Weight cuts should NOT exceed 5% of your weight! Preparation with diet and training is key. Its ideal to stay within 10% of your fighting weight year round. There are many different methods grapplers use to cut weight prior to competition some being very unhealthy, leaving grapplers weak when its time to preform. 

cutting weight



Balance your diet so you are ingesting the proper amount of carbs needed to sustain energy in order to train intensively during your preparation/training camp. Carbs are not bad for you if you eat the right ones at the right time.  Generally a healthy diet should consist of at least 40% carbohydrates however when cutting weight this number may go down, which is why the quality of energy you are giving yourself becomes more important. Think whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables, squash and fruit. 

Try adding these to your diet: Lentil soup, rolled oats, chestnuts, blueberries, whole wheat pasta, figs, bananas, kale, eggplant and zucchini. 


  Eating enough protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass during weight cuts. Your goal is to deplete fat in the weeks leading up to competition allowing for a safe water cut the night before if depleting is necessary. High quality protein that contains all the amino acids seem to have the most anabolic effect. The period right after training is probably the best time for your body to utilize a high protein meal. Don’t forget to stay well hydrated when ingesting protein so your body can process it efficiently. I recommend 500ml of water before a meal or add a fruit with high water content at the end of your meal as a dessert. 

Good sources of protein: Nuts, eggs, chicken breast, lean beef, low fat yogurts, fish and beans. 

cutting weight


Eating good fats will actually help you drop pounds! Your body needs fats to metabolism vitamins A, D and E that are vital to your nervous system. Sticking to monounsaturated fats such as avocados, cashews, peanut butter and olive oil is your best bet. They boost brain function and help improve your immune system and mood, making training and cutting weight more pleasant.  Omega-6s found in walnuts, fish and tofu are essential as well to maintaining proper athletic health.

Eating a high fat meal before composition is not recommended as the digestion process requires your body to work harder taking away from the energy needed for high intensity, endurance based competition such as a grappling tournament.  It probably best you save some of your favorite treats for after competing instead of after weigh-ins. 

Stay away from unhealthy fats that will not benefit you at all. Packaged foods, fast food and other foods are usually packed with unhealthy saturated fats.


Dehydration can lead to organ failure, coma or even death especially when used with diuretics. Its often a good thing to experiment with your body and see how it reacts to water cuts before its done for real competition.

cutting weight


1. No red meat, starchy carbs, salt or simple sugars 36 hours before weigh-ins.

2. Only have a light meal consisting of primarily vegetables the day before.

3. Drink your normal amounts of liquids in the form of purified or distilled water up until the day before a water cut. Then cut that amount to one-third 24 hours before getting on the scale.  12-14 hours before weigh ins cut all water and food.

4. Only soak in a hot tub or use a sauna for a maximum of 15minutes at a time and have someone with you at all times. The  likelihood of fainting is increased with dehydration. 

5. Avoid diuretics and laxatives as they will take a toll on your body and leave you very weak. If you must try a natural source such as dandelion root tea or black coffee. 



cutting weight


After weigh-ins is not the time to throw away your food consciousness. The way you refuel will effect your performance directly.  Eat small meals rich in carbohydrates in 30minute intervals after weigh-in instead of one large meal to avoid getting bloated. More important then food is rehydration. A sports beverage or coconut water high in electrolytes will be absorbed by your body more efficiently then water.

Staph and Ringworm



Words by: Cindy Bertinato

MMA Figher, NoGi Grappler and Ring Girl and Grapplersplanet.com Contributor.

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