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IFBB Pro Amit Sapir - Q&A


#1

Hey everyone. I wanted to start a Q&A here. I have been getting a ton of messages recently on instagram and facebook for a bunch of training/diet and supplementation advice. Any questions you guys have, I am happy to answer.

I am in the the midst of couple day 30lb cut for Boss of Bosses this weekend in California to make the 181 weight class. Here is me at 221

Not going to lie, this weight cut has been brutal so far.. but will be worth it.


#2

How important are quads for a raw lifter,that uses low bar and a medium stance?What exercises would you use to develop them?


#3

Cool! Thanks for stopping by and god speed at B.o.B. today. We recently had a thread regarding big weight cuts for meets and since you bring up your 30-lb cut I was wondering if you could shed some light on what goes into that, how far out you start, etc? I'm guessing 30-ish pounds is about as big a cut as they come.


#4

I'd also be interested in how you gauge your weight cut/water drop for such a thing, I want to see how it compares to what I use with fighters haha.

I'd also like to ask 2 questions:

  1. how do you approach a 2 day bodybuilding show at the top level vs. the 1 day show? I really want to know how you work with water/salt/food to maintain condition for 2 days straight.

  2. how do you think you saw your best gains in the squat--given both your high level olympic lifting experience and your strength training now? what kind of squat training gave you the best strength gains?


#5

Am I still your favorite :slight_smile:


#6

They are very important - you need to remember at the end if the day it's a full body lift... Every weak link will impact the lift a great deal... You're only as strong as your weakest link.
Even if you're not a quad dominant squatter they will always play a role when it comes to max weight.
High bar close stance squat (basically an Olympic squat), yoke bar squat, front yoke bar squat, hack squat are all my favourites - I would do a lot of variations of them (pauses - 3-5 seconds, stop just short of locking out to keep tension on the muscle, even high reps if I want to focus of hypertrophy - yes big muscles do help lift big weights)


#7

Absolutely - you will always be #1


#8

Thanks this is a good question. I'll share as much as I can without recommending that anyone actually do a cut like that ...it is really dangerous and honestly shouldn't be on the radar unless you're aiming for a major goal and thoroughly understand the risks...even then things can go sideways like they did to me this weekend.
I'll give you the basic generalized rundown (if you have specific questions then throw those my way and I'll help the best I can....without actually running a cut for an athlete I don't like to do too much detailing).
Four weeks ago at my last meet in Dubuque I weighed 221 (that's the meet that i took the 242 world record) and decided right after to take 4 categories...the best choice to take was 181 so I started cleaning up my diet. First by cutting garbage out of it, then by slowly eating more carbs on my training days and less on the days I don't train. The first goal was to lose some body fat before starting the cut. Slowly I lowered my weight to about 210 two weeks later, and then was about 208 10 days out from this meet.
Then I began water loading.
I also switched my super supplements to versions that retain less water and played around with them to maximize strength without retaining water.
The water load alone helped me lose 6-8 lbs by the time I was finished it.
During the water load I also manipulated sodium, carbs, and sodium.
The real hell starts once you stop water (16-24 hours before weigh in) - this is also when you start using diuretics (the amount and type of diuretics depends on the amount you need to lose).
Once the diuretics have done the job, you have to sweat the rest out...I use a comb of sauna, hot tub, hot showers, and steams (as well as sweating creams like albolene and sweet sweat) - the amount again depends on how much you have to lose - obviously this cut was extreme and in fact I was up all night long.
I also learned this meet that you can spit out a few pounds - helped me a lot.
Even if you do everything right, things can go sideways - this meet I got stuck at 185 and getting myself past it ended up taking more than I had hoped and it did hurt my performance.
The real magic happens in the 24 hour recomp where you have to get everything right to get your weight back up...Plazma is my go to here and I can go through up to 2 bags in a good weight recomp.
Proper IV bag therapy is a must (for obv reasons I won't go into detail) and correct food choice and timing is extremely important.
Every cut will take something out of your performance - it's inevitable - ideally though you can still perform at 90-95%. As far as I know only know only myself and Chris Duffin have done cuts over 30lbs - no one should mess around.
Hope that helps!


#9

Hey man - always good to hear intelligent questions from high level coaches.

As for how I gauge my weight cuts read the post above and I'll add that I probably wouldn't sweat more than 16-18lbs at the top end (and that means a lot of suffering). I also try to minimize the use of artificial diuretics - the more you use the more it impacts strength - likely not as important for fighting but obviously a huge factor in lifting.
I also believe that however much you cut, how you recomp is the most important part in the success of it all.
1. first of all for any body building show at the end of the day most decisions are made in pre judging. They tell you stories that it's 50/50 but it's not true - most of the time the winner is decided after pre judging. So whatever approach I take for a client, I always aim to peak for pre judging (day 1) - ideally if the client is ready in time, I like as minimal changes as possible - maybe a basic water load and if needed an increase of carbs the last few days (if they're ready one week out they will be pretty depleted as-is). I stop the water (or lower it to sips) 16 hours before the show and if it's a 2 days show I'll give some water right after the show (up to 8oz - depends on how dehydrated they had to get)...if they're flat i may give a little more than that but usually (very very general - this is different for everyone) no more than 16 between pre judging and finals. I don't mess with sodium too much - it's very unpredictable when you mix it with diuretics and other drugs....very generally again if the person is flat I may add a little sodium and if they are spilling over may take a little between the two days....if they are perfect I try to stay away from touching it at all and focus on manipulating carb intake and keeping protein low (usually about half of what they normally eat).

  1. this is a really difficult question to answer because i got into powerlifting with a very strong base of olympic lifting and already had a lot of muscle. Yes I got a lot more neuro-efficient and added a lot more weight to my squat since switching to low bar and utilizing more traditional lower volume powerlifting style training. In theory for pure strength it's more efficient but I honestly think that without the olympic and hypertrophy base, I wouldn't be as strong as I am today. I see it in a lot of powerlifters that only do power in their career - they are extremely neuro efficient but they are lacking muscle to actually move the big weights. In a lot of ways, I think the journey my career took was ideal for what i do today - started with learning perfect technique with high volume (usually twice daily squat) for 5-6 years, then switched to body building which helped me build a lot of muscle and an overall balanced, no weakness base, and then switched to powerlifting and all I had to do was teach the body to absorb heavy weight and remind my cns how to be efficient again as it was in my olympic days, just with a lot more weight. You can take these 3 stages and put them into training blocks through the year (we can discuss forever how long an athlete should do each one and what's most important) but at the base in this order (technique & high volume while adding neuro efficiency, then add muscle, then teach the body how to absorb heavy weight)....very general - we can go into much more detail about every point here.

#10

Hey Amit,

1.)Who has influenced your training and nutrition philosophy the most ?
2.) who are your favorite powerlifter ? Now and past ?
3.) who are your favorite bodybuilder ? Now and past ?
4.) what's the best way to increase his/her raw bench strength ?


#11

Thanks a lot for a very detailed answer! I am not considering a 30 lb cut myself, just very interested in what it takes to make that happen. Sounds like it was a real challenge. I saw the video of your squat from BoB and I have no doubt that record will fall should you give it another shot.


#12

Just wanted to pop in and say your world record squat attempt was total BS. You obviously had that!


#13

Although you technically missed the lift,congrats for this great squat while making weight for such low weight class


#14

Thanks for the great answers! I've always found peaking processes of top athletes like yourself fascinating for how many different approaches there seem to be. I have found really good results with sodium manipulation myself. I can always find some good bit of knowledge to take back with me from others' answers, and also aim for the pre-judging peak as well. 2 day shows are gnarly though and I was really curious what riding that line is for you. I use a general approach like your powerlifting cut described. 2 questions:

  1. Loading water--at what volume compared to "normal" drinking?

  2. Out of curiosity, how--in general terms--did your cuts for olympic lifting go? That's such a different culture I wonder how your coaches did it for athletes.

You're right, the strength factor isn't as problematic for fighters as powerlifters. The electrolyte depletion is what kills most due to its effects on endurance--truthfully most of them just suck at cutting, too much high school wrestling advice and not enough actual nutrition. They could easily drop 16 lbs to get to weight if most of them had a damn clue.

Btw, you might try timing the sauna different next time: Right when you drop water and drop in the first diuretic dose, hit the sauna. The body is very amenable to sweating then because it's still in full "flush" mode, so you can make more of the diuretic use. In effect, you're getting to start from a lower overall water load with the body still primed to flush. Once the body's feedback loops have ratcheted down on water sweating significant amounts becomes almost impossible. You can do small amounts, but the suffering is much more intense for significant losses. Essentially as soon as water intake drops you're on an internal timer according to your body's hormonal regulation (note to others: not talking testosterone here). Anecdotally I've found you can get an extra 2-4+ lbs out of a cut this way for given person. Possibly more for someone of your size.

I have to emphasize for other people reading this last bit 2 things--- First, I am absolutely against the use of banned substances for a sport, so if you're competing in an untested division all well and good but if you are competing in a division or sport that has banned substances I will never advice a person to use said banned substances, ever. Second, don't do stupid shit--if you're not experienced in cutting water you can't do it safely and I don't want people using what I just said above to screw themselves up. Amit is very experienced at every level.


#15

This is turning out to be a great thread.

Amit- I'd love to hear more about The technique/volume - add muscle -absorb weight blocks.

Aragorn- cool point about wrestlers "cutting" but not knowing anything about nutrition. There is more to getting results than just "hard work."


#17

Drives me insane. I love guys who work hard, that's why I like to work with combat athletes/fighters/wrestlers. But damn....it makes me feel like having an aneurysm every time I talk with one of these guys about nutrition.

"I missed weight. I can't seem to drop below 170. I just couldn't get the weight off"
"You fight at 155 right?"
"Yeah, I ...."

a. "started cutting water on Tuesday, I don't know why it didn't come off" "Wait--weigh in is Friday evening right??" "Yeah, I should have had plenty of time...."

b. "only ate like 3 chicken breasts and spinach a day for 4 weeks and ran like 4 miles a day..." "You what? Is that all you ate?!" "Well yeah! I had to lose the weight didn't I?..."

c. they did both at the same time.

It's like the Stone Age.


#18

I remember coach telling us to look at the nutrition information label. If "calories from fat" was under 10% of the total, we should eat it. That way we'd be under 10% body fat.


#19

FML. Yeah, that seems about right....


#20
  1. Training I would say Christian Thibideau, Branch Warren, John Meadows, my Olympic lifting coaches (a few very tough Russians when I began and they taught me dedication, work ethic, technique, etc from the first day I touched the bar), Stan Efferding. As for nutrition Chris Aceto and John Meadows....as well as years of trial and error on myself and clients (I didn't over 35 shows myself so had a lot of time to practice, experiment, and learn).
  2. Now Eric Lillibridge, Melleik Durstein. Past Bill Kazmaier, Ed Coan, Kirk Karwoski
  3. Branch Warren, Kai Greene. Past Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Stan Efferding, Lee Priest
  4. Read the post above that I wrote to Aragorn about building a good base of raw strength

#21

Thanks a lot man - I will get this record (even though means another bs cut haha)...appreciate the support.