My Meet Cutting Protocol – The Easiest Way To Safely Lose 8-10 Pounds in 1 Week
First off, thanks to my coach Jesse Burdick and also powerlifter/nutrition coach Tony Montgomery for the advice they’ve given me in making weight during the past 3 meets I did in 2016. I competed as a 220 lifter in March, then decided to jump back to 242 for both my June & November meets. I’ve never had to cut a lot of weight into a meet, and I consider the process of losing 8-10 pounds in a week to be a total cakewalk (as a 250 pound guy). Bigger cuts in the range of 15-20, or especially 25-30 pounds require much more planning and mental toughness to endure the process necessary in successfully making weight. This article is meant for a newer lifter who has no significant experience with cutting weight, and would like to try cutting 6-10 pounds into their next powerlifting meet. For the sake of keeping things simple, I am going to omit the mention of salt baths, sauna use, magnesium citrate, Lasix/Furosemide, or the use of IVs for reconstitution. The expected outcome of following this protocol is that you will make weight with relative ease & no real suffering, with as few variables taken into consideration as possible. You will sacrifice no performance at all while on the platform and you will feel great while you’re breaking PRs throughout the day.
One really quick note is to keep in mind that I’m coming from the perspective of a 250 pound guy who competes in meets that allow for a 24 hour weigh-in. If you’re in the range of 155 – 190 pounds, you can expect to lose slightly less weight than what I’m about to write out. Still, the overall guidelines should stay roughly the same and once you understand the overall processes taking place, you can make your own adjustments later on and fine-tune your individual cutting protocol as you gain more experience & better learn how your body responds.
WHAT YOU NEED TO HAVE BEFORE THE WEEK OF YOUR MEET:
10 gallons of DISTILLED water
1 bottle of Pedialyte
Optional – Glucose tablets (a 50 count jar is more than enough)
Optional – Probiotic tablets (Nature’s Bounty is a good brand)
Not optional – An accurate weight scale for daily use (duh)
GENERAL OUTLINE WITH FRIDAY WEIGH-IN / SATURDAY MEET:
Water Load –
Sunday- Drink 1.5 gallons of distilled water
Monday- Drink 2 gallons of distilled water
Tuesday- Drink 2.5 gallons of distilled water
Wednesday- Drink 2.5 gallons of distilled water
Thursday- Drink 1 – 1.5 gallons of distilled water before a set time. Amount of water to consume & time to discontinue water all consumption to be determined based on morning weight.
This was my water loading protocol designed to lose 10 pounds without any actual sodium manipulation done with my actual meals. One really important thing to point out is the usage of distilled water for the duration of the entire loading process. Unlike purified drinking water, distilled water is completely devoid of any minerals or salts. As you switch out your regular drinking water with the use of distilled water, you may notice within 1-2 days that you’re secreting more amounts of urine every time you use the bathroom. This is due to the depletion of sodium and electrolyte levels taking place in your body, and your water weight is being flushed out. In my personal experience, this took place even with the extra consumption of water from the protocol I’ve written above. For my November meet, I lost 3 pounds by Monday morning after I was done drinking 1.5 gallons of distilled water the day before. I’m definitely not going to complain about that!
While drinking 2 – 2.5 gallons of water might sound like a tough chore during the water loading process of your cut, you just have to deal with it and get used to pissing every 15-30 minutes. It’s only for a few days, and for such a painless weight cut you’re being put through, you can muster up an ounce of mental toughness to drink some freaking water. Don’t cheat on drinking the excess amount of water – the mechanism behind this is the notion of “super-compensation” that will take place by Friday for your weigh-in. To put it bluntly, you’re priming your body to piss out a large quantity of water from Sunday through Wednesday. When Thursday rolls around and you’re only drinking 1-1.5 gallons of water for the entire day, guess what – you’re still going to piss buckets. This causes a net loss of water weight within your body, in addition to water weight you might have already lost from Sunday through Thursday.
By Thursday morning, you should be anywhere from 1 to 6 pounds away from your target weight. Depending on how far off you are by this morning, we’ll play out a few scenarios for you to follow on the remainder of the day:
0-1 pounds – You’re an asshole and every guy trying to cut 15 pounds today hates you right now. Drink 1.5 gallons of distilled water throughout the entire day and eat all of your regular meals. No restriction on when to stop drinking water.
2-3 pounds – Drink 1.5 gallons of distilled water. Discontinue drinking at 6 PM. Eat all of your planned meals. Small sips to quench thirst during the evening is OK.
4-6 pounds – Drink 1 gallon of distilled water. Discontinue drinking by 12 PM. Eat all of your planned meals, but drop your carb intake to zero and minimize your sodium intake.
Monitor your weight throughout the day and see how your body responds once you’ve discontinued drinking water. We want to be within 1-3 pounds of your target weight before you fall asleep. If your weight seems to be moving down a little slow during the evening, wear sweatpants and a hoodie to warm your body but DO NOT perform any cardio. If all goes well, you should wake up to be either under your target weight or within 1-2 pounds of making weight at the most.
It’s Friday morning and almost time to weigh in. If you’re under your target weight, great job! Unless you have some sort of personal bet against someone based on your Wilks score, there is no reason to weigh in less than you need to. Drink some Gatorade and snack on a protein bar. Just be smart and keep your weight within where it has to be. If you’re about a pound off from making weight, you can spit in a cup while you’re driving/walking to your weigh-in location. By virtue of your body expelling water weight just from being exposed to warm air, you might even lose a pound doing absolutely nothing while getting to weigh-ins – but there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe and spitting out water if you feel like you need to. Now, if things are just not going your way for whatever reason and you think you’re still 2 pounds away from making weight within 1-2 hours of having to weigh in, blast the heater in your car to maximum while wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. This is a mini-sauna experience and along with spitting water, helps make weight at the last minute. One thing I’ve personally also experimented with is popping a caffeine pill or sipping on some coffee upon waking up. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and helps expel more water weight whenever you need to pee. This can help too with making weight.
With all that said and done, you have hopefully made weight and can now eat & drink again! Now, you want to get your weight back up to at LEAST where it originally was before the entire cutting process began. Ideally, you want to be 4-5 pounds above where you started before you fall asleep for the night. Here was my reconstitution protocol, which I have ran 3 times this year with no problem at all:
After you weigh in, immediately open your bottle of Pedialyte and chug the entire container. If you bought the glucose tablets, take 20-30 of them. If not, start making your way to wherever you’re eating breakfast. Now, this is the part where most newer lifters will put themselves in a tough spot for the rest of the day. Order your meal, but make sure it’s relatively light and easy to digest. For the love of god, do not go to a sushi buffet and wipe out the entire restaurant for your first meal. Remember, we have the entire day to put back on your weight, and we need to keep your digestive system operating well throughout the day.We don’t want to spike your insulin to Super Saiyan levels within the first meal – it’ll cause you to feel lethargic, wipes out your appetite and makes it more difficult to eat for the remainder of the day. A few pancakes with eggs and bacon would be fine. If you bought the probiotics, you can pop a tab with this meal (along with every meal afterwards) to help your body digest food with more ease.
Lunch, 1-2 PM: Eat another light meal, and make sure it has a good carbohydrate source that is easy to digest. Potatoes, rice, etc. are suitable with this meal. Eating a large sandwich for lunch would be perfect, as bread is a good source of carbs and isn’t filled with sugars.
Meal #3, 4-5 PM: Eat a large meal with a good portioned protein source along with more carbs.
Meal #4, 7-8 PM: Eat another large meal. If you’re going out for dinner, ordering a large steak along with a dozen sushi rolls is completely fine and would work great.
Throughout the whole day you should be drinking plenty of purified drinking water to help restore your sodium & electrolyte levels back to normal. I’ve never really followed a guideline on how much water to drink the day before a meet, but just be sure to drink plenty enough to where you feel completely hydrated again.
You can snack in between meals, with your snack foods containing lots of carbs. Sugary carbs are okay to eat while you’re gaining your weight back. Pop Tarts make for an awesome snack – 2 Pop Tarts equate to 70 grams of carbs, which makes it so much easier to reconstitute your weight.
By the morning of the meet, you should be feeling amazing and ready to shock the world with your upcoming lifting performance. I’ve never really been keen on following an exact protocol for meet day. Eat a big breakfast at your favorite restaurant but make sure you’re eating foods that’ll sit well in your stomach. You don’t want the runs while you’re in between squat attempts, so let’s avoid that scenario altogether because it sounds horrible just thinking about it. Some people might advise against drinking Gatorade & other sports drinks on meet day, but I’ve always done it and sustained my energy levels pretty well throughout meets. Eat light meals during your lifting breaks and just keep yourself fresh as the day progresses.
And that’s about everything I can share pertaining to doing your first small weight cut! As you can see, I’ve kept everything relatively simple for you with as little to think about as possible. When the time comes that you’re chasing after a monster total and need to cut 20 pounds to make weight, then we can talk about magnesium citrate and how you might end up peeing out of places you haven’t peed before. And that’s not an article I’d be interested in writing about. Seriously though, as a newer lifter – understanding the value of simplicity in everything you’re trying to do will make every process so much easier to perform. This protocol for losing 8-10 pounds is as easy as it gets, and should serve you well for the first time you try cutting weight for a meet. If you ever decide to try the guidelines I’ve put forth, let me know along with how it performed for you! I love seeing lifters succeed in this sport, and I want you to put your mind at ease knowing that you’ll have a solid gameplan when it’s time to cut weight.
TRAIN LIKE A MUSCLEBEAR, EAT LIKE A MUSCLEBEAR, GET STRONG AND FUCKING JACKED LIKE THE MUSCLEBEAR!