Why MMA Weight Loss Secrets?
I decided to go with the name “MMA Weight Loss Secrets” because it created a differentiator for me. My expertise is in weight loss for combat sports that have weight classes, so I wanted to leverage that knowledge, but the knowledge itself is highly transferable to all people who want to lose weight. The only difference between your neighbour Suzie losing weight to get healthy and your nephew Jimmy the wrestler losing weight for National’s is the final sprint to the weigh-in. MMA is really gaining mainstream traction and becoming very popular, so not only are there more people who need to learn this, but more people are seeing what MMA competitors do and wondering how they do it.
The “secret” isn’t really a secret. Instead, it is knowledge that is not widely disseminated. What’s really funny is there is another group of people who use the same techniques: Models. Underwear and swimsuit models will use the same techniques as combat sports athletes to look the way they do. So, how do they do it?
First they lose body fat, then they lose water, and they lose a lot of water. That’s it: “the secret”.
This is how it’s done: They will get down to the point where they have either essential body fat or just a small percentage above that. For men, essential body fat is 3%, for women, it is 10%. Then, 24 hours before the weigh-in (or the photo shoot), they will cut their water intake in half. Then, 8 to 12 hours before the shoot or weigh in, they will cut out all water, and sweat out whatever water they can. Once they get to their target weight, they will only stay there for a few hours or minutes, then, after the weigh-in or the photo-shoot, they will replenish all the weight they lost. Some people will even go on intravenous to replenish water and electrolytes as quickly as possible.
Before reading further, I need to state the standard disclaimer: I am not a doctor, do not consider anything in this article as medical advice. There are now two questions: 1) How do you get down to essential body fat? 2) How do you lose all that water? My book is all about cutting body fat. So go buy that if you haven’t already to learn that information. This post is about losing the water.
I’m not a doctor, I’m just describing my experiences. Consult a doctor before trying any of this yourself. Water loss as a form of weight loss must be done very carefully because your body absolutely needs water. Also, it is only a temporary form of weight loss. 24 hours without water and your kidneys will shut down. When your kidneys shut down, you will probably die. But, if you cut out your water correctly, you will have no problems. Your body evolved to endure the hardships of minimal water intake, and even no water for a short period of time. Think about this: If you get 8 or even 12 hours of straight sleep, how often did you get up and have a drink of water? Did you die?
So, the answer to the question “How do they lose that water?” is, they sweat it out. The easiest way to sweat it out is in a sauna. They sit in a sauna, for several hours, until the water is gone. They may even wear a sauna suit and possibly exercise while in the sauna. Some people know exactly how long they have to sit in the sauna to lose a pound of water. I used to bring a stationary bike into the sauna. The sauna was set between 35C and 40C, I had a plastic sauna suit, and I rode the stationary bike. It didn’t take me long to lose that water. I knew that cracking a good sweat was .2Kg and would take 20 minutes, then every 10 minutes after that was another .2Kg. I’d check the clock, calculate how long I needed, then do it. I would not check my weight again until I knew I was where I needed to be. That first 20 minutes was hard, so I wanted to make sure of where I was and how much I needed to drop before I went in. Also, to weigh in, you need to be dry and not sweating, so it was costly time wise to make a mistake. If you miscalculated, you need to put your cold wet clothes back on before heading into the sauna again. Overall, I could expect to lose 1KG per hour in the sauna. One final problem: You can’t spend 4 straight hours in the sauna or you’ll overheat. Again, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t recommend this. I’m just conveying information on how people do this.
Post weigh in consists of replenishing your water and electrolytes. Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade, and diluted fruit juice are all good for this. You want to drink slowly. Take a sip, wait 20 seconds, take a sip. Do this until you have drank as much water as you lost. If you are under a doctor’s supervision and whatever activity/sport you’re doing allows intravenous recovery, then I guess you can, but nearly all sports consider this “Performance Enhancing” and have outlawed it, so, if you’re an athlete, it could be called cheating.
Once most of your water has been replenished, you can start eating. Your meal plan will depend on when your competition is, if you’re an athlete. Fats and proteins digest more slowly that carbohydrates. If you have less than 12 hours before competing, you will want to eat high carbohydrate food. If you sleep overnight, you can add some protein and fats to the meal. If you did everything correctly, the short term water loss will not affect you, and your glycogen stores should be adequate for competition, although, you will still need to continue eating throughout the competition.