How to Maintain Your Fighting Weight

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Any competitive sport you participate in you will most likely be separated into class weights. No, this is not discrimination! This is for the overall safety of everyone involved, and to make things more evenly matched and for a fairer competition. Therefore, you will want to maintain that weight of your designated class, or you're out of the game! What you don't want to do is regulate your body weight in an unhealthy manner. 

Fasting or losing water weight last minute may affect your performance. Your best bet is to keep a healthy and steady weight throughout your time in that class. If however, you find yourself under pressure the last week, there are a few safe ways to cut your weight quickly that we can recommend.

"I am not losing weight, I am getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again!"

Steps to Maintaining Your Fighting Weight

It's very difficult to lose weight just for a fight, then maintain that new weight. Many find themselves resorting back to old habits and gaining back everything they worked so hard to get rid of. As soon as their event, fight or goal is reached, they fall back into their old ways, only having to do it all over again the next time. 

Maintaining a good and healthy weight is vital for competitive fighting, but more importantly for a good quality of life. Maintaining that fighting weight is the goal. Diets, cleanses, intensive exercise programs, all are great ways to lose a ton of weight, but the key is to keep it off once and for all, and that takes the most effort. What you don't want to do is torture yourself with restrictive diets, obsessive and often stressful calorie counting, and battling constant hunger. All are no fun, and something you definitely don't want to have to keep repeating or doing on a regular basis every time you need to weigh in. 

You want to get rid of the weight permanently by adopting a healthier lifestyle, which includes regularly eating healthier and exercising. It may take longer this way, but in the end, making those changes for the good, will be beneficial in the long run. Here are a list of ways you can maintain a healthy body weight without starving yourself and feeling miserable in the process:

● Eat often, but make them healthy meals. As counter intuitive as it may sound, eating more frequently prevents overeating and keeps your metabolism boosted. Aim for three healthy meals and 2-3 snacks a day so that you are eating every 2-3 hours. 

● Say no to the extras. You can cut so many calories by doing this. Avoid the cheese on your sandwich, go for a healthier hummus spread. Avoid the dipping sauces, or extra salad dressings. 

● Use your calendar and pre-plan. Organizing your meals ahead of time has been noted to aid in good eating habits. Knowing what you will eat every night for dinner eliminates that need run out for fast food last minute, or grab something unhealthy because you are starving. Also, set up your exercise time for the week and stick to your schedule as best as possible. Even setting alarms for reminders!

● Stay hydrated. With every meal, try to drink at least 16 ounces of water. Along with hydrating your body, it will slow down your eating pace and you're more likely to consume less calories per meal. 

● Keep it 50/50. Make half of your plate fruits or veggies. You will receive an abundance of nutrients, and keep your meal low calorie. 

● Junk the junk. Stick to the real food! If you want to snack, grab some fruit, nuts or yogurt. The variety in those three options are insane! Do not reach for a bag of chips or processed and packaged food. They will not satisfy your hunger, and leave you wanting more. 

● Snack on hard to eat foods. If you eat out of habit, not out of hunger, you don't have to suffer. You can snack on foods that are time consuming and difficult to eat such as oranges, edamame, or pistachios. All these require work, and make you slow down to think about how much you are actually putting in your mouth. 

● Stop eating before you are stuffed and full. Chances are, after 20 minutes you will feel very content. This is a great habit to get into, you will notice that it is true, it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full!

Steps to Cut Weight Last Minute

If it comes down to it and despite all your previous efforts you still have not reduced your weight to the limit required, you may have to use the following methods to reach your weigh-in goal. It isn't the best way, as you could potentially sacrifice your fighting stamina and energy, so reach for this method as your last resort. 

● One week prior to your event and weigh in, lower your carbohydrate intake by half by avoiding starchy foods such as as pasta, rice, and bread. You will also want to avoid fruits and sugars. For every gram of carb you intake, your body retains three grams of water weight! Cutting carbs also helps you lose weight by lowering your caloric intake. There is a big reason why you don't cut out all carbs during the last week. For one, you would have insufficient time to refill your glycogen reserves. Glycogen is a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans. Second, keeping some carbs in your diet will give you the energy to continue training at your best. Being able to train hard and not gassing out will keep your technique sharp, your cardio in tact, and your confidence levels up. This is why we recommend lowering your carbs and not eliminating them. Keep the carbs reduced, but still in the mix. 

● Balance your salt intake. When the body's sodium levels are high, it retains water. On the other end of the spectrum, if you cut out all salt, the body will also retain water. Keep the sodium intake low, and keep reducing it as the week goes by. 

● Drink lots of Water. This will aid in flushing out the excess salt and toxins. It may seem counterintuitive, but it's not. By maintaining sodium levels, you will urinate the water right out. 

● Stop drinking water the day before the fight. This is a trick. The body is so used to all the fluids and urinating, it will continue to urinate despite the lack of incoming fluids. Thus, you will eliminate any excess water weight that is left in your system.

● Eat a few carbs and fat the day before weigh in. Why? Fat has little weight and is full of dense calories, while carbs provide energy. This will guarantee that your body has enough energy before the fight, while simultaneously reducing the amount of waste matter being held in your bowels, keeping you as light as possible. 

● The day of the fight, eat carbs. This will restore your glycogen levels. But remember not to drink any water as it will bind with the carbs and increase your weight. 

If you still need to cut weight after all this, sweat the remaining water weight by visiting a sauna, or running with a sweat suit on. But you truly do not want to reach this point, it could cost you your performance during your fight or event as you place a huge strain on your body by dehydrating it, and you have minimal time to recover from this situation. Use this last resort, as just that: a last ditch resort. If weigh ins are a regular part of your life, keep the weight maintained by choosing a healthy lifestyle. Your body will thank you, and give you many happy returns and wins!
 

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