How to Safely Cut Weight Before a Meet
By Angela SalveoFoundation Nutrition Coach, Angela Salveo recently wrote an article for the Catalyst Athletics Performance Menu Magazine. Below is a snippet of the article with expert insight from CrossFit Salus member, Dr. Yvonne Giunta-Lambros, MD, FAAP as well as insight from Brianna M. Diorio M.S., FDN-P, Clinical Nutritionist.
Because the magazine is a subscription based magazine, we are not able to share the entire article, but we encourage you to click on the link to read through and enjoy the snippets below!
Cutting Weight Like A Pro
Just like your training and nutrition needs, cutting weight for a meet is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. And, surprise… it’s not for everyone.
Since some competitive weightlifters train slightly heavier than their weight class, cutting bodyweight without sacrificing performance for competition day becomes a matter of planning strategically and flexing some willpower muscles.
As you’re aware, the rules of a weightlifting meet require athletes to weigh in one or two hours before the start of the competition. With such a small window of time to rehydrate and replenish energy stores, your weight cut needs to be realistic and safe.
Are you ready to get started?
These tips will help you get organized for your weight cut, but you need to be prepared for some mental challenges along the way.
But, before we dive in to these weight-cut strategies, let’s talk briefly about setting yourself up for success in the months ahead….
One Week to Competition: What is An Attainable Goal?
So, let’s say you trimmed down the fat, but you’re still not quite there. How much weight can you expect to cut in that final week?
Dr. Yvonne Giunta-Lambros, MD, FAAP, who is the Division Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Northwell Health, Staten Island University Hospital (and our very own member at CrossFit Salus), suggests that cutting weight is not a sustainable long-term plan and should only be considered for serious athletes who are attempting to win at their weight class. “If not done properly, you could compromise health, strength and performance for weight loss,” she said….
Last Minute Techniques
In the article I address plenty of techniques to get you where you need to be.
According to Brianna M. Diorio M.S., FDN-P, Clinical Nutritionist, “most of the weight that is lost for weigh-in day will be due to lowering glycogen stores and losing water weight.” But, realize that everyone has individual differences that is going to affect how they lose fat, body weight, water weight and how it affects their performance and training load. That’s why it’s best to do a test cut and approach it with the guidance of a coach who can customize the following to meet your specific needs. (Ladies: remember that hormonal changes cause you to retain or release water at different times during your cycle. It may be worth trying your test cut in the same time in your cycle as the real cut might be)…
Keep in mind, these tips are to be used as a general starting point, and while these recommendations are relatively safe, they don’t come without risks…. Risks that, Dr. Yvonne Giunta-Lambros, has seen firsthand. “I have seen several patients come in with severe dehydration. With that, there is risk for kidney injury or failure and must be treated in the hospital with fluids/electrolytes and rehydration.” She recommends that anyone who is on a strict diet secondary to renal disease or failure, diabetes, electrolyte disorders, etc., should be very cautious when trying to acutely cut water weight. “This could completely alter their electrolyte balance and push them into acidosis, dehydration or even renal failure.” …
After the Weight Cut & Before Weigh-In
After the weight cut, you need to rehydrate properly and choose fluids wisely. According to Dr. Yvonne Giunta-Lambros, choose a rehydration solution with a very acute balance of sugar and sodium, such as Pedialyte, which contain sodium, glucose, potassium, chloride and zinc. She states, “Other products may have a higher concentration of glucose and not enough sodium which increases the risk of dehydration even further. And most commercial sports drinks have a higher amount of glucose and less sodium.” …