The term “cutting weight” has recently become synonymous with the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Fighters use their own cutting weight strategies to enter their desired weight class in order to secure a specific match. While cutting weight is just now catching on with the MMA crowd, the sport of wrestling has been safely and effectively doing it for decades.
Due to recent controversies in the MMA world, cutting weight has taken on a less than positive reputation. Athletes are abusing the practice and taking it to extreme measures. This puts them in danger while ruining the technique for so many others.
If you’ve ever been curious about weight cutting for performance or weight loss, it’s time you get the facts. Let’s discover the history of the practice, the benefits, and how you can safely try it.
First things first: How do you define the weight cutting process. Cutting weight is based on losing water weight through the means of increased body heat. The most ideal way to trigger this increase in body heat is with a sauna or a sauna suit.
As mentioned above, the primary use of weight cutting is in the sports field where athletes compete in a weight-class sport such as wrestling or boxing. It’s not just about sweating until you can’t take it anymore. The idea behind weight cutting is to lose a specific amount of water weight that is safe AND effective. We like to refer to this as the “safe zone” for cutting.
When you’re cutting weight, the ideal number to shoot for is approximately 5% to 10% of your bodyweight. For example:
While 5% to 10% of your bodyweight may seem excessive, it’s important to remember that this is water weight. With that said, you may be hesitant to try cutting weight because of the idea that you’ll “gain it all back.” So, the question becomes…
While it’s true that you will gain back the lost water weight, the act of weight cutting can provide you with a number of incredible benefits that have been scientifically proven. Unlike the temporary water weight loss, these benefits are long term. When you use a sauna or, the most convenient option, a sauna suit to trigger the needed increase in body temperature, you are tapping into a world of potential benefits.
The right stress is beneficial for your body. Think about weight lifting. The bench press may be tough at times but it is a positive stressor that promotes several key benefits. Treat weight cutting via a sauna suit like any stressor by staying within safe boundaries and reaping the benefits that follow.
Although sauna usage has been around for thousands of years, science is only now catching up to demonstrate the benefits. On the surface, you are losing water. When your body temperature increases, your body sweats profusely in order to cool itself down. This is to ensure you don’t overheat and experience a multitude of complications, which we’ll discuss below. That’s cutting weight in a nut shell but there is much more going on here.
There are a few incredible ways that sauna usage triggers the benefits mentioned above. Let’s focus on two of the primary mechanisms that are going on behind the scenes.
Okay, not that you’re convinced and you’re ready to give weight cutting a try, let’s talk about the two methods you can use and how to safely achieve your goal.
This long-term method is the ideal method for someone who wants to improve their health without having to worry about a weigh-in for an athletic event. It is focused on a proper diet with a reduced caloric intake while simultaneously increasing your caloric expenditure. In other words, you’ll be eating better foods that are lower in calories while engaging in exercise that promotes high caloric burn.For example: You may want to pair a Paleo or Ketogenic diet with high intensity interval training.
This method is ideal for athletes and those needing to drop weight quickly but with the understanding that the weight will be restored. Remember the ideal safe zone above? Your goal in this short-term weight loss will be 5% to 10% of your total bodyweight. The way to trigger the best water weight loss is to use a sauna or a sauna suit. This heat environment is ideal for triggering all of the benefits we mentioned above including your water weight loss. You can combine sauna usage with training.For example: 30 minutes of MMA drills followed by 15 minutes in a sauna.
Assuming you are following the third option, here is a breakdown of a sample routine that you can use to safely and effective cut weight leading up to an event. Let’s assume your weigh-in or goal day is Saturday:
Everyone has their own ritual of recovery but let’s review the most common and most cost-effective ways to recover following a water weight loss of 5% to 10% of your total body weight.
This may seem like a great deal of weight but just remember that your body is made up of 70% water. You aren’t losing hard-earned muscle or stored body fat. This initial weight loss is solely from water. The desire to lose more weight, regardless of your athletic prowess, is going to be there. While it may be tempting to push the limits of weight cutting to look better or achieve a certain weigh-in, the dangers can quickly become apparent if you abuse this process.
The most obvious danger from weight cutting is dehydration. If you are promoting rapid water loss past the 10% threshold, you are bound to hit a point when your body cannot take anymore. This is a tell-tale sign to stop. For those who continue to push the limits of what their bodies and, more importantly, their internal organs can take, serious complications may arise. For example, losing too much water and entering a state of extreme dehydration can cause your organs to fail. Here are the possible complications of abusing weight cutting from least severe to most severe.
These complications are not meant to scare but to inform. Remember, these side effects are not from safe and responsible weight cutting. These are the complications that arise when people ignore safety warnings and push their bodies far past their limits.
One more temptation you may run into when cutting weight is the idea of using a short cut to achieving your target weight. Aside from diet, exercise, and sauna usage, you may find other methods being pressed upon you. We would recommend steering clear of these tempting tricks:
The benefits of heat exposure are clear when you safely approach it. Whether you’re an athlete or simply someone who wants to improve overall health, the act of weight cutting may be beneficial to both performance and longevity. Follow a safe method as listed above to maximize benefits without exposing yourself to complications.
As always, if you have any questions, please reach out and contact us directly.
For more information on the benefits of the sauna suit, please visit our article section at kuttingweight.com/blogs/news.
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