losing muscle mass. There are only so many calories from existing body fat that your body can burn in one day. If you have too much of a calorie deficit, your body will start pulling those calories from your muscles.
The fat burning chemical process your body uses is complex, slow, and produces dangerous waste. In a normal situation, you can do it, but in an extreme weight loss situation, your body may not be able to keep up. I got lost reading the wiki article on fat metabolics. There are so many partial reactions and intermediate stages, it’s crazy. Because of those stages and reactions, it’s a slow process. Slow enough that there is a limit to how much the body can do in one day. The most dangerous waste products from burning fat are ketones and acetones. If you already have liver and kidney issues, increasing the level of those chemicals in your system could be dangerous. Normally your body can handle amounts a bit outside the normal range, but in extreme weight loss situations, sometimes it can’t.
Finally, once you start to burn too many calories, you have the process of your body breaking down muscle and pulling nutrients out of them. I think it’s pretty clear that except under very rare circumstances, this is not an optimal outcome. This process produces its own set of bad chemicals.
I cut back fluids too early
Your body needs water. Even a small reduction in water can hurt many functions. Thinking, muscle movements, recovery, and energy conversion all require water, and every little bit you’re short hampers your ability to operate. As I say in other posts, you can go 12 hours with no water and recover. You cannot go 24 hours without water and expect to live. I went 2 weeks with reduced water. My training and studies were dramatically affected. In the end, it was probably one of my most negative experiences in sport.
My recovery techniques were also extremely poor. I gobbled down as much food and drank as much water as I could in as short a time as possible. Then I sat around all bloated and had an incredibly uncomfortable distended stomach. Then when I didn’t feel too bad, I ate and drank more. Soon after, heartburn settled in. Heartburn sucks. Then gas hit me. I couldn’t get rid of anything, so my stomach was distended. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t sleep. Gas sucks too. So, the night before the competition, I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t get the right food types into my system. Competition day did not go well. I lost key matches I should have won, and in the end, did not qualify for the National tournament when I should have.
In the end, I would have been losing muscle mass to get down to my target weight, but, if I had done it right, I would still have been strong and healthy at that weight. I should have given myself more time, I should have been in the weight room maintaining my strength (or at least minimizing strength loss), I should have increased my water intake, and I should have been very careful with my nutrition. Finally, I should have been very methodical with my recovery. Slow measured sips of water, and intelligent food choices, slowly ingested over a longer period of time.