How To Lose 20–30 Pounds In 5 Days: The Extreme Weight Cutting and Rehydration Secrets of UFC Fighters

Nate Green workout and nutrition tests collage showing feet on a scale, dietician's hand on his stomach, vertical jump test using ladder rungs, chest circumference measurement with tape.

The following is a guest post by Nate Green, who works with Dr. John Berardi, nutritional advisor to athletes like UFC champion Georges St. Pierre (GSP).

This is the first of two blog posts entailing extreme physical experiments. Absolutely no performance enhancing drugs of any kind were used.

Part 1 — this post — details exactly how top fighters like Georges St. Pierre rapidly lose 20-30 pounds for “weigh-ins.” To refine the method, Nate performed this on himself, losing 20 pounds in 5 days. The unique part: Dr. Berardi and team measured key variables throughout the entire process, including the last “rehydration” phase. As Berardi put it:

“We used GSP’s exact protocol with him [Nate]. The idea was that by doing this with a guy who didn’t actually have to compete the next day, we could measure all sorts of performance variables that you’d never get with an athlete about to fight.”

Part 2 — the next post — will share how Nate used intermittent fasting and strategically planned eating to gain 20 pounds in 28 days, emulating a fighter who wants (or needs) to move up a weight class in competition.

Cautionary Note on Part 1

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters put it all out in the open for the world to see: they kick, punch, laugh, cry, and bleed in front of thousands of arena fans and millions more watching at home.

But even if you’re a hardcore fan who knows all the stats, there’s something behind the scenes that you’ve probably never seen in full: world-class weight manipulation

Done right, it can significantly increase a fighter’s chances of winning. An athlete will artificially lower his weight for pre-fight weigh-ins, then show up to the actual fight 10, 20, or even 30 pounds heavier than his opponent. It’s a game changer.

Done wrong, it can make even the toughest guy lose his edge… and probably the fight. There’s serious risk of organ failure if done haphazardly.

Even though boxers and wrestlers have been manipulating weight in this fashion for decades, it has the air of illicit activity. And though it’s legal in MMA competition, you should never try this at home or without medical supervision. Excessive dehydration can kill you. “Cutting weight” has no place in real-world dieting or behavior.

This is NOT an article on sustainable weight loss or healthy living. Rather, it’s a fascinating look at how far athletes and scientists will go to manipulate the human body for competitive advantage.

Here’s how it works…

Enter Nate

Imagine this: It’s Saturday night and you’re a top-ranked MMA fighter who just stepped into the cage to fight for the 170-pound Welterweight Championship.

Question: How much do you weigh?

The answer may seem obvious: 170 pounds, right? But if you followed the steps of extreme weight manipulation, the real answer is that you weigh somewhere between 185 and 190 pounds. That’s 15-20 pounds more than the “cutoff” weight of 170.

24 hours before you stepped into the cage, however, you did in fact weigh 170 pounds. You had to. Friday night was the official weigh-in where you and your opponent both stripped down to your skivvies, stepped on the scale in front of the judge, and prayed that the number on the scale hit 170 or lower.

But once you stepped off that scale it was a race to gain weight.

I find this kind of physiological puppetry very interesting. Most of us regular guys have a hard time gaining or losing just 5 pounds at a time.

But the top combat athletes can lose up to 30 pounds in just 5 days leading up to the fight. Then they can gain nearly all of it back in the 24 hours between weighing in and going toe-to-toe.

They do this to gain a massive competitive advantage. In other words, the bigger guy who retains more of his strength, agility, and endurance will likely win. The guy who weighs in at 170 — and then fights at 170 — often has a world of hurt coming his way.

That’s why Anderson Silva – arguably the world’s best MMA fighter — normally fights in the 185-pound class even though he actually weighs 215 pounds. A few days before he fights, Anderson “cuts” 30 pounds to make weight…then gains most of his weight back in 24 hours in time for his fight.

Georges St Pierre — arguably the world’s 2nd best fighter – normally walks around at 195 pounds. He ends up cutting 25 pounds to make his 170 pound weight class, and then gains 20 of it back before his fight.

Sneaky, huh?

Just how do these guys do it? And what does this rapid weight loss and weight gain do to their performance?

My Extreme Weight Manipulation Experiment

I’m lucky enough to be friends with Dr. John Berardi and Martin Rooney, two guys who regularly work with UFC athletes.

Recently, I told them I wanted to see what cutting weight was like. Is it really possible for a regular guy like me to drop 20 pounds in a few days then gain all of it back in 24 hours?

And if it was possible, what would it feel like? I heard cutting weight was one of the hardest things fighters do throughout their career. Was I man enough to handle it? Or would I give up when things got tough?

They agreed to help me cut 20 pounds in one week, and then put it all back on again in 24 hours.

Nervous doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt.

The Smart Way To Cut Weight Fast

Nate Green before cutting

Before pics. Full of water and feeling happy.

Now extreme weight manipulation can go horribly, horribly wrong. Even a lot of UFC guys don’t know how to do it the smart way. Instead, they put their bodies in real harm by doing stupid things like taking a lot of diuretics, not drinking any water, skipping meals, wearing trash bags while exercising (sometimes in the sauna) and generally being idiotic.

They lose weight, of course. But they also lose energy and power and develop one bad temper. None of which helps during fight time.

With the help of Dr. Berardi and Rooney, I decided to take a smarter route, instead of putting my health in serious jeopardy.

I started at 190.2 pounds and had 5 days to lose 20 pounds.

Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional strategies we used — the same one Georges St Pierre and other elite MMA fighters use before a big fight. (Remember: we know this because Dr. Berardi is Georges’ nutrition coach).

STRATEGICALLY DECREASE WATER CONSUMPTION

Dropping weight fast is all about manipulating your water and sodium levels.

For a fighter who wants to cut weight quickly and safely, here’s how much water he would consume in the 5 days leading up to his weigh-in:

Sunday – 2 gallons

Monday – 1 gallon

Tuesday – 1 gallon

Wednesday – .5 gallons

Thursday – .25 gallons

Friday – No water till after weigh-in at 5PM.

As you can see, the amount of water starts high with two gallons and decreases with each day till he’s drinking hardly any water on Thursday and Friday.

This is to ensure their body gets into “flushing mode.”

By drinking lots of water early on, the fighter’s body will down-regulate aldosterone, a hormone that acts to conserve sodium and secrete potassium.

And when he suddenly reduces the amount of water he drinks in the middle and end of the week, his body will still be in flushing mode, meaning he’ll hit the bathroom to pee a lot even though he’s hardly drinking any water.

What happens when you excrete more fluid than you take in? Bingo! Rapid weight loss.

DON’T EAT MORE THAN 50 GRAMS OF CARBS PER DAY

Since one gram of carbohydrate pulls 2.7 grams of water into the body, it’s important for fighters to keep their carb intake low.

By doing this, they also deplete muscle glycogen (a source of energy) and keep their body in “flush mode”.

DON’T EAT FRUIT, SUGAR, OR STARCHES

These are carbs that should be avoided entirely while cutting.

EAT MEALS THAT CONTAIN A LOT OF PROTEIN AND FAT

Fighters have to eat something. Since they’re avoiding carbs, Dr. Berardi advises them to load up on high-quality protein like meats, eggs or a vegetarian sources of protein. It’s also the perfect opportunity to eat lots of leafy vegetables (like spinach) and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower).

Georges St Pierre normally has his meals prepared by a private chef so he doesn’t even have to think about this stuff or make decisions. Recommended reading: here’s an entire article detailing GSP’s training diet.

DON’T EAT SALT

Since the body likes to hold on to sodium (which will hold on to water), dropping salt helps the fighter’s body flush water out.

CONSIDER A NATURAL DIURETIC

This step isn’t always necessary, but it can help when you’re getting down to the wire and still need to lose water. Opt for a natural diuretic like dandelion root, but wait until the last 2 days to use it.

TAKE HOT BATHS

We sweat a lot in hot environments. However, we sweat the most in hot, humid environments. Since hot water offers both heat and 100% humidity, fighters lose water quickly by taking hot baths and fully submerging everything but their nose for 10 minutes at a time.

SIT IN THE SAUNA

This is the “finishing touch” to flush the last few pounds of water and is only used on the last few days leading up to the weigh-in.

The Weight Cut Schedule

So if we take all of that and break it into a weekly plan, it looks like this:

SUNDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 2 gallons

Salt: None

MONDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 1 gallon

Salt: None

TUESDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 1 gallon

Salt: None

WEDNESDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 0.5 gallon

Salt: None

Sauna in afternoon

THURSDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 0.25 gallon

Salt: None

Sauna in afternoon for 30 minutes, hot water bath at night

FRIDAY (WEIGH IN AT 6PM)

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: Eat 2 very small meals until weigh in

Water: None till weigh-in

Salt: None

Sauna until weight is met

(Note from Tim: You can download the entire weight-manipulation plan that Nate used here: Weight Loss and Rehydration Protocol.)

What It Feels Like To Cut Weight

Nate Green after cutting weight

Dry as a bone and none to happy about it.

So that all looks fine on paper. But what does it actually feel like to go through it?

One word: Hell.

I started my cut on Sunday at 190 pounds. Here’s a quick rundown of what it looked like.

SUNDAY – 190 POUNDS

I carry a gallon water jug with me wherever I go, which makes me feel ridiculous. But I have to make sure I get my two gallons of water in. Overall, though, I feel fine. It actually doesn’t seem that difficult. I’m not sure what the big deal is.

MONDAY – 187 POUNDS

I’m starting to miss the taste of salt. All of my food is bland. Now I’m drinking one gallon of water instead of two. Still not that bad.

TUESDAY – 182 POUNDS

I go to the bathroom 13 times in one day. A new record, I believe. And I’m still drinking a gallon of water.

WEDNESDAY – 179 POUNDS

Now I’m down to half gallon of water per day, which means I have to ration it out, which feels weird. I have a little with breakfast, a little with lunch, and a little with dinner. It’s definitely not enough water.

My mouth is dry. I feel dehydrated. I’m drinking straight espresso instead of drip coffee because it contains too much water.

In the evening, I try my first hot water bath. I generally enjoy baths, but this one’s different. My apartment’s water doesn’t get as hot as Dr. Berardi wants it to be — “hot enough to cause moderate pain but not burn your hand” — so I fill two pots and a kettle with water, put them on the stovetop until they boil, and pour them into the bath tub.

I get into the bath and immediately regret the decision.

10 minutes later, I’m lying naked in the middle of my living room trying to catch my breath. My eyes are rolled back into my head. My entire body feels like a giant heartbeat. I want to drink some water, but can’t.

This is starting to be less fun.

THURSDAY – 175 POUNDS

I am a zombie. A zombie who sits. Mostly in the sauna or on the couch.

In the sauna I watch beads of sweat collect on my skin. I see my precious water run down my arms and chest and legs and know that I won’t be able to replenish any of it when I get out.

I only have .25 gallons of water to last me the entire day. I’m ready for this to be over.

FRIDAY – 169.7 POUNDS AT 5PM

I look sick, very sick.

I spend the last 30 minutes before the weigh-in in the sauna and drink four sips of water throughout the entire day…

What Cutting Weight Does To Performance

OK, I’ll save you the rest of the journal entries and share some performance data.

While the fighters are tested in competition, no one has ever really documented how much strength or power they lose by dehydrating. (Or how much strength and power they regain after they get all their weight back.)

So we decided to check.

And it turns out, losing 20 pounds in 5 days is not conducive to being strong, powerful, or agile. (Surprise!) I couldn’t jump as high, lift as much weight, or run as fast or as long as I had just a week before during our baseline testing.

POWER TEST: VERTICAL JUMP

Baseline: 31.7 inches

After Dehydration: 27.6 inches

STRENGTH ENDURANCE TEST: 225-POUND BENCH PRESS

Baseline: 15 reps

After Dehydration: 5 reps

ENDURANCE TEST: MAX TIME ON TREADMILL

Baseline: 3 minutes and 14 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

After Dehydration: 1 minute and 28 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 3% incline

It’s no wonder these guys try to gain all their weight back immediately after weighing in. They’d be screwed if they didn’t.

Speaking of which…

The Smart Way To Gain Weight Fast

Once UFC athletes cut weight and weigh-in, they’d never be able to perform at a top level. (Which is obvious from my less-than-stellar performance in the gym).

So what do they do next? They gain as much weight as humanly possible in 24 hours.

Here’s how they do it. (And how I did it, too.)

DRAMATICALLY INCREASE WATER INTAKE.

According to Dr. Berardi, the body can absorb only about 1 liter (2.2 pounds) of fluid – at maximum – in an hour. So he advises the fighters he works with to not to drink any more than that. Instead, he tells them to sip 1 liter (2.2 pounds) of water per hour.

However, the fighters won’t retain all that fluid. In fact, probably about 25% of it will be lost as urine.

So, here’s the math for someone like Georges St Pierre:

  • 9 liters (20 pounds) of water to get back.
  • 11 liters (25 pounds) of fluid between Friday weigh-in and Saturday weigh-in to get it all back.
  • 24 hours in which to do it. 8 of which he’ll be sleeping and 3 of which will be leading up to Saturday weigh-in.

This leaves 13 total hours for rehydration.

So as soon as Georges steps off the scale, he literally slams a liter of water and carries the bottle around with him, refilling it and draining it every hour until 3 hours before his fight. (There isn’t a bathroom in the cage.)

EAT AS MUCH CARBOHYDRATE (AND PROTEIN AND FAT) AS YOU WANT

Now’s also the time for fighters to load up on carbs and pull all the water they’re drinking back into their muscles. It also helps them feel more human and look less sickly. (Something I definitely experienced during my super-hydration phase.)

Dr. Berardi has his fighters eat a big meal directly after they weigh in. He doesn’t restrict calories – his athletes can eat as much as they want in that meal as long as it’s healthy food like lean meats, sweet potatoes, rice, and vegetables. (Gorging on junk food is a bad idea.)

Then on Saturday (fight day), Dr. Berardi has his fighters eat a satisfying amount of healthy food in a few small meals leading up to the fight.

ADD SALT TO EVERYTHING

Since sodium helps the body retain water, fighters are encouraged to add extra salt to their meals.

Here’s what my super rehydration schedule looked like:

The Weight-Gain Schedule

FRIDAY AFTER WEIGH-IN

Carbs: Eat as much as you want in one meal after weigh-in and testing

Protein and Fat: Eat as much as you want in one meal after weigh-in and testing

Rehydration Beverage: Drink 1 liter of water mixed with 1/2 scoop of carbohydrate/protein drink for every hour you’re awake. (We used Surge Workout Fuel.)

Salt: Salt food

SATURDAY

Carbs: Eat satisfying amount in four meals before weigh-in

Protein: Eat satisfying amount in four meals before weigh-in

Rehydration Beverage: Drink 1 liter of water mixed with 1/2 scoop of carbohydrate/protein drink for every hour you’re awake but stop 3 hours before testing.

What Gaining Weight Does To Performance

Nate Green after rehydration

Back to normal-ish.

First things first: Personally, I ended up gaining 16.9 pounds back in 24 hours. Not bad.

But the real question: How much strength and power do you really gain when you super-hydrate?

Answer: A lot.

While I didn’t perform as well as my baseline (when I did all the performance tests before I started the experiment), I got really close. Which means that even though I put my body through a week of torture, it was almost 100%.

And I totally annihilated my performance numbers from just 24 hours before when I was sickly and dehydrated.

I ran faster and longer, jumped higher, and lifted more weight for more reps.

POWER TEST: VERTICAL JUMP

Baseline: 31.7 inches

After Dehydration: 27.6 inches

Re-hydrated: 29 inches

STRENGTH ENDURANCE TEST: 225-POUND BENCH PRESS

Baseline: 15 reps

After Dehydration: 5 reps

Rehydrated: 12 reps

ENDURANCE TEXT: MAX TIME ON TREADMILL

Baseline: 3 minutes and 14 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

After Dehydration: 1 minute and 28 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 3% incline

Rehydrated: 3 minutes and 25 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

Lose Weight. Gain Weight. Fight.

For an MMA fighter, this is about the time when he’d be getting ready to step in the cage and fight, which means it’s about the same time you’d turn on the TV and see him in his corner, jumping up and down, getting psyched and ready for battle.

How much does he weigh?

It’s safe to say at least 10-30 pounds more than the weight class he’s fighting in.

And now you know the “secret” to extreme weight manipulation, something 99.9% of guys who watch MMA will never know.

Pretty cool, right?

If you have questions, please put them in the comments and Dr. Berardi and I will do our best to answer them.

###

Nate’s not done yet. Next, we’ll have Part 2 – How To Gain 20 Pounds in 28 Days: The Extreme Muscle Building Secrets of UFC Fighters.

For more about Nate and his writing, check out his blog.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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889 Replies to “How To Lose 20–30 Pounds In 5 Days: The Extreme Weight Cutting and Rehydration Secrets of UFC Fighters”

  1. I’m having trouble finding low carb, zero salt foods. Do you have any reccomendations, or are they just your fresh meats & vegatbles? And if so, which Meats & veggies would you reccomend?

    1. Still no luck. I’ve managed to get <400 mg of sodium in a day but having trouble finding foods. Eggs? have salt.. Meats? they all have some salt.

      I've found that Jasmine Rice, Pole Beans, Almonds & Peppers are the only foods that realy have "zero salt" without spending butt-tons of money at the specialty stores. A few other veggies might, but it's hard to find them frozen at the store. and without knowing which "fresh" ones to get, I just don't want to go buying and hoping.

      I did manage to drop 2.3 lbs in my first 2 days, so i'm keeping a positive outlook.

      1. To Todd – I had the same problem but the crappy fact is. Boil your meat :/. Only way I was able to reduce my chicken down to 0 salt. You cant buy anything with 0 salt unless its chemical and you dont want that. You want to remain as fresh and clean as possible when it comes to your food intake.

        Again – boil your meat. Dont cook it 🙁

  2. I am a power lifter and have a problem making weight and regaining strength. Before the meet which is usually 12 hours apart. What is best option?

  3. Forum,

    I am a pro mma fighter doing a test cut for a jiu jitsu tourney. I am on day 3 of the cut and I have only lost 5 lbs total. I kept my caloric intake at 1600 the last 2 days. I started with 2 gallons and kept yesterday at 1 gallon strict. Should I be adding more water early to get a better flushing effect? I have not added salt to my meals, but some of the food carries natural levels of sodium i..e canned tuna etc. Please help

      1. Remo, I imagine that losing 15 pounds wouldn’t be to difficult, especially as I add in some sauna sessions. However, i think I will begin the process next time with 2 days worth of 3 gallons to really elevate the flushing effect. I fight at 155 and I am weighing 175 right now. I would like not to have to worry about calories, but ill do what I have to do to make weight. any more advice is really appreciated.

  4. So Sunday to Wed. he lost about 11 pounds. I’m like 5 pounds over for a bjj tourney next saturday. Could I cut down using the 2-1-1-.5 gallon approach and then replenish up to my weight day before and then next morning?

  5. Man i just want to thank you, I’m about 1,5 hours after weigh ins and I still can’t believe I’ve made that weight 🙂

  6. Hi really like the article

    But may i ask a simple question

    For the weight cutting days, do you supplement with cardio exercise too? or totally relying on the weight manipulation that you taught here

  7. hi would like to know do u supplement with other cardio exercise to help the weight cut or u follow entirely using the water manipulation method

    Thanks and hope to hear from u soon

    Really like this article a lot

    lots of help

  8. Great article. I had no idea they go thru all that. I like your description of the hot bath. I’ve felt like that after a normal bath (lol). I’m amazed you did it, no doubt it was tough. Good job and Thank you for sharing.

  9. Excellent post. I have always wandered how fighters drop weight so quickly before a fight. This is a very well writtent and will be useful for young fighters.

  10. I am an amateur fighter out of Florida, pretty much the definition of a hard gainer. I’m 6″2 and walk around at about 176 lbs (I’ve gained around 7-8 lbs of muscle since I last fought at 155lbs). I have been struggling mentally on the prospect of moving up to 190 and fighting at 170lbs. This is because in the past I have been told by my trainers (two who actively fight in the UFC) to do many of the “not so good” methods mentioned in this article (i.e. sweat suits/hitting mitts in saunas for hours on end, drinking almost no water, eating almost nothing, I’ve even been instructed in the past to drink distilled water, which I have been told in retrospect is supposedly harsh on joints). The last time I had an amateur boxing match, I literally became sick with the flu and could barely throw a punch in my fight. Losing a fight because of a personal ignorance is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. Reading this article has convinced me to give the 155 lbs bracket another shot, using the methods outlined in your article, you’ve probably saved me a savage beating from a fighter double my size, thank you for doing the research and experiencing the process first hand, excellent article!

  11. I am not a boxer or fighter, I was in a weight loss competition at work and the pot ended up being $550. I did diligent work losing weight but wanted to solidify my win the last few days. so this sounded good to try. I followed the plan to a tee and started off at 184 Sunday and weighed in on Friday at 170.0. So 14 lbs in a week! As far as diet it was egg whites, spinach, onions and mushrooms for breakfast. Fish or pork chops with cabbage, onions, and red peppers for lunch and Chicken, asparagus and broccoli for dinner. The no sodium thing was a bit troubling since I see that sodium may be in a few things but I limited this as much as possible, and bought Mrs Dash in about every flavor. Stuck to the diet, water intake, sauna/bath schedule n purchased the MHP also. I only needed to add one extra hot bath to meet my personal weigh in goal. Just thought Id share this worked for me.

  12. Hi Tim,

    Important question on the SLOW-CARB diet:

    *How much salt do you recommend, as a daily intake?

    I’m having problems with this, and you haven’t set a specific amount.

    Would greatly appreciate a reply.

    Big fan,

    /Sam

    1. Ideally not. The week before a fight is supposed to be a recovery period. Light training in order to “calibrate” oneself for the fight (hitting pads, working on form lightly) has its uses, but one should not train hard. There are those who have to work out as usual in order to lose weight, but this is a sign of a diet, training camp or weight cut gone bad.

  13. Hey I’m trying out this new diet is there anything I can substitute for water?? Can I have other drinks within the diet marks or am I only too drink water with nothing else? Can you help with some ideas..

  14. I wanted to know if I do the rapid weight lose dehydration is it possible to maintain the weight lose after ?

    1. No. That would mean keeping yourself dehydrated, which is extremely hazardous to your health. This is not a dieting method for losing excess weight, it is purely a method by which athletes get to compete in the lowest possible weight class they can.

  15. Hey, My weight is 190 lbs & i want to lose 20 ibs in a week. But I am not wrestler or fighter. I am an employee with a desk job. Can i follow your above specified instruction to lose my weight.

    1. Depends on what you mean by “lose”. This is weight cutting, which is different from the weight loss you might see on for instance The Biggest Loser. Weight cutting is not a part of a healthy life for normal people, it is purely a method by which athletes get to compete in the lowest possible weight class given their build. The weight lost is supposed to be regained within a 24-hour period or so.

      If this is some sort of competition at work or similar, I’d recommend you not participate. If you decide to participate, try to regain the weight you cut very quickly: sip a liter of water every hour, eat stuff like fruits, eggs, rice and “pure” meat (meaning not McDonald’s or similar).

  16. Hey dear, I want to lose weight fast, after that want my body to again be the same performance wise after ONE WEEK, so if I lose weight and then have my normal deit will I be able to perform normal?

  17. Fascinating experiment Tim, I have always heard the hell the fighters put themselves through, but I really had no idea of the science. Leave it to you to experience it yourself first hand and share with us…thank you.

  18. Would this diet have a major effect is I don’t have sauna to use.

    What is the effect on the diet if you take a hot shower in stead of a bath.

    1. It is not even remotely as effective to shower. At that point you might as well put on a lot of clothes and do light excercise in the sun.

  19. am 85 kg and am just 23 yrs …hope after reaading how to cut weight ,hope i will experience a change…

  20. Hi. Love this article. One question.. was the use of Sauna Suits involved? I have used them previously to make weight & seen good results. I think in combination with this weight cut plan (maybe not quite as extreme) could help accelerate results?

  21. What if weigh-in is 9am Sat. morning how do you start to calculate water intake on the later days? I’m assuming stop drinking around 7pm the night before (Friday) and nothing Sat. morning?

  22. How is this diet for a 16 year old girl? Lately i havent been able to shed any weight…what will this diet do? will it work for me?

  23. Extremely insightful post once again, tim.

    Been competing in Karate a few times, and this would´ve come in quite handy, as i tended to be in the lower regions of my weight class 😉

  24. I’m a regular guy with no prior fighting experience, I’m currently at 220 pounds, should I follow this regiment or would it be harmful for a regular lifestyle as it might be only designed for fighter’s weight manipulation?

  25. What a great read,Thank you. I just got off work, so tired and exhausted ready to go to sleep, been cutting weight for the past two weeks for a grappling tourney in two. I am maybe 171 come morning but need to be 162 lbs in two weeks. I’ve been eating quite lean and my sodium has been maybe a little too high but this is getting tough. Last night I added up my nutrition intake day for the past 1-2 weeks and landed on 917-1000 Calories, 111g protein, fat 11g, sat fat 6g, carb 99-120g, sodium 1530mg.

    I tried to eat small meals throughout the day, breakfast 8-11am; eggbeaters, powerbar; grapefruit or green juice, plain oatmeal. Lunch 12-3pm. 4-6oz chicken breast on a sandwich thin w/ spinach, tomato, ketchup. later a protein shake or powerbar and green juice. Dinner 4-7pm typically a protein shake or power bar or both and jerky. This became not fun at all and rather depressing. I’m going to raise my calorie intake via the meal plan in the article, maintain protein, raise fat (nuts etc) kill sodium and reduce carbs by half. I will post where I’m at again in one week the day before i start the water plan. Going to eat an assload of chicken right now.

  26. How much time exercising is recommended during the losing weight process? Also if I don’t want to gain the weight back, how do I steadily return my diet to normal? And when returning my diet to normal, how much exercise is recommended?

  27. I followed this for my final week in a weight loss competition. I think a common misconception in the comments is that this is a diet. This is temporary water manipulation to reduce weight that you should expect to gain back. I lost over 21 lbs in the 5 days. I did start drinking an increased amount of water a few days prior. I don’t have a sauna. Twice a day I filled my tub using the shower on the hottest setting with the curtain open and no fan. This filled the bathroom with steam. I then laid in the tub as described for 10-15 minutes and got out. I then sat in the bathroom until I stopped sweating or ran out of hot water. If the steam started to go, I would run the shower longer. I mainly ate egg yolks (with some whites), fish and chicken. The description of this being hell is VERY accurate. The final day I would suck on small ice chips for some relief from the severe dehydration. Please be very cautious and informed before trying. I am a 31 yo woman in moderate physical condition.

    1. As a side note, I walked moderately (5+ miles)with exception of the last two days when I was too dehydrated to follow any exercise program.

  28. Hey, great write up! exactly what I was looking for. I have a fight this Saturday, with this diet, I have lost 2lb everyday for 4 days straight. I am right on track! but when you say high protein, and high fat. where is the marker for too much fat? even the my calories are only about 1300 a day. I find my fat content almost twice as high with this diet. after consuming, eggs, avocado,almonds,fish… I’m eating roughly 60-80grams fat per day. to much?? I walk around 165. fighting at 145, (currently 156)

  29. Okay so I want to lose 20 pounds..as of right now I weigh in about 185 I am going to follow the steps you have explain and see what happens, but my question is once I do lose 20 pounds, I don’t want to gain all my weight back I want to lose a little more but maintain the weight I have lost, yes eating a little bit more but exercising and not really much fast as much, will I gain weight because I’m eating a little bit more? I will be working out too. Thanks.

  30. So is this just water weight loss, or do you actually lose fat at all? After the five days does it look like you’ve lost 20 lbs? And does the weight come back quickly?

  31. did you workout at all during your weight cutting week. and how much time did you spend in the hot baths and saunas?

  32. Terrific article!!! I knew some of this information from doing minor research in the past but you broke it down to the ‘T’! Thanks!!!

  33. This type of water and diet manipulation must wreak havoc on the bowels. Do the fighters complain of poor bowel movements/stomach discomfort and does this affect their performance?

  34. My question is regarding sodium. So many foods have sodium built in. Even an egg, a staple breakfast for many who cut weight, has 60 mg. Egg substitutes have even more. Chicken, fish, beef — they all have some sodium, too. So what number of milligrams of total sodium is a good goal? Or am I okay as long as I’m not adding salt and I’m eating all low-sodium foods? My plan is a few eggs for breakfast with mushrooms and peppers, then boiled chicken and asparagus for lunch, then boiled fish and broccoli for dinner.

  35. I have been using this diet for the past year for Olympuc Judo at 66kg. I walk around at 75. It works. It sucks. Physically it’s possible. Psychologically it takes so much from you. Support from loved ones and coaches is vital.

    I see a lot of complaints about salt. 2 things:

    1. Boil your meat, eggs etc.

    2. It’s easy to find Salt free nuts. Any CVS, Walgreens etc carries them. Just don’t eat a whole can! Those things pack some serious calories! They do have some carbs as well.

    Off to the Sauna!

    Mike Tusay

    -66kg US National Team.

  36. Hello! I read your books and I absolutely adore all the work you do to educate the rest of us! I had a question though. I’m currently using this method to lose twenty pounds, but I don’t want to gain it all back. How can I maintain the weight while being able to build carbs and salt back into my diet? We both know that this diet is not something you can sustain on a daily basis, nor would you want to. Any advice on what I can do?

  37. Hey i am about to do a trial cut to 125 to see if I should fight there or continue at 135 weight class I am at 142.2 right now is there any alterations I should make being I am much lighter than u and gsp also could u specify how long u did the sauna on Wednesday of the test if u wouldn’t mind emailing the info I would be really appreciative!! Thx!! Good job on the cut too 🙂

  38. I was also wondering if I can still train during cut if I feel up to it or will that alter the over hydrating thx again!!!

  39. I have a question about the salt part. There is sodium in the proteins like chicken breast and fish do we cut that as well? or are we just not adding salt on top of what comes with the meat already????

  40. Hey guys im fighting in a K-1 event in 9 days and im currently 85.9 KG’s and my opponent is 75 KG’s, i need to cut to 78 KG’s any advise as to how i should go about this as you mentioned earlier in your post that this method is not safe, i have tried numerous diets and also training every second week as work is always getting in the way of my training but my weight is still not gettlng lower than 80.

    If you could assist i would greatly appreciate it.

  41. I have a quick question. For just normal people like 5ft4 thatweighs 130lbs, will this work for me too? And is thetr a way i wont gain everything bavk if i reslly tried? I understand this isnt recommended but id like some insight so maybe i can fully understabd the whole concept of “this is how the body works”. Plesse and thankyou

    1. Carol,

      For what you want, Carb and water cycling will work. Basically you follow the protocol above and deplete water and lose weight.

      THEN, don’t drink a lot of water and eat too many carbs, keep eating 25-50g carbs in your meals and drink 1 litre water second day and try to see if you can survive on 2 litres of water.

      Do this for a week and bump up to 3 litres, it should be enough for you.

      Carb cycling means you eat more carbs for 2 days and less carbs for 5 days.

      You can try eating 30-50g carbs in your meals for 4 days (adjust if it’s too low) and eat between 150 and 200g carbs in a day. For high carb days eat 300-400g. Make sure you don’t eat junk food and no unhealthy carbs or fats. Have one big massive cheat meal on second high carb day.

      If you do this for 2-3 months your body will adapt to this weight

  42. This is really cool to learn of the inside tips and tricks these guys use to manipulate weight. I am trying to lose some 10 pounds of stubborn fat so how can I do this protocol safely without putting myself at risk.

  43. Hey I have a 14 yr old step son who is trying to lose 30 pounds for football and I was reading this article and was wondering if this would be a good way for him to lose weight in a week

  44. What a brilliant post! Thanks,

    I’m going to use some of that data on top of a little tool I’m developing which should give the water intake over the week based on lean body mass.

    Cheers, great post and especially loving the details about glycogen depletion, which I can see how it may be tweaked along side create for mass gains.

  45. Great article Tim.

    This technique is also used in bodybuilding (we made it popular) as we drop weight to make weight and overnight reload water and carbs to gain upto 20 lbs of weight and this makes our muscles push against the skin making us look “full” and have competitive advantage.

    This also explain why lot of quick-fix diets work – they make people lose 15-20 lbs of water they are walking around with. The reason they put all their weight back is they stop using diuretics and go bak to eating carbs that makes them retain water.

  46. Hi john and nate . Im not a fighter but i have a weigh in for the armed forces and failed medical because of bmi which i disagree on because im not obese my goal weight is 202lbs

    Im on my 4th day of this plan and all was going well .

    1st day lost 6lbs☺

    2nd day lost 3.5😊 (206lbs)

    3rd day today i woke up weighed myself and was 3lbs heavier.😢(209lbs)

    The only thing i wasnt doing to the plan was consuming 3 p+f meals aday (i fast 16-20hrs ).was more like 1 to 2 bigger meals of just chicken breast with cruicerferous veges . Apart from last night where i consumed 3 p+f meals existing of steak chicken thighs lamb steak olive oil and olives in a vast amount.

    1)Is there a point in which i should not eat as much ? I just ate till i was full.

    2) is there any type of p+f foods i should avoid ? I.e. foods high in sodium ect?

    Any insight into this would be extremely helpfull and appreciated .

    thankyou

    aaron ramsey

  47. Can you use this method for cleansing and purifying purposes w/out the fats and carb intake? Mainly focusing on the water and sweating levels and reduction of salts.

  48. I am a 16 year old girl who needs to lose 20 pounds. All I need is 20 pounds gone and I’ll be the perfect weight. I want it gone fast. Is this too dangerous for me?

  49. I just have a quick question how is this any better been cutting all the water weight the day of the way inn? I’m competing in mixed martial arts

  50. I am a 22 year old female 4 11 160lbs trying to cut weight quickly. would i be ok to implement this weight loss technique into my schedule? I do exercise a few times a week. I’m just wondering.

  51. It is the week for a big competition for me and I started this manipulation on Sunday. It’s Tuesday and I have only like 4 pounds. I’m startin to get nervous that this isn’t going to cut it for my weigh in. Does anyone have any suggestions? My weigh in is Friday at 6 PM

  52. I cant believe that people at this level of sport perfgormance are not talking about the benefits of drinking Kangen Ionise water that is Antioxidant, Microclustered and Alkaline. The benifits of drinking Kangen water are well known. Take a look at my website and ask me for more information

  53. I’m a high school wrestler and I just dropped from 134 to 127 on a simple diet. 1 meal a day (800-1,200 calories). My body fat percentage is already really low, so yeah. I do pretty much the same thing you’re doing, except I also get out the trash bag when needed cause I don’t have a sauna. Running in a trash bag does illicit strange looks.

    My worst weight drop experience was when I was cutting weight and sick. I unfortunately went from 129 to 119 (mostly water because I was still at 5% bf- I weigh 118 with 0% fat and 129 with 9% bf.

    With four out of the seven days of Thanksgiving week a wrestling competition, I’m going to be busy hungry. Cya.

  54. I wonder how well this works for females. I can imagine the results may not be as drastic though I have no scientific backing to say why. Have you all considered having a woman try this same process?

  55. Great write up. I have to say I was completely naive to this “Making weight thing” and had always assumed fighters would be naturally always within their respective weight category by a few pounds. If anything I always assumed fighters would add weight to make a weight class with all the hard training they do, but in-fact it seems the opposite. Having recently watched a few seasons of Ultimate Fighter my awareness to this has increased dramatically.

    So taking myself as an example.. naturally I am 205 lbs. Which is light heavy class. So realistically I could drop to the 185 category and could be classed as a middleweight even though I look like a heavyweight day-in day-out.. Funny stuff.

    With this in mind I think weight class systems for light heavy and heavyweight in both the UFC and WBA are questionable. Someone weighing in naturally at 210lbs can fight a 265lb monster? Hardly fair.. So when the *cough* natural athletes weigh in around the 263lb mark to make weight they are really carrying 280+lbs of weight which is crazy.

    Will there ever be a true fighting sport with proper natural weight categories void of all drugs? I’d happily start one if I had enough capital.

    A disheartened Fighting fan.

  56. This is the best article really I’ve passed by searching about this subject . You helped me a lot . I’m a mum of a 14 yrs old Taekwondo player who’s going into a competition in two days . Due to some some circumstances we planned late for the wight cut just a week before competition . And really your article helped us a lot .I just have one inquiry , I ran out of meals to cook for him and he’s still a teenage and it is so unsatisfying for him to eat tasteless food I’m serving him !! ? No starch is okay but No dairy , no fruits and no salt at all in cooking this gives me a hard time , I ran out of ideas !!

    So, please can someone just give me new ideas for recipes ; I’d appreciate a prompt reply 🙂

  57. Hi! Thanks for this post! Love it! I am on now on Day 3 of The regime.

    My concern is, after The program, then what? Do I go back to eating The way I was? Of course not! That’s how I gained weight in The first place. But how can one go through life without eating fruits?

    My plan is to start The program anew once it’s over but is it OK if I dedicate The day after to just eating fruits and/or starchy food?

    What I am really asking is how can I keep from adding weight without losing the benefits of fruits?

    Thanks again for the great post!

  58. High school wrestlers typically only have a few hours between weigh-ins and competition. Because of this they aren’t left with adequate time to rehydrate and replenish the muscle glycogen that is lost in the method listed above. For performance sake they are best to compete close to their “walking weight.”