When there are weight category’s there will always be water cuts. Simple. They work, they are useful but they have to be done correctly.
They can help or hinder a lifters performance, so like all great things in meet prep, there has to be a strategy and they should be worth it. Find out what works for you.
” It’s not what you can cut it’s what you can refuel back in, so if you have a weak stomach, DON’T DO IT! ”
Firstly, I am not a doctor so what you do with this information on my own experiences with cutting water weight and how to perform in a competition is your own business, however it may help someone out there querying the ‘water load’
So, if you type in water loading into YouTube, Facebook or google you will find a tonne of information on the subject (like nearly everything on the internet) and sometimes it can be hard to make sense of what is available. For me one of the best videos on explaining the best to do so and I highly recommend watching is JP Cauchi on to cut weight. He goes into great detail on how to do so and I used this as a resource on how to plan my own strategy on how to cut weight and refuel for IPF two hour weigh in powerlifting competitions. However this is HIS plan, Not MINE. So I had to tweak the numbers to suit my own daily water intake, stress loads, normal day to day routines and of course the way my body responded to weight drops overnight. (This is where people go wrong, remember someone else’s plan is only a reference, you have to make it suit YOU)
I’ve water cut successfully four times and here’s how I usually would do so. (Remember this is not a set plan for anyone to follow, only my experience.)
So say Meet Day was on the Saturdays. Normally I drink 4-5 litres of water per day on average So 7 days before 8 litres, 6 days 8 litres, 5 days 10 litres, 4 days 10 litres, 3 days before 12 litres, 2 days before 13 litres , 1 day before 1.5 litres 18 hours before weigh in cut-off point. Yes my water intake was high but so was my normal intake to begin with. I used JPs Numbers as a guide and tweaked it to suit my normal water intake. (Hence why I drunk so much, if you only drink 2 litres say on average daily then of course less water over the space of the water load could be used.)
Salt intake would remain high with an additional 4gs 4 days out, 3 days out and then all salt cut 2 days out, as this allowed the high amount of water to in theory to flush it out.
No red meat 3 days before as it is slow to digest. Overall food volume would be low all week and carbs cut 3 days out also. Main focus on protein to help excrete more water and then food cut out completely at the same time as the water, last meal being only a small amount of peanut butter to help keep food storage in my gut low also.
If I needed to, obviously the sauna or hot baths were used at the end depending on how my bodyweight was (not fun) and then after weigh in I would quickly get to work on refuelling my bodyweight back up.
Weigh in room, two bottles of powerade, a banana and half a bottle of honey. (I’m a fast eater). Then I would drink 500ml of yahzoo, eat a high carb chocolate bar and then a BLT sandwich. Let this settle, then drink another 500ml of water, electrolyte and carb mix and then just snack on simple sugar sweets during the meet along with water oh and the rest of the honey. It’s not what you can cut it’s what you can refuel back in, so if you have a week stomach, DON’T DO IT! (My own advice)
The most weight I have ever cut is 4.5kg one week out from the weigh in so this is approx.. 5.5% of my bodyweight and therefore would mean less for someone lighter and also if the lifter was a female, yes it was hard but the meet still yielded a good result for me with some great personal bests. This was at my very first international meet at the commonwealth and was part of the plan to secure a bronze medal in the squat and the total in the junior category. However it is only because I have no problem putting in a lot of food and liquid post weigh in why I think this was successful which some people can find extremely uncomfortable to do so, never mind go out and lift at 100 percent on top of this stressor.
However my final water cut I attempted too much with 5kg due to not paying enough attention in the weeks prior to the meet, felt horrible the night before nearly blacking out and called it a day at 10 o’clock at night. Luckily the four nations didn’t require me to have to hit the u83kg mark so I ate up for two hours enjoyed a massive pizza, breakfast, fluids and snacks , weighed in at 86.1kg after a stress free sleep and had the greatest meet day going 9/9 and some great personal bests. The birth of the 93s for myself personally.
For same day weigh-ins, any more than 4% of your body weight a week before weigh in will be tough and needs careful planning.
How good can you refuel, if you feel uncomfortable doing so, then take this into consideration.
Practice a few times and see what you can do successfully and can you still lift to a high standard?
What is it worth? If it’s a big meet or a worthwhile record attempt then yeah have a go, but if it’s just a meet on your door step and for your own improvements, then why bother, get stronger.
The better your body composition the easier it will be to cut water, at the end of the day if you just have some extra body fat then you need to pay better attention to your nutrition and not your hydration levels.
You will always have a more enjoyable time NOT DOING IT. That’s what I’ve found anyway however not a set in stone fact.
A little is ok, everyone’s measurement of a little is VERY different.
So going forward for myself anyway a small water cut is fine, however I will not be doing so unless it is worth it and I feel I need to so to achieve something worthwhile. Simply time to get stronger and leaner first.