Cutting Weight

Wondering what your philosophies are on cutting weight for tournaments. What's the most you've cut? How did it affect your performance? How many days do you spend cutting the weight? stories, etc... I'm not one to cut weight...just wanted to get some opinions on it.

Weight loss should be done gradually, over a set period of weeks. The duration of the loss corresponds directly with the amount of weight desired to be lost. The athlete should have their individual percent body fat estimated prior and during the training season. Ideally, safe and effective weight loss should not exceed 1-1.5 kg per week. This should be evaluated by morning weight prior to any fluid and/or food consumption. Some effective techniques is to eliminate food consumption following evening training. The athlete should consume their largest meal earlier in the day, and make sure to eat dinner prior to afternoon or evening judo training. If there is no scheduled practice, the athlete should participate in sub-maximal aerobic conditioning for 35-45 minutes followed by stretching. The individual needs to be dressed warm and remain in a heated area following the aerobic activity to maintain elevated body core temperature and metabolism.
In addition, the athlete needs to measure baseline body weight prior to and immediately following training sessions. In so doing, they can establish an evening "drift weight", which is the amount of weight lost overnight while sleeping. Drift weight usually ranges from 0.4 to 1.3 kg, depending on the weight of the individual. Of course, the heavier the individual, the more weight lost overnight. The purpose in determining a drift weight is to know what weight the athlete has to be at upon going to bed. For example, if the athlete has to be –66.0 kg and has a drift weight of 0.6 kg, then he is to weigh in the night before at 66.6 kg. Several factors can affect drift weight. The harder the weight loss (in other words, losing a greater amount than usual in a shorter period of time), the less effect on the drift weight. If the athlete is de-hydrated and has lost a large amount of water, this too will negatively effect the drift weight. The goal of the night before weigh in is to make the weight division plus the drift weight amount (ie. 66.0 kg + 0.6 kg). It is only at this point that de-hydration be used to make weight. Ideally, the athlete should be a maximum of 1.5 – 2.0 kg over the weight division. This translates into a day before weight loss of 1.0 – 1.5 kg only.

Food items to consume the day prior to the weigh in should not primarily be complex carbohydrates in small quantities. Pastas and rice are problematic due to the need for increased water needed for metabolism and digestion. A typical example would be to increase the amount of physical activity in the final week of the weigh in. Rather than participate in long, exhaustive training, the athlete should perform shorter and more frequent physical activity of a mild intensity. For example, a light run or cycle for 30-45 min of 65-75 % of maximal heart rate in the morning, followed by judo training in the afternoon or evening. In each situation, the athlete should have a track-suit on to promote maximal perspiration. The heat and perspiration is extremely important in elevating metabolism necessary for weight loss. In all cases, the athlete should re-hydrate with fluids following training. Following the afternoon or evening training, no food should be consumed, only fluids, until the next morning. The main meal should be consumed prior to evening training. This format should be repeated on a daily basis on the week of the scheduled weigh in.