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”
Hey I just wanted to say thanks for posting this. Like you said sometimes your sport requires you to do this and there’s nothing good about it but it’s the way it is. Through your methods I was able to cut 18 lbs in 12 hours. It was very miserable. But it worked and now a dream is once again possible. Thanks again.
i just used this program and i wanted to say thanks. i placed 2nd in a big jiu-jitsu tournament this weekend and my conditioning was top notch. however, i wanted to inquire about the time it took you to lose, let us say, approximately 10 lbs of water weight using the bath tub method. i had trouble losing a substantial amount of weight, and after maybe an hour, the tub was no longer hot enough to generate a sweat. any troubleshooting advice?
however, the hyperhydration part worked beautiful and i appreciate your post and constant drive for knowledge greatly.
Hi Tim, great info. Regarding the information specifically just on cutting the weight. Is that bath tub trick going to help me lose the bulk of my weight that i need to lose? I’m 148lb. looking to wrestle at 138lb. Thanks!
Hey Tim I loved the article…
but here is my question ….how should i do and follow ur principal if my weight inn is 6pm???
I still fight on following day 24 hrs later..
so i can cut 30 lbs with this bath tub method?
Tried this technique along with 2 other colleagues prior to a match and thank god we only had to loose between 5 – 7 pounds. This system is effective for an athlete in TOP shape to lose between 8 and 11 pounds, that’s my opinion. the first and second sitting in the tub the 8 – 11 pounds literally melt off. After that, your done. We tried 4 more “bath’s” all with equal temps (Yes we carry thermometers) and didn’t lose so much as an ounce. Just got out of the tub with our whole bodies in spasms, So be warned… If you need to drop 8-10, this system is awesome! anything past that, then your a dreamer….
I do believe all of the ideas you have offered in your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. May just you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.
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Im a pro 170lb mma fighter in spain,and in normal training season im 182-185 and for me to cut to 170 i have to be 175 friday morning befor using the sauna.
when i rehidrate i use water with salt sugar and lemon juice.and eat a smal meal of carbs every 20-30 minutes until bed time.i step in to the octagon at 178-179lb.
i get to 175 from 185 buy doing a protein and vege diet for 2 weeks.
BUT it wound help me so much if you could help me to lose a bit more with less sauna (cos i hate it) and put on a bit more for fight time.
Iv never used any diuretic befor but i will if you could explain how to use them.
iv seen body builder lose 30lb and i just cant get my head around why its so dificult for me.
If posible i would realy aperciate it if i cound get in direct contact with you as this means a lot to me and have no one in spain that knows about weight cutting,
Personally, I strongly recommend against using diuretics to drop weight (especially if you’re not familiar with their safe use, but really at all). The potential complications of diuretic use are real and possibly severe.
Does anyone have experience cutting weight with a shorter weigh-in to competition window? I’ll be weighing in at 7am and powerlifting probably 10am…so just 3 hours to rehydrate/refeed.
Great info, I have done this a couple times when cutting weight cut I still do not understand how to make the bioengineered H20, I follow all the other rules I can, but I do not see a clear instruction on how to make normal water into the 5-6 water molecules, can anyone help me out with this?
With all due respect to Tim, Librarian, I wouldn’t worry about “bioengineered H20”. There’s really no good evidence to support the idea water can maintain microclusters to any appreciable degree, much less that such microclustering would have any significant effects physiologically speaking.
Put another way, it is highly unlikely that the difference, if any, you could achieve would justify the expense. Just use distilled water, and you should be fine.
Too much math/biology etc, I understand english but man i didn’t understand half of what i read here, which sucks cause i really need to learn how to do this before i start competing in the 3 different martial arts i’m aiming for. But whatever i’ll just have to test my way there, let’s hope I don’t die lol.
This explains a lot. I have been wrestling for years and have had my battles with weight cuts. Having this information out there is a ton more safe than a bunch of high school dummies in trash bags spitting in bottles. This was the most responsible thing to do with this information. One would have to thoroughly read this article to understand how to put the advise into action. In other words most teenage girls with image problems would not have the intellectual capacity to extrapolate much from this article. Therefore, I personally do not deem the information dangerous. I do, however, not approve of the title. The article is titled clearly for keyword purposes (Search Engine Optimization) to drive traffic to this site through relevant content. For this reason I would have suspicions as to the purpose of placement and title of this article.
This article is very informative and thankfully warns against extreme weight manipulation. While I appreciate Isaac’s (and other’s) concern about teenage girls and their image problems–since I had an eating disorder as a teen–he makes them sound more inept than some adult male athletes. Athletes in my high school showed symptoms of a dysmorphic disorder just like teenage girls. It’s not labelled the same, but it should be because both parties are striving for the same thing–control in their physical self. Access to this information would’ve given me more of an insight on the damage I was doing to my body, and I would’ve started creating healthier habits a lot earlier. I encourage the educational part of this entire post. Everyone should be able to educate themselves and not be left in the dark to use their own self-impaired devices.
I have a question about the Glycerol. Since it seems to be more effective in hyperhydration, could this be used as a low daily dose supplement for preventing dehydration (for non athletes) during extremely humid hot weather? I’m talking about 100% humidity and consistent 98 degree days. Drinking water constantly with an occasional pedialyte still doesn’t prevent dehydration during the summer months for me. I even use sunscreen in the sun to prevent loss of fluids from sunburn.
I’ve found this article, but it’s on the fence about effectiveness and the studies only refer to using it during sport activity.
A Hazardous Chemical Risk Management book–that I don’t have a link for–suggests that it’s slightly poisonous if ingested, may cause kidney damage and that human mutation have been found in long term use. My problem with this book is that it’s from ’97 and uses words like “may” or “have been found” with no direct evidence.
Do you have any references on the long term effects of Glycerol? Or do you know about using this for situations other than sport or stroke treatment?
Thanks for writing 4 Hour Body by the way. It’s the most effective lifestyle change I’ve made in my life.
Cool..,Have about 10 lbs to drop for a comp…will try this…the sauna suit sucks!…Also going to have a one of my Doc’s look at this too..see what he thinks…Im and Rn…so they way you explained eveything is awesome on my view…Also as entertaining as some of the comments were…I think the ones who dont compete that were just wanting to try this for weight loss need to be kicked in the head!!!…Some people and their children, I swear!!!…Hopefully some stupid can be fixed…
With the engineered water that you talk about, if you cannot go the panasonic machine route, will the new high PH waters help with fast absorption?
I was wondering if you could go into more detail about the science behind the baths, I don’t totally understand how the hot water submersion makes you excrete water. I don’t doubt your information in the slightest, I mean it clearly works, the geek in me was just interested (I also have to explain to my worried mother how all this is happening before a high school wrestling tournament)
Thanks in advance,
hey Tim , i was wondering how much weight you can cut just from the bathtub experience ? i have a mma bout at 170 i did the 4 hour body diet but with more proteins and some mods , i lost 22 pounds in 1 month i have been stuck on 177, 180lbs for the past 3 weeks i even stoped my cheat days. i havent dehadrated yet but i have cut 8lbs on the steam room, i feel like i can cut 20lbs in a 30 hour period, what other methoods are there or should the hot bath and steam room should do the job?
If you cut 22lbs in one month, then cut 8 in a steam room, it would be very dangerous to try to cut 20 more in 30 hours…. Your putting your body through way to much of a change way to fast.
i was wondering why the first 5 to 6 lbs come off so easily. it seems like the last 5 to 6 lbs take twice as long to come off. the fighter i watched do this used the bathtub to cut his weight and his opponent used exercise plus the sauna. his opponent cut 10lbs 170 to 160 lbs he cut 14 lbs 174 to 160 lbs. he was 173 lbs 20 hours later. not sure what his opponent weighed.
the one thing that stood out at the weigh in was
all fighters that cut weight were drinking Pedialyte.
his opponent gassed out in the first round. why?
he still had a lot of energy after he rear naked choked his opponent. why?
he will not be cutting 14 lbs for his next fight. too deadly he said.
i agree with him. he is thinking 5lbs would be a lot easier.
and until the rules change, this will continue.
Regarding the data collected for the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance on testing the frequency of the micro-clustered water, it may be incorrect. That is, if the machine does what it says; a smaller molecule cluster will resonate at a higher frequency.
Tim, according to your Saturday weigh-in… By Thurs dinner, you said to stay away from red meats, starchy carbs ect… Are egg beaters, white fish, chicken, and avacodos ok for that period of time?
I need to cut around 15lb for my fight this Friday… I put on 6lb due to a cold.. what would u recommend tim?
Tim, I’m in a weight-loss contest with a group of guys. I only need to be 10 pounds lighter on the weigh in this Friday morning to win the prize. I’ve already lost ten. Any tips on how to do this for weigh in since I’m not trying to lose 30 pounds! Haha! HELP PLEASE!
I gonna use this program for my upcoming MMA fight in January. It’s only low profile amateur fight but my first one and I really needed this info. I found similar advice in the book “A Fighter’s Heart” by Sam Sheridan but this post explains it better!
Hi all. I have a weigh in at 3pm and have to travel that morning to it. I will be in a hotel from around 12 pm
I was just wondering when I should do the hot tubs on this schedule?
Tim, great post . I have100% vegetable glycerin,
How many grams shld I use per lb of LBM wth water?
I’m not sure if your formula is based off 40% glycerol
Thanks so much for the article. Had a question for you though – I plan on doing the glycerol rapid rehydration. Would I be ok in doing it with Pedialite or Coconut water instead of microcrystalized water?
Looks like many critical and specific questions were missed.
Perhaps an edited and unedited video of experiments would be useful and engender a greater response from the hyperfocused people?
what is a reasonable expectation for weight loss between each bath?
Wow, I didn’t know cutting weight was so complicated. Isn’t is must more convenient to go to a slimming center?
Yes, it is possible to lose weight quickly and easily with the right type of willpower and determination. When you follow proper weight loss tips and techniques, it will make a lot easier and faster to reach your weight loss goals.
i like body building but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he shoulda had a V8 LOL
Tim is what I call a quasi-human, he is a partially, fully realized human; perhaps 1 in 3000 people qualify for this level. I am a little more Intelligent, a bit wiser, more insightful, and much less action oriented. If Tim let me interact with him, he would have significant potential to cure a host of diseases and perhaps even cure death.
How much salt I need to put in the tub for first time
Whey protein is not allowed?
Really interesting article, but I didnt really catch on how long the rehydration step should take? Can you do it in a few hours, 12 hours or a whole day?
Can you give me a very specific meal plan and how much.water drink ect…
And how long I should be in the tube for?
Sorry I meant tub
Absolutely love this fabulous site, wonderful content here, would have been a wee bit sceptical with regards to acquiring a steam
shower unit for our home however, the information and knowledge here sorted my mind out, amazing thanks a bunch
To Tim and any athletes reading this post,
I’ve performed an eight pound cut in 24 hours using this method, twice. It’s a solid method, even though I made some personal tweaks to it. You can read about my exact methodology at the links below. Tim and Matt, this post is super helpful and has shaped how I cut weight for competition. Thank you.
No spam, just two articles on how I did the cut.
Best article ever on weight cutting. Read loads that give the same bits and bobs about dehydration, this is next level!
Great article Tim!
What is your take on water-loading (drinking 2+ gallons of water) the days leading up to weigh-ins before dehydrating?
And what do you think about coconut water as a hydration drink?
Thanks and keep up the awesome work! 👊
So, I don’t workout and have a desk job that has almost no movement. I’m not looking to build muscle right now though, I just want to cut fat first. I’m currently 5’6″ and 144 lbs and my BF is about 20-21%. Based on the formula above, it says I should be eating about 1,438 calories in order to lose weight, but every time I go above 1,200 I end up gaining. I eat healthy 90% of the time and I meal prep so I’m just at a loss for what I should do. Any tips?
Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a stuff! existing here at this weblog, thanks admin of this site.
in his book he says there would be sampl photos of these methods. Can anyone help with that? I was thinking I would find photos of his results. Thanks
where are the sample photos he mentions in his book?
Belly fats can be reduced more effectively and conveniently by fat freezing process. I applied this blue fat freeze system at home and reduced 3 inches around my waist in 2 months.
Tim, Can you use hyper-hydration to lower blood sugar levels?
Hey Tim, nice article. Thanks for posting.
Hello. HOW important is it to have 30 grams of protein within 30 min of waking up WHEN my schedule is: I am going back to the gym… awake at 415 am, out the door by 440am, at the gym 5 am. Finish gym around 6ish. Won’t protein before my workout affect my workout as my body is working to break it down and energy focus on digesting vs workout? I have been taking the protein within 15 min after my workout. Your insight REALLY appreciated. Thank you! HUGE fan!
Hey Tim! I’d love if you would consider interviewing Susan Pierce Thompson and her work of Bright Line Eating on your podcast. I’d be really interested to hear the two of you discuss her area of brain science and weight loss.
Can non-athletes use your method safely?
Good article Tim. Losing 30 pounds isn’t easy but if you change your diet habits, increase physical activities, sleep well and stay persistent, you will succeed.
Tim, Can non-athlete folks like me benefit from this methods?
Perfect!!! The baths were a life saver. The supplements prob helped, too. Made weight! Weight class cut off 154.7, came in at exactly 154.6!!!!!!! Thank you!!!
Okay, now in laymen’s terms. 😩