Making Weight For a Powerlifting Competition
A lot of us that have competed may have tried making weight in a bunch of different ways, myself included. Im going to outline a few mistakes that people may have made and a simple protocol that they may want to try out next time around.
I would first like to start with the use of a sauna to try and cut out 5-10lb of water the night or day of competition. This method will most definately be one of the quickest and easiest ways to lose water weight before a competition. Majority of guys/girls who have attempted this method have not been successful on meet day. The reason being, the majority of your muscle is made up of water. By going in the sauna for 30mins-1 hr interval will make it that much harder for yourself to get that water lost back into your muscles post weigh in. For a last minute resort , yes this will work in terms of making weight , but not work when it comes to PRing on the platform.
Secondly, decreasing water intake too soon when water loading. I have read a tremendous amount of articles that recommend dereasing water intake upto 2-3 days prior to competiton day. So this week long protocol would be increase water intake up to 8L of water on day 5, then decrease in right back to 2L on day 6 and almost nothing on day 7. This gives your body too much time to adapt to the change and go back to equilibrium. Meaning, your body will detect that it is not getting anymore water by that last day and you will stop excreting waste ( not what you want ). The goal of the water cut is to keep you body in the hyperhydrated state so it believes it is going to be getting more water.
Thirdly and most importantly in my opinion , is starting to restrict calories too late. If you are hoping to lose more than 5lb to make weight, all must not be strictly from a water cut. You are going to have to start cutting weight by restricting the calories you eat. How much? Well depending on how much you weight you have to lose , you probably don't want to lose more than 1.5lb per week. Reason one , your body is not used to training at that set calories per day. Reason two, your leverages may change and how your setup is with all three lifts ( equipment fit included). Give yourself enough time to lower your caloric intake during the cut and make sure your workouts are not ruined because of it.
So how long do I suggest the process should take? Diet or strictly water weight?
More than 10 lbs: 10 weeks minimum ( can do diet + water cut )
10lb to make weight : 8 weeks minimum ( can do diet + water cut)
5lbs to make weight : 4 weeks minimum ( can do strictly water cut or a bit of both)
If you have to lose around 10lb or more you will definately need to restrict your caloric intake weekly without sacrificing strength. Starting off with 500kcal - 750kcal deficit per day or 3500 - 5250kcal deficit per week. So you will theoretically be on pace to lose 1 lb or just over per week. You will want to track your morning weight everyday to make sure you are on pace to reach you desired goal.
Now, if say if you restricted calories and you are on pace for your desired goal but you are 5lb shy a week out. How do you do this strictly from water manipulation?
Say you have a meet Friday morning and you start this protocol the Friday a week prior...
Day 1 (Fri) : 2L of water ( High protein , High Fat , moderate carb , high sodium)
Day 2 (Sat): 2L of water ( High protein , High Fat , moderate carb, high sodium)
Day 3 (Sun): 4L of water ( High protein, High Fat , moderate carb, high sodium)
Day 4 (Mon): 6Lof water ( High protein , High Fat , moderate carb , start to decrease sodium)
Day 5 (Tues): 8L of water( High protein , Moderate Fat, low carb , decrease sodium)
Day 6 (Wed): 8L of water ( High protein , Moderarte Fat , low carb , derease sodium )
Day 7 ( Thurs) : 10L of water( High protein , Moderate Fat , low carb , no sodium or as low as possible)
On this day you will cut out your water intake completely 12-15hrs prior to weigh in and try to consume all your food/non liquid calories before this. So if you weigh in at 7am you will cut out water/food no later than 7pm the night prior. This will trick your body to thinking it will be getting more water and you will be excreting it , therefore losing weight.
Ok , so you made weight , wooooo . What do I do now?
Replenishing after weigh ins:
You will have about a 2 hr window to replenish the fluids lost
Mix half water and half gatorades ( consume at least 2 L prior to competing)
Make sure you eat !!! I suggest to have at least one good sodium enriched food choice prior to drinking your fluids. This will allow for the fluids to actually be soaked up and not excreted again.
You may not feel comfortable eating a lot because of nerves. BUT I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU CONSUME QUITE A BIT , YOU WILL NEED THE ENERGY.
A couple key points:
when you are doing this water manipulation , every time you go to the washroom at night ( you will be doing this) , make sure you have at least a cup of water to restore what your lost. This is the whole point on the process HYPERHYDRATION.
Have 1 full lemon with your last cup of water the night before competition. It will improve digestion and help get rid of any stored water.
STAY AWAY FROM SAUNAS. If it is a last resort and you have to lose 1-2lb . Then you have to....
Dont't cut out water too early , you want to keep your body as far away from equilibrium as possible.
It does not get much easier and safer than this. Try this out next time you have to lose weight for a competition and give yourself an appropriate amount of time to diet before a water manipulation if need be and replenish appropriately pre competition . You will keep the strength that you have been working hard for and PR on the platform.
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