Weight Loss for Fighters

Most of the weight-loss plans here on T-Nation are geared toward physique-focused people. They tend to be are high in protein and healthy fats, and low in carbs.

This works well for most, but is it a good idea to eat low carbs while training MMA/Muay Thai/Jiu Jitsu 6 days a week? If not, how have you guys adjusted weight loss diets to meet the demands of intense, multi-hour training every day? What has worked best?

spit in a bucket constantly to lose weight
just carry around a bucket

The fact’s are: To lose weight you have to cut SOMETHING out of your diet. You cut carbs, or fats; you get fat loss. You cut protein, you get muscle wasting. You cut water, well… YOU CUT WATER! I did carb cycling this summer while training muay thai twice a week (2 hr sessions) and lifting 4 days. Even outside the gym I was pretty active, swimming (more like splashing around) for an hour or so a day, and of course… work. I was only consuming 60 to 90 g of carbs a day and I felt fine. But of course, I’m a little bit of a freak when it comes to carbs. My suggestion would be cutting unhealthy fats, and cutting carbs. Here’s a link someone else on this board gave to me once.


As an athlete just cut out fats and eat fruit lean meats and the occasional sweet tater.

Or you could, just y’know, put more work in and have more energy going out than energy going in. G-flux yo.

NEWS FLASH: Protien & fat provides your body with energy!

Yes, you can cut carbs as a fighter or increase your work rate. Carb cycling is great.

Cut carbs and limit portion size. I cut from 205ish to 190 over the course of a few weeks with this exact plan-cut carbs and limit portion size. I then cut 4 lbs of water weight for a day-of weigh in to make 185.

Had to suck it up a little(craving wise), but went pretty good. Last week was the hardest, since I stopped training 2-3 days out to make sure I was fully rested. Had to really restrict carbs/cals at that point to avoid gaining any weight back.

Berardi has a great book called Grapplers Nutrition. It has a whole section on cutting.

It depends what kind of weigh ins. You can do freak weight cuts with day before weigh ins that you cannot do if you are competing the same day (or with wrestling, an hour later). I don’t know much about cutting for day before, but for cutting weight day of, it revolves around cutting stuff out of your diet. For wrestling, I would start watching what I eat the day after a weigh in. 4 days out, I start eating much smaller meals. 3 days out, I start watching how much I drink. 2 days out I pretty much cut food, 1 day out, I pretty much cut water. You have to know a lot about your body and how much weight you can lose doing various things.

I thinking cutting weight teaches amazing body awareness. Eat more meals, but smaller portions. High metabolism helps a lot. I never used a sauna suit as its against the rules in wrestling (highschool and college) and I think it drains you too much to recover in only 1 hour. I would assume day before weigh ins involve a lot more sauna and sauna suits, which sounds like LOTS of fun /sarcasm.