For thousands of athletes, cutting weight is a critical science. Heavyweights are an exception. (Photo: MMAWeekly)
Gaining 34 pounds of lean mass in 28 days? Impossible, or so claim the skeptics.
Losing 20+ pounds of fat in one month without exercise? Impossible, or so claim the skeptics.
So let’s add another item to the list of impossibles: I have lost more than 20 pounds in less than 24 hours on more than a dozen occasions.
The most extreme example was 33 lbs. — from 185 lbs. to 152 lbs. — in less than 20 hours, which produced a rather unpleasant 120 beat-per-minute resting pulse while attempting to sleep.
In 1999, I was a gold medalist at the Sanshou (Chinese kickboxing) national championships in the 165-lb. weight class (here is a video sample of Sanshou). This is perhaps the most controversial accomplishment in the 4HWW, as I make it clear:
I arrived the on-site at 187 lbs., weighed in at 165 lbs., and stepped on the platform to compete the next morning weighing 193 lbs.
This post will explain exactly how it’s done — the techniques, the “drugs”, the science — and include excerpts from a series of articles I wrote for Powerlifting USA in 2004 called “The New Technology of Water”. Even if you have no need to cut weight, after reading this, you will know more about organ function and hydration than 99% of all athletes in the world…
The kickboxing anecdote was controversial because those who cried foul have never competed in weight-class-based sports. This post will also therefore serve as a primer for armchair critics who should do more due diligence. Cutting weight is a prerequisite for elite competition in such sports — period.
Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski knows this. He is one of the most successful powerlifters in history, with incredible totals at both 220 lbs. (970-lb. squat, 661-lb. benchpress, 783-lb. deadlift = 2414-lb. total) and 242 lbs. (1008-lb. squat, 666-lb. benchpress, 788-lb. deadlift = 2463-lb. total). Here is how he begins his 2007 article on cutting weight:
What follows is a brief summary of the process I have successfully used to cut up to 30 lbs in less than 24 hours. (I went from 250 lbs to 219 lbs for the 2007 Arnold in 22 hours.) I put it all back on in less than a day too. I did this without any type of diuretics or IVs. It was all done entirely through sweating to lose the weight and drinking/eating to replenish it. This process was designed for competitions with a 24-hour weigh in period prior to the competition.
Our methods are almost identical, and I’ll include some of his suggestions.
Phase One – From 187 lbs. to 165 lbs.
Here we will examine, in practical terms, the necessary science of dehydration and the most effective modifiers and methods for attaining competition weight while minimizing muscle and organ damage.
It should be noted that dehydration can result in internal organ failure, coma, and even death, particularly when diuretics are used. The death of Austrian bodybuilder Andreas Munzer should serve as a reminder of what can happen when the use of drugs like Aldactone and Lasix (the latter and fast-acting insulin are arguably the two most dangerous drugs used in sports) is taken lightly. From a post-mortem article in The Observer:
His blood was viscous and slow-moving. His potassium levels were excessively high. He had been dehydrated by the diuretics he used in the days before his last competitions. His liver was melting. A post-mortem would find that it had dissolved almost completely.
The visible fibers of Munzer, who suffered multiple organ failures from diuretic abuse. Not worth the risk.
Is this article then irresponsible? I think it’s quite the opposite. I’m publishing it now because I’m saddened to still read of athletes killing themselves with imprecise approaches.
It’s a sad fact that weight-class based athletes will attempt this regardless, so I’m trying to provide safer guidelines. I don’t want to encourage casual sex among high school students, either, but I’m a realist and recognize that “just say no and abstain” doesn’t work and results in unintended pregnancies, etc. I’d rather have an open discussion and offer education to those who will do it regardless, which is the vast majority.
I’m of course obligated to emphasize that “this article is for informational purposes only.” TO REPEAT: RAPID DEHYDRATION IS DANGEROUS AND BOTH BRAIN DAMAGE AND FATALITIES ARE NOT UNCOMMON.
I present this article as an introduction to briefer and, in many respects, safer approaches that can supplant some of the more dangerous practices (thiazide-based and loop diuretics in particular) while delivering comparable results.
The practice of severe dehydration will continue among elite athletes in weight-class-based sports until competition weigh-ins are held as athletes step onto the platform or mat to compete. The problem is amplified further when athletes gain muscular mass over the course of a single competitive season, yet are required to remain in a single weight-class to retain records and ranking. My hope is that the approach details in this piece, as extreme as it is, helps athletes avoid even more dangerous practices (wearing garbage bags in saunas, etc.) that are common and more blunt, which results in excessive and imprecise loss.
So, how does one drop from 187 lbs. to 165 lbs., then perform 18 hours later at 193 lbs.?
Latent Heat and Electrolyte Reuptake Modification
It is contended that there are two appropriate vehicles for the facilitation of short-term water loss (diuresis): the manipulation of thermoregulation, and the manipulation of hormones related to electrolyte balance and water retention. In other words, you can combine 1) increased water excretion through the skin via temperature treatments with 2) increased water excretion through urination, which is dependent on the modification of kidney function.
If you weigh 200 lbs., 120 of those pounds are water, which is distributed between three systems: blood, cell interiors (as pertaining to powerlifting, muscle fibers), and the spaces between the blood vessels and the cells dependent on them. Approximately 8% of your total water volume is contained in blood plasma, 67% is contained in the cells themselves, and 25% is found in the spaces between the two, which includes subcutaneous water. It is imperative that athletes understand the distribution areas from which excess water, and not life-sustaining water, can be most safely excreted, pulling from critical systems only as a last resort. Thermoregulatory and mild electrolyte manipulation, with potassium-sparing supplementation for the latter, provides a compelling combination of efficacy and safety. Bear in mind that “safety”, particularly when used in the context of something that is inherently dangerous, is relative.
Exercise, whether running or otherwise, is not used for dehydration, as it places a load on the muscular and nervous systems when recovery is impaired, decreasing the force production capacity we want to preserve for competition.
Additionally, athletes should never dehydrate for the first time before competition. Just as with any technique, dehydration should be practiced within 85-90% of competition requirements at least two times in pre-season to ensure each athlete understands the individualized performance consequences and required recovery times.
Rehydration and additional hyperhydration are also accomplished through two primary vehicles: increasing the speed of water absorption, and increasing the volume of water that can be retained in the body for muscular performance purposes. This is done primarily with purified water and modified molecules of glucose.
By scientifically hydrating and increasing arterial blood plasma volume, you increase blood pH levels (alkaline), increasing the ability of hemoglobin to bind to oxygen. The end result is that proper hydration increases oxygen delivery to body tissue. A 1-1.5 quart loss of water can result in as much as a 25% decrease in aerobic endurance for this reason. By increasing plasma and cellular hydration you can conversely increase oxygen delivery and uptake, with a subsequent increase in endurance (hypothesized by some to be primarily dependent on aerobic mitochondrial activity).
Thermoregulation: Humidity and Brevity
Torranin has demonstrated that dehydration decreases both isometric and dynamic muscular endurance by 31% and 29%, respectively, following only a 4% reduction in body-mass by sauna exposure. This would still only represent an 8 lb. reduction for a 200 lb. competitor, a moderate decrease by weight-class competition standards. This further establishes the functional impairments caused by dehydration and the paramount importance of limiting the time spent in this state.
It is the author’s empirical experience that target dehydration should be accomplished over as short a period of time as safely possible, and that moderate dehydration sustained over multiple days only exacerbates the inherent problem of maintaining glycogen stores and muscle tissue integrity.
Saturday Weigh-In: 9am
If weigh-ins are hypothetically held at 9am Saturday morning, restrict additional salt intake beginning at Thursday dinner. No red meat or starchy carbohydrates (bread, rice, potatoes) should be consumed on Thursday night or on Friday, as both of these food product categories cause the disproportionate storage of water (3 grams of water per 1 gram of glycogen; creatine and fibrous tissue water retention in red meat). Drink your normal volume of liquids in the form of purified or distilled water until Friday morning, at which point water consumption, limited still to purified or distilled water, should be reduced to 1/3 your normal volume. If you don’t want to do the math, just drink 1/3 cup every time you would drink a full cup.
On Friday night, following a early (5-6pm) and light dinner consisting primarily of vegetables, thermoregulatory work should begin and water consumption should be eliminated until weigh-ins. Non-prescription diuretics, discussed in the following section, would be consumed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday, in addition to upon waking on Saturday.
The bathtub is the preferred tool for dehydration based on the outside humidity in total submersion, which is 100%. The higher the humidity, the less the evaporation, and the more your body must sweat to cool core body temperature. This is why athletes will sweat more in a steam room than in a dry sauna. Fill the bathtub with water that does not burn the hand but causes moderate pain if the hand is moved underwater. Your target weight by bedtime should be 2-3 lbs. MORE than your necessary competition weight, as you will evaporate that volume range of water during 6-9 hours of sleep.
Set an alarm clock next to the bath for 10 minutes, and preferably have someone who will also alert you at the 10-minute mark. Submerge your entire body and head in the bathtub, entering which should take at least 2 minutes. For ease of entry and to minimize movement, sit cross-legged at the front of the bath and lay down slowly, putting your head underwater so that only your face is exposed to the air and pointing towards the ceiling. If you feel faint at any point or when you reach 10 minutes, exit the tub and run cold water over your scalp but no other areas; ideally, place an ice pack on your head and neck instead of using water. Towel off, but do not shower, as you will reabsorb water through the skin. The author has seen elite wrestlers make the mistake of taking a shower the morning of weigh-ins, only to find they have gained 2-3 lbs.! Do not make this mistake – avoid showers completely until weigh-ins. After toweling off and urinating following the first 10-minute session, weigh yourself on two scales, taking the average of four weighings: two on each scale to account for any mechanical inaccuracies. Many athletes will lose too much weight the first time they use a bathtub, and this only extends the necessary recovery period. Take a 5 minute break near a cooling source or at room temperature if you have not made weight, and repeat 10-minute submersion sessions with 5-minute cooling breaks until you are 4-5 pounds from your required weight. At least two pounds will be lost as a result of the potassium-sparing diuretics detailed in later sections, and if you lower your body weight excessively, you should consume water to ensure you are 2-3 pounds HEAVIER than your required weight before sleep.
Two practical suggestions from Matt Kroczaleski:
When there’s a very short timeframe, the only thing that matters for the weigh in is how much the food physically weighs, not the calorie content when I consume it. I allow myself two pieces of bread with peanut butter usually spaced out evenly during the cut. The first piece is typically consumed about eight hours into the cut (about 10–12 hours out from the weigh in) and the second piece about six hours later. I always feel a renewed energy and sense of well-being after these small snacks. I don’t allow myself to drink ANYTHING during the cut because this is counterproductive to what I’m trying to achieve.
I will chew on and spit out ice chips during my five minute breaks, but that’s as close as I come to drinking any type of fluids during the weight loss process.
Potassium-Sparing Non-Prescription Diuretics: Blood Flow and Sodium Filtering
Nearly all diurectics produce their effects of diuresis by directly or indirectly acting on the kidneys. There are two primary types oral or injectable diurectics, those that increase blood flow to the kidneys and those that inhibit reabsorption of electrolytes by the nephrons or loop of Henle in the kidneys.
It is best to think of the kidneys as the body’s blood filters — Each day, 150-200 quarts are filtered through the kidneys, where toxins, excess water, and unneeded minerals are removed. If you increase the amount of water that is excreted per quart of blood, and simultaneously increase the volume of blood passing through these filters per hour, the effect is pronounced diuresis through dramatically increased urination.
Prescription diuretics, especially loop diuretics such as Lasix, often cause excessive depletion of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, ions that regulate electrical transmission and heart function. Moderate potassium insufficiency can cause DNA damage and muscular cramping, most certainly resulting in impaired lift performance. More severe depletion, which can have an onset of minutes with intravenous injection, has resulted in organ failure and cardiac arrest for athletes who do not understand the serious nature of these medications. Diuretics are designed for the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure.
The author has found two compounds particularly effective for short-term water loss that mitigate the above problems: dandelion root (taraxicum officianalis), and caffeine, a xanthine alkaloid we’re all familiar with.
Dandelion root has the highest vitamin A of any known plant (14,000iu per 100g of raw material) and a high choline content. Dandelion root is one of few commonly available plants that increases sodium chloride excretion by the renal (kidney) tubule while simultaneously exhibiting potassium-sparing properties. When sodium excretion is increased, the kidneys increase water excretion to maintain electrolyte and osmotic balance. Dosages for dehydration, based on a 4:1 extract, are 250-500mg 3x daily with meals.
Caffeine not only increases sodium chloride excretion but acts primarily by increasing renal blood flow and stimulating parietal cells to increase gastric secretions. The latter combines with dandelion’s effect of increased bile flow to not only increase water excretion but food elimination (gastric emptying). Dosages for dehydration are 200-400mg caffeine (preferably caffeine anhydrous) 2-3x daily with meals. 200mg is roughly equivalent to two cups of drip coffee, or one medium cup of french-pressed coffee.
Used in combination for a 200 lb. competitor, 250-500mg of dandelion root would be taken with 200-400mg of caffeine at all three Friday meals (remember that dinner is early, 5-6pm), and upon waking 3 hours prior to weigh-in at 9am. It is recommended that the athlete also supplement each meal with a non-prescription 99mg potassium product.
Phase Two – From 165 lbs. to 193 lbs.
How do you use sugar alcohols, skin protectants, and insulin mimickers to recover from dehydration and move from a precompetition 187 lbs. and weigh-in of 165 lbs. to 193 lbs.? How can an athlete retain 50% more intramuscular fluid for improved oxygen delivery and power output?
Just because you’ve weighed in doesn’t mean you are ready to compete. Far from it.
Proper cellular hydration is required for glycogen synthesis and muscular contraction. Dehydrate a muscle by just 3% and you cause an approximate 10% loss of contractile strength and 8% loss of speed. Ball State University research has demonstrated a 7% decrease in speed over 10 kilometers by runners dehydrated by just 2%-3% of total body mass. For a 150 lb. strength athlete, this represents a very meager 3-4.5 lbs. of water loss.
This further establishes the paramount importance of rapid rehydration for optimal safety, recovery, strength performance following voluntary dehydration, particularly when the percent of total Lean Body Mass (LBM) is significant (the author has supervised, but does not advise, up to an 18% reduction).
One objective during the dehydration stage is the preservation of muscle fiber and blood plasma fluid volume with simultaneous excretion of extraneous subcutaneous water, which is located between the skin and muscle.
Similarly, the objective during rehydration is the increase of muscle cell and blood plasma fluid volume to predehydration or hyperhydration levels in the shortest time possible. What is hyperhydration? In the context of powerlifting, hyperhydration is a state produced when one artificially increases the amount of water the body can retain for improved power output and oxygen delivery. To that end, athletes I’ve worked with have used the following modifiers and tools, whose usage and dosages are included later in this article:
Blood plasma volume:
Room-temperature baths, PJ-A3AH MicroStructured™ water unit, Glycerol, glycerin, 1,2,3-propanetriol, electrolyte supplementation
Muscle cell hydration (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy):
Room-temperature baths, Panasonic PJ-A3AH MicroStructured™ water unit, 4:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio, glucose, glucose disposal agents and insulin mimickers, creatine monohydrate
Using Skin as a Water Channel
In the exact reverse of the dehydration protocol, it is advised that while consuming bio-engineered water (below), the athlete capitalize on the largest organ in the body as an initial vehicle for water uptake: skin. Take a 15-minute bath in room temperature water, preferably with Epsom salt for systemic magnesium supplementation and muscular relaxation (decreased electrolyte supply often causes muscle cramping).
Understanding the Small Intestine, Gastric Emptying, and Aquaporins
It is critical that any athlete with a short time span for rehydration increase gastric emptying, or the speed at which liquids pass from the stomach to the small intestine for absorption. Blood plasma fluid volume optimization precedes muscle cell hyperhydration, as the solids consumed for glycogen restoration will decrease the speed of liquid gastric emptying. This needs to be accomplished before glycogen is restored by ingestion of solids.
Also note that most commercially-available sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) and so-called “replacement fluids” contain much too high a concentration of sugars (high-fructose, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin) or other solutes to move efficiently from your stomach to the primary site of absorption in the small intestine. This does not mean you avoid solutes entirely, as I’ll point out below with ORS (oral replacement salts); it just means that you need to precise.
The optimal process of initial rehydration would move ingested H20 from the digestive tract (specifically, the small intestine) to the bloodstream quickly and without volume loss, and then through the semi-permeable cell membrane, again without volume loss (“loss” defined by eventual excretion, rather than retention, of water).
Protein channels in the cellular membrane, called “aquaporins”, only permit single-file influx of water molecules in clusters 3-6 angstroms in diameter. Unfortunately, 50-85% of purified water molecule clusters are 11-13 angstroms in diameter. Thus, while more efficiently assimilated than unpurified water, you may still excrete 50-85% of the purified water you ingest. For optimal hydration, defined by maximum H20 uptake % per ml ingested, there is a newer and more effective option: purified micro-clustered water. Through the process of electrolysis, basic tap water is restructured into smaller clusters of 5-6 water molecules, as identified with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Raman Spectroscopic Meters (NMR 0-17 peak shift from 130 Hz to 65 Hz).
Important note: the scientific literature available in English on micro-clustered water is confusing at best and convoluted with nonsense. The above explanation of “restructuring” was provided by an importer and could fall in the latter category. In fact, I’m inclined to believe this is the case.
The results discussed below, however, are from self-experimentation after purchasing the Panasonic PJ-A3AH from the same importer who had obtained several units after seeing them used in Japanese hospitals to treat burn victims.
I find the experimental results hard to explain as placebo effect: I and several other athletes were able to each drink more than 70 ounces from the Panasonic PJ-A3AH microclustered water unit (nearly 9 tall glasses of water), with no discomfort or excretion even 5 hours later. Divided by 16 oz. and multiplied by 1.5, one might extrapolate that the equivalent of approximately 6.56 pounds (1 gallon is 8.33 pounds) of tap water were assimilated. All of the athletes involved hydrate throughout the day and generally urinate at least once per 1.5-2 hours.
Regardless, the Panasonic unit is difficult to find, as are filters, so purified or distilled water can be used in substitution. Water molecules can move across the cell membrane, not just via aquaporins, albeit at a slower speed.
To avoid hyponatremia, or water intoxication, in both cases, it is recommended that you consume 75mg of sodium per 8 ounces of water (approximately 1/3 teaspoon per quart) to maintain electrolyte and water homeostatis. If you don’t, salt-dependent thirst-drive will be inhibited prematurely to prevent over-dilution of the blood. During a three-hour rehydration period, subjects consuming moderately sodium-infused water restored 82 percent of lost fluids versus 68 percent for subjects consuming water alone (Maughan RJ). Glucose can additionally increase absorption of water through the intestinal wall.
An even easier option is to also consume an ORS (oral replacement salt) drink like Pedialyte, which is popular among wrestler. The reasons to do so are clear in this comment from reader Craig Weller:
I once participated in a hydration lab as part of a combat medicine course.
A premise of the course was that many modern rehydration methods are ineffective and even counterproductive.
Participants were split into four groups and hydrated with either plain water, water with ORS, Gatorade or IV’s. My notes are several states away right now, but I think the amounts were around one gallon per hour for four hours.
Most participants in the Gatorade group developed fairly bad diarrhea. I was in the plain water group, which developed symptoms of hyponatremia. It was surprisingly miserable. The IV group (plain saline) developed ridiculous edema. They looked like Michelin men.
The only group that didn’t suffer much was the ORS group. They didn’t have the edema, hyponatremia (headache, fatigue, etc) or diarrhea of the other groups. As I recall, they also didn’t excrete quite as much (we measured urinary excretion down to the milliliter and graphed it over the four hours).
All groups except for the ORS group reported adverse effects for around 24 hours after.
Most of that seems fairly common-sense, but experiencing it firsthand was a dramatic learning experience.
The Sweetest Alcohol for Rehydration: Consuming Hand Moisturizer
Glycerol (1,2,3-propanetriol), commonly sold in supermarkets as “glycerin” for skin moisturizing, is a sugar alcohol with hygroscopic (water-binding) properties. Glycerol is used in meal-replacement bars to maintain softness and used in hand moisturizer because of its ability to pull water from the air. Glycerol is a three-carbon alcohol, which along with Free Fatty Acids (FFA) are produced when a triglyceride (stored fat/adipose tissue) is glycolyzed. It is theorized that glycerol drives water into blood plasma by increasing absorption of water in the distal tubules and collecting ducts of the kidney. Those who has read this entire post will recognize that we manipulated kidney function in the opposite manner initially to increase water excretion.
Glycerol-induced rehydration significantly increases plasma volume restoration within 60 minutes and at the end of a 180-minute rehydration period. Total urine volume is lower and percent rehydration is subsequently greater following glycerol usage (Scheett TP). In submaximal ergometer testing, mean heart rate was lower following glycerol ingestion by 4.4 +/- 1.1 beats/min (p = 0.01). Endurance time was prolonged after glycerol use in two studies: Study I (93.8 +/- 14 min vs. 77.4 +/- 9 min, p = 0.049) and Study II (123.4 +/- 17 min vs. 99.0 +/- 11 min, p = 0.03), demonstrating that pre-exercise glycerol-enhanced hyperhydration both lowers heart rate and prolongs endurance time (Montner P). The ingestion of glycerol improves hydration beyond that provided by equal volumes of Gatorade or water alone (Griffin SE).
Serum glycerol concentrations are normally 0.05 mmol/L at rest but can be increased to 20 mmol/L by ingesting 1-1.4g/kg of Lean Body Mass (LBM) of a 40% glycerol solution with 20-26 mL/kg LBM of water. Averaging these amounts and converting them to US English volume measurements, one should consume .543g/lb LBM of glycerol and .3984 fluid ounces/lb. LBM.
150 lb. athlete: 81.45 grams of glycerol with 59.76 fluid ounces (1.86 quarts) of water (preferably microclustered)
200 lb. athlete: 108.6 grams of glycerol with 79.68 fluid ounces (2.49 quarts) of water
250 lb. athlete: 135.75 grams of glycerol with 99.6 fluid (3.11 quarts) ounces of water
It is critical that the supplemental water is consumed with glycerol; otherwise, water will be pulled into blood plasma from the only available source, muscle cells and surrounding tissue.
Glucose and Insulin for Increasing Hydration Speed
Carbohydrates are converted to glucose through digestion and unused blood glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. In part 2, our athlete did not consume starches from Thursday lunch to weigh-ins at 9am on Saturday, and he will have depleted glycogen stores by necessity: each gram of glycogen holds 3 grams of water.
To optimally rehydrate after initial bioengineered water/sodium/glycerol consumption, one must optimize glycogen stores so the full water storage capability of the body is restored. This is accomplished by consuming macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates) with glucose disposal agents to enhance sensitivity to insulin, as storage hormone released by the pancreas. Insulin also stimulates glycogen synthase, as enzyme necessary for glycogen synthesis.
Several principles must be followed:
1. Consume your first meal 90-120 minutes after post-weigh-in glycerol and purified/distilled water ingestion.
2. Consume carbohydrates (CHO) with protein to optimize insulin response, but do not consume more protein than permitted by a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. More protein will interfere with water retention. Caseinates (cottage cheese or milk) or whole food proteins are preferred to whey, which is a fast-acting protein that can cause catabolism after 1.5 hours.
3. Take 100mg of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA or thioctic acid) per 75 pounds of bodyweight + 50mcg of chromium polynicotinate (not picolinate) with each meal following weigh-ins. Both compounds increase insulin sensitivity and deposition of nutrients into muscle cells. The latter is a niacin-bound chromium referenced as 50x more bioavailable than chromium picolinate for purposes of glucose disposal and insulin mimicking.
4. Consume 5g creatine monohydrate and at least 75mg of salt with each meal, as both will work in conjunction with CHO as water “carriers” to increase absorption through the intestinal lining.
The Hyperhydration Advantage: Underutilized and Underestimated
By understanding engineered H20, its modifiers, and the science of hyperhydration, it is possible to weigh-in at 165 lbs. and compete 12 hours later at 193 lbs. It is also possible to consume 1.5 gallons of water in 16 ounces or increase protein synthesis 3-fold while simultaneously optimizing fat-oxidation.
Few elite athletes understand, let alone capitalize on, the hydration modifiers that represent next-generation tools for improving oxygen delivery and sports performance. It is precisely this broad ignorance that makes engineered hyperhydration one of the most valuable tools for athletes seeking a legal and safe performance advantage with results that rival any dietary supplement currently available.
Last but not least: do your research and don’t treat this as a low-stakes game. It will kill you. Here are three examples in one five-week period.
Good luck to those whose sports require this. Train hard and drink smart. No medal is worth a Munzer-like ending.
Related and Suggested Reading:
Pavel: 80/20 Powerlifting and How to Add 110+ Pounds to Your Lifts
Physical Performance Posts: Why a Calorie Isn’t a Calorie, Intermittent Fasting vs. Caloric Restriction, Krill Oil…
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300 Replies to “How to Lose 30 Pounds in 24 Hours: The Definitive Guide to Cutting Weight”
Love your posts of accelarated learning.
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Also vielen danken für Ihren Büch, es ist ganz super!!!
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Indeed this is a very intresting article, stubmled upon it… tho i must admit that i’m thinking of using a tip or two from your article! 😉
Take a 15-minute bath in room temperature water, preferably with Epsom salt for systemic magnesium supplementation and muscular relaxation
Seems like water would flow out towards the salt solution, not into the body if you put salt in the water?
@ Jon @Tim Yes this is my understanding also, I was always under the impression that epsom salts baths were used to draw water out (as I have used them myself for cutting weight, prior to reading this)
Can someone elaborate or educate me here?
What do you think of drinking pedalyte mixed with water while exercisin. ex Biking, Hockey etc. as an alternatvie to gatorade type drinks
Hi Tim. A very interesting article, I really had no idea about any of this. One point though, you speak about purified/distilled water. However, I understand purified water to be water free of bacteria or viruses, that could have any type of salt in it. Distilled water is water free of salts, but as this is generally done by columns, rather than actual distillation, and as the columns could be contaminated, there may or may not be bacteria present (at any rate in the lab we always sterilised the distilled water where necessary). So it would be good if you clarified which you meant. (I assume bacteria are not an issue).
Secondly, have you published any results like this in a scientific journal or collaborated with scientists or doctors to do so? This information seems like stuff you would never get ethical approval to do in a lab, and therefore may be very difficult to study.
I wanted to use this for preparing for a bodybuilding show, do you have any recomendations on the rehydration to keep from “Spilling over” and end up looking flat? I intend to do it once or twice before the show but wanted to see if you had any recomendations as it seems these directions are more for performance athletes and hyperhydration instead of bodybuilders. Thanks in advance!
This is exactly the kind of information that ruins teenage wrestlers’ bodies for the rest of their lives. This is abhorrent. Why not just advertise steroids while you’re at it?
Thank you, Tim, for pointing out repeatedly that this is a very, very, very dangerous and even deadly thing to do.
Tim, two things the article does not address adequately are carb loading and nutrition for the 24 hours before the competition. Both need to be an integral part of the weight-cutting plan because as you noted carbs make you retain water!
For my last few powerlifting competitions I’ve cut out all protein (and fats) from my diet 24 hours prior to the event, on the advice of a multi-time world champion. Carb-loading works best when done the day prior, so I just eat a bunch of cookies after stopping water intake. Here protein obviously doesn’t do you any good. But when you consider that protein takes more energy to digest, it’s counter-productive to eat any at all after the weigh-in. Stick to simple carbs in small amounts (many people make the mistake of over-eating; again, you don’t want to waste energy on digestion during the event) and rely on the carb-loading and stimulants.
The above obviously makes the most sense for short weigh-ins, although I’ve done it successfuly for an 18-hour weigh-in (note that I only needed to cut 6lb that time). The most I’ve done is 15lb for a 2-hour weigh-in.
I’ll be entering a Chinese Martial Arts Tournament tomorrow (in Berkeley, CA) and have found this useful for today’s weight loss regime — luckily I only need to lose two pounds so will be quick and easy.
When I was in High School Wrestling, we did all the wrong things to make weight (jogging in front of a wood burning stove for example) — so it is great to have this reference available on the web.
Nice work! And you suck — because your blog posts are too good!
@Brian: Clustered water is cold fusion, god delusion and fraud illusion.
Tim, this is some pretty crazy stuff. Though scientifically, it doesn’t seem nearly as dangerous as some of the things I’ve heard of other athletes doing. You seem to know your stuff, so I won’t try to argue with you.
You’re absolutely right though, if people weighed in before the competition this would all be different.
As requested on Twitter…
I come here just too see about loosing a little weight really fast but i soon got put off when i read the words DEATH & COMA ….
Great article on cutting weight! As a former college wrestler and coach, I know how important it is for athletes to know proper techniques for doing this. This is the extreme, but for the serious college or professional athlete, this system can be extrelmly effective. Thank you for sharing!
How many of these techniques would I need to use to go from 157 to 148.8? I’m talking about a 24-hour weigh-in for powerlifting.
Would it be better to do hot baths AND drink no fluids for several hours?
Hot baths only?
Just go without fluids only?
Is 16-18 hours enough time to do the trick? Most of my competitors go without food and water for a full 24 hours.
In preparation for an upcoming competition I found the following math hard to follow. It makes me wonder if this was intentional or accidental:
“I find the experimental results hard to explain as placebo effect: I and several other athletes were able to each drink more than 70 ounces from the Panasonic PJ-A3AH microclustered water unit (nearly 9 tall glasses of water), with no discomfort or excretion even 5 hours later. Divided by 16 oz. and multiplied by 1.5, one might extrapolate that the equivalent of approximately 6.56 gallons of tap water was assimilated. All of the athletes involved hydrate throughout the day and generally urinate at least once per 1.5-2 hours.”
70 oz / 16 oz times 1.5 = 6.56, agreed. But this result is in pounds, not gallons. One gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs. This means one would “extrapolate” to consumption of approx. .8 gals or 105 oz. Less than a gallon, not 6.56 gallons.
Am I missing something?
Doh! No, you are completely correct. I made the unit correction — thanks!
Nuts! Tim, I was hoping you would answer GuruSteve’s question. I and a couple of my powerlifting buddies are in the same boat as him…and we all weigh in the high 150s. FWIW, the hot baths are EXTREMELY draining.
Strange how we inadvertently find things on the net which are possible pertinent yet obscure.
This is extremely interesting to me and, I have a couple of questions.
I’m a 70 Y/O guy.
I had been a gym rat for about 20 years.
6-7 years ago, I was approx 165lbs @ 5′ 6 & 1/2″ and had a 29″ waist.
I developed asthma and, the wild medical guessers put me on prednisone, the evil steroid.
I couldn’t breathe sufficiently to do what I used to and, that together with the prednisone ballooned me to 210.
A couple months ago, I finally HAD ENOUGH!!
I went back to the gym and, what with stopping late “snacks”, etc I’ve taken off about 10 lbs. OK, it’s a start.
I’m still active as far as working and playing however, what I’d like to know is whether anything in your weight cutting regimen has been addressed chronologically as far as guys like me.
My basic overall health is quite good as my BP is about 130/70 and the rest of it is ok other than hoarding colesterol.lol
I’ll look for anything you may have to say about this.
Hi Old Sailor!
Sure thing. I highly suggest you take a look at this post instead, also on this blog:
if i do this now to prepare for wrestling in the fall and eat healthy between now and then will i gain all this weight back?
As you know I run a large fightwear company in Australia and sponsor a heap of professional MMA fighters and Kickboxers so we will be following your advice for the next few fights to see how we go!. All of guys fight on an international level so it’ll ne interesting to see the results from their current weight cutting routines. Also if you ever want to meet Fedor yoruself just let me know as Im very close with his US Manager 😉
Where do you recommend purchasing the Glycerol? Should i use a hand moisturizer made of Glycerol? Is that edible? I looked it up and found a Vegetable Glycerin….Can that be used also?
Thanks for your help!
I know this is a somewhat less noble cause than preparing for sporting events, but could ingesting your suggested mixture of water and glycerin also help in rehydrating after a night of excessive drinking? Staggering home from a pub, I find that no matter how much water I drink, I feel dehydrated and pretty dodgy all night and the next day, possibly even longer. I suspect this has something to do with the way alcohol makes fluid go through your body faster, so possibly glycerin could help. Btw. Tim, if you get the chance, would you consider writing a post on your own optimal hangover-cure nutrition? And yes, I know “just drink less” is the most effective hangover cure available, but every now and then a stag night or other such event occurs, and the occasional hangover is inevitable 🙂
How to lose 45 pounds in 40 days safely? All my patients have 100% success. Honest. And they lose only abnormal fat, not reserve or structural. Easy, affordable, effective and safe. Inquire. Do It. Do It Right. Do It Right Now.
Just had my first attempt at a weight cut.
Prepping for my first amateur Muay Thai bout (still unscheduled, but aiming to go from 140 to 125lbs. Maybe in the next few months).
Bought all the supplements, followed the diet and water consumption in detail.
Fairly straight forward.
Then came the 10 minute hot bath torture sessions. Could only get through 1 10 minute session, the 5 min. break and only got through another 5 minute session. Could not complete the second session.
My hands started to get tingly & feeling numb-ish during the first session and then I feel like i started panicking. I could feel my heart rate raising and had to get out.
I understand why this is something that needs to be practiced.
Normally, I avoid hot water baths and showers all together.
Love the way a cold shower refreshes me inside and out.
This hot water bath just confirmed to me that the hot water takes life out of me.
So to get to the point, I ended up sitting in my bathroom for 30 minutes after and just sweat, like I have never sweat before. Went from 135.2 to 132.8. Not complaining, just want to pick your brain for some of the details of this exercise.
Like I said this is the first time I have ever attempted any kind of temporary weight cut and was wondering about a few key things.
1. How many times did you have to continue these 10 minute sessions to lose the weight? How much weight did you lose from doing just this? Is there some guideline used like, for every 10 minute session you can expect to lose about 1 lb of sweat?
2. What are some of the danger signs that you have been in the hotwater bath for too long, besides passing out? And what are some of the normal things to expect (like tingly hands, or going crazy with your own thoughts as if in an isolation chamber)?
3. Took the caffeine (i never drink coffee, dont like caffeine and I have a low tolerance to caffeine) and the dandelion root with my meals and my 1/3 normal water consumption, but didnt feel the diuretic feeling that I thought I would be experiencing. I thought I would be going to the bathroom every 10 minutes or crazy diarreaha or something like that, but instead it felt like I was draining whatever I drank with the meal. Is this what is supposed to happen? Or should I feel like I am losing much more than I am consuming?
Anyway I am doing my practice run for a fake weigh in tomorrow at the gym at about 7pm, but think I will be about 4-5 lbs heavier at 129-130 instead of my target 125. But at least now I know what to expect from cutting weight.
Again, thank you very much for being methodical and deliberate with your posts.
Realize you are busy, and are tending to more recent posts, but thanks for reading through this comment.
Realize I probably wont make my goal weight, and feel awful like I have never felt before, but loving every second. Thanks for giving us OCDs something to think about/do.
Now, back to planning for the re-hydration for Friday’s class!
Great info. Thanks for the help!
I recently cut weight for the very first time. I had a 6pm weigh-in. I did 4 ten minute baths the night before and then 3 baths the next morning. I started at 180.4 pounds and weighed myself twice in the 5 minute break.
Bath #1 180.2..179.8
Bath #2 179.4.. 178.8
Bath #3 178.2.. 178.0
Bath #4 177.4.. 177.0
After I was out 30 minutes I weighed 176.4
I woke up the next morning at 174.6
Bath #1 173.0.. 173.2
Bath #2 172.4.. 172.2
Bath #3 171.6.. 171.6
After I was out of the tub for 20 minutes my weight was 170.4
Weighed in at 170 at 6pm.
My fight was at 7pm. I felt strong and didn’t feel any negative affects from the cut.
I get to do it all again starting tonight for my fight this Saturday.
Hi, great article , I have a few questions tho , if these methods are as effective as they sound , why do premier athletes cutting weight use a sauna instead of a steam room or bathtub like you suggest, and resort to running on a treadmill in plastics ? is it a matter or preference or lack of knowledge ?
I love this article – except that you are letting my competition know too much.
I lose about 8 pounds from bedtime weight to right after my short, post-training steam in the morning. I up that to 15 pounds easily with simply forcing in a lot of distilled water in the days preceding the cut day. I also avoid starches and red meat pre-cut. During the cut I take some caffeine. I have always used pedialyte and coconut water and some sodium, potassium and creatine to help rehydrate. I go for starches a few hours after weighins. I must cut very soon and will try the dandelion root and glycerol for the first time.
WOULD YOU ADD GLYCEROL TO PEDIALYTE?
i’m over the moon with finding this article, its helping me loads, i usually cut weight in a sauna but it makes me feel weak for my fight, so i’m glad i have something new to try this time, i found it a realy interesting read and i’ve studied it a couple of times and i was just wondering how much water you actually should drink after you’ve weighed in up until your fight, do you just take the dosages that you stated or do you consistently drink throughout the day and practically dromened yourself with it lol
Hi Tim! This was a really great read. QUESTION— I have a weigh-in for the military on Wednesday morning (tonight is Monday). If I needed to drop 10 pounds and could do it using a lighter version of this method, would it also improve my BMI?
I’m currently around 218 pounds and need to be at 202 for the weigh-in. If I weigh too much, they get out the measuring tape. Last time I was 210 but my measurements were ok… I made it by a hair. Your swift input is greatly appreciated Tim!
afflicted I do not speak English, translated by babelfish read your book that jvery instructive, I found fell on this blog by making research on you. i would like if your article is available in French( How to Lose 30 Pounds in 24 Hours: The Definitive Guide to Cutting Weight )because j’ I sought n’ did not find still cheer for your book and your parcour .
Utilized a slightly modified version of your program and it worked great. The two evenings prior to weigh-in I weighed 176, weighed in at 158.5 and competed the next day at 177, winning my division. Good stuff.
“pre-exercise glycerol-enhanced hyperhydration both lowers heart rate and prolongs endurance time”
Would glycerin hyperhydration be a valuable thing to do before a regular workout, or is it redundant when you’re already properly hydrated?
When it comes to tricking the body, I believe less (frequently) is generally more. The body is quite fond of homeostatis and I suspect there could be hormone ramifications (aldosterone, etc.) if glycerol is constantly used. I’d save it for simulating competition to gauge effects, and then for competition itself, unless you are doing long distance and cannot hydrate properly pre- and during-exercise.
Have you ever thought of learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? I think it would be a great accelerated learning subject for you, and you would probably be a natural. One of the best instructors is right here in Idaho.
On a kind of related note, have you had any experience with water ionizers? A guy at the gym was elling them the other day. He made some radical slaims about how they ionize water and make it alkaline, which helps absorbtion, fights free radicals, speds recovery, clears out lactic acid, etc. It sounded awesome if true, but I need an outside opinion before I even consider it at the price he was asking.
Don’t waste your money on a water ionizer. So-called ionized water is really nothing more than snake oil.
Yeah, I didn’t want to sound too accusatory, but it didn’t seem believable- especcially consider their sales strategy was multi-level marketing.
There is no reasonable purpose for losing so much weight in so short a time – why promote it when it may just get some of the less streetwise readers out there to risk their loves for no real gain?
this question may sound stupid but as far as the glycerin goes it is in grams so do i just need to figure the conversion of liquid ounces to grams?I have some 16oz bottles of 100% pure vegetable glycerine.Thanks for the help.
I don’t think I trust ionized water.
Hey this was a really nice read.
I’m a wrestler, and for my competitions we start the match only an hour after weigh-ins. So as you can see that really messes up the rehydration part of the plan for me.
Would my performance suffer greatly from not being as hydrated, or do you think I could do that within an hour?
Also, I’m only cutting about 10-12 pounds for all of my weigh-ins, from 172 to 160. Would this improve my situation and allow me to hydrate off the 12 lb cut in only an hour of time?
I tried this with just the Diuretics and no sweat sessions and cut about 12lbs before my weigh-ins. I bet if I was able to do the 10-minuet sessions, I would cut about 5-ish more. Thanks a lot for this.
I think this site is awesome. I’ve been looking for articles on weight cutting for a while. I have a degree in exercise science and the closest we got to dealing with performance and weight cutting was that “yeah it changes things a bit so these guidelines might not be true for wrestlers, gymnasts, or jockies”. I believe that with the explosion of MMA that this site is a great resource. I just followed part of the diet plan and lost 10 lbs. I am cutting from 200 to 175 for a MMA fight. I will report back on the use of the bath sessions and rehydration. Thanks Tim.
How many times will you repeat the 10 minutes sessions on average per cut?
I’m usually only doing 2-4. Be careful and have doctor’s supervision. Have to say it…
The baths worked great. I waited up til 3 hours before weigh ins to lose almost 8 lbs.! Two weeks before weigh-ins on a non-training Sunday = 202 lbs. I just carb restricted and got to 190. Then day before weighins I didn’t drink very much water. Here’s the info on the 10-minute sessions day of weigh-ins:
Took an hour break.
Hot water in motel started to run out!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the response! I’m a huge fan of 4WW and I can say it has changed my life. I have a small internet company that does about 500k a month in revenue with very little overhead and A LOT of outsourcing. Anyway, this has enabled me to train MMA and hence the question about the weight cut. Trying to take my first amateur fight at lightweight and I’m weighing around 170. Thanks for the tips! I probably could have been a great success story for the updated version, but I’m just real small and under the radar.
Where are the sample photos as mentioned in the updated 4HWW? I finally got my skeptical friend to read your book, and he’s using the lack of photos as reason to doubt your credibility. Would love to prove him wrong! Thanks
Per last comment, any chance of photos being posted?
Hey Tim, great read! I am currently cutting for an MMA fight this weekend, and am looking for a way to shed the last 10 pounds of water without making myself weak by running, biking, etc. in plastics. I saw on your previous post that you do an “average” of 2-4 10 minute sessions per cut. How much water weight drop did that yield? How many sessions did you do for the amazing 20-30 pounds in 24 hours? Thanks for the help and info!!
I’m a pro MMA athlete and have cut 20-25 lbs many times safely. I’m a big fan of using pedialyte, creatine, waxy maize, and Citruline Malate to rehydrate.
Is a steam room acceptible replacement for hot water bath?
I have a tradition of going to a movie (after pedialyte) post-weighin and eat a large popcorn. Is there a problem eating too much salt post-weighin?
Hey Tim, great job. I think we’d all like to know how many 10 minute sessions were needed for the 30lb cuts? Also would injecting somthing like Insulin, or Insulin Like Growth Factor post weigh in be a good idea to speed up the process of nutrient absorbtion?
About 3-4 dunks, usually. I would NEVER recommend injecting insulin. It’s a very easy way to kill yourself if miscalculated.
From your last comment. You mentioned that you ‘usually only do 2-4.’
Is that for the full 30lbs in only 2-4 sessions?
Or is that for just usual weight cuts and for the deep cuts more?
I have seen on this blog people post that they do this up to 8 times, perhaps a limit – or a general acceptable range, just so people don’t end up hurt.
Just as a cautionary.
I have a question.. I’m a female powerlifter and I’m currently in the 105.5 weight class.. I will go to regionals if I drop to the 97.5 weight class and I have to do so in 2 days. Any suggestions as to how I could best do this? I’m going to try what the article suggested and see how that works but any other suggestions would be extremely appreciated.
Can you use a jacuzzi or hot tub instead of bathtub? Would the chlorine inhibit dehydration?
Very interesting article. I stumbled upon it while researching cutting weight for mma.
The most intersting part for me is using for glycerol rehydration. I looked for it at the pharmacy today and the pharmacist was surprised as she said that it would take water from the cells and put it into the blood (that’s what I took her to say, anyhow). Hence, she figured it would be dehyradting if anything.
Is she wrong? SHould I bother with the glycerol since it is only “theorized” that it drives water into the blood plasma?
I’d be careful either way you slice it. Please do treat the article as for informational purposes only. Stick with Pedialyte for rehydration.
Awesome article. I always wondered how the UFC fighters, especially the guys at ATT, seem to just blow up between the weighins and the actual fight.
I am incredibly interested in what you said at the end of the article, that it is possible to “increase protein synthesis 3-fold” by using hyperhydration. Where can I find more information on that?
In terms of conditioning – are there any known side effects to the performance of a fighter’s mma conditioning?
I heard that Frankie Edgar doesn’t cut weight to fight at 155 where as guys like Thiago Alves will cut almost 30 lbs – I have to wonder what the long and short term effects, if any, are?
I was wondering where your pics were. I would love to see them.
Thank you Tim! I had a weigh in today I had to be 191 and I weighed in at 190
yesterday at noon I was 200.6 Had 400mg caffeine at lunch 400mg at dinner (5pm) cut out water and food entirely at 6pm at 9pm began sweating in the bath tub 10 min sessions in the exact manner as you described, did this 4 times checked my weight later that night at 1 am 195.5 went to bed woke up at 8 am 192.5 took 2 caffien pills ate and drank nothing for breakfast weighed in at noon 190.5 by 2 pm consumed 40 ounces of pedialyte and ate a salad. by 4pm consumed 40 oz of water and 20 oz of watered down gatoraid. 5pm im back up to 198.5 and I feel great. Everything worked exactly as you said! I had to cut water weight once before 1 year ago i had no water and no food for 30 hours and went running I felt like i was going to die your way is so much better and safer. Thanks again.
salt baths are what i use to cut weight cus of osmosis ,
alot of this was very helpful tho mate ,
im fighting very soon (sat) and making weight and it was a good read.
got from 66kg to 59.5 x
A minor quibble, Jonno: Osmosis doesn’t work through the skin.
All the politicians on here talking about lifetime damage on your body (ruining teenage bodies) drive me mad.
I was doing an intensive exercise / rapid fitness improvement program, that the same sort of people would rave about. Everyone doing it, including me thought it was great, and it was.
It lasted roughly 2 and a half hours and was highly intensive. I used to take my 500ml water bottle, not always full and sip it when I had time / remembered too.
On many occasions I would simply forget during training and therefore have it after.
One time I weighed myself at the start and finish when I forgotten to drink.
I had gone from 185lbs to 170lbs in just under 3 hours.
I never knew about these special rehydration procedures. I’ve never felt fitter than after attending those classes. Due to the water I lost you critics seem to think I’ll have done life time, long term damage / shouldn’t even be alive today.
Losing water without the intensive muscle strain and fatigue of exercising is surely therefore not so massively different.
The only dispute I have with this article is it cuts the weight the night before and sleeps 8? hours, rather than get up in the morning and doing it DIRECTLY before weighing in (therefore only being dehydrated for a few hours).
!!PREACHERS!! ITS NO DIFFERENT TO EXTREME HIGHLY DEMANDING EXERCISE!!
which is seen as elite fitness….. And YES people drop dead from doing it allllll the time, Marathons etc. Go preach else were.
Great article and very helpful… I recently had to cut weight for an MMA fight, and though I didn’t take it to the extremes Tim did in his article, I was able to lose my last 3-5 pounds without having to run or sweat and I felt great. Thanks Tim!
Hello I am trying to Lose alot of the water Weight i have. I have been drinking almost a gallon of water everyday because someone told me it would keep me from over eating and it Does help. But i am seeing i actually weigh more? 0_o !!?? Like what the heck is going on. Then as reading T4HWW i realized what the problem was. I want to try this to lose the water wight. But i dont need to do it in 24 hours. I have time so im thinking of doing the same process but in a less intense format. Any suggestions on what i can do would be helpful. as of now im simply doing three 10min sessions of hot water baths and increasing my dandelion Root intake and caffeine intake. Any help would be greatly appreciated guys 😀
I suggest updating this article. Glycerol is now banned by WADA. It’s been added to the list as a possible masking agent. Fighters who cut and use glycerol based products to rehydrate run the risk of being banned from their respective sport.
Just an FYI, WADA added Glycerol as an example of a substance in the Plasma Expander category (for those interested)
Doh! Good catch. Word to the wise.
WHOA. Thanks, Wrestling Coach! Tim or Tim’s assistant, perhaps modify the article? Just adding Wrestling Coach’s comment to the article would be helpful. The worst thing would be to go through all this trouble only to be DQ’d, and forfeit all the months of training.
I currently weight 150lbs and am a college wrestler. I am going to make 133’s and have read your article, but it is kind of confusing to me, so if u can dumb it down for me that would be great. Basically, what I got out of it is, three days before weigh ins you stop eating carbs, use dandelion root and caffeine, potassium, and do your 10 min bath sessions.
Hi! I’m gonna fight nex Saturday and I need to cut 12 pounds. What should I do in order to make weight? Sauna like crazy?
Wow that was a lot of information. I can remember trying to lose a couple pounds for rowing weigh ins. We use to do a sweat run wearing garbage bags. I guess your method would have probably worked better.
I am not an athlet but I want to try this. I weight about 175 lbs, I am 31 years old, mother of a 12-year-old and have plan to have baby. I want to know if there is any side affect of this. Please reply to my post.
This is not a way to lose weight and keep it off… These methods are usually done by trained athletes who need to cut weight for a specifice (one time) event/competition that has a weight limit and a weigh in. After the weigh in, the athlete begins the rehydration process. I would definitely NOT recommend this as a first time crash diet. People (athletes) who use these methods are trained and understand their bodies and what they are doing. Be careful.
I would recommend against trying this; this is in no way a formula for meaningful, long-term weight loss. Rather, it is a “quick fix” to lose a significant amount of water weight in order to qualify at lower weight classes. Put another way, if your goal is to change your body composition & lose weight, DON’T DO THIS. Not only is it dangerous to do in the short-term, in the long-term you will have effectively accomplished nothing.
One other note: You say you’re 175 lbs, but without knowing your height, it’s not particularly helpful.
Thanks for the reply. Actually, I was sort of disturbed when I thought that I will try this. But eralier this week, I have consulted with my dr. about it. I also have started to going to the gym and I am limiting my intake calorie. It may take longer that any other plan but I guess it’s good wait long for something good and healthy. Your reply really was inspiring. I will not try this.Thanks again. God bless you.
Dear Brian and Angelo,
Thanks for the replies guys. I’m just going to admit that I was sort of disturbed the moment I wanted to try the process. But, thanks to you guys, I have changed my mind. Earlier this week, I have consulted with my physian about losing weight and she suugested healthy diet plus physical activity. So, I have finally started using gym membership and limiting my intake calories. It may take a lot longer than any other plan, but I guess it’s OK to wait for something good and healthy. Thanks to both of you once again. God bless you.
And that’s the thing, really. It does take longer, but it accomplishes 2 things: 1) You attain your goal healthfully, and 2) it means you’ve adopted healthful habits that hopefully will make your weight-loss more long-lasting.
Something that I think got lost in Tim’s original post is that this technique is actually for people that are already VERY healthy. MMA fighters, boxers, wrestlers, are ideally people that are already in extraordinarily good health, and at or around a healthy weight. This technique merely allows them to qualify to fight in a lower weight class in order to try and leverage a weight advantage over their opponent.
I wish you much luck and success in your endeavor. It’s a long and difficult road, at times, but definitely worth it!
Great Book – congrats
I started the Low Carb Diet and following very strictly. But this first week i did not see any weight lose. I tried to look into the second chapter of th low carb diet but I could not pin point what I did wrong.
Or maybe my body is adjusting to the diet and will not lose weight until next week – any guidance is appreciated.
Thank you again and Happy New Year
If I’m on the slow carb diet is dextrose any better or worse than fructose?
I was drinking the P90X Recovery drink after my workouts, until I read your book. I stopped drinking it because I saw it was loaded with fructose (1st ingredient on the list). Now they have changed the ingredients and it no longer contains fructose and now contains dextrose. Should I still avoid this drink?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
If fat loss is your goal, I’d still avoid. Dextrose effectively = glucose.
Del, most recovery drinks have strong amounts of simple sugars, which will all effect you in that way, have a sweet potatoe already made instead…
okay i am 18 and trying to lose weight for my wedding and everything do you thinks this would work for me to?
Again, this is really a very short-term and highly controlled weight loss, with the idea that most of the weight will be regained in 24 hours or so. This is because the weight that is lost is NOT — I repeat, NOT — an appreciable amount of fat. It’s all pretty much WATER.
The kind of weight loss that you want is most likely found elsewhere in Tim’s posts. PLEASE don’t do this to lose weight for your wedding.
Congratulations, by the way!
Yes, I second this: do NOT use this approach for a wedding. It’s asking for problems. Follow the slow-carb diet and be done with it.
I the book you mention pictures of you before and after for the competition of Kick Boxing. I could not find these on the website. Could you send a link?
I am going to do this next week for the Brazilian jui-jitsu world trials. I dont however have access to a Bath. Is there something else I can do instead?
Why a Bath and not a shower also?
Thanks you so much. I really look forward to your advice!
I must say, as a 17 year old high school girl, I was thrilled to find this article. I have a photoshoot on Monday and wanted to look skinny for my pictures. Luckily, I took the time to read everyone’s comments and the words “fatal”, “death”, and “dangerous” definitely scared me from trying this. Thank you everyone for your extreme warnings. I’m not in the best shape because I frequently starve myself for days and never excercise so I most certainly don’t think my body could have handled this. The science on this was right on though and it was a wonderful article. I really hope that for other girls my age, it will be just that- an article, and not a method to try.
This method should be used for meeting a certain weight limit, not to look good for a photoshoot, doing this will leave you looking unwell…
Awesome article! I have a quick question for you sir. I have to cut 20lbs within the next week for a weigh-in. I’m currently at 223 and need to be 203 within 7 days. I’m on a no-carb diet and have been drinking 4-5L of electrolyte water every day. I’ve definitely been retaining most of the water which leads me to believe I have greatly up’d my water weight. I’m also doing around 90 to 120 minutes of cardio a day trying to keep my heartrate at 170.
Would you suggest doing this method the day before the weigh-in? I’m in pretty good physical shape and have unfortunately resorted to Epsom Salt injestion before and am a bit wary of it after doing some research after the fact. Last time I just stopped eating/drinking for 4 days and ran with a sauna suit to lose the last 10 or so after finishing my diet….but it appears this method may be a bit more logical.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and thanks again for the great work!
So help wanted please…
A little bit about me. I am over weight (I know this is a 24hr fix for weigh inns and what not), but very healthy for my size. I have been competiting in jiujitsu for over 5yrs (and successful I might add). I dont have high blood pressure, nor do I have any other health issues. In dec I had a full blood work done and the lady was impressed with my results. Good and bad cholestral where perfect. My vitamins where also imprssive she said.
I took a yr off due to injurys and my weight went thru the roof. In April I weighed in at 415lbs (am 6ft 1in) by aug I was down to 369lbs. I got sick and was out of commision and my weight climbed back up slowly.
Part I need help with:
On jan 2nd I started a weight loss competiton ($20,000 prize). I weighend in at 386.6, competion lasts 3 months.
Week 1 I lost 15 lbs,
Week 2 I lost 2 lbs,
week 3 was a bi,
week 4 I lost 17 lbs,
week 5 I lost 5 lbs,
Week 6 I lost 5 lbs,
Week 7 was a bi
Total loss for 6 weeks = 44 lbs
I really want to step it up for this last month. Was thinking about doing this epsom salt bath every fri for the next 4 weeks.
Tim, do you think this would help me? Where talking about $20k..! Lol
What am currently doing:
Workouts: 5days a week 2 one hr sessions a day and 3 sessions on Thursday and Friday (weigh-ins are sat 9am) all of them cardio except two which or H.I.T training. I where a suana suit under sweats, long slevve, and a jacket on all workouts.
My calorie intake is around 1500. Consists of high fiber meals before work outs and high protien after work outs (fish & chicken)
Only supplements I take is a daily multi-vitamiun.
Any help is greatly appreciated Tim,
Hey Mickey- I’m Tim’s assistant. Sounds like a crazy competition! Have you read the ‘Ice Age’ chapter in the 4HB? It’s all about how you can increase your fat loss efforts by 300%. If you take the extreme route that’s recommended in those pages (i.e. 10 minute ice baths, 3X per week), you should be able to clinch the $20K.
It also looks like you’re overtraining. Cut back on the workouts and focus more on diet.
The sauna suits are a temporary fix. They help you sweat, but you’ll put that weight back on again. Try out ice age.
Hello… thanks for the info… no I haven’t tried the ice thing. This is the first I have heard of it. Where can I get the book or info on this? I really want to win, but that means I have to drop no less than 115lbs, because Last yrs winners had between 30 & 33% bmi loss…
thanks… just ordered it! I did that bath tongiht, man do i have a headache! lol
Week 8 14lbs loss
I weighed my self wed night. I was 350lbs… than sat morning I weighed in at 330lbs. I lost 8lbs Thursday, and 12 lbs fri… did the bath fri, and it works, sweet..!
Most of my life I have been over 200lbs I would like to drop to 185lbs..Im in the Army so exercise is not a problem also i dont mind running. out its is just hard to drop the weight and keep it off. any advice for me.
Wow, that sounds so scary, but fascinating at the same time. I am glad you give such warnings to your readers, I have never heard of this technique before but this was very informative.
Helpful ideas ! I learned a lot from the points ! Does someone know if I can acquire a sample CA DMV REG 138 document to edit ?
Hey thanks for posting this article. I’m currently listening to 4 hour work week and have been following in your footsteps before this and I am thank full someone to find someone else who has already carved the path. I am also into martial arts and was a national champion wrestler in college. After college I went through a self discovery phase similar to yours going from random job to random job. I always felt like I had more to offer and wanted to own my own business.
So I said screw it and started one called Kutting Weight.
I loved the cutting weight workouts and how I felt after working out in sauna suits, but hated the cheap plastic ones that were available for sale. So while I was working at bars and doing random jobs I decided to create my own sauna suit clothing line. After researching online I found a manufacturer in Taiwan and created neoprene sauna suits. After running the business for 4 years now I’ve been seeing great success, making $30k a month and working part time;) I have been running it the same way you did with your supplement line. I work out of my home in LA and have a fulfillment company that picks and packs my orders. I contract out work that needs to be done through friends or other professionals on a per job basis. Our philosophy’s are the same which is why I’m leaving this blog comment.
I’m at that point where I’m also moving towards information type products and saw this blog about cutting weight. I have also stared a blog at cuttingweight.org and want to get more information out there about the process of cutting weight. We have been interview UFC fighters and wrestlers about the subject and posting the videos on our website and all over Youtube.
I want to write a book about the process and am going to follow your tips in Chapter 11 of the 4 hour work week and have other weight loss supplements. I feel that education is the key component to weight loss and the sauna suit is just one piece. I’m starting to get knocked off too which sucks and I can’t do anything about it.
What is crazy about this all is I’ve been wanting to do this for years and have been, but just found your audiobook last week.You have already gone down this path of supplement products and educational products. I know your a busy guy but I wanted to ask you if you could be my mentor and I could shoot you emails from time to time.
I was just listening to your script in the 4 hour work week about getting mentors while I was on my way to Taiwan yesterday and thought I would ask you.
For a person can achieve weight loss should
change their eating habits.
Avoid or reduce the junk food and replace it with vegetable fiber.
The process should be slow, and so do not go through abstinence
Is difficult at first to change our eating habits, so I advise, change our habits slowly but steadily.
I really enjoyed this article. I am currently cutting weight for a grappling tournament national qualifiers. And, I made my parents read this so they could see that what, Im doing is normal and when done right, is safe. I learned a lot from reading this article and look forward to reading more of your work.
I have 12 days to cut 10 lbs, I have already lost 15 lbs this month by strict diet and intense exercise, I drink 1 to 1.5 gallons of water a day, can I lose the 10 lbs in the last 48 hours with the salt bath and cutting off food consumption, just curious because if I can I can afford to eat a little more than I am, thank you please respond asap!! Thanks again
So you can burn 105,000 calories in 20 hours and not die? Damn.
I am doing your dehydration method right now I weighed myself in at 215 and then submerges myself in bath tube water and man it was hot lol. After 10 min I started to feel a tiggaling feeling around my chest and arms I got out of the tub and just sat in the bathroom for a hour sweating. Then I weighed myself and I was in shock to see I lost five pounds. I am sitting in my bed now cooling off for 30 min then I am going to do it again. I’ll let know how how it goes.
I have to lose weight to be weighed in on the 26 of this month (FOR A JOB)..i dont need to show 33 lb reduction but i would be cleared with around 14 – 18 lbs reductionI would like to know if there s ne substitution of BATHTUB
I DONT HAVE A BATHTUB @ my place
i would like to know if there is a subsitute for that
If i take a HOT WATER SHOWER(for 10 minutes),will it have the same effects/results as in bathtub
ALso is there anything else that can subsitute Dandelion root to be combined with Caffeine
P.S. I am from India and things like ‘Dandelion roots’ is not readily available everywhere here.
PLS Reply Asap All of the people PLS
you mentioned in 4hBody book alpha lipoic acid that helps to transfer carbs to muscles.
what do you think about L-Carnitine? it helps to burn fat and use that energy to get more muscles.
Excellent article. There is an error however in that Dandelion LEAF not ROOT is the potassium sparing diuretic.
But I’m confused a little about the re-hydration..
Should you mix the glycerol solution with the pedialyte solution?
Or have it only after the ORS?
Also, you only dunk 2-4 times?
When I take 15min dunks, I only lose about a pound