The Boston Open- Cutting Weight and Freaking out Bellhops- Part 1
Right now the NJMA competition team is training really, really hard for the IBJJF New York Open. This is a very prestigious tournament that tends to attract some top talent. A few weeks ago some of the guys decided to take a trip to Boston to compete in the Boston Open and because I am married to one of the coolest women in the world, I got to go too.
The Boston Open- Weight cut
If you want to compete you have a decision to make- do you lose, or cut, weight to have a strength advantage at the lower weight class or do you fight at your normal “walk around” weight? For me the choice is easy after I had a very sobering experience at the Good Fight last year. I normally weigh 144lbs. The lower class was up to 139 and the next class was up to 154. I decided to do the 154 because very few adult men over 30 weigh less than 140lbs and I wanted to have at least one match in the Master’s division. I had one match in the gi but then for the no-gi division there were no other master’s competitors so they put me in the regular adult division. As I stood in the waiting area I looked around. These other guys were really big! My coach asked me if I was in the right area because the size difference was that noticeable. As it turns out I was in the right spot but these guys had all cut weight to make 154! That means that now they weighed closer to 160 and I was giving up almost 20 lbs. Things did not go well but thankfully there were no injuries and I learned a valuable lesson. If you are close to the top of the lower weight class- drop a few pounds and make that your division.
The Boston Open- Keys to cutting weight for competition
Now that you have decided to lose the weight here are a few simple steps that got me from 144 to 138 in two weeks.
- Get a good scale- Spend some money on a decent scale that gives a precise measurement to the .1 or .2 lb. This makes a really big difference because you have to know as close as possible how your body responds to diet and exercise.
- Figure out your target weight- For example- for the IBJJF tournaments you weigh in with the gi so weigh the gi and do the math. For light-feather its 141.5 with gi and belt. My gi and belt weighs 3lbs so I can weigh up to 138. 138 is now my target weight.
- Enlist family and friends to help. – My wife loves the fact that no longer am I able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and as much as I want. Things have changed and she is very happy to share the burden!
- Realize this is a slow process- the objective here is not to dehydrate yourself but to lose as much fat as possible while retaining your strength.
- Learn to love all greens- Since most green vegetables are nothing more than structured water, fiber, and nutrients, you can eat as much as you want and the weight still comes off.
- No more processed foods- processed food is very high in sodium and other chemicals that make you retain water. Stick to high quality protein like chicken, fish, and eggs.
- Drink lots of water- cannot emphasize this enough. Drink constantly up until 24 hours before the weigh-in so your body becomes used to constantly flushing the system.
The Boston Open- Typical Meals
My typical meal consisted of sliced chicken over a mound of broccoli or other greens. Snacks became fruit and instead of huge bowls of ice cream after training a moderate spoonful was the norm. Is it easy? Yes. Is it fun? Not really. However it is definitely a very healthy regimen and the right thing to do if you want to be competitive- especially at the lower weight classes.
I followed this program and did well in the NAGA so this is the program I followed for the Boston Open. In fact, all of my teammates were in the same boat and dropped a few lbs. How did we do?
Stay tuned for part 2
By Jim Glynn