T Nation

Cutting Real Weight


Assuming that you do not want to lose ONLY water, what is your approach before a meet?

Right now I'd like to cut some fat, but I am wondering what would be the best way. I'm exactly 7 weeks out from my first powerlifting meet, and don't want to lose any strength...do any of you veterans have some tips?

Much appreciated!


Don't cut weight before your first meet -- just lift at whatever you come in at. The only time I'd change this is if you're going to set records or something similar.


Are the weigh-ins the day of the meet? or before?


burt128 - I know this is what everyone says...but I don't see how it would have adverse effects so long as you're not doing anything drastic or trying to cut a lot.

Stormthebeach - Bit confused, actually...on the competition rules it says that the weigh in's are the afternoon before the meet, and the morning of. Does that mean they weigh you twice, or just give you the opportunity to weigh twice?


You don't cut before your first meet because you have too many other things you need to worry about. At this point, you don't know how even a small cut will affect your strength. Some people are very sensitive to weight loss while others aren't. The problem is you don't know which camp you fall into until after the fact. By that time you will have done the meet and possibly lifted significantly less than you did earlier in the training cycle.

It's better to experiment with this stuff during a period of training so you know how you react and still have time to adjust before a meet. The other issue is long-term progress. Too many new lifters try to unnecessarily keep their weight down and stunt their long-term strength potential because they insist on trying to stay in the same weight class they were in when they first started lifting.

Focus on training well, executing the lifts properly, learning and using the commands in training, learning all the rules, planning your attempts, etc... When you get more advanced or are setting significant records you can worry more about what weight class you lift in.


Maybe you're right...I just want to make sure that I don't go ABOVE my weight class, if anything. I've already surpassed the one I wanted to compete in earlier this year (123) but I was not maintaining comfortably at that weight.


What do you weigh now and what weight class do you want to be in? If you want to maintain your current weight, I'd up protein and fat while lowering carbs to a certain extent. I've gotten as heavy as I want to be (about 250 or so) and I've found that keeping my protein and fat higher, while lowering carbs keeps my weight down and still allows me to gain strength.


I weigh about 134 (in a semi-carb depleted state). Carbed-up, I'm about 137, which is what I'm carrying around now due to all the glycogen from my notorious oatmeal consumption, haha.

Basically, all I want to lose is 2-3 lbs. of actual scale weight...I'm not trying to cut drastically. I want to compete in 132.


SS, what fed are you competing in?


I agree with not worrying about cutting weight for the meet if this is your first one. You have much more important things to worry about... like getting in the meet. If you want to do something that will not be too stressful on your body and will get out some water weight, cut out salt 36 hours before the weigh-in. Then cut out water the night before weigh-ins and dont drink anything until after you weigh. You should go down a couple lbs and then have plenty of time to re-hydrate.


Upping protein and fats has helped me in your situation. I used to eat a lot of oatmeal, but I've found substituting eggs for breakfast has helped a lot in keeping my body weight where I want it to be. I probably don't eat as cleanly as you do (just a guess because I don't eat all that cleanly), so this might not make as much of a difference for you.

I'd still say you're probably going to be better served by lifting in the 148s. If you're just starting out in powerlifting, you're going to naturally gain some weight over the course of the first couple of years of powerlifting, even if you've been lifting before. I think you risk holding your long-term development as a lifter back by trying to stay (or get) into a weight class you're already out of. My advice would be to lift as a light 148 in your first meet. After that, eat to support your training and you should eventually fill that class out, in a good way.

Eight years ago I was a light 242, now I fill the class out and my total is up nearly 500 pounds. I wasn't new to lifting when I started either, I'd been training for strength for about 5 years before that. I'm really glad I didn't try to make the 220s when I started lifting as I truly believe it would have held me back in the long run.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do and welcome to a wonderful sport.


@Diana - I'm competing with 100% RAW.

@StormTheBeach - Good idea, perhaps I'll try that. Thanks!

@burt128 - I will up my protein and lower my carbs somewhat, and just see where it takes me I guess. :slight_smile: Thanks for your help!


I agree with Burt about the protein. Cut out sugar and excess simple carbs. The other thing I find is that I naturally lose a few pounds the week before a meet just because my adrenaline and nerves are running at top speed. Could be just me, though. Good luck. I look forward to hearing about your experience.


I think that just by cutting the chocolate out of my diet I'll lose a pound or two, haha...I guess we'll just see how it goes. :slightly_smiling: If I can weigh in at or a little under 132, I will be happy!


SS I am gonna follow Stromthebeach's advice personally (I'll be at the same meet) as everyone said, worry more about just making it to the meet. If really worried, find a sauna. I have used those in the past for cutting weight to the one strongman comp. I compete at that has weight classes.

If really concerned, I do offer a weight loss service of chasing people while wearing a hockey mask and carrying a chainsaw.


Majik, I always heard that the sauna should be the last resort?

Lol, if you were chasing me with a chainsaw I'd be 123 in no time. :stuck_out_tongue:


normally yeah, saunas are. I tend to use one to only shed a few pounds, nothing huge.

haha, if I chased you with a chainsaw then I'd probably reach 242 instead of 275.


Here is my advice, personally, I say don't cut at all. If for some reason you are dead set on cutting, then cut water weight. Just load water the week of the meet (about 2 gallons a day at your weight should be more than enough), then try and weigh in the night before, and go down to 20oz water all day thursday, and 8oz water friday morning, then none till the meet. You will drop that weight. Limit sodium, ect.

Cutting a few pounds is easy, but you don't want to fuck things up trying to drop fat and stuff before a meet, just focus on water, although I think you are overthinking the whole first meet thing, just go do it.


I agree about the fat cutting, not the time to diet. Losing a few pounds of water weight is a pain but easy enough to do. I always competed at 132 and normally weighed about 137. I'd give it 10 days though, I think guys tend to shed water faster than we do.


What if you had calories only slightly below maintenance (I'm talking maybe 200), and you're not doing any additional cardio... would that still warrant strength loss?