A Proper Hard Weight Cut for Olympic Weightlifting: My Journal Prior to The American Open 2016.
December 5, 2016
I’m writing this because it could be of use to novice to intermediate lifters in the sport who perhaps do not work with a weightlifting coach. I started my final weight cut yesterday for the American Open which for me will take place on Sunday. But first, a couple of ground rules.
- I’m not a registered dietitian so I’m not qualified to give any advice when it comes to diet.
- Cutting weight is not done for health and is done at your own risk.
- This is a hard fact: Cutting weight IS detrimental to weightlifting performance. Given the rules of the sport, AT BEST we only have 2 hours to rehydrate and refuel after getting weighed in. This process can often be as tricky as taking water out of our bodies and again, it’s only 2 hours so it’s impossible to get back to 100%.
- I do not recommend that anyone drop weight to make a weight class with 2 exceptions: you are trying to qualify for a national event or you are trying to get on the podium for a national event. And again, there are further considerations here. We’ve all seen lifters at local meets who are on the verge of barely qualifying in a lower weight class on their best day in the gym. They starve and deplete themselves and then take attempts at weights that they have no business touching. DO NOT BE THIS PERSON. DON’T DO IT. STOP. STOP IT NOW. It always ends up like a train wreck. Qualifying for national events is a big deal and sometimes it’s worth it to just WAIT until you’re actually ready to be at one.
- I recommend to my lifters to not try to cut more than 3% of their bodyweight. 5% is the maximum for someone who is experienced both with this sport and cutting weight. Yes, I’ve tried to cut more and done decently but I’ve also done not decently as well. In either case, it’s not worth it. I’ve been participating in weight class sports since I was 17, so I’m comfortable with the 5% range for myself.
K, so now that I got that out of the way, I started my cut yesterday. I was exactly 1 week out and I weighed in at 97.5kg. I’ve got to get down to 94. That’s getting pretty close to 5% but still under, so this cut SHOULD go well for me. The travel to the opposite end of the country will add to the difficulty but I’m overall confident.
I killed about a gallon of water yesterday and will try to hit close to 2 gallons today. On top of that, I added salt to whatever I ate and had my last real decent meal yesterday. This will bloat me up pretty good but by Wednesday I’ll even back out as I decrease salt and water. By the time I take off Thursday morning, I’ll be back down to my original weight or perhaps a little bit less. As far as diet goes, I don’t recommend significantly altering your regular “cutting” diet. Remember, you’re worried about water this week, not fat. If, you’ve been good, than you’ve already shaved off enough fat going into this week. As far as diet goes, SEEK HELP FROM A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL. ONE WHO WORKS WITH ATHLETES. NOT YOUR TRAINER. NOT YOUR COACH. NOT SOME BRO FROM THE GYM. AND IF YOU’RE WORKING WITH SOMEONE ONLINE, FOR GOD’S SAKE MAKE SURE THEY HAVE PROPER CREDENTIALS. DIET CREDENTIALS. NOT WEIGHTLIFTING ONES. I’m lucky enough to have a certified professional dietitian on my team and would recommend her to anyone if you are interested.
I’ll be back later in the week with an update.