Whether you need to cut weight for a fight or are trying to lose weight to be eligible for a different weight class, MMA fighters are often focused on the number on the scale. When it comes to diet and training, elite athletes know what it takes to make sure their body is in top physical condition. However, cutting weight for a fight can be dangerous if not done correctly. Losing weight during training requires ramping up your energy expenditure and reducing your caloric intake to decrease body fat. Here’s what you need to know to both reach your body weight goals during training and cut weight for fight day safely. Ready to take your training to the next level? Call Gracie Raleigh. We’re the best UFC gym in Raleigh.
For those fighters who need to lose five or six pounds before their weigh-in, fluid restriction may be able to help accomplish that goal. By increasing their water consumption to two gallons of water each day for the first three days before weigh in, a fighter will begin to urinate more than usual. Increased urination helps reduce the amount of fluid weight the fighter is carrying around. The day before the weigh-in, fluids should be restricted to small sips throughout the day. When combined with a low sodium diet, fluid restriction should help the fighter make weight. It is important to note that liquid consumption is only reduced, not stopped altogether. Stopping fluid intake entirely can be dangerous and damaging to the fighter’s health.
Fighters can also decrease water weight through sweating. This temporary solution for weight loss can be achieved by running, jumping rope, extra cardio circuits, and sitting in a sauna. Some athletes perform these activities while wearing heavy clothing or a plastic suit. Care must be taken to avoid overheating. Practicing these methods unmonitored can lead to permanent injury or death.
MMA fighters engage in very specific types of training that focuses on the larger muscle groups. Training the explosive fast-twitch muscles of the back and legs helps a fighter increase their calorie burn. When combined with a reduced caloric intake and aerobic conditioning, lean muscle mass will begin to develop and help maintain the weight loss that has occurred as a result of their training.
Reducing calorie intake throughout the day is essential for weight loss. Decreasing the number of calories taken in each day and increasing the amount of physical output naturally creates a calorie deficit. To lose one pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. To lose weight safely a fighter would need to cut 500 calories each day from their diet.
Diet and training are the safest and most effective ways to see a significant reduction in weight. However, if only a few pounds need to be trimmed in order to make weight for a fight, a fighter may wish to consider sweating off those pounds or restricting his or her fluid intake.
For more tips on losing weight with MMA, check out our next post.
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